Words & Photo: Full Stop Communications
SPAR Eastern Cape has reconfirmed its partnership with the Daily Dispatch Cycle Tour, which is set to roll out in East London on February 15 and 16.
More than 750 participants are expected to turn out for the annual cycling festival, which offers mountain bike and road races for riders of all ages.
According to SPAR Eastern Cape marketing manager Abri Swart, the retailer decided to come on board last year because the long-standing community event seemed the right fit for the brand.
“We have over 20 stores in the East London area alone,” said Swart.
“We wanted to extend our sponsorship portfolio and include a large race in Buffalo City.”
Although this was the retailer’s first foray into cycling, Swart said SPAR Eastern Cape was well known for supporting major sporting events across the province.
These include the SPAR Women’s Challenge road run in Port Elizabeth, which has been taking place for the past 20 years, and South Africa’s oldest open-water swimming event, the SPAR River Mile at Sundays River.
“SPAR is all about family, a healthy lifestyle and community involvement, so the cycle tour fits that mould,” said Swart.
He said the addition of more family-oriented races to the programme would enable more would-be riders to enjoy the sporting weekend.
“The fact that the event is over a weekend and also includes a new line-up of shorter distances that were not available last year will hopefully encourage more families to take part.”
The cycle tour kicks off on the Saturday morning with the 30km and 55km mountain bike races at the Three Silos Track off the N6 main road.
In the afternoon, the Nutri-Kids Mini Cycle Tour rolls out in front of the Osner Hotel on the beachfront. The event includes various distances for children aged three to 12 and raises funds for the Childhood Cancer Foundation (Choc).
On Sunday, the traditional road races round out the cycling entertainment.
The 100km feature race and shorter 46km option will be the main attractions, while a 16km family fun ride has been added this year to give those new to the sport a taste of the action.
Road closures will be in effect along the routes to ensure a safe experience for all participants.
The country’s top pro teams will compete for the R30 000 prize purse, with a host of lucky draws on offer for social riders.
The Daily Dispatch SPAR Cycle Tour benefits the B-Strong Foundation, which facilitates the introduction of sport into rural areas.
Enter online at www.dispatchcycletour.co.za or get an entry form from any East London cycle shop. Alternatively, find Spar EC in Action on Facebook.