Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro Media Release

 No: howickmtb

1 Mar 2016

Embargo: None

Written by: Kathryn Fourie

Talented men’s contenders seek 2016 Sappi Howick MTB success

Howick – Sappi Howick MTB Classic defending champ Alan Hatherly is looking forward to being part of the Howick based event’s 30th anniversary celebrations on Sunday, 6 March as well as the opportunity to take of the race’s testing, technical single track and flowing descents.

“The Sappi Howick MTB Classic is one of the most enjoyable and fun races on the calendar,” said Hatherly’s Kargo Pro Cycling team manager, Shaun Peschl. “I used to ride it back when I was racing professionally and now we encourage our riders to take part, especially our younger riders!”

“It’s one of the more fun Classics in KZN because it has technical elements and tough terrain that make it really exciting,” he added.

While Kargo Pro Cycling’s Brendan Davids and Andrew Warr won’t be attending due to ongoing preparation for the ABSA Cape Epic, Hatherly and Marco Joubert are expected to take to the Sappi Howick MTB Classic’s start line, with Hatherly keen to defend his 2015 title.

Hatherly brings great momentum with him into the clash as he comes fresh off an excellent result at the second leg of the STIHL SA XCO Cup Series at Helderberg Farm and Trails in Cape Town over the weekend where he placed second overall and first South African home in the challenging Pro-Elite Men’s category despite a field studded with top international riders.

“Unfortunately the second KZN MTB Provincial XCO Series event takes place the day before the Sappi Howick MTB Classic, so we will need to see how Alan and Marco’s races go there before we can confirm their attendance for sure,” explained Peschl.

“Hopefully all will go smoothly on Saturday though as the plan is for them to be in Howick, ready to race, on Sunday!”

Callan Deacon of Callan’s Bike Tech in Hilton took second place in 2015 and the young rider is also eager to tackle the 40km event on Sunday.

“I’m feeling pretty good going into the race and I enjoy the technical aspect of the trails and rock gardens,” explained Deacon.

“I’m happy with the change of the date of the race calendar too, it’ll be a bit warmer than it was when it was held in June!”

Another youngster to watch out for is Jedson Tooms (Team ROAG) who was among the top five last year.

Tooms knows the trails well and has been training hard going into 2016 and with the caliber of top contenders that is expected, Sunday’s race looks to be extremely tight.

“The 40km Classic spans some of the Howick Mountain Bike Club’s most iconic trails!” said HMBC Trail Steward, Gavin Ryan.

“This year we have included more forestry road though, giving plenty of opportunity for overtaking!

“We’ve also included some trails that haven’t been ridden by participants of the event for a long time, such as Duza Nghulube – a steep flowing trail which will also be used in the Enduro event the day before!

“By no means easy, the 40km will challenge you but also be fantastic fun for those who want a good day out on the trails,” added Ryan.

Participants are also reminded of title sponsor Sappi’s social media competition during the event.

While the racing snakes battle it out at the front of the field, less serious riders are encouraged to snap a photo of themselves when they pass the Sappi photo frame en route.

Built at the Shafton Fire Tower, the frame is a fun way to take a break from pedalling and create a few digital memories and, by posting the images on the HMBC Facebook page using #HMBC and #InspiredByLife, riders then stand a chance to win one of several prizes including an Apple iPod.

The Sappi Howick MTB Classic & Enduro takes place on Saturday, 5 and Sunday, 6 March 2016. More information can be found at or while entries can be submitted at


Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic
Sappi Howick MTB Classic Logo SQUARE - JPEG  

Sappi Howick MTB Classic Logo HORIZONTAL - JPEG  

Kargo Pro Cycling's Alan Hatherly hopes to return to the Sappi Howick MTB Classic's trails on Sunday, 6 March to defend the title he clinched in 2015.

Anthony 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:
Gameplan Media
(031) 764 3017