Fi­nal race in Big Five se­ries

Zululand Observer - Monday - - SPORT - Larry Bent­ley

THE last of the Bell Big 5

MTB Se­ries, the Steel Plate So­lu­tions Em­pan­geni Leopard Chase takes place on Sun­day, 30 Septem­ber.

Af­ter the race, the se­ries cham­pi­ons will be an­nounced at the prize giv­ing.

The Leopard Chase has some­thing for ev­ery­one, giv­ing cy­clists the op­por­tu­nity to ride on some ex­clu­sive, breath­tak­ing tracks.

The three routes, ca­ter­ing for cy­clists of all lev­els of abil­ity and ex­pe­ri­ence, have been de­signed and pre­pared es­pe­cially for this event.

The tracks are not open to the gen­eral cy­cling pub­lic with the routes sit­u­ated in and around the lo­cal farms and ru­ral lands of Em­pan­geni.

Same venue as last year

The home base is Ad­di­son

Park, sit­u­ated on the edge of Em­pan­geni.

There is plenty of shade at the venue, un­der­cover seat­ing, hot and cold show­ers, a restau­rant / bar and food stalls.

For the chil­dren there will be a chill zone for a full day’s fam­ily en­joy­ment in a friendly, re­laxed at­mos­phere.

All three tracks in­cor­po­rate the best that the lo­cal area has to of­fer.

The 10km track heads off into the cane fields for an awe­some fast sec­tion of jeep track and farm trails with a well-de­served half­way wa­ter­ing ta­ble.

The route then leads to a trek up and back to the fin­ish with a pur­pose built new sin­gle track sec­tion, made within the grounds of Ad­di­son Park with its own bridges and chal­lenges.

This spe­cially de­signed sec­tion will en­sure that fam­ily have am­ple op­por­tu­nity to catch that Ko­dak mo­ment and see their young­ster com­ing in

Fun run / walk

This year there is also a fun trail run / walk for those pre­fer­ring two feet in­stead of two wheels.

There is a new 10km route this year with a fast pace route through the sur­round­ing farms with some breath­tak­ing pur­pose made sin­gle track and bridges over rivers, a cou­ple of chal­leng­ing climbs end­ing on the Aqua Ny­oni float­ing bridge and then a fast chase to the fin­ish at Ad­di­son Park.

50km route

The 50km has been di­verted this year to ex­clude any haz­ardous ar­eas and track mas­ter Ge­orge Wilse­nach has a treat in store for the rid­ers.

It is a fast track, but for those who wish to test their tech­ni­cal abil­ity.

There is a tough climb with fast sec­tions of rocky trails into cat­tle and sin­gle track, don­gas and river beds nat­u­ral green sin­gle tracks.

The track will loop back to the 25km route and will merge with a fast chase over the Aqua Ny­oni float­ing bridge to the fin­ish at Ad­di­son Park.

Start times

The 50km race starts at 7.30am, while the 25km and 10km races get un­der­way at 8am and 8.30am re­spec­tively.

The 10km fun run / walk starts at 8.35am.

The se­ries prize giv­ing will be held im­me­di­ately af­ter the Leopard Chase re­sults and prize win­ners have been an­nounced.

Chloe Bate­son on the SteelPlate So­lu­tions bridge dur­ing last year’s race Larry Bent­ley

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