Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival Diary Note

 No: kc1705

24 May 2017

Embargo : None

Written by : Nick Tatham

Karkloof Enduro set to wow adrenalin junkies once again

Karkloof – As the ever-popular Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival nears, enduro riders are putting the final touches to their preparations for another exciting instalment of the STIHL Karkloof Enduro on Saturday, 27 May.

The STIHL Karkloof Enduro was introduced at the Karkloof Trail festival in 2014 when only a handful of riders participated in the event, however in 2017 Kathryn Fourie, a staunch advocate for the discipline and defending Karkloof Enduro champion, is pleased by its growth.

Enduro consists of a number of downhill legs that make up your overall time. Riders are not timed on their ride from the bottom of the one leg to the top of the other which gives them a chance to get their breath back before bombing down the next stretch of course.

The times for each of the downhill legs is added together to give the rider their total time for the enduro.

“Enduro has always been a good step between cross-country mountain biking and downhill,” the Howick local Fourie explained.

“So it is a great medium between the two disciplines and with the increased interest shown by women for the discipline, its popularity continues to grow.

“There is very much a social aspect to enduro with everyone waiting at the bottom of the course for the others to finish, before starting the climb to the next timed section; it’s developed into a community-type of riding.”

Despite the social aspect to enduro, the event still has a serious competitive edge. These adrenalin-fuelled athletes are primarily focused on getting down the timed sections as fast as possible.

“You don’t have to be competitive on the uphills, so we all tend to have a good chat and socialise until the racing starts when you get to the top.

“The discipline is really good in helping all riders up-skill themselves in that it provides the environment where you have to push yourself on the downhills.

“We see in XC (cross-country) that riders tend to maintain the same speed throughout and don’t realise how much energy you expend riding downhill!

“You learn to push yourself hard on the downhills and you also have to learn to cope with all the technical elements of a descent, which helps riders of all abilities,” Fourie added.

Fourie has taken part in every edition of the STIHL Karkloof Enduro since 2014 but will have her work cut out for her to defend her title against the likes of young Sabine (Beanie) Thies and Kim Westbrook.

The trio have all featured at least once on the podium at Karkloof with Fourie and Westbrook winning the event whilst Thies is yet to register a race win.

“Gravity sports are Beanie’s passion and although she is still young, she is definitely going to be strong. She is off to race in Europe later in the year so it shows her ability.

“Kim has been running a lot recently so I think she will be coming to take part for fun and just enjoy a good day out on the bike,” Fourie added.

Karkloof has become something of a Mecca for mountain bikers over the decades, attracting some of the country’s elite riders as well as the paying weekend warriors. The quality of the trails and welcoming atmosphere is a major drawcard.

“Having purpose-built track for the Enduro as well as for the marathon event makes the event special.

“These trails continue to change and evolve and every year there is something different.

“I think the whole legend of Karkloof gets people there every year which is great to see,” Fourie concluded.

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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Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival Logo - GIF


Having won the STIHL Karkloof Enduro in 2016, Howick resident and enduro star Kathryn Fourie will be back to defend her title in 2017 along with some stiff competition from Sabine Thies and Kim Westbrook at the 2017 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Saturday, 27 May.

Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

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