Defending Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB Lady’s Champion, the Stellenbosch based Swiss superstar Ariane Lüthi will give it her all to retain her title when she takes to the track this weekend (3 to 4 February) with a strong field of 84 female riders.
The Team Spur rider is revered among her rivals for her fierce and fearless marathon racing ability, Ariane has won some of the most grueling mountain bike stage races in the world, including the Absa Cape Epic, the Cape Pioneer Trek and the Swiss Epic. She kicked off her 2018 season with a bang as she claimed her sixth Attakwas Extreme title and is hoping to clinch line honours this weekend. She will also line up at Tankwa Trek next week as well as pursue her fourth ladies Cape Epic title in March and is determined to to earn the UCI XCM World Champion’s jersey in the future.
According to Ariane, the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour race fits perfectly into her calendar as a preparation for the upcoming Tankwa Trek and Cape Epic.
“The two day event is a great opportunity to test the legs against formidable competition in a race situation and it is short enough to still recover for the Tankwa Trek that starts next week. Apart from being a perfect training opportunity, the route is a lot of fun. The Never Say Never Ending Again Trail really does its name justice and is one of my favourite trails here in Stellenbosch,” says Ariane, who has set her sights on winning the Cape Epic, European XCM champs (22 April, Italy), World XCM Champs (15 September, Italy) and Swiss XCM champs (30 September).
Other strong female contenders to watch include Jennie Stenerhag, Ester Suss and of course Mari Rabie, who retired as an elite triathlete after competing in the Rio Olympic Games and teamed up with stalwart Corrie Muller as the Fairtree Capital Academy 1 team for the 2017 Absa Cape Epic. They finished fourth in the mixed team section and Mari also took third place in the 2017 Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race.
In the men’s race top riders to watch will include Alban Lakata, Kristian Hynek, Jeremiah Bishop and Erik Kleinhans.
The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race was launched in 2016 in collaboration with Fairtree Capital, the Simonsberg Conservancy, local landowners and event organisers Dirtopia to showcase and expand the expansive singletrack trail network on the Simonsberg Mountain.
According to the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour race director and route developer, Meurant Botha of Dirtopia the first day of the two-day event will offer extensive singletrack riding out around Klapmutskop heading towards the Simondium area. While the route offers ample opportunity for riders to spread out before entering the first singletrack sections of trail, organisers want to offer participants ideal conditions for an amazing experience.
The Fairtree Simonsberg Contour stage race is also proud to announce that the Jan Kriel Institute joins the Simonsberg Conservancy as an official charity partner of the event. This non-profit organisation is responsible for raisings friends and funds for the children of Jan Kriel School – recently announced as the best “Special Needs School” in South Africa.
There will be lots to do whilst you relax after the day’s race, friends and family are welcome to join. Meal vouchers can also be booked for family members and friends who would like to show their support and watch at the finish line with loads of kids and live entertainment. Wine and beer tastings will also be hosted throughout the weekend.
Registration is at the Dirtopia Trail Centre on Friday, 2 February from 12h00-19h00 with live music, Saturday (3 February) from 06h00 – 07h30 and Sunday (4 February) from 06h00-07h00 for Sunday only participants.