Final preparations are well underway for the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run, one of KwaZulu-Natal’s most eagerly anticipated and well organised events on the sporting calendar. Michael Finch, editor of Bicycling SA and Runners World, has been confirmed as the race commentator and the event’s organizer, Shanon MacKenzie, said that they would also enter new riders on the day of the event. The first race kicks off at 07h00 this Sunday (May 17) from the Mid-Illovo Club.
Registration for mountain bikers and trail runners begins at 06h00. The transport to the trail run leaves the club promptly at 06h30.The beauty of this event is that it caters for everyone – from seasoned riders who can tackle more rugged terrain as part of the 40km Husqvarna MTB Classic to less experienced riders and family and friends who can enjoy the 18km Gwahumbe Family Experience or the 10km Fun Ride. Trail runners who prefer to have their feet on terra firma can choose between the 8km and 18km iNsingizi trail runs.
MacKenzie said that the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge had more than earned its place as part of the prestigious Quattro ROAG Series. It not only brought top mountain bikers to the green hills of KwaZulu-Natal but also attracted new comers to the sport. ROAG created this series to develop the sport in KwaZulu-Natal. It has successfully focused on encouraging young and up-and-coming riders to enjoy mountain biking and also provides the perfect platform for social riders to challenge their friends.
She said that the organisers of the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge prided themselves in the fact that theirs was regarded as “the best single track of any single day event”. From the outset, the course designers set out to make this both a challenging and memorable track that combines rough terrain with beautiful scenery as the 40km MTB traverses two picturesque game reserves – the Gwahumbe Game & Spa and iNsingizi Game & Spa.
This year, riders can again look forward to the exciting 60 metre long floating bridge which proved a popular addition in previous years. Positioned at water level, it sinks slightly as riders enter it from the single track making for an unforgettable experience that feels a little like riding on water or even skimming across it.
Last year’s overall mountain bike race winner, Callan Deacon, was one of many riders to comment on the quality of the track. “It’s exceptionally well-marked and I’d recommend other course designers reviewing the markings on this race. The single track was fast and flowing and well prepared,” he said. A special touch, according to many riders who have participated – as well as enthusiastic supporters – is the hospitality of the local farming community which not only makes for a great atmosphere but a safe and well planned race.
The Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run is a community event and all proceeds go to beneficiaries which include the Mid Illovo Club, Arden Farm School, Mid Illovo Conservancy and Kwanalu. The money raised is used for the upliftment of the Mid-Illovo community.
40km Husqvarna Classic MTB R150
18km Gwahumbe Family Experience R120 10km
Fun Ride R60
18km iNsingizi Trail Run R100
8km iNsingizi Trail Run R60