Due to public demand, organisers of the nine-day Old Mutual joBerg2c mountain bike race have announced a special non-racing solo category, for which entries open today (Wednesday, 10 August 2011).
In a departure from the first two editions, the 2012 event, which starts on April 27, will accommodate a limited field of individual riders, said organiser Craig Wapnick.
“We’ve had a lot of requests from international riders, media representatives and people in small towns who struggle to find suitable partners to commit to the challenge.”
The 910-kilometre event, which is the longest paired stage race in South Africa, takes riders from Heidelberg in Gauteng, across the Free State and along the foothills of the Drakensberg to Scottburgh on the KwaZulu-Natal coast.
Wapnick said individual riders need not fear riding without a partner in case of mechanical or medical problems.
“Thanks to our easily accessible route and off-road rescue support, solo riders will have good back-up and assistance if needed.”
He said every rider would be monitored throughout the journey and there would be regular checkpoints along the route.
Wapnick said the new category would allow more participants to experience the camaraderie of the event.
“The riding might be solo but the atmosphere of the event encourages them to meet, mix and mingle. Who knows, the solo guys might even find a partner to ride with in the future.”
Although individual entrants will not be allowed to compete for the R300 000 prize money, Wapnick said they would still receive official times and positions relative to the field. “They will be batched according to these times, along with the teams, at the start of each stage.”
He said the racing section would remain team-based in accordance with international stage racing rules.
“The Old Mutual joBerg2c will always remain a team event. The solo category simply gives passionate mountain bikers, who would otherwise miss out, the opportunity to experience the adventure of a lifetime.”
Click here for entry details and cost info.