Words & Photo: Peridot Communications
If the early season warm-up events around the country are any indication, the 2014 Spur School Mountain Bike High School League is set for yet another record breaking season.
Currently in its sixth season, the Spur School Mountain Bike League has surpassed all expectations in terms of participation and reach and according to league co-ordinator Meurant Botha of AMARIDER, 10 000 entries as well within reach this year.
“With an average participation growth of around 40% and a jam-packed 2014 calendar with more than 50 races scheduled before the finals at Bekker School in Magaliesburg in October, we are set for a bumper season,” says Botha.
For the first time keen mountain bike riders in the Northern Cape and Limpopo will be able to compete with event activations taking place Kathu and Kimberley – specifically with the aim of identifying riders to represent the Northern Cape at the 2014 final. Limpopo is another of the new regions whose first races have sported a great turnout. Botha will also be visiting the Southern Cape in an effort to potentially uncover another Matthys Beukes and Gert Heyns!
“Depending on the development of this region this season, we'll try to select riders to attend the national final as well,” says Botha, who has always placed strong emphasis on the development of both riders and tracks in an attempt to get more kids on bikes.
AMARIDER is also playing a key role in terms of cycling development. Apart from the various rider development programmes that have successfully been implemented countrywide since the inception of the league, mountain bike tracks are being built around the country in association with regional municipalities, schools and land owners to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place to support the sport on a regional basis.
According to Spur Market Development Manager Andrew Cronje, the group is delighted to be a part of grassroots mountain biking development at school level. “We are really proud to be associated with the league as it not only provides a platform for schools to compete in a structured way, but is also playing a key role in growing mountain-biking as a sport discipline,” said Cronje.
“We would love to see mountain biking acknowledged as an official school sport. Being nominated as a finalist for the 2014 Discovery Sport Industry Awards earlier this year is confirmation that there is merit in this endeavour,” explains Cronje.
Cronje further stated that Spur was particularly impressed with the improved skills levels of riders competing in the Spur School Mountain Bike League as well as the increased participation by primary schools.
“Spur Steak Ranches is truly invested in our youth and support a number of youth sport development projects that promotes a healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle, including the Spur Masidlale Soccer League, Spur Adventure Series, Spur Ironkids Aquathlon, Junior Argus and several other events,”concludes Cronje.
For entry details and a complete event calendar leading up to the finals at Bekker School from 4 to 5 October, visit http://www.spur.co.za/about-us/event/spur-mtb-league.