Howick – Two-time 60km Sappi Karkloof Marathon winner, Jeannie Dreyer is looking forward to enjoying the region’s renowned trails as well as the chance to challenge for a rare third race crown when the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at the Karkloof Country Club on 4 and 5 June.
Victories in 2013 and 2015 are results the dynamic competitor holds in high regard and hopes her strong form in various other endurance events will stand her in good stead come this year’s Karkloof clash.
“There is always great hype in the weeks leading up to Karkloof and such a great field turns up every year so it’s definitely one of the calendar’s great races,” says Dreyer.
“I’m a little guilty of not actually riding the Karkloof trails often enough, even though they’re right on our doorstep, but that does also mean that it’s always something new and exciting when I do get to give them a go so I’m looking forward to this year’s Karkloof Classic,” she adds.
The vastly experienced all-round athlete recently completed the four day 4 Islands MTB Race in Croatia in April with her husband, Martin, before earning a hard-fought, determined victory in the Expedition Africa adventure race despite suffering a badly rolled ankle.
“I’ve been really busy recently and just seem to be going form event to event without any downtime in between at all, or much training for that matter,” laughs Dreyer.
“The racing is exactly what gets me going though, it’s what I love and the ankle shouldn’t affect me too much on the bike at all; we’ll just have to see how the legs respond though,” she adds.
Despite having shifted her focus away from the local KZN marathon circuit in recent months, Dreyer is still keen to put in a strong showing at this year’s Sappi Karkloof contest with a recent partnership with Merchants – a Dimension Data company – providing an added source of motivation.
“It was great to sign with Merchants alongside John Ntuli a couple of months ago.
“With everything that’s been going on though, Karkloof will in fact be my first solo mountain bike race for them so it would be great to get things going on a positive note.
“It would obviously be lekker to win again but I’ll have to hold thumbs and cross fingers to do that as I’m sure there are going to be some really hot ladies cyclists at Karkloof!
“If Candice Neethling – who grew up in the area – is there, together with Kargo’s Frankie du Toit and Hayley Smith, it will be great; the stronger the ladies field the better!”
The 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at Karkloof Country Club on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June. The event offers 21km, 10km and 5km trail running races, 60km, 40km, 20km and 10km mountain bikes events as well as an Enduro. Entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za while more information can be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za.