Reinvested profits heighten all-round Sappi Karkloof Classic experience

Significant investment in the start/finish area, upgrades to the Karkloof Country Club and a world class, comprehensive race village await participants of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival, while those that opt to camp add to the event's atmosphere as well. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Significant investment in the start/finish area, upgrades to the Karkloof Country Club and a world class, comprehensive race village await participants of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival, while those that opt to camp add to the event’s atmosphere as well. Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Howick – Upgrades to the Karkloof Country Club’s clubhouse and a world class race village will offer participants of the 2016 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival hospitality and comfort comparable to that of the country’s top stage races when the iconic event’s action unfolds on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June.

Renowned for its spectacular trails through the Karkloof region and breath-taking KZN Midlands scenery, the winter carnival of mountain biking and trail running adventure proudly boasts world class organization and levels of luxury off the trails as well.

“Riders don’t come back to the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival year after year because of the incredible mountain biking – and now trail running – experience alone,” explains Impi Concept Events’ Stu Berry. “The all-round organisation and comfort of the event is also vital to the positive experience participants and their supporters enjoy during their time with us.”

“In preparation for this year’s Sappi Karkloof Classic, there have been significant upgrades to the clubhouse, the showers have been done up really nicely and there is now a permanent coffee shop as well,” he adds.

While the Club’s premier event sees thousands flock to the Karkloof region annually, a significant number of cyclists, runners, walkers and nature lovers visit the club on a more regular basis, with the recent upgrades adding to their Karkloof experience as well.

“It is great to see the committee investing a huge amount of the profits generated by the Sappi Karkloof Classic back into the local MTB and trail communities via the Club’s facilities.

“The upgrades won’t only benefit the riders and runners of the Sappi Karkloof Classic but the many outdoors enthusiasts who visit the Club year-round as well,” says Berry.

Apart from the permanent upgrades, Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival goers can also look forward to enjoying the many elements of the event’s comprehensive race village.

“We have various vendors selling a variety of delicious food and drinks; from Maddison Bakery’s pizzas to the falafel guy and, of course, plenty of great hot coffee!

“The event’s great sense of community spirit also extends to the Howick-uMngeni Lions Club and the Cubs and Scouts.

“The Howick-uMngeni Lions Club support some of their programmes and projects through the sale of bacon and eggs rolls and boerewors rolls while the Cubs and Scouts’ pancakes sales help them raise much needed funds for training and tours.”

Despite many frequenting the plethora of bed and breakfasts in the area, many out-of-towners embrace the Club’s hospitality wholeheartedly as they turn the pristine location into a temporary camp site while the race-specific infrastructure adds to general atmosphere of the event as well.

“We get between 80 and 100 campers utilising the camping facilities we offer each year so it is clearly still a popular option, especially for those who travel from outside of KZN.

“We also invest significantly in the staff/finish area of the event with the massive start/finish archway and chute adding to riders’ sense of being part of an event of the size of the Sappi Karkloof Classic.

“The check-in process is also made very easy due to the free-flowing, user-friendly batch pounds and then once participants have finished, everyone loves collecting their ice-cold aQuellé, their finishers medal and having their photo taken as they go over the photographers ramps!

“All these little aspects come together and add tremendously to participants’ overall Karkloof experience and are a major reason behind the success the event has enjoyed for such a long period of time,” says Berry.

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.