Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival Diary Note

 No: kc1902

21 May 2018

Embargo : None

Written by :Dave Macleod


Enduro stars itching to go at Sappi Karkloof Trail Festival

Howick - Avid enduro riders are counting the days to the 2019 edition of the Sappi Karkloof Trail Festival that hosts the popular STIHL Karkloof Enduro event on Saturday 1 June, and new South African champion Keira Duncan has confirmed he will be back to defend the title he won last year.

"The Karkloof trails are world class and I am lucky enough to be able to literally ride straight off our farm onto the trails," said Duncan.

"Every year they change up the trails we use for the enduro and there are always a few surprises, but I do know a lot of the trails like the back of my hand," he said.

Duncan, who is working on his matric this year, is sizing up an international career as an enduro rider, starting with a whirlwind trip to Italy and France mid-year to take on a number of Enduro World Series events.

It has been a rollercoaster ride for the Karkloof local, who was sidelined in 2017 after a heavy fall at the SA Champs.

"To win the SA title last year was pretty much a dream come true," he said. "In 2015 I was aiming for a top 30 and then to become SA Champ in 2018 is rad."

As always the scope and depth of the enduro field he will be up against will only become clear in the days before the event, with a number of elite riders juggling their commitments abroad with this famous enduro weekend in the Karkloof hills.

"Karkloof is one of the enduro capitals of SA," said Duncan. "What is great is that there is such a variety of trails available that the organisers can put together an enduro that has some easy sections and some really technically demanding, gnarly sections."

He encouraged any skilled marathon mountain bikers to join in the enduro to get a taste of the adrenaline-laced sister discipline.

"Any reasonably technically skilled mountain biker will have a total blast doing an enduro," he said. "There is always a great variety of trails and just about anyone can ride them.

“There may be one of two places where they might want to get off their bike, but most of it is totally do-able for an average mountain biker," he added.

“Enduro races are growing in popularity as they allow keen mountain bikers to take part in gravity events without having to go to the expense of buying a new bike specifically designed for downhill or enduro," said Nigel Hicks of the KZN Gravity organising committee.

Women are playing an increasing role in enduro racing, with regular pacesetters like young star Beanie Thies, the seasoned Amy-Jane Mundy and Kath Fourie regularly riding and training on the Karkloof descents.

Thies, the 2018 Karkloof champion is another youngster with her sights set on the international scene, leaving the 2019 women's enduro door ajar for a new champion.

The recent Sappi Howick Classic enduro event saw the emergence of new women's enduro talent from the GO!Durban Cycle Academy, with Aphiwe Goge and Ongezo Mini from the Velosolutions Izimbali team becoming the first black women to take part in a KZN enduro event.

Date: Saturday 1 and 2 June 2019
Venue: Karkloof Country Club

Schedule:
• Saturday, 1 June
07h00 - 18km Karkloof Trail Run (Normal Entries - R150, Late Entries - R170)
07h30 - 9km Karkloof Trail Run (Normal Entries - R110, Late Entries R130)
12h00 - STIHL Karkloof Enduro (Normal Entries - R180, Late Entries - R220)
• Sunday, 2 June
07h30 - 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon (Normal Entries - R230, Late Entries - R270)
08h30 - 40km aQuellé Half Marathon (Normal Entries - R190, Late Entries - R230)
09h20 - 9km Karkloof Trail Run (Normal Entries - R110, Late Entries R130)
09h30 - 20km aQuellé Family Ride (Normal Entries - R140, Late Entries - R180)
10h00 - 10km aQuellé Kids Ride (Normal Entries - R70, Late Entries - R90)

Normal entries are open and close at 24h00 on 26 May while late entries will be taken until 24h00 on 29 May. Registration will take place at the Karkloof Club on the following days:
Saturday 1st June - 05h30 to 11h45 & Sunday 2nd June - 05h30 to 09h45

More info can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za

ENDS

Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic

Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival Logo - GIF

 

Karkloof junior Keira Duncan powering downhill to take the overall honours at the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the first day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival last year.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Wartburg schoolgirl Beanie Thies was flawless in racing to the overall women's title at the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the first day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival last year.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Andrew Houston streaks across a bridge in The Gauntlet during the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the first day of the 2018 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Runner up Kath Fourie in action during the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the first day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival last year.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Airborne in The Gauntlet, third placed junior Connor Finnis racing in the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on the first day of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival last year.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

For any further information, or if you cannot access the images, please contact:
Gameplan Media
(031) 764 3017