Sappi Karkloof Classic
Challenge Media Release
Embargo : None
Written by : Dave Macleod
Reshape Karkloof trail event heralds a new era
Karkloof - Organisers of the new Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge that
replaces the traditional weekend of trail running and mountain biking
are celebrating the innovative month-long event as a true reflection of
the year-round partnerships between the Karkloof Country Club, its
backers and the local community.
The annual Sappi Karkloof Trail Festival that usually attracts over two
thousand participants to the Karkloof valley in June was one of the many
events that could not take place under the Covid-19 lockdown
regulations. However, the host club has launched a new month-long option
for riders and runners to enjoy the trails and experience many of the
fresh innovations that have taken place in the past year.
The Karkloof MTB Club and Howick MTB Club merged under the Karkloof
Country Club last year, leading to some bold new additions to the club
and the full-time appointment of the Nguni Trails trail building team.
Andrew Nicholson, the Karkloof Country Club Chairman says the revamped
club has much to offer and the new month-long window will give riders
and runners a chance to enjoy some trails not normally open to
recreational visitors to the valley.
Riders will be able to sign up for 60km, 40km and 20km routes
specifically prepared for the new Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge while
runners can opt for trails of 10km and 21km, any time between Saturday
24 October and Sunday 15 November, complying with all the usual Covid-19
protocols and enjoying the rides and trail runs in their own time.
There will also be two days when enduro courses will be set up with
timing gates so that lovers of the high adrenaline gravity MTB
discipline can also get involved in the Sappi Karkloof Classic
Challenge. The added benefit in the Challenge is that riders can check
out the leader board and return to try and better their times the next
weekend, which is not the case in regular race events.
“You register either through ROAG as usual or you can register at the
club on the day, collect your Challenge buff, and once you have
completed your ride or run, you then upload your time to the ROAG
website and collect your refreshment,” explained Nicholson.
“If you want to try and improve your time you are welcome to do that by
just paying the usual day trail fee,” he added.
Nicholson stressed that the past year had seen the relationship between
the club, Sappi and the local community transcend the focus on one
weekend of activity to a year-round offering that would have benefits
for the club, several key local organisations as well as the many
regular runners, walkers, hikers and riders that visit the club to enjoy
the trails through the Sappi plantations.
“We are heavily focussed on shared value now,” explained Nicholson. “We
have added a lot of new facilities and trails to the offering at the
Karkloof Country Club, and we have been able to do that with the support
of our backers like Sappi and STIHL who share our long term vision of
being a fully sustainable and responsible custodian of these trails.”
“As we grow the network of trail on offer we will need more staff
assisting the Nguni Trails trail building team. We have a new team of
local community members working at the new Karkloof Café and Bar, the
new bike wash facility and there is also a new overnight camping
facility at the club .
Sappi’s Communication Manager Zelda Schwalbach said the club was on
track to realising many of its sustainability and social responsibility
“Sappi has actively supported controlled access to Sappi land for
recreational and event riding for well over ten years. In this time, the
focus of the Sappi Trails Programme has evolved to strongly uphold the
philosophy of Creating Shared Value. This means ensuring that the
benefits of providing this access extends as far down the value chain as
possible,” said Schwalbach.
“The Karkloof Country Club has risen to the challenge in the past five
years in terms of shared value, supporting the Nguni Trails trail
building business and team, the Karkloof Early Childhood Development
Centre at Hawkstone School as well as the Karkloof Café and Bar. All
these projects involve upskilling and career progression, and support
tourism growth in the Karkloof valley, which is largely centred around
the trail network.
“In a year as testing as 2020, we are proud to once again support the
Karkloof Country Club through sponsorship of the Sappi Karkloof Classic
Challenge,” she added.
“During the national lockdown, the Club was restricted in its ability to
allow this access, but can do so now within the permissible COVID
protocols, allowing for this fresh format which will extend trail
enjoyment over a longer period to a broader spectrum of participants. It
is heartening to see the commitment of the Karkloof Country Club to the
shared value projects, where participation in the Sappi Karkloof Classic
Challenge will generate further project funding to sustain these
“We encourage runners and riders of all abilities to take advantage of
the ‘no pressure’ format, and enjoy safe and peaceful trail-time on the
newly marked Challenge routes,” she concluded.
The Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge
Starts Saturday 24 October and ends on Sunday 15 November
MTB Routes : 60 (R150), 40km (R120), 20km (R100) and Enduro (R250)
Trail Running : 10 (R100), 21km (R120)
Enter through www.roag.co.za
or by electronic payment scanned at the Karkloof Club on the day.
Times uploaded at www.roag.co.za
can be found at
Click to download the hi-res
Mountain bikers will have a
month to ride the new Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge, with options of 20km,
40km and 60km on offer.
Trail runners will have
options of 10km and 21km to enjoy during the month long window of the Sappi Karkloof
The emphasis on the new Sappi
Karkloof Classic Challenge is on sustainable year-round enjoyment of the trails in
the Karkloof valley.
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