Schools mountain biking season kicks off this weekend

Cycling South Africa wishes learners well for the first event of the 2019 Spur Schools MTB League, kicking off this weekend at John Vorster Technical High School, Pretoria, on 27 April.

This 65-event League is the largest cycling programme in South Africa and serves as the main feeder of young riders to the Olympic XCO racing format. With over 700 learners expected at the first event, the numbers that these events are attracting is certainly exciting to see and bodes well for developing more riders of the calibre of Alan Hatherly, the current under-23 XCO UCI World Champion, and himself a product of the League.

According to Cycling SA Mountain Bike Commission Director, Brett Coates, the growth of the League has underpinned an upswing in interest in XCO racing. “Our National Championships has seen a traditional veteran-heavy participation base shift to one that is primarily made up of junior age categories. This creates the ideal platform from which to develop future champions.”

League director, Meurant Botha, added that although the League’s focus is on grass roots racing with easy tracks and shorter race times, the level of competition is still very high. “The League, despite having more of a kids-on-bikes vision, recognises that many of these young riders see the provincial and national series’ of Cycling SA as the next step of their cycling programmes and we want to support this transition with a much closer working relationship with the governing body.”

All parties agree that achieving official school sport status should be a high priority and to this end, South African Schools Cycling (SASC) has been set up to act as a conduit between the respective provincial schools bodies, the League and Cycling SA. The organisation’s first representative AGM takes place on 16 May, a major step in the process of organising the sport at school level.

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