Anatomic Spur High School series done and dusted
information supplied by: Roadworx Communications
14 September 2011
BIKES BEFORE BOOKS…WELL, SOMETIMES!
High School mountain bike racing in Gauteng is in rude good health, with record entries in the recently-concluded Anatomic Spur High School MTB Series.
That’s the news from organiser Deon Steyn who can look back on a 2011 series that saw an average of 455 entries per event with 486 riders at the final round at Rietvlei Farm near Alberton on September 10. This growth represents an increase of almost 150 per round compared to just a year ago.in addition, on average each event saw representation from 62 high schools.
Says Steyn: “The increasing popularity of the sport is very encouraging and entries of 439, 441 and 486 for the three events which made up the 2011 series we are on a clear upward trend. It is hard to believe that just five years ago in the very early days we had around 100 per event! I feel blessed to be part of this.”
The series is about participation and as well as the cream of the teenage racing crop, the events have attracted riders of all shapes, sizes and skill levels with frontrunners having to take into consideration the need to lap slower competitors in races that can comprise up to five laps of a cross-country course. Each finisher scores a point for their school while the first 25 male riders and top 10 females in each of three age categories score extra points depending on position.
Waterkloof Hoër successfully defended the schools trophy, and while they had only one category winner, the mix of quality and quantity they brought to each round paid off. Grey College Bloemfontein (while primarily a Gauteng series entries came from as far afield as Limpopo and KZN) was second in the log, a feat made more remarkable by the fact that they were not able to attend the second round. Completing the podium was Centurion Hoër, followed closely by Hoër Volkskool Potchefstroom. Sneaking into the top five by sheer weight of numbers (they fielded 69 riders for the final!) was Johannesburg school Helpmekaar.
The series also has an important social responsibility angle, and some 18 riders from previously disadvantaged backgrounds competed. A team of riders from Diepsloot and sponsored by Spur was classified 30th
in the school log.
Remarkably, no single school won more than a single category with the overall winners as follows:
- Junior Men: Ferdi Botha - Centurion Hoër
- Junior Women: Tarryn Brent - Stanford Lake College
- Youth Men: Joel Hieber - Trinity House
- Youth Women: Janice Venter – Menlopark Hoër
- Sub-Junior Boys: Michael Ferreira – Bryanston High
- Sub-Junior Girls: Lynette Benson – Waterkloof Hoër
The Youth Men was comfortably the biggest field, with a total of 230 riders scoring points in at least one round. It was also arguably the toughest in terms of competition and while Hieber dominated with a combination of speed and technical skill which is starting to look freakish (especially considering he is in the younger year of his age category), the talent in the top 20 was very obvious.
“While the High School series is over, a lot of the riders can’t hang up their helmets just yet. The top 11 schools must now prepare for the Spur Invitational team event, which takes place at Bekker Schools on September 24,” says Steyn. “This will bring the curtain down on high school racing for the year, and leave everyone to concentrate on their schoolwork!”
Nevertheless, the organisers are already looking ahead to the 2012 series, with many possibilities being explored, including expanding the number of events and getting more sponsorship involvement, all against the backdrop of giving as many teenagers as possible a positive and healthy outlet in their young lives.
Picture byline: Johan Orton
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