Pietermaritzburg – All roads lead to Hilton for mountain bikers from around the country as participants wrap up their final preparations for this year’s edition of the Sunday Tribune Jeep Hill 2 Hill which takes place on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September.
Doubling as the penultimate event in KZN’s exciting Quattro ROAG Series and with the sharp end of the competition’s log still a fiercely contested affair, there is plenty up for grabs in both the men’s and women’s clash of the Hilton to Hillcrest event.
Race organisers are enthusiastic about the impact that course designer Nick Floros has had on the route for Saturday’s 45km race as well as Sunday’s 15km and 100km events.
They confirmed that the entry caps for both the 45km and 100km event were close to being reached, putting pressure on late-entering riders in the usual flurry of last minute entries.
Eager riders keen to learn the subtleties of Floros’ new single track will have a chance on Sunday 7 September to ride the last third of the route from Hill n Dale Farm to the finish at Shongweni.
Currently leading the Quattro ROAG Series standings are the original winners of 2012’s inaugural ROAG Series, TIB Insurance’s Andrew Hill and Natalie Bergstrom of Coffeeberry/Momsen.
Both will need to fight hard to retain their overall lead at this year’s Hill2Hill though as the likes of Kargo Pro MTB’s new signing Brendon Davids and USN/Hi-TEC’s Jeannie Dreyer are hot on the respective leaders’ heels and with the massive winner’s cheque of R22 000 at stake for both the series’ overall men’s and women’s winners, no one will be willing to give an inch next weekend.
Men’s Hill2Hill defending champion Hill admitted that this year’s ROAG Series has been the tightest affair since ROAG first introduced the series three years ago.
“It’s really great to have KZN’s top racers brought to events that they might not normally attend by the ROAG Series and help raise the profile of the smaller events while also enjoying the tough competition that some of the province’s biggest races like the Hill2Hill have become known for,” said Hill.
“This year’s Hill2Hill is going to be a tough race with many of the top contenders firing on all cylinders for KZN’s most prestigious marathon.
“The route is super-fast in the first half with the bigger climbs coming in the last 40km so it’s going to be tactical upfront for sure and most guys not wanting to show their cards too early,” he added.
The Quattro ROAG Series has successfully focused on encouraging young and up-and-coming riders, offering a platform for social riders to challenge their friends and encouraging elite riders to take part in local events.
Business Manager of ROAG, Nicole Talbot said that the Sunday Tribune Jeep Hill2Hill has been a key part of the Quattro ROAG Series since its inception and is without a doubt one of KZN’s most iconic and largest mountain biking events.
“We are extremely proud to have the Hill2Hill as a part of our Quattro ROAG Series and we have enjoyed a close relationship with the organisers from the very beginning,” said Talbot.
All entrants for the Sunday Tribune Jeep Hill2Hill also stand in line to win the full suspension Specialized bicycle valued at over R20 000 to be handed over to one lucky entrant at the prize-giving along with loads of other lucky draw prizes including Jeep Apparel goodies and Thule bike racks.
“This year every entrant who has already completed five or more Hill2Hills will also receive a special little gift from us to prove to their friends that they are a true Hill2Hill hero!” race organisers added.
More information can be found and entries submitted via www.roagseries.co.za