A winter highlight for Gauteng mountain bikers, the Nissan TrailSeeker Series Lionman, takes place this Saturday, 15 July, at Mabalingwe, north of Pretoria. The established event offers four different events to cater for all levels of mountain biker and is expected to once again see tight contests for the podium places and prize money.
The long-term weather forecast is for a warm, sunny day on Saturday, a continuation of the unusually mild inland winter conditions so far this year. The event has already attracted a large pre-entry field and is expected to reach the 3000-entry capacity before the weekend.
“The Lionman race has long been a favourite event for Gauteng mountain bikers because it takes place inside a game reserve in the Waterberg, which gives it that real South African bush feel. We also changed the routes last year to ensure each race uses its own loop so there are no route overlaps,” said Fritz Pienaar, Director of Advendurace, the company that organises the Nissan TrailSeeker Series.
The Marathon event will follow a 68km route with 1103 metres of climbing with the biggest ascent being that to the Vodacom mast, now a familiar feature of this event and one that challenges riders on both the ascent and descent. The climb will also be found earlier on in the route, which means riders should be a lot fresher when hitting it.
The Half-marathon over 43km is relatively undulating with just 242 metres of vertical gain, so expect some fast times. This year the half will be far less sandy as well as including newly build singletrack, which should make the racing more exciting. Also on offer is a 20km Fun Race and a 10km Fun Ride.
South African marathon champion, Nico Bell (Team NAD Pro) has confirmed he will be on the start line in the marathon event. Bell will have the backing of his NAD Pro teammate, Gawie Combrinck, who was runner-up at the Lionman event in 2016. Anther that could contest the win is Pyga Eurosteel’s Philip Buys.
In the women’s marathon, 2016 winner, Amy Beth McDougall (Valencia) is sure to start as the favourite. She comes off a strong top 15 finish at the marathon world championships in Germany and will be in good form. Her chief rivals are likely to be Theresa Ralph (Galileo Risk) and Vanessa Bell (Bells Cycling).
Entries are still open and can be done online at www.trailseekerseries.co.za
Nissan TrailSeeker Lionman schedule of events:
Venue: Mabalingwe, Bela Bela
Thursday 13 July
10:00–16:00: Registration at Lynwood Cyclery, Pretoria; Centurion Cyclery, Centurion and Concept Cyclery Melrose Arch, Johannesburg
Friday 14 July
15:00–18:00: At Mabalingwe race venue
Saturday 15 July
07h45: Riders briefing
08h00: Start Marathon
09h00: Start Half-marathon
10h00: Start Fun Race
10h30: Start Fun Ride
12h00: Prize giving
For more information, visit www.trailseekerseries.co.za