AFTER great excitement and anticipation, the Great Kei Trek was officially launched in East London last Thursday.
Over a festive meet-up at Country Bumpkin, organiser Rob Jackson from the Leverage Corporation and his local team proudly introduced the three-day Mountain Bike experience.
The stage race is set to take place from April 28 to 30 and will cover 260km, starting in Komani.
The two-rider team race will see bikers meander through some of the Eastern Cape’s forgotten gems including Old Thomas River, the Stutterheim forests and Great Kei River Valley, before ending in Morgan’s Bay.
“This area is one of the most ignored parts of our country, but it is beautiful and we’re hoping to bring as many people to this area as we can,” said Jackson, who grew up in Komani.
Focusing on the enjoyment of the ride and the area, the race will not be timed, with the emphasis on having fun.
“I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time and I’m so glad that Rob and the Leverage Corporation have the same ambitions for this area,” said route planner and Stutterheim resident, Dean Sheard.
Following the tradition of creating top-class and high quality events, The Leverage Corporation promises that this will be a race like no other.
Riders are in for a true Eastern Cape experience as various local farm owners along the route have generously offered access through their land.
Cycling along some of the old cattle and sheep passages that farmers used in the first half of the 1900s, riders will be treated to the interesting history of the area, with their first overnight stop in the historical village of Old Thomas River.
The village is situated on the northern slopes of the Amatola mountain range, where 19 farmers have made more than 31000 hectares of beautiful farmland available for conservation and recreation.
Some other highlights on the route are the stunning Qacu Forest Reserve, the impressive Chaba Wind Farm and the Kubusie Valley.
“The Kubusie Valley cycle is one of the most spectacular rides through a valley that I have ever done,” Sheard said.
Riders will be provided with tented accommodation and meals, which is all included in the entry fee.Entries will close once a field of 150 teams of two riders is reached, or on April 4.
Various sponsors have come on board in an effort to make the event one not to be missed.The sponsors include Bidvest, Bridgestone, Luxliner and Splashworks. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to various non-profit organisations in the area.
To find out more visit the Great Kei Trek website at www.greatkeitrek.co.za