CYCLING legend Martin Nefdt has reassembled his 1967 Springbok track team plus a host of celebrities to ride The Herald VW Cycle Tour in aid of abused and abandoned animals on February 2.
Nefdt and his cohorts will be “cycling for the love of animals” in the 55km Pursuit road race through the streets of Port Elizabeth.
The group of 30 sponsored riders will use the event as a fundraiser for the Uitenhage-based SPCA, which serves the entire Nelson Mandela Bay area, including Kirkwood and Addo.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to has been so responsive and really wants to do this,” Nefdt said.
He was inspired to cycle for a cause by his brother Louis, who is chairman of the East London SPCA.
The group hope to raise awareness and at least R15000 for the non-profit organisation and will be highly visible on race day in their matching team shirts.
“We’ve had to make a lot of double extra larges because there are a lot of big guys riding,” Nefdt said.
Leading the bunch on a tandem will be Nefdt, 65, and seven-time South African sprint champion Willie Marx, 70. In their glory days, the former SA champions and rivals performed to capacity crowds at the Westbourne Oval.
Nefdt and Marx were also the last Springbok pair to race the tandem event at the world track championships before South Africa was isolated from international competition. They will be joined by teammates Johan Nicol, who was the first SA rider to break the five-minute barrier in the 4000m pursuit, and former national sprint and road champion Jack Lester. Both are 66.
The foursome competed at the 1967 world championships in Amsterdam but missed their chance to become Olympians when the country was banned from the Games in Mexico the following year.
Nefdt said NutriTech would provide nutritional supplements.
“In our day, the only drugs we used were bully beef and Weetbix, so we’ll stick to that.” Joining the “four legends of the pedal” will be the likes of EP Rugby’s fatherand-son pairing of Cheeky and Luke Watson, EP Rugby chief executive Charl Crous, ex-Bok Robbi Kempson and Algoa FM presenter Daron Mann.
“I’ve warned them that there’s a sjambok up front for anyone who tries to pass us,” Nefdt said.
SPCA volunteer Marizanne Ferreira said the organisation was excited about the initiative.
“The SPCA in Uitenhage is a forgotten organisation and this initiative will give it some desperately needed exposure.”
Donations can be made to: SPCA Uitenhage and District, Nedbank, account number: 2277258768, branch code: 127716.
For more information, contact Inge Nefdt on firstname.lastname@example.org or 072-389-1399. Find updates on www.heraldcycletour.co.za, @heraldcycletour and Facebook.