Rising star Van Eeden back to defend his Karkloof Classic title

VNQSH Pro Cycling team rider Brendan van Eeden in action at the SA XCO Championships in Pietermaritzburg. Can Eeden will be back to defend his Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival MTB title on the 10th of October. Gavin Ryan/QuickPix/Gameplan Media

Karkloof – After blasting onto the KZN MTB scene with his victory in 2020, rising star Brendan van Eeden has confirmed he will be back to defend his title at the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival on Sunday 10 October.

His shock win last year started a succession of impressive results and set  the 21 year-old product of Potchefstroom Gimnasium up as a force to be reckoned with on the local MTB racing scene.

Last weekend he came away with a sixth place at the national U23 XCO championships at The Cascades MTB Park and  says he wants to focus his energies on the races remaining in the Quattro ROAG series.

“The Sappi Karkloof Classic win last year was a huge moment for me because I was new in the province and gave me great recognition and a real confidence boost,” said the VNQSH Pro Cycling team rider.

“I live in Hilton now and I ride the Karkloof trails a lot, so I am ready to come out all guns blazing for the Classic on 10 October.

“It is really nice to see all these great races back after so many events had to be cancelled, and it is going to be a great end of the season,” he added.

While he can claim to be a Karkloof local, the dramatically altered elite race with throw the race for the 2021 title wide open as the shorter elite race sets off in the opposite direction to the familiar elite race that crests the Lebanon climb.

“It might make it a bit of a sprint!” he mused. “With my XCO background I love riding the Karkloof trails and I think the course will suit me,” said Van Eeden.

“I will miss the 60km distance but if there are plenty of punchy climbs on the new 45km route I will be smiling!” he added.

With the Illovo Eston race first on the cards, Van Eeden has his sights set on making an impact on the FNB Wine2Whales race in November to round off his competitive campaign for 2021.

The 2021 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at the Marriott Karkloof Country Club on Saturday 9 and 10 October. 
More info can be found at https://www.karkloofclub.co.za/events/sappi-karkloof-classic-trail-festival-2021/
Entries are strictly limited at https://roag.org/events/event-info/3677/sappi-karkloof-classic

Saturday 9 October
07h00 18 km Sappi Karkloof Classic trail run
07h30 9km Sappi Karkloof Classic trail run
08h00 45km Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB
09h00 20km Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB
13h00 Stihl Karkloof Enduro

Sunday 10 October
07h00 18 km Sappi Karkloof Classic trail run
07h30 9km Sappi Karkloof Classic trail run
08h00 45km Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB
09h00 20km Sappi Karkloof Classic MTB