Nissan Trailseeker series continues to boost mountain biking growth

Reigning South African marathon champion, Gawie Combrinck in action.

Reigning South African marathon champion, Gawie Combrinck in action.

The immensely popular Gauteng Nissan TrailSeeker Series sold out yet another event this past weekend with 3200 mountain bikers taking to the trails at Round 3 at HazelDean, east of Pretoria. Incredibly, one in six riders that took part were doing their first mountain bike race.

This statistic was revealed by SASeeding, a national mountain bike race seeding and ranking system that tracks virtually every mountain bike race on the calendar and records the details of every rider that enters and finishes those events.

According to Fritz Pienaar from Advendurance, organisers of the Nissan TrailSeeker Series, it’s confirmation that the Series is achieving its goal.

“We designed the Nissan TrailSeeker Series as an introduction to mountain biking to help grow the base of the sport without having to travel outside Gauteng. We set out to find – or help create – incredible trails right on our doorstep and find the balance between enjoyable routes that suit beginners and trails that still challenge experienced mountain bikers,” said Pienaar.

Now in its seventh year, the Nissan TrailSeeker Series in Gauteng sees entry sell-outs well in advance of each race, with riders drawn to the high quality organisation, family-focussed environment and various event distances to suit riders of all fitness levels and all ages.

Advendurance is one of the leading mountain bike event organsing companies in South Africa, placing a great deal of focus on ensuring safety and high enjoyment factors are priorities.

One of the recent additions they have made to the Nissan TrailSeeker Series is the use of dust retardants at and around the race start/finish venues to ensure a more pleasant experience for supporters and spectators. Gauteng’s winters are incredibly dry and spraying the dirt and gravel roads around each venue, as well as certain parts of the race routes, helps ensure less discomfort for supporters and higher visibility levels which assist in rider safety.

“You have to experience the volume of dust generated up by over 3000 mountain bikers to understand why we’ve partnered with Dust-a-Side to make the race village experience as comfortable as possible,” said Pienaar.

TrailSeeker HazelDean Ladies winner Robyn de Groot

TrailSeeker HazelDean Ladies winner Robyn de Groot

“While the riders are expecting the dust, the spectators and supporters waiting at the finish area shouldn’t have to deal with it too. We have a reputation for catering as well for the supporters as we do the riders and this is just another way that Advendurance, in conjunction with Nissan, are improving the mountain biking experience,” added Pienaar.

The marathon event at the weekend was won by Nico Bell (RECM) followed home by reigning South African marathon champion, Gawie Combrinck (EAI Cycling). Arno du Toit (SCOTT LCB) rounded out the men’s podium places.

“The Dunlop hotspot early in the race really got the race off to a fast first 10 kilometres. Gawie managed to split the group in the singletrack and I managed to get clear on the rocky climb and keep the gap to the finish,” recalled Bell.

“It was a really enjoyable course with lots of singletrack. It was dusty and fast but it is a great time of the year to race against all the youngsters,” commented Combrinck afterwards.

In the women’s race, national marathon champion Robyn de Groot (Ascendis Health) showed her class by galloping home in just over 3 hours, well clear of runner-up Theresa Ralph (RBS), with Vanessa Bell in third.

“Hats off to the organisers who logistically managed to avoid any congestion on the route. It is really great to be able to compete at these races that don’t last too long and are close to home to sharpen up for the second half of the season,” said De Groot.

“If we look at the times from last year the route was a bit tougher this year, but with all that winding, flowing singletrack it was such an enjoyable day out,” remarked runner-up Ralph.

With two events left in the series, the final standings are still very much undecided. Bell and De Groot have two wins each but are both lying second in total accumulated series points to Combrinck (men) and Adrienne Moolman (women).

Round 4 of the Nissan TrailSeeker Gauteng Series takes place on 3 October 2015 at Hakahana, Pretoria West. To enter, or for more information, visit www.trailseekerseries.co.za