The dust has settled, the thermometer has dropped and we have been blessed by some rain. The cross country (XCO) provincial season has come to an end with much to brag about.
The Western Province Mountain Bike Commission (WPMTBC) is a committee of 11 active members whose primary function is to host regional, provincial and national MTB races. At every race these dedicated committee members gave their everything to pull out all the stops for the riders. They are volunteers (mainly parents of XCO riders) that have to manage the stresses and time constraints of full time jobs and then organise these races in their spare time.
With only one major sponsor, this team had to roll up their sleeves and do most of the work themselves. From sanctioning the events with CSA, making sure insurance and commissaires are in place, doing the budgets, meeting with track venue owners, building the tracks, setting up the tracks, organising the entries, registration, communication, website, social media, vendors, music, commentators, photographers and toilets, doing the marketing, printing the programmes and track details, setting up the race villages, organising and managing the two-way radios and marshals, organising and managing the medics, organising medals, number boards and timing, paying the service providers, setting up dustbins and clearing it, taking everything down when the races are finished and lastly, cleaning the track area and race village area when everybody else has left for the day.
A very big thank you goes to these wonderful individuals who serve on the WPMTBC and also to all the parents, friends and family that gave their time and energy to assist the committee with registration, marshalling, photography, track building and set-up, being the sweeper and cleaning after the event. As you may gather, we need any helping hand to assist and we appeal to all that race or have a family member that races, to step forward and give their support to our passion to take MTB’ing to the next level in the Western Cape.
The Western Cape XCO Series and Champs took us to fantastic venues that are also favourites for weddings and functions. The first WC XCO race in the series took us to Rhebokskloof in Windmeul, Paarl on the 6th of February 2016 where we had 225 entries. It was perfect Cape summer’s weather with the sun as the backdrop and a very challenging track on the ground. The Elite Ladies field saw Ariane Kleinhans from Switzerland, Cherie Vale from Kwa-Zulu Natal and Hanlie Cilliers from Western Cape take the honours and in the Elite Men’s field it was Marcel Guerrini from Switzerland, Martin Freyer from Namibia and Lourens Luus from Western Cape taking the three top spots.
The second WC XCO race took us to Helderberg Farm in Somerset West on the 20th of February 2016 where we had a bumper 225 entries again. This race really exceeded everybody’s expectations with Jolanda Neff, Ester Süss and Alessandra Keller, all from Switzerland, taking the honours in the Elite Ladies race. Tristan De Lange from Namibia, Dominic Calitz from Western Cape and Craig Boyes from Western Cape took the Elite Men’s honours. It was a real treat to see Jolanda, Esther and Alessandra race on Cape Town soil just before they start with the racing in Europe.
The third WC XCO race on the 27th of February 2016 was hosted at Helderberg Farm again and it was also the second SA Cup race of the season. This meant that we had to adhere to UCI regulations and that the track had to be ready for practice on the Friday already. Our Western Cape riders were exposed to racing with the best riders in South Africa. We had 290 entries and we saw the Elite Ladies Ester Süss from Switzerland, Cherie Vale from Kwa-Zulu Natal and Genevieve van Collar from Kwa-Zulu Natal on the podium. The Elite Men that were on the podium were Samuel Gaze from New Zealand, Alan Hatherly from Kwa-Zulu Natal and Philip Buys from Gauteng. The race village was a total buzz with so many people from across South Africa gathered to enjoy the fantastic but truly traditional cross country track at Helderberg. The gap jump near the race village kept one and all entertained.
The action on the track was broadcast via live streaming and the spectators at the race village could watch the action on the big screen of the Intello Services event truck sponsored by Subaru Cape Town. The advertisements of the sponsors and other companies were aired on the big screen too.
The last WC XCO race in the series was held at Picardie Guest Farm in Paarl on the 12th of March 2016 and we had 162 entries. The track was challenging and the heat unforgiving, reaching temperatures of >40 degrees on parts of the track. The spectators took refuge at Jan Kan for some shade, delicious food and cold drinks. The Elite Ladies field saw Mariske Strauss, Hanlie Cilliers and Catherine Pellow-Jarman take the honours and in the Elite Men’s field it was Stephan Senekal, Dominic Calitz and Dylan Rebello; all from the Western Cape.
Click on the link to see the WC XCO Series Log results: WC XCO MTB 2016 Series Log
The XCO season was completed with the Western Cape Champs held at Bloemendal Wine Estate in Durbanville on the 28th of May 2016 and there were 198 entries. The Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club and Bloemendal delivered a fantastic track to ensure that the event was a real show-stopper with all the bells and whistles…oh and jumps, pump track and burms! Our podium winners were treated with prize-money and the Western Cape Champ in each category received a specially designed Winner’s Jersey! Our major sponsor, Subaru Cape Town is featured on the back of the jersey with the other season sponsors: Giant and Durbanville Commercial Printer (DCP) are displayed on the back pockets. We were honoured by the presence of Cycling South Africa’s president, William Newman, that came to support the event and then handed out the medals, jerseys and prize money with Shani Morton, the WPMTBC chairperson, at the prize giving. The Elite Ladies field saw Ila Stow, Hanlie Cilliers and Amy Burton take the honours and in the Elite Men’s field it was Stephan Senekal, Dominic Calitz and Charl-Pierre Esterhuyse on the podium.
Click on the link to see the WC XCO 2016 Champs results: Western Cape XCO Champs 2016 Results.pdf
Once again, we had the big event truck from Intello Services sponsored by Subaru Cape Town to provide the music and display advertisements of sponsors and other companies, as well as videos of the WC Series, development teams and entertaining mountain bike rides and races. We also had entertainment for the little people with a jumping castle and a pump track set up by Ybike at the race village.
We would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to all our 2016 sponsors. Thank you to Subaru Cape Town with Tienie Bester at the helm that has been actively involved with the series and the champs. Your support to the sport of mountain biking is appreciated. We have partnered to host fantastic cross country events this year and for this we say thanks to: Cycling South Africa, Western Cape Cycling, WPMTBC, Subaru Cape Town, Durbanville Commercial Printer, Giant, Tygerberg MTB Club, Olympic Cycles, Enervit SA, Biosport, Trek, Bontrager, Cyclefunatic, Ybike, Bikehub, Rhebokskloof, Helderberg, Picardie and Bloemendal.
Lastly, it is with immense pride and thanks that we say well done to all the riders in the series and the champs. You train and prepare for the races with diligence and determination, often with time and monetary contraints. The parents, partners, spouses and family of these talented riders are to be commended for all their hard work, support and love.
Well done and keep up the great riding!
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