The Standard Bank Africa Cycle Fair, now in its fourth year, was held this past weekend at St Stithians College in Randburg, and in addition to showcasing some of the latest trends in cycling gear and accessories, the spotlight was firmly on hosting events for South Africa’s cycling stars of the future, introducing them to the pros, and giving them the opportunity to show off their talents.
Hundreds of participants took part in the inaugural ProQuest High Schools MTB Interprovincial and Primary Schools MTB race, held on Saturday 22 October, with school teams and individuals racing on the XCO track built by legendary trail builder, Neil Evans. Riders travelled from as far away as Bloemfontein, Lichtenburg and Kimberley to take part in events, and the three top teams won cash prizes from ProQuest. First place went to Transvalia High School, with Potchefstroom Gimnasium in second place, followed by Hartebeespoort High School in third. Spectators were treated to the moves of the SA Youth 16 champion, Ryan Conradie of Potch Gimnasium, and the SA Junior (under 18s) female champion, Kristen Louw of Hoer Volkskool Potchefstroom. The winner in the Junior Category (under 18s) was Jared Cowan from Sutherland High in Pretoria who says he felt like a pro: “I love doing single track courses, the climbs here are great and it feels like I was riding a professional course”.
The ProQuest Primary Schools MTB Races on the Sunday 23 October, took children aged 7 to 14 along a shorter version of the course, and the youngsters’ enthusiasm left no doubt as to why cycling has become one of the fastest growing sports in South Africa.
Visitors to the Fair, along with school participants and some of SA’s top pro-cyclists also took up the CycleOps Watt Challenge. This event challenged cyclists to test their riding power output, on a stationary indoor training bike while ‘virtually’ riding a real Johannesburg road, with inclines and corners.
This year’s Fair saw Cyclesure presenting the first-ever Qhubeka Buffalo Bike Relay Challenge, where Team ProTouch and Van H team challenged each other to an eight-lap relay using Qhubeka Buffalo Bikes, on a section of XCO track at St Stithians College. Cyclesure also donated 10 new bikes to the Qhubeka Foundation and challenges other companies and individuals to do the same by supporting the Qhubeka Campaign on ProQuest.co.za, a new crowdfunding site to raise money for athletes.
Springbok rugby hero Joel Stransky, cycled to the event to show his keen support of cycling.
The Van H team from Pretoria who took part in the Watt Challenge as well as the Qhubeka Buffalo Bike Relay at the 2016 Standard Bank Africa Cycle Fair: From left to right: Ewald Meyer, Jacques Moren, Rynard van Hoven and Leon Olivier.
Team ProTouch – winners of the Inaugural Qhubeka Relay Challenge at the 2016 Standard Bank Africa Cycle Fair and professional rider participants in the Watt Challenge – From left to right: Tristan van Niekerk, JC Nel (Captain), Tony Harding (Team Manager), Maurice Möller and Neil Robinson.
Former Rugby Springbok, Joel Stransky, cycled into the 2016 Standard Bank Africa Cycle Fair to show his support for SA’s fastest growing sport.