Cycloholics to challenge Nedbank Desert Dash for Davin Sport Trust.

Windhoek, Nov 24 The Janine and Suzelle Davin Sport Trust was started as a memorial to two outstanding Namibian sportswomen, Janine and Suzelle Davin, in 2007. The trust raises funds to help develop Namibian sportsmen and women to participate internationally by assisting them financially with coaching, travel and accommodation costs. The trust supports, on average, between 12 and 24 sportsmen and women every year. Some notable beneficiaries in 2020 are Olympian, Michelle Vorster—our country’s top female mountain biker, gymnast Emil Pitt, sprinter Jolene Jacobs, Drikus Coetzee—gifted sportsman, who excelled as a cyclist and triathlon athlete, junior tennis players, Sedi and Tuki Jacobs, as well as Ernst Narib—the 2017 Namibian 400m champion.

The trust hosts annual events to raise funds, namely, Davin Desert Cycle Relay and the Davin Trust Golf & Boules Day, to raise these funds. This year a team of four—Tertius Stears (49), chief executive officer of Sanlam Namibia; Henk Schlechter (54), head of niche markets at Santam Namibia; Renier Taljaard (61), who works in the insurance industry, and Andrew Muller (44), a baker and factory manager—will cycle under the banner of Cycloholics to support fundraising efforts.

These experienced cyclists have cumulatively participated in over 25 Desert Dashes and say their main aim is to enjoy the event while raising funds for a worthy cause.

Stears shared that he started cycling about 15 years ago and enjoys off-road events. “I will be participating in my 10th Nedbank Desert Dash and have enjoyed every one—mostly for the time spent outdoors with good friends struggling together. I take part in the Dash for enjoyment and, at the same time, as an investment in my health. This year will be special as we represent the Davin Trust and the good work done by them.”

Schlechter adds that this will be his fifth year participating in the Nedbank Desert Dash. In high school and beyond he played volleyball, representing Stellenbosch University and Namibia from 1987 to 1997. “I started cycling in 2004 to get in shape a bit, but as most people know, it grew on me, and since then, I am an avid social cyclist with the only aim to complete events I enter for. To date I have completed 7 Desert Dashes.”

Schlechter and the Cycloholics team have stuck together and are now attempting a 5th Nedbank Desert Dash. He added that their main goal is to complete the 373-km Desert Dash in the allotted time. “We are friends who cycle together a lot, and the Dash is something we’d like to end off each year with, as it challenges and motivates us to train a bit harder. Mostly it is about friendship and this year, of course, in support of the Janine and Suzelle Davin Sport Trust,” he explained.

Taljaard started cycling in 1998 and can count 8 successive four-man team finishes in the Dash. Muller began cycling in 2009 after being introduced by a friend and enjoys the camaraderie amongst his teammates.

He has so far completed 5 dashes, citing the first as the most challenging one. “Each Dash has been different in the sense the ride is never the same. Each one feels unique. For instance, one year, you cycle well, and the next year, the cycle seems a bit tougher even though you do the same stage. Overall, the experience has been wonderful and challenging,” he answered.

JG van Graan, Nedbank Namibia’s chief financial officer and chairman of the bank’s Social Investment Committee, applauds the Cycloholics, saying, “This is what the Nedbank Desert Dash is all about: having fun and giving back to worthy causes.”

“The heart and soul of the Nedbank Desert Dash is best reflected in the spirit of those who cycle for a cause greater than themselves,” he says. “The Dash provides the perfect backdrop for those intent on challenging themselves, and in doing so, also make an immense contribution to society.”

Robert Maseka