Gauteng is gearing up for a high-speed challenge this weekend! The penultimate round of the Nissan TrailSeeker Series kicks off on Saturday, 23 September in Hazeldean.
Almost 3000 adventure-seekers are expected to arrive for the spring festivity, which will be hosted by Pretoria’s popular Cowhouse Market.
“This is the biggest annual mountain bike event that Pretoria,” said race organiser Francois Theron.
Riders will be given the opportunity to explore the best trails the province has to offer, and the route includes new sections from local MTB hotspots Rosmary Hill, Boschkop and Hazeldean Valley. Half marathon participants in particular can look forward to an exciting ride!
With four categories on offer, the Nissan TrailSeeker attracts a broad field of athletes. While the event caters for family-orientated riders looking for a good time, it also accommodates elite athletes racing for the esteemed title.
Some of Gauteng’s very best have signed up for what is going to be a flat and super-fast challenge. A top rider that has confirmed he’ll be competing in the men’s marathon is Wessel Botha (Lynnwood Cyclery). The young gun caused an uproar when he came into the season as an U23 rider, and completely dominated the elite category!
“It’s been hard jumping in with the elites, and I honestly never expected to lead the series so soon. But I’ve settled down and I’m ready to go all out on Saturday,” said Botha.
He’ll have an advantage as a Pretoria based athlete, but so will Pyga Euro Steel’s Phillip Buys who is all-too familiar with the weekend’s trails. Other riders on the radar are Nico Bell, who won the series last year, and his Team NAD riding partner, Gawie Combrink.
It’s going to be an epic high-speed challenge, and Botha is going to give it his best: “I know these trails, and am aware of the high risk, sandy areas that I need to watch out for. It’s a flat track, so I’ll save my energy and stay in the bunch initially, and then make my attack.”
The women’s marathon also promises to be action-packed. Samantha Sanders is one of the strongest riders to look out for at this point in the series. She comes into the event with a high level of confidence after winning the last two races of the Gauteng series, and also taking the Hazeldean title last season.
“This is definitely not going to be a walk in the park! I cannot rule out any elite female riders, and I reckon we’re going to cross the finish the line very close together. I had a strategy last year, and made my attack at a specific point. So I plan to do something similar,” said Sanders.
It’s been an epic season for the Valencia rider. She started with Science2Sport recently, and feels that her winning secret has been the “analytical and personalised” approach to training she’s taken.
Sanders will be up against the likes of the 2017 Series leader, Theresa Ralph, and the consistent Maricel Bekker, who’s currently in second place on the season’s point standings.
The event starts and finishes at the Cowhouse Market, which will offer gourmet foods, craft brewery, and a lekker vibe!
Entries are still available for the 70km marathon, 40km half marathon, 20km Fun Race and 10km Fun Ride.
As with all Nissan TrailSeeker events, the race venue will have child-minding facilities and provide a relaxed environment for supporters while they wait for their mountain bikers to conquer the Hazeldean trails.
Online entries for the event can be found at www.trailseeker.co.za
Nissan Trailseeker Hazeldean schedule of events
Venue: Cowhouse Market
Friday 22 September
10:00 – 16:00
Lynnwood Cyclery, Centurion Cyclery and Concept Cyclery Melrose Arch
Saturday 23 September
05:30 – 10:00
Cowhouse Market (race venue)
Saturday 23 September
06:45 Riders Briefing
07:00 Start Marathon
08:30 Start Half-Marathon
10:00 Start Fun Race
10:45 Start Fun Ride
12:00 Prize Giving