WINDHOEK, JULY 11 – The Rock and Rut Nedbank cross country series referred to as the XC concluded on Saturday, 7 July with the last instalment which took place at the IJG trails, playpit in Kleine Kuppe. The Rock and Rut XC4 Series ended off the cross-country races on a particularly high note as Xavier Papo took 1st place in the Elite Men’s category, and Michelle Vorster emerged victorious in the Elite Women’s category. Christo Swartz took the number one spot in the Sub veteran men’s category and Jeanne Heunis in the Sub veteran women’s category.
Youngsters brought their best to the race, with Alex Miller in first place in the Junior men (17-18) while Cindy Rowland came in first in the Junior Women’s race. U16 boys’ category saw Justin Vosloo coming in first, and Monique du Plessis winning the U16 girls category.
The under 10’s category saw Nathan Chase who won the U10 boys category and Rosemarie Thiel, who won the U10 girls category.
Twenty-five years ago, the Rock and Rut Mountain Bike Club was founded and the XC series have been part and parcel of the club’s activities since its inception. With prize money at stake and the opportunity to refine and master your trail biking techniques the added sense of belonging to a big community of avid cycling fans is has been an added bonus to the 2018 series participants.
This mountain bike series has included participation by boys and girls, 10 years of age and younger and grand master men and women 60 years of age and older. With men and women competing in junior men and women, veteran men and women, master men and women and elite categories, participation in the entire series has been very broad.
During the 2018 series, 85 to 140 riders participated during each, with riders coming from mostly Windhoek and Swakopmund. The XC series is the only cross-country event in Namibia, it is unique in the sense that each series consist of short and ‘explosive’ races typically done in laps with exciting racing taking place in each category.
The aim of the XC series is to collect points over a series of 5 races wherein skills can be improved and cyclists can grow in the cycling community. The series takes place on an annual basis, and is highly anticipated in the cycling community. The XC Zero races started in March this year at the IJG trails, while XC1 took place in April IJG trails. The XC2 series took place at the coast in Swakopmund.
The XC3 took place at Waldorf in Windhoek, during June while the XC4 was concluded at the IJG trails in Windhoek during July. The IJG trails are conveniently located in Windhoek, which makes it easy for the whole family to participate, in addition the trails are of an exceptionally high standard as far as trails go and offer safety and peace of mind.
“The cross country series has been around for a long time, and the impact has been immense. For many cyclists, it has been the entry point into mountain biking and a launch pad for professional racing. Pro cyclists like Michelle Vorster, Xavier Pabo, Alex Miller and Tristan de Lange have all grown through the ranks to achieve international prestige. We sincerely thank Nedbank Namibia for their continued support of the series and the sport – without them this would not have been possible,” said a grateful Ekkehard Friedrich, Chairman of the Rock and Rut Mountain Bike Club.
The Rock and Rut Mountain Bike Club with Nedbank Namibia as a proud sponsor spearheads this popular cross-country series in Namibia. The mountain bike club promotes cycling as a sport and also invests in youth development clinics, to teach valuable skills and techniques to youngsters who would like to improve their cycling. Youth Skills clinics are hosted on an annual basis, the club brings in expert South African trainers to facilitate their training clinics.
The club also hosts informational open day events and actively engages in fund raising to support aspiring and professional mountain bikers to participate in international events. The Mountain bike club also promotes social rides for beginners, intermediate and advanced cyclists on a weekly basis.
The primary objective of the Rock and Rut Mountain Bike Club is to provide a club for mountain bikers and to promote and encourage mountain biking as a sport in Namibia. The club organises a calendar of events and races annually and encourage and assist members to participate at international, national and club events. The club also plays an integral advisory role to members on all aspects of mountain biking.
Rock and Rut has also been instrumental in securing and helping to develop areas where members can safely engage in this exciting sport whether for training purposes or recreational. Apart from the Nedbank XC Series, Rock and Rut also organises a two-day marathon event called Otjihavera and organize professional racing events for Nedbank and the Namibian Cycling Federation (e.g. XC Nationals, XCM Nationals, Africa Champs next year).
Cycling continues to grow in Namibia, year on year. Nedbank Namibia has been at the forefront of developing cycling in Namibia, and partnering with mountain bike clubs like Rock and Rut, has allowed the bank to ensure continuous racing and cycling events taking place all year round, which in turn adds to the competitiveness of the sport and increases participation. With Nedbank’s premium cycling event scheduled for the end of the year, the Desert Dash has become the ultimate bucket list cycling event nationally and internationally. Training for the Dash starts early for many cyclists whether amateur or elite level.
“Series such as the XC series, are important training grounds for young cyclists and veteran cyclists to work on their techniques and skills and are contributing to the skills development of cyclists at all ages and levels,” said Gernot de Klerk, Nedbank Namibia, Head: Marketing and Communications.
“Whether cyclists are participating for recreation or for professional development, Nedbank Namibia is committed to support this healthy lifestyle in Namibia. We will continue to support cycling in Namibia because we have witnessed great legends like the late Costa Seibeb rise, and there are more cycling legends in the making. As a brand, we are happy to support this sport, which has changed the lives of many people in Namibia is a very positive way,” de Klerk continued. The world is going green, and cycling is the way to go. Nedbank Namibia is paving the way for a clean, green, cycling future. – NDN Staffer