Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge Media Release

 No: kc2002

20 Oct 2020

Embargo : None

Written by : Kathryn Fourie


Sappi Karkloof Challenge inspires creativity in trail building


Karkloof - Ahead of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge starting on the 24th of October, the Karkloof Country Club (KCC) have been working creatively to fit in with Sappi harvesting operations.

“The relationship between the trails and the Sappi forests is a constantly evolving, living creature. With Sappi’s harvesting plans we can expect the gum plantations to be felled every seven to eight years, which is effectively the lifespan of a trail” said Nick Stubbs, Karkloof Country Club Vice-Chairman.

“It is our responsibility to reroute trails not only when they go through a compartment that needs to be felled, but also when routes going around compartments can put trail users too close to harvesting equipment or timber transportation vehicles”.

“Recently, Sappi informed us of a compartment that will be harvested imminently, where 80% of our permanently marked routes either go through or skirt it’s edges. Because of this, we needed to build an alternative trail that was aesthetically pleasing, exciting and challenging for riders as a return route on the 40km Challenge, as well as the trail runs”.

The Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge is a refreshed format of the event that has been running for the past 26 years. The Challenge concept sees 20km, 40km, 60km and Enduro MTB race-length routes available for people to ride over four weekends, as well as 10km and 20km trail run options.

Runners and riders are not timed, but if their competitive spirit is firing, they are able to upload their times via Strava to a leaderboard. However, in order for the set distance routes to work, the KCC had to think inventively to create a trail-based solution to the harvesting impact.

“We decided to extend one of our oldest trails, River Riviere, to solve the issue around the harvesting. It means that we’ve been working for the last three weeks on an almost vertical slope that is full of rocks and scrub gum, using a team of three or four people with picks, crow bars and sledgehammers to forge their way through the slope.

"We’ll be transporting around twenty cubes of sand into the trail to pack into the really rocky sections to make it safe to ride. It’s a beautiful area, and even though the trail is only a 500m extension, it should add great value to our network” said Stubbs.

Sphe Busane, one of the Nguni Trails team members responsible for building the new section of trail explained “It has been a huge amount of work and we’ve learned so much while designing and building this section. We still have to build and install a bridge in one area and bring in a lot of soil, but we are getting there”.

Zelda Schwalbach, Communications Manager of Forests for Sappi, added “It was in early 2012 that through the Sappi Trails Programme we implemented a recreational and event risk mitigation and management plan. Nine years down the line, dedicated stakeholders like the Karkloof Country Club understand the importance of early planning and communication with our forestry team to create safe recreational spaces.

"Quite often there is a large amount of work behind the scenes that the public don’t see – and the extension to River Riviere is certainly a case of a large amount of work! However, it’s also resulted in a progressive and valuable learning experience for Nguni Trails, one of the Shared Value projects that Sappi supports,” she added.

The Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge
Starts Saturday 24 October and ends on Sunday 15 November
Options:
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

More info can be found at https://www.karkloofclub.co.za/events/sappi-karkloof-classic-challenge-2020/ 

ENDS

Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic

Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge Logo

 

Trail builder Sphe Busane shows off a new section that the Nguni Trails team has constructed in time for the Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge, which gets under way this weekend.

Kathryn Fourie/
Gameplan Media

Trail builder Sphe Busane shows off a new section that the Nguni Trails team has constructed in time for the Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge, which starts this weekend. “It has been a huge amount of work and we’ve learned so much while designing and building this section. We still have to build and install a bridge in one area and bring in a lot of soil, but we are getting there,” he said.

Kathryn Fourie/
Gameplan Media

Trail builders (from left) Sphe Busane, Lawrence Masuhlo and Jay Ngubane hard at work fine tuning a new section of trails for the mountain bikers and trail runners to enjoy at the Sappi Karkloof Classic Challenge, which gets under way this Sunday.

Kathryn Fourie/
Gameplan Media

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