#Spurfest was conceptualized to ‘slow down’ eventing and give riders an opportunity to try many different disciplines without the stresses involved with the very competitive racing scene. The biggest outcome of the weekend was the supercharged skills progression witnessed amongst participants simply because of the opportunity to retry obstacles and challenges under the watchful eye of organisers, coaches and peers.
With registration happening on the Thursday afternoon, the weekend’s activities kicked off in style on the Friday with skills training followed by riders tackling the timed enduro style SS1 and SS2 segments quickly the challenge was on to post the most competitive time on the live timing board. These two stages remained open for the duration of the weekend providing riders with the opportunity to complete several runs.
What else than a lekker Spur Burger for lunch before joining your fellow riders for a team photo with the Gariep Dam as a backdrop. This was followed by the first lung buster in the form of the Hillclimb TT. The concept was simple: make your way from the bottom to the top of the hill in an as short a time as possible. The mid-afternoon sun and rocky conditions added to the challenge.
A leisurely Safari outride with some game viewing capped the afternoon’s prceedings before the evening’s fun started. To close the day off lights were fitted to bicycles and riders were off on the night race on a dedicated, marked route.
Saturday morning came and despite the late night the riders were up at 06:15 for an sunrise outride to the dam wall. This got the legs going for another full day on the bike. First up was more skills training with the crew from Dirt Lab who prepared a training course that focuses on particular on-bike and bike handling techniques. For this, SSMTL Ambassador, Ariane Luthi was on hand to share her thoughts on bike handling and to help with stretching exercises that help combat injuries.
The skills session became an immediate challenge when the Trailtag system was added and riders competed on the course against the clock.
As soon as the riders finished the skills session, they set off again to improve on their SS1 and SS2 times, this time on new segments.
After lunch it was time to ramp up the fun with a lake jump! No points, no timing, no worries. Just good old-fashioned fun jumping (someone else’s) bike into the Gariep Dam. The cool-off was well timed as the next activity was the Signal Hill Climb, aka the Widow Maker. This short, but brutal climb over lose, sandy and rocky terrain challenged young and old to try and power themselves and their bikes as far up the climb as possible and although quite a few made it quite far up, it was the last couple of meters that proved to be the most challenging. Yet, as challenging as it was most riders kept lining up for more and more attempts in an effort to beat their previous best or to take the coveted top spot. To such an extend that we had to close the challenge and chase them back to the camp in order to be in time for dinner.
After all of that there was still enough fuel in the tanks left for a slow race and a bit of bike polo. The slow race was nearly won by Meurant Botha, but in the end he was too fast to be slow and came home in a solid second place. The bike polo was officially won by team “Spurrrrrrrrrrrrrr”, but a late challenge from team HokkieBokkies including Oli Munnik, Meurant Botha and Alan Hatherley saw their victory short-lived as they lost 2-0. Controversially though, the old boys were disqualified on a technicality as apparently, they were all over 19 years of age. That brought Saturday to a close.
Sunday morning was another early start to finish off the official activities before price giving. A “marathon” race with either a 25km or 35km option saw everyone empty their tanks in a last gasp effort to get some points for their school. Having the U23 World Champion and Spur Schools MTB League ambassador, Alan Hatherley in the lead bunch also helped fuel the efforts. The route entered the nearby game reserve with plenty of animal sightings and stunning views over the dam.
In the end everyone had a great time, made new friends, learned a new skill or two and chased down a yeti to launch themselves into a dam. Great success all round and much to look forward to for next year. The weekend’s results can be viewed HERE and all the images from the weekend can be viewed on our the Spur Schools MTB League Facebook Page.
Entries for the 2019 Spur Schools MTB League season is open. If you haven’t already head over to our website and get your entry in. Follow THIS LINK to enter or for more information. To stay in touch with the league, please follow us on Facebook or Instagram.