Online entries are virtually streaming in for the first national classic of the year as prospective entrants rush to make the deadline for The Herald VW Cycle Tour, which is just less than week away.
The mountain bike and road races will take place in Addo and Port Elizabeth on February 2 and 3.
Justin Peel, The Herald’s chief marketing officer, said the response had been excellent, with twice the number of entries received via the website compared to the same period last year.
“Sporting events have been making the shift to online entries as it ensures that the entry process is streamlined and that accurate information is captured.
“The process assists both entrant and organiser in making the exchange of information and money simpler and safer.”
Peel said organisers were particularly excited about the reaction to the new Ultimate Quest, which will see riders take on both the 80km Extreme mountain bike challenge on the Saturday and the 106km Classic road race on the Sunday.
“Entries for the Ultimate Quest have well exceeded our expectations and we look forward to hosting so many strong cyclists this year.”
He said participants would only be able to register for this super-category online. “No Ultimate Quest entries will be accepted manually or at late registration.”
Although entry forms for individual events were still available at cycle shops in Nelson Mandela Bay, Peel urged cyclists to enter online as manual entries carried a R20 surcharge.
“Online entry fees can be paid via credit card or EFT with entrants receiving an e-mail confirmation of their entry and payment.”
He said entries received after the cut-off date of January 21 would be subject to an additional 50% late fee.
“This will apply to the 80km Extreme and 60km Adventure as well as the 106km Classic and 55km Pursuit.”
Peel also encouraged the public to follow the event’s social media platforms for updates, training tips and other advice.
“We find that a campaign encompassing all facets of media, including print and online, truly ensures that all possible entrants are reached and informed.”
He said long-standing partner Bukani Print would once again be responsible for entry forms and promotional material as well as the official race booklet.
According to Bukani director Alan Taylor the race booklet remained a handy source of essential information, including road closures, starting times and rules and regulations.
“The electronic world has taken over but people still like to have something tangible that they can refer to quickly. Many riders also keep it as a memento of the race.”
As one of the oldest printing companies in PE, Taylor said it was important for Bukani to be involved with an event that was also regarded as something of a local institution.
Registration for the 28th edition of the tour will take place from 9am to 9pm on February 1 on the exhibition level of the newly opened Boardwalk Convention Centre opposite Hobie Beach.