Howick – For 21 years the Sappi Karkloof MTB Festival has provided riders with exhilarating mountain bike track with varying elements that appeal to all riders and whilst previous years have been successful, course designer and builder Hylton Turvey continues to revamp, reshape and reinvent the courses at the Karkloof MTB Club and the 2015 three-day, 8-10 May, festival will be no different.
Turvey and his team took the decision in 2014 to give the aQuellé 40km Half Marathon course a huge reshape which meant that they changed the direction in which the course ran but 2015 sees the 40km course remain mostly untouched whilst one section on the Sappi 60km Marathon course is receiving a revamp along with a few other minor adjustments.
“There are changes this year but no route changes like we had last year,” Turvey said. “We have had to rebuild some of the old trails as well as revamp a bit here and there but the routes for this year are going to be the same as they were last year.”
One of the cornerstone elements of the 60km Marathon route is the Rene’s Rumble section and Turvey took the decision to reshape the entire section. However instead of building an entirely new section what he has done is embed the whole section into the natural layout out the land.
“We went with the choice to rebuild the whole of Rene’s Rumble for the race this year and we think that the riders are going to really enjoy the new set up that we have gone with. There are new trail as well as new jumps and other elements to the feature.
“It gives a new feel to an old piece of the course and we have used the rocks, fallen trees and the natural features to form the basis of the new and improved Rene’s Rumble,” an excited Turvey mentioned.
The 40km course has received a slight amendment as riders tackle trail instead of the usual road section just past the halfway mark of the course.
“As riders ride down the Bombardé section of the course then there is an uphill that we used to take them up a road but this year we have decided to keep the riders off road as they head up a trail but that is the only slight change to the 40km race,” Turvey added.
Turvey has been in charge of the trails in the Karkloof for a number of years now and as a rider himself he understands what riders would like from a track and using his imagination as well as his experience he has become renowned for building popular courses amongst riders.
“When I prepare to build or rework a section of the track I like to picture myself riding it and that is sort of how I imagine it should be laid out. I have always been a fan of keeping things interesting and being able to mix things up.
“Creating mountain biking trails is definitely my passion and I build what I love which means that I am able to do what I love every day,” Turvey added.
Increasing in popularity is the STIHL Karkloof Enduro which follows much of the 60km course does encompass a few of its own elements but the majority of the course will be sections of track that all the riders in the 60km Marathon will tackle on Sunday.
“We did take the Enduro into consideration and so we have given it some of its own elements with a few jumps and other features but it is still very doable for all which is something that we wanted to ensure. It includes a number of the popular 60km elements like Bat out of Hell which we know the riders enjoy,” he concluded.
Riders and spectators can follow news and developments via the event’s Facebook page (Karkloof Mountain Bike Club) or on Twitter (@KarkloofMTB) while more information can also be found at www.karkloofmtb.co.za and entries can be submitted via www.roag.co.za.