WITH a R50000 prize purse, luxury accommodation and a three-day route, organisers of the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek have signalled their intention for the event to take its place among the top mountain bike stage races in the country.
Race director Brad Jackson says the Eastern Cape event, which takes place near Addo from May 30, has what it takes to rival the best of the established stage races.
“By offering increased prize money we’re hoping to entice some of the top riders to experience the race while it’s still a young event,” Jackson said. But the emphasis would be on delivering a quality experience for the whole field.
“Although we would like to see some big names in the race, it’s certainly not only for pros.”
Jackson said the sponsors and organisers had invested heavily in exceeding riders’ expectations and that the exclusive field would be limited to 150 two-person teams to ensure a comfortable experience.
“All riders who enter will get first option for an entry next year, and we believe that next year is going to sell out fast once word gets out of what’s on offer.”
Jackson said Hayterdale Trails, which formed the highlight of the final stage, already provided some of the best mountain bike trails in the country, having hosted the national cross-country and downhill championships.
“We’ve also invested months of labour and expense to build another two stages that will be worthy of a stage race of this calibre,” he said. “We didn’t simply look for existing roads and tracks but have gone in with an experienced team of trail-builders and constructed kilometres of new single track.”
The spectacular trails now traverse a number of pristine private farms, the world-renowned Addo Elephant National Park, and ox-wagon trails over the Zuurberg Pass.
At the end of a hard day’s riding, he said, participants could look forward to relaxing in comfort.
The Zuurberg Mountain Village would be the official race centre for the duration of the event, with luxury hotel and tented camp accommodation options available.
The camp boasts proper brick and mortar ablutions with plenty of hot water.
“Meals will be served in the hotel restaurant and marquee dining area alongside the swimming pool,” Jackson said
In addition, all participants would receive rider goodie bags valued at more than R1000 each. A branded race jacket and other special items would be included.
Jackson said having a title sponsor like professional services giant PwC on board had helped raise the profile and improve the possibilities for the event.
“PwC is a respected brand in SA and their existing commitment to mountain biking means that they are well positioned to recognise a great stage race to get behind.”