A new venue and revamped routes will greet participants in this year’s Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge, which takes place at Gwahumbe Game Lodge and Spa on April 28.
Race organiser Shanon MacKenzie said the event had outgrown the Mid-Illovo Club, which hosted the Husqvarna Classic for 10 years.
The lodge, she said, would provide an idyllic and spectator-friendly venue for supporters, while also ensuring a relaxing setting for riders and trail runners after their races.
“We decided to move the start and finish venue to Gwahumbe Game Lodge, which lends itself to an ideal area for relaxation and chilling after the competitors have completed their rides.”
She added that the larger venue would allow more participants and families to enjoy the vibe.
Long race options
The route for the 60km Husqvarna Classic MTB X-treme, which targets elite and experienced riders, is similar to last year. However, several tweaks, including more single-track, have been incorporated to improve the course.
The popular 40km Safire MTB Classic, which is aimed at those looking to test themselves, will see the most changes – including additional single-track and a shortened course.
“Over the years, the 40km had become 46km and some of the return climbs were tough for the riders we were attracting. So we got rid of some of the smaller ascents on the return route and reduced the distance.
“We have kept most of the single-track, so it will certainly be a more enjoyable ride.”
The highest climb – at just under 1 000m – features early on at 13.5km and the return loop now has a gentler gradient.
Short race options
Mountain bikers can also choose between the 18km Gwahumbe Family Experience, which is a family-orientated ride for newbies, or 10km Fun Ride that targets the younger set (free entry for U12s).
MacKenzie said the Husqvarna Classic had been the first ever ROAG event and the elite race would form part of this year’s Quattro ROAG Series.
“It will be our 11th event and we have built tremendous credibility within the mountain biking community who know that we host a superb event.
“The routes are always well thought out and the single-track is manicured, well-prepared and marked.”
The event incorporates two trails runs: the 16km Farmer’s Agri-Care Trail Run for the fit and experienced and the 8km Gwahumbe Trail Run for those looking for something less strenuous.
The trail runs start at Gwahumbe and drop into the valley, which should make for some fun, fast running in spectacular surroundings.
The races feature new routes, finishing at a beautiful waterfall from where shuttles will transport runners back to the start and prizegiving.
Proceeds from each year’s event go towards upliftment projects in the Mid-Illovo community.
Entrants can help a child in the Midlands by purchasing an Uzwelo School Bag with a built-in raincoat poncho for R150.
There are also 800 Uzwelo shopper bags and 600 quick dry, microfibre towels for the first entrants.
Entries (closing April 24)
Husqvarna Classic MTB X-treme (60km): Click here
Safire MTB Classic (40km): Click here
Gwahumbe Family Experience (18km): Click here
Fun Ride (10km): Click here
Farmers Agri-Care Trail Run (16km): Click here
Gwahumbe Trail Run (9km): Click here
More info: www.roag.co.za
This content was supplied and sponsored by Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run.