The GO!Durban Cycle Academy had a record showing at the 4th annual Marriott Freedom Race. The academy put 24 riders on the start line and achieved podium finishes in five categories, including a clean sweep of the top spots in the 20km race.
The first nine finishers of the 20km race were GO!Durban Cycle Academy riders. In the men’s race, Mzwakhe Langa won in the swift time of 00:50:56, a minute faster than his 2nd and 3rd place peers. In the ladies team, Asanda Mthembu was the shining star of the day, finishing 8th overall and first female in a time of 1:14:03. There were a total of five girls competing in the 20km, and they took the top four places.
Kwamashu Coach Thobani Bhengu had four riders on the 20km start line – for all of whom it was their first official MTB race. “I am so happy to see my riders from Kwamashu compete in their first race today. Their results prove that they are ready to compete in more races,” says Bhengu. The academy also dominated the front of the pack of the 40km and 60km races, with a win in both men’s races by Kusaselihle Ngidi and Mboneni Ngcobo (coach) respectively.
Coach Siyabonga Njiva continues to make significant improvement after recovering from a broken leg last year and finished 1st U23 Men and 3rd overall in the 40km.
60km winner and Inanda Coach, Mbobeni Ngcobo was beaming with pride for his riders. “I am very excited to see the youngsters competing in races and doing so well. This is the best opportunity for them to develop more skills. They are the champs of the future!”
The camaraderie on the finish line was palpable as they cheered for one another and rushed to congratulate their team mates with high fives, hugs and admiration for their cherished finishers medals.
“We are extremely proud of the results achieved by the GO!Durban Academy over the weekend,” says Thami Manyathi, Head of the eThekwini Transport Authority. “The growth in numbers of our riders on the start line is testament to the amazing work of the coaches and site administrators in developing the skills of the riders – both on and off the bike. They are truly our ambassadors of active mobility in the community and we are encouraged in our continued efforts to spread the joy of cycling throughout the city,” Manyathi concludes.
Durban Green Corridors has partnered with the race since it’s inception 4 years ago, providing the start venues and the entire routes for the 20km, 40km and 60km races.
This year saw 22 trail builders from Durban Green Corridors actively involved in building and marking the trails between Inanda, KwaDabeka and the Green Hub in Blue Lagoon in preparation for the race, including the installation of 3 bridges at the main water crossings – a project which took two weeks to complete.
The preservation of these trails is central to the environmental stewardship and economic upliftment efforts of Durban Green Corridors. Managed by Gabi Ngcobo and Shaun Peschl, the trail building programme provides gainful employment in the community and is a programme that runs year-round to ensure that the trails are well-maintained at all times.
“By protecting nature’s open spaces and making them accessible for riders to enjoy the freedom of the outdoors, we are encouraging active mobility while at the same time ensuring the sustainability of the environment,” says Shaun Peschl.
“We’d also like to thank Commercial Properties PTY Ltd for providing land access for certain parts of the route and KTM Durban for the use of the motorbike that assisted us with the marking of the trails.”
“The access to the routes around Inanda Dam and down to Durban make the Freedom Race what it is,” says Damian Bradley, Director of B-Active Sports and events organiser. “It brings riding to the community and gets the community involved with a unique and exciting event in their backyard. The Freedom Race is about celebrating Madiba’s legacy and this event embraces that by bringing different communities together, working to create one unifying event. The support of local residents is very important to our event and embodies what we are trying to create and achieve as an event. It’s not just about getting riders to ride a route, but rather taking a completely holistic approach and supporting local businesses and residents,” says Bradley.
“We were thrilled to host the start of the Marriott Freedom Race at our Inanda and KwaDabeka sites once again. We hope that the riders will come back to ride the routes again throughout the year,” Peschl concludes.
- Mzwakhe Langa: 00:50:56
- Mkhulunkosi Mjuqo: 00:51:47
- Wanda Myeza: 00:51:49
- Asanda Mthembu: 01:14:03
- Ongezo Mini: 01:17:55
- Aphiwe Goge: 01:17:57
- Amahle Cane: 01:19:18
- Nomfundo Mtshali: 01:21:07
- Kusaselihle Ngidi 1:33:48
2. Pewa Nkululeko 1:36:10
3. Siyabonga Njiva 1:38:00
- Mboneni Ngcobo 2:17:05
4. Cayde Muldoon 2:20:16