Georg van Eck
With 112 international participants from 20 countries taking part in the Old Mutual joBerg2c in South Africa, the nine-day mountain bike race is fast achieving global status. The race which started in Johannesburg last week traverses the Free State and overnights in race villages located in Frankfort, Reitz and Sterkfontein Dam. The fourth edition will see well-known foreign riders compete with some of the country’s best, including former winner Neil MacDonald and new partner Brandon Stewart from Team Itec.
The field includes top British marathon riders Tim Dunford and Ben Thomas, as well as Italian Vanni Balboni (who won the gruelling Ironbike race in Italy) with his South African partner Oliver Munnik.
Also in the 700-strong field is the formidable Swiss mixed pairing of Yves Corminboeuf and Jane Nüssli. They will come up against fellow countrywoman Ariane Kleinhans and her SA-born husband Erik, who are two-time Absa Cape Epic champions. “We welcome mountain bikers from all over,” said one of the organisers, Craig Wapnick. “While we love a good race, most of our international entrants appear to be the type who love riding more than racing.”
Wapnick said the event seemed to attract mountain biking purists who appreciated the 910-km off-road journey from Heidelberg in Gauteng to Scottburgh on the KwaZulu-Natal coast Wapnick said participants also helped disadvantaged rural communities along the route by either riding for their own charitable causes or supporting the officially endorsed Participate for Good initiative, which creates container libraries along the route.
Visit www.joberg2c.co.za or follow the race on Facebook or @joberg2c_journo.