Local sportSport

Ultimate urban cycle race draws near

Wynand de Villiers, one of the race organisers from ASG Events, said the race is billed as "the race of dreams”.

Cyclists have until the end of March to enter for the eighth edition of the Emperors Palace Classic.

The race will take place on April 11 and 12.

The race consists of a 20 kilometre and 40 kilometre off-road race on Saturday. Sunday will feature a 50 kilometre and 102 kilometre road race.

Wynand de Villiers, one of the race organisers from ASG Events, said the race is billed as “the race of dreams”.

He added that the Sunday offering includes the Emperors Palace Kids Classic, which caters for children between the ages of two to eight.

“The Circuit Spectacular will once again bring the curtain down on the weekend’s racing programme. This invitation-only, 30-minute criterium race sees South Africa’s top pro riders face-off in a high-speed battle on a circuit near the main entrance to the casino resort,” he said.

De Villiers said that the public could look forward to witnessing top-class, European-style racing, which was rarely seen on South African soil.

“It’s a real crowd-pleaser, so we have moved the Circuit Spectacular and the kids’ races to a more visible and accessible spot to allow more spectators to get in on the action,” he said.

De Villiers said the line-up offered the perfect autumn challenge for riders of all fitness levels and technical abilities.

“The event is nicely nestled at a time of the year when temperatures are becoming milder and the chances of rain are slim,” he added.

The road routes offer fast and flat circuits, with good surfaces throughout.

“There will be signage along the route to alert motorists of the event ahead of race day. There will also be more than 200 marshals and 150 traffic officers on duty during the events,” he said.

Lee Stockenstrom, from Sweat and Gears and who designed the mountain bike courses, said riders would once again get to experience the excitement of riding in the shadow of the aircraft on the grounds of OR Tambo International Airport.

“It is urban mountain biking at its best. It is so close for East Rand cyclists; it is practically in their backyard,” he said.

Stockenstrom has been responsible for the mountain bike routes since the discipline was added four years ago.

He said the course would remain largely unchanged.

“It is user-friendly and slightly undulating, with some tar-work thrown in as well. There is just one technical drop-off on the 22 kilometre track where riders have the option to either walk down or use the chicken run on the side. The track is essentially made up of three sections. The first bit is through a forest, then around the dam and suburbs, and finally a seven kilometre flat section right next to the runway, all interlinked by pavement rides. The tree section is my best. Six kilometres of winding forest, more than enough room to overtake. It is also a slight downhill – so it’s nice and fast,” said Stockenstrom.

He added that the trails would be open every Wednesday evening for training rides and also on weekends.

De Villiers said the nearby casino resort offered convenient and safe parking as well as a variety of family entertainment options once the racing was done.

“Emperors Palace puts in a massive amount of effort to ensure a hassle-free experience for riders at the venue, which is perfectly suited to hosting the more than 8 000 expected participants over the weekend,” he said.

For more information, visit the website www.cycleevents.co.za

Related Articles

Back to top button