Tshwane Classic set to pedal to a top race
ORGANISER Mauritz Meyer is hoping the Tshwane Classic will become one of the country’s premier road cycling races, with this year’s event taking place in Pretoria on November 5.
Meyer, who is working alongside ASG Events on the race, has been the driving force behind a bid to elevate the occasion to one of the top three mass-participation road races in South Africa, alongside the Cape Town Cycle Tour and 94.7 Cycle Challenge, which is based in Joburg.
In 2017 the race, previously held in various guises, has reinvented itself as Pretoria’s feature road event, after support from local government and the community.
Meyer, who has a legacy in politics and Springbok rugby, said a discussion with councillor Sakkie du Plooy had paved the way to get the Tshwane Council on board. “I was telling Sakkie what we were trying to achieve and he was very enthusiastic.”
Once Meyer had met with the council, they got behind the project as they wanted to use the occasion to promote Pretoria as a top tourist destination.
“That is why we have created a route that starts and finishes at the Voortrekker Monument and takes in landmarks such as the Union Build- ings, Paul Kruger statue, Freedom Park and Wonderboom Airport,” he said.
Consolidating the city’s support of the event was their agreement to total road closure for the 98km race, which Meyer said was a huge bonus for the safety of the cyclists. Meyer said he received a hugely encouraging reaction from the local community.
“I sent a letter explaining our idea to all the cycling clubs in the region and the feedback I received was (very) positive,” he said.
Although not a cyclist himself, Meyer has become heavily involved in organised cycling events, his first venture into cycling being 15 years ago. He worked at the Vanderbijlpark campus of the (now) North-West University and wanted to raise funds to assist students in need.
“After the rector told me some students did not have enough money for food, I decided to organise a cycle race to assist them and we did a campus-to-campus event from Potch to Vanderbijlpark,” said Meyer.
“I retired seven years ago and moved to Pretoria, where my daughter lives.” Now his full attention is on making the Tshwane Classic a high-profile event. – ANA