The country’s top-tier semi-pro and amateur mountain bikers can now apply to race as “professionals” in next year’s Old Mutual joBerg2c.
Organisers of the nine-day event have made team entries available to worthy applicants in the men’s, ladies’ and mixed categories.
“There is a band of talented young riders who don’t have pro contracts and can’t afford to ride the big stage races,” said one of the organisers Craig Wapnick.
“These sponsorships are a way for them to get spotted, while adding some good flavour to the racing at our event.”
Wapnick said although organisers were looking for young and hungry talent, successful candidates would be obligated to conduct themselves in the spirit of camaraderie that is the hallmark of the event.
He said the chosen teams would be awarded their full entry fee plus free kit in the sponsors’ colours, which they will wear for the duration of the event.
“Although they may not be part of a pro team, the riders will be permitted to have other product or bike partners.”
According to Wapnick, applicants should preferably be between the ages of 18 and 30 and serious contenders for the R330 000 prize purse.
“Prospective teams will need to submit a proposal of two pages or less explaining why they deserve the sponsorship.”
He said the organising trio – comprising himself, Gary Green and Glen Haw –would evaluate the entries based on a range of criteria, including age, socio-economic status and track record in other events.
“We will also look at the effort that went into the proposal. Applicants should make it fun and include a riding photograph of themselves and an accurate set of results.”
Wapnick said the application process would help aspiring pro riders learn how to present and market themselves professionally.
The closing date for entries is November 30 and successful applicants will be notified by December 31, he said.
“In due course, there may also be other sponsorships specifically for previously disadvantaged riders but at the moment we are looking at any rider capable of racing who cannot afford to enter our event.”