Keen trail runners and mountain bikers alike will once again be able to take part in the unique Fairtree Simonsberg Contour MTB next year. Entries for the 2018 events are now open. From 3 Р4 and 10 -11 February 2018, the conservation area will kick off the start to annual stage race season.

A cash prize of R40 000 will be up for grabs next year, with equal prize money to be awarded for the ladies’ and men’s overall winners over two days.

Dubbed the Fire Ride, the inaugural MTB Stage Race took place shortly after the disastrous fire in Simonsberg in 2016. 90% of the trails that were constructed over a two year period were destroyed, along with large sections of the forest canopy. Route designed and race director, Meurant Botha, deployed 50 trail workers to work on an adapted route ready for race weekend.

Following the success of the inaugural event, astounding regrowth has taken place and Botha says that riders can look forward to even more new trails in 2018.

“The final route will be launched later this year, but longer route riders can expect daily stages of 55 – 60km with around 1500m elevation, while the shorter 40km route option will focus on a fun trail experience with an 800m climb. For 2018 we are adding more singletrack to day one, while minor tweaks are on the cards for day two. Sunday’s route boasts over 25km of singletrack and ranks as one of the best stage race days around”, explains Botha.

Fees will remain the same as last year as an Early Bird special, only increasing on 1 January 2018. Riders will be able to customise their entry with the following. 60km both days – R975, 40km both days – (R825), 40km on Saturday and 60km on Sunday (R875), 60km Saturday and 40km Sunday (R875), 60km one day (R495), 40km one day (R420).

The entry fee includes a goodie bag with a local bottle of wine, coffee and a breakfast snack, buffet lunch as well as daily bike was and lube service. A secure bike park will be set up so riders will be able to leave their bikes on site overnight.

The event was expanded to include the Fairtree Simonsberg Contour Stage Race Trail Run in 2017, with starting and finishing points at Delvera Farm just outside Stellenbosch. Entry fees vary according to the route and how many days runners will participate. 25km both days (R650), 12km both days (R500), 12km and 25km respectively (R580), 12km on either day (R270), or the 7km fun run on the Sunday (R175). Entry fee includes timing, a goodie bag, breakfast, lunch, water points and a medal.

Host venue, Delvera Farm boasts over 40km of mountain single track. Connecting more than 10 wine estates, the area is a hotspot for mountain bike trail riders, offering a rare glimpse of harvest season in the winelands. The farm’s friendly atmosphere invites visitors and supporters to relax and enjoy the outdoors if not competing.

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