Eston ready for popular annual MTB showcase

Participants of the 2015 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge are in for a mountain biking treat at Eston Club on Sunday 2 August. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Participants of the 2015 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge are in for a mountain biking treat at Eston Club on Sunday 2 August. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Eston – Participants of this year’s Illovo Eston MTB Challenge are in for yet another dose of fast, free flowing action as the event’s course designers look to include a few fresh additions to last year’s hugely popular routes ahead of another memorable day of mountain biking adventure on Sunday 2 August.

The Eston Club is once again set to provide the perfect headquarters for the 2015 staging of the popular MTB event with organisers seeking to give riders even greater value for money this time around.

“The countdown is on and we really are looking forward to welcoming everyone to the 2015 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge on Sunday 2 August!” says event director Ant Foster.

“Known as ‘one of South Africa’s most prestigious one day events’, this year we hope that a significantly increased prize money pool – up by 56% from 2014 and, most notably, equal men’s and women’s purses – and some small yet very positive tweaks to the routes will once again provide riders with a fantastic day out!” he adds.

With four distances to choose from, everyone – regardless of age, experience or ability – is able to be a part of the day’s activities.

“The Illovo Eston MTB Challenge has become known to be a fast, free flowing race across all four of our events and this I’m sure will once again be a highlight for riders.

“The route designers continue to add even greater value to the track by ensuring that routes are well prepared and groomed so that riders can enjoy themselves and have fun throughout, rather than feeling like they are on the road to nowhere,” says Foster.

Organisers are again preparing for the day’s feature event, the 60km Illovo Eston Marathon, to attract many of the province’s, and even the country’s, top elite competitors with over six hundred participants expected to line this race’s trails on the day while a further 800 riders are anticipated to tackle the 40km aQuellé Eston Half Marathon.

The iconic 18km Tala Family Ride through the heart of Tala Game Reserve is once again set to draw a capacity field of over 1200 entrants while the 10km Omnia Kids Ride is likely to see over 200 of tomorrow’s stars enjoy their slice of the action.

“All routes will follow the same direction as last year,” says Foster.

“The 60km route now includes even more great single track through Insingizi Game Lodge, with another 2km of expertly cut track adding to the already famous trails which riders have come to enjoy!

“The 40km has enjoyed a couple minor changes and will continue to be a ‘live’ route until race day depending on what the weather gods serve up.

“The family orientated 18km ride through Tala will again prove to be the most popular ride out of the four and our route designers have been hard at work, ensuring that all riders of all abilities can conquer this year’s route.

“Finally, the 10km kiddies track will skirt close by to the Eston Club and provide our sport’s up and coming youngsters with a chance to stretch their legs and show off their bike handling skills.”

The popular, refreshed routes will be further complemented by top class, fully stocked and plentiful water tables, medics should something go wrong, local farmers to lend a helping hand or spanner, marshals at all road crossings and great route markings throughout.

“On top of all of this, there is still our great goodie bag and a new style race garment to look forward to at the efficient registration hall!” says Foster. “And we also have a new, fresh television crew to bring you all of the day’s highlights in an action-packed television production!”

The 2015 Illovo Eston MTB Challenge takes place at Eston Club on Sunday 2 August. More information can be found at www.illovoestonmtb.co.za