Hundreds of MTB riders and supporters converged at Bekker School in Gauteng for the eagerly anticipated finals of the Spur Schools MTB league and Interprovincial Championships.
A tough battle between defending champions, Gauteng, and 2014 runner-up, North West, erupted as the top riders in each province competed for league supremacy and the coveted championship title.
Grey College finished fourth overall on inter-schools log, which saw a field of 400 mountain bike riders representing 40 schools from across South Africa as well as a team from Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia competing for the coveted Spur Schools Mountain Bike League Championship trophy. Seven Grey College riders were included in the Free State provincial team that finished 8th overall in the Interprovincial Championships.
North West clinched an impressive four wins and five podium positions and nipped the coveted trophy from Gauteng with one point scoring 236 versus 235. Western Cape finished overall third with 197 points followed by Mpumalanga in a close fourth with 194 points. Completing the provincial log is Limpopo (145 points), Namibia (113 points), KwaZulu-Natal (81 points), Eastern Cape (70), Free State (68), Northern Cape (31) and Zimbabwe (19).
The Spur Schools Mountain Bike league – a joint initiative between Spur Steak Ranches and trail advocacy group Amarider – recorded stratospheric growth during the 2015 season with more than 400 schools and 10 000 competing nationwide.
According to league organiser, Meurant Botha, it was encouraging to see the increasing number of schools that have adopted mountain biking as an official school sport. "Schools are taking mountain bike riding to the next level through coaching clinics and high performance training camps, while constantly introducing new riders to the sport. On grass roots levels various rider development programmes have been implemented around the country," said Botha.
South African Schools Cycling (SASC), headed up by Deon Steyn as national governing body of the sport, the strong network of regional co-ordinators, as well as increased involvement from schools is playing a key role in getting mountain biking established as a main stream school sport.