Classic Trail Festival
Embargo : None
Written by : Nick Tatham
Coming of age Jessop eyes top Karkloof spot
Karkloof – Having occupied every spot from fourth to second at the Sappi
Karkloof Trail Festival over the past three years, young Julian Jessop’s
eyes are firmly set on claiming that elusive 60km Marathon win when he and
some of South Africa’s MTB elite set off from the Karkloof Country Club on
Sunday, 28 May.
The dice for the 2016 title was between Jessop and Brendon Davids, however
the latter was too strong for the youngster who had to settle for the
runner-up position over the 60km marathon route that takes riders through
some breath-taking single track.
“I am definitely going out to try and win the marathon at Karkloof,” a
determined Jessop said.
“The route follows a cross country format and the descents are really cool
which makes the climbing all worth it in the end.
“It is renowned for its single track and with my cross country background
I think that it plays into my hands quite nicely. I hope that I can use my
knowledge of the course to my advantage during the race.”
The Concept Cyclery Ballito/Cadence Nutrition star expects there to be
another strong field at the Karkloof marathon in 2017, but with such a
busy schedule on his plate, which included university exams, he hopes he
doesn’t run out of steam before Karkloof.
“It is one of the biggest one-day races in the country so I expect there
to be a really top-class field there as always.
“I rode the KAP sani2c recently, and am following that with the South
African MTB Marathon Championships the following weekend and Karkloof
after that I hope that I have enough left in the tank!
“I was injured the weekend before sani2c but with the help of the team at
the Prime Human Performance Institute I was able to take part and now I am
in the middle of a really tough bit of racing,” the youngster mentioned.
Jessop’s recent performance at the three-day sani2c from the Southern
Drakensberg to Scottburgh with partner Andrew Hill has boosted his
confidence as he was able to compete with some of the best riders in the
country in telling conditions.
“To be able to finish fifth at the sani2c was a real positive for me
because I now know that I can compete with the best, even in such tough,
“Even after my injury I was able to ride well with Andrew and I am really
happy with how the three days went for me and for us as a team,” he added.
The weekend before the Karkloof Classic Trail Festival is the South
African MTB Marathon championships in Pietermaritzburg, and once again
Jessop hopes that he can push for a top result.
“I would love to get into the top five at the national championships, but
I am racing in the elite category so it is going to be difficult.
“A top five would be incredible but I will also be happy with a top 10
“It has been a really busy few weeks for me and so if I can do well at the
national champs and then continue that form into Karkloof, I would be
The 2017 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at the Karkloof
Country Club on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May 2017.
More info can be found at
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Having lost out to Brendon
Davids in 2016, Concept Cyclery Ballito/Cadence Nutrition's Julain Jessop
is hoping that he can claim that top podium spot at the 2017 Sappi
Karkloof Trail Festival's 60km MTB Marathon on Sunday, 28 May.
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