MTB Classic & Enduro Media Release
Written by: Kathryn Fourie
Wealth of women’s talent ready for 2016 Sappi Howick MTB
Howick – The 2016 Sappi Howick MTB Classic takes place on Sunday, 6 March
and the women’s field is looking increasingly competitive as the entry
list fills up ahead of the race’s 30th anniversary celebrations
The route for the 40km tussle suggests it will be a technical and
challenging day in the saddle, giving those with strong rock riding skills
and legs that won’t give up an added advantage.
Joining their Kargo Pro Cycling male teammates, Hayley Smith and Frankie
Du Toit have confirmed their participation with the pair likely to be
strong forces to be reckoned with.
Both Du Toit and Smith have graced podium steps regularly the province
over and with the former having already impressed in her first year
competing as an Elite.
“I'm excited to race at the Sappi Howick MTB Classic this weekend as the
route is always fun and technical!” explained Du Toit.
“I'm in quite a heavy week of training and am racing the KZN provincial
this Saturday, so the Sappi Howick MTB Classic will be a challenging way
to end this week off but I'm super excited to do my first Classic of the
year!” she added.
Du Toit and Smith have just returned from a challenging weekend at the
second leg of the STIHL SA XCO Cup Series in Cape Town where they placed
fourth and fifth respectively in the Pro-Elite Women’s category.
“Unfortunately Frankie had a crash right in the beginning of her race,
which left her fighting for fourth place,” explained Du Toit’s Kargo Pro
Cycling team manager, Shaun Peschl. “It’s all learning in the first year
of racing as an Elite though!”
While it is unconfirmed if 2015 women’s winner Cindy Theunissen will be
competing this weekend or not, a number of other strong local riders will
be tackling the 40km and 20km races.
“The Howick trail network creates strong riders of all ages and genders
because of the type of terrain that comprise the trails and because of the
community of riders that support each other,” explained Howick Mountain
Bike Club rider Jackie Shaw.
“The ladies are pushed to keep up with the men which means that our local
female riders are not shy of rock gardens or fast descents”!”
Sarah Drew, a strong Sub-Vet rider who has recently started competing
again in 2016, enthused that, “The Sappi Howick MTB Classic is such a good
race; it’s a solid 40km where you need to concentrate on the technical
aspects and then pin it in the open areas.”
“I’m looking forward to the race on Sunday, particularly as it’ll be the
first race on my new bike!” she added.
While the Sappi Howick MTB Classic is known for its technical aspects, the
20km offers a brilliant platform for women – and men – wanting to try out
their first mountain bike race or to build up their base of 20km rides.
Megan Els, 2014 Motorbike Cross Country Championship winner, explains that
for her the Howick trails offer something unique.
“Mountain biking in general is so different to the motorbike industry,”
said Els. “It’s far more social and the vibe is what’s so important!”
“You can ride with your friends at a different pace and you progress after
“The 20km race offers me beautifully prepared trails thanks to all the
effort goes into preparing the trails for the race, and thast alone makes
the event worth riding, as well as the social element!”
While the 40km looks to be competitive with the young guns likely to lead
the pack, those out to enjoy perfectly prepped trails are in for a treat
with the weather looking favourable for the weekend ahead.
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
while entries can be submitted at
Click to download the hi-res
Sappi Howick MTB Classic
Logo SQUARE - JPEG
MTB Classic Logo HORIZONTAL - JPEG
Kargo Pro Cycling's Frankie du
Toit (front) and Hayley Smith (background) are looking forward to taking
on the trails of the Sappi Howick MTB Classic on Sunday, 6 March.
Grote/ Gameplan Media
While it remains unclear if
women's Sappi Howick MTB Classic defending champ Cindy Theunissen will be
part of the 2016 race on Sunday, 6 March, a wealth of KZN's other female
MTB talent will be on the start line for the clash.
Grote/ Gameplan Media
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