The Scott Sports Group will be giving a new bike to Evan van der Spuy, the 17-year-old mountain biker who collided with a buck while competing in a race in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa on Sunday.
Van der Spuy, the 2010 South African Youth Cross-country Cup Series champion, has been at the centre of global attention since the incident, which was caught on film by his Team Jeep South Africa teammate, Travis Walker, who was riding behind him with a handlebar-mounted GoPro video camera. Max Cluer, whose business Max Cluer Sports Marketing, is both the owner of Team Jeep South Africa and owner of the event in which Van der Spuy was competing, loaded the 75-second clip onto youtube on Monday afternoon. By Wednesday morning the clip had received over 5 million views!
The clip shows Van der Spuy riding at speed through a flat grassland section of the route. He notices movement to his right, points to the right, eases off the pedalling for a moment and then is knocked off his bike by an adult Red Hartebeest, which appears to try and jump over him. The antelope’s head knocks Van der Spuy on the right of his helmet-protected head. Both rider and animal tumble to the ground. The buck, apparently uninjured, leaps up and runs off, while Van der Spuy writhes groggily on the ground as Walker attends to him. Van der Spuy is later seen standing in front of the camera, apparently dazed while inspecting his damaged helmet.
“Firstly, we are very happy that Evan wasn’t seriously injured in the incident. Evan’s bike wasn’t damaged, but we noticed in the footage that he was riding a Scott bike and decided that a better model Scott, a Spark 29 Pro, will help him ride faster and avoid being hit by wild animals in future,” joked Brandon Els, Managing Director of Probike, a South African-based Scott Sports Group company.
- Van der Spuy is a final year learner at South City Christian College in Ramsgate on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. The incident occurred 6.5km into the 38km race at the Albert Falls Dam Nature Reserve. Van der Spuy was lying in second place overall at the time, around 30 seconds behind the leader. “There were actually two buck that I saw. The one crossed over the race route ahead of me and this one was obviously following that one,” recalled Van der Spuy. “I was riding at about 35kph and the Hartebeest was running at an angle and so must have been going quicker than that.” Van der Spuy was concussed and his helmet was shattered by the impact. “My helmet probably saved my life,” said Van der Spuy, adding. “The footage shows me moving on the ground, but I don’t remember anything at all. I don’t even remember standing in front of the camera afterwards! The irony is that I don’t do any road cycling because our roads are so dangerous.”
Red Hartebeest stand around 1.25m at the shoulder and weigh around 150kg. They are one of the fastest African animals, capable of reaching speeds of 65kph. Van der Spuy is excited at the prospect of getting a new bike. “I’m pretty stoked that I’m getting a new bike! I really like the Scott brand and I look forward to riding and racing a 29-inch bike. I’ve never ridden one before (his current bike is a Scott Scale 26-inch bike).”
Walker, who was also competing in the race, competed with bike mounted camera to help gather on-the-bike film footage for Max Cluer Sports Marketing for use in the post-event TV package. “It’s been estimated that this clip will surpass 10 million views before the weekend,” said Cluer on Wednesday. “It’s already the biggest viral media success from Southern Africa ever and it’s by far the most viewed mountain bike clip on youtube,” said Cluer, who has been inundated with media interest from around the world for the past two days.
Van der Spuy took Wednesday off school to field media interviews. He did five radio interviews on Wednesday morning before 10am and did a Skype interview with CNN on Tuesday night. Most of the world’s TV news networks have covered the unusual incident.