Pietermaritzburg – The 2015 Quattro ROAG Series is in full swing with back-to-back events in KwaZulu-Natal with the Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival being the focus last weekend but the attention shifts to ROAG Series Race 4 at the Husqvarna Mid-Illovo MTB Classic taking place at the Mid-Illovo Club on Sunday.
The field will be boosted by the return of Springbok and Sharks legend Jeremy Thomson as he makes another appearance at the popular leg of the Quattro ROAG Series and Thomson is no stranger to the trails that surround the Mid Illovo Club.
“I think that I have done the race about four or five times so I know it quite well,” the former international rugby centre said. “It really is a fantastic event and the whole vibe and atmosphere that surrounds it is contagious with the farmers in the area really getting behind the event and helping out to make it such a success year in and year out.”
The Prime HPI rider has become accustomed to the course that is laid out but is quick to point out that it is not as easy as one might think with a number of deceptive sections of the course making it more challenging but also more exciting.
“The course is pretty misleading from what I remember from the previous years and it has a couple of tricky bits that could catch you a little bit off guard if you are not prepared for them but with that said it is a really enjoyable course to ride.
“There is quite a bit of climbing at the start of the race which puts you back a little and there is also a tough climb in the middle of the race so you have to be ready for it which could catch you unawares if you not prepared for it.
“There is some brilliant single track that I really enjoy and as you sort of get closer to the finish of the race you think that you are going to be going downhill but it is actually quite flat which is something that puts you off a bit!
“It is a great course and they take a lot of time and effort into preparing it and I am sure that it will be more of the same this year,” an excited Thomson said.
With a number of high profile events happening around the same time as the Husqvarna Mid-Illovo Classic there is a chance for Thomson to get himself into a position where he can walk away from the event with some valuable ROAG Series points but the veteran is playing down his chances amongst the top riders.
“It would be great to get myself some ROAG points this weekend but I am really too old to be taking on the big guns and I will be hoping that I can do well in my age category,” the 48 year old said. “I am in the veteran’s category and if I can get myself a podium finish in that category I will be really happy with my race.
“I have been training quite hard and with the help of Prime Human Performance Institute I am feeling really good at the moment so we will see how this weekend goes,” an optimistic yet cautious Thomson mentioned.
The 2015 Quattro ROAG Series is a nine leg series that sees all of KZN’s top mountain bikers doing battle for the coveted title and the winner’s cheque of R22 000 for both the male and female overall winners. More information can be found at www.roagseries.co.za