MTB Classic & Enduro Media Release
Written by: Kathryn Fourie
New date for 30th Sappi Howick MTB celebrations
Howick – 2016 sees the 30th anniversary of the Sappi Howick MTB Classic &
Enduro welcome several exciting changes, including a new home on the
calendar – Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 6 March – and the introduction of a
three-stage Enduro event.
It was in 1986 that the Howick Mountain Bike Club (HMBC) held their first
mountain bike race, sending about 100 keen mountain bikers on hard tails
off into the hills of the Shafton plantations to crunch out 40km of trails
and jeep track.
Since then, the event has become known as a challenging race with many
technical elements, making the Howick trail network synonymous with the
catch phrase ‘raw and unplugged’.
In 2016 the HMBC have extended the Sappi Howick MTB Classic over two days
to include the Sappi Howick Enduro on Saturday, 5 March.
Enduro racing is a more relaxed style of racing, where riders can ascend
together at any pace to the top of several timed stages that are
predominantly descents with the winners then determined by the total time
of all of the descents.
With the rise in popularity of the Enduro racing format over the past two
years, the HMBC have realised the potential that Enduro’s hold for the
“The way the trail network is set up in Howick makes it ideal for Enduro
racing as generally all our long descents come down from a central point
at the Shafton Fire Tower,” said Gavin Ryan, the HMBC Trail Steward.
“Riders simply finish racing one stage and casually work their way back up
to the same point to start another descent.
“We held a trial Enduro event in October last year that was really
successful and we received such good feedback from the riders that the
decision was taken to include it as part of the Sappi Howick MTB Classic
We’ve designed the Enduro to be accessible to first time Enduro riders
too, so we encourage everyone on any kind of bike to give it a go before
then staying on and trying out the 40km Classic on the Sunday too as it’s
a really exciting race,” he added.
Another big change to the popular event sees it now being staged in March
as opposed to the traditional calendar placement of June.
“We found that over the past few years the June date was quite close to
the Comrades Marathon, and clashed with some of the KZNMTB provincial
“But, more than that, the conditions in 2015 were bitterly cold and we
decided to choose a weather period that would be less stressful to the
“It’s also nice to hold a race at the beginning of the race season, before
people experience event fatigue as our races are serious, but they’re also
really fun – and we want people to enjoy them!
“We may be turning 30, but we’re still evolving!” said Gordon Beard, HMBC
The Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro takes place on Saturday, 5 and
Sunday, 6 March 2016. More information can be found at
while entries can be submitted at
Click to download the hi-res
Sappi Howick MTB Classic
Logo SQUARE - JPEG
MTB Classic Logo HORIZONTAL - JPEG
Riders the province over,
including Thami Kunene, will be eager to celebrate the Sappi Howick MTB
Classic & Enduro's 30th anniversary in somewhat warmer conditions than
years gone by as the race shifts from June to 5 & 6 March 2016 while an
Enduro event has been added to the weekend's festivities.
Grote/ Gameplan Media
Conditions of usage of photographs:
All photographs supplied and hyperlinked herewith may be used free of
charge, with full credit to the photographer and agency as provided. The
photographs may not be modified or retouched in any way, but may be
cropped to suit the layout requirements of the publications. The
photographs provided may be used exclusively for editorial purposes, and
may be reprinted in any newspaper, magazine, television programme or on
any website. These photographs may not be used for any commercial or
promotional purpose, including but not limited to posters, advertisements,
commercials, promotional email correspondence, point-of-sale material or
any retail promotion. Should such usage be desired, please contact us at
the details below.
For any further information, or if you
cannot access the images, please contact:
(031) 764 3017