Firmly established as one of the top events on the Eastern Cape off-road calendar, the JBay Wind Farm MTB Classic promises to once again be a highlight of the JBay Winterfest.
Over the past five years, organisers of the JBay Wind Farm MTB Classic have worked each year to innovate and improve both the routes and rider experience, with the 2017 event featuring an almost entirely new route that included large sections of singletrack.
The 2017 event was won by East London’s Jason Reed after a closely fought battle with Max Sullivan from Stellenbosch. Reed eventually managed to breakaway from Sullivan in the Wind Farm and claimed the victory (and the R10 000 first prize) in a time of 03:20:41. Sullivan came in second (03:21:19), with 2016 defending champion, Ndumiso ‘Maza’ Dontso, rounding out the podium.
© Jazz Kuschke
“It was a great mix of singletrack and jeep track,” Reed said of the route afterward. “It was tough, rocky and technical with a lots of corners, braking and accelerating. Definitely suited to ‘real’ mountain bikers,” he said.
In the 2-17 women’s race, Yolande de Villiers successfully defended her title, finishing sixth overall in the 85km, in a time of 03:34:44. She also collected the R10 000 first prize for her day in the office. Three-time champ and darling of the Eastern Cape, Anriëtte Schoeman finished second, with Siska van der Bijl in third.
Those and big names are bound to be back in 2018 gunning for the top spot and equal men’s and women’s ultra marathon purse, however the main focus of the event is not on the racing snakes, but rather all levels of mountain biker.
The 2018 event will offer something for riders of a range of fitness and skill levels. With the start (and finish) at the ‘Kabeljous Hub’ (also the venue for the Skins Fishing Competition) there will be three routes, 25km, 50km and 85km.
All three route will of course traverse the spectacular JBay Wind Farm, from which the race derives its name. Riders will have the chance to ride along roads interspersed by 80m tall wind turbines towers, spread more than 500m apart. The wind farm site spans 3 700 hectares on which there are 60 wind turbines. This project is one of the first and largest wind farms in South Africa.