Race, Stellenbosch, RSA

Date: 13.03.2013

Description: Charity Race

30min plus 3 laps (45min total)
First place, a few seconds ahead of Kohei Yamamoto

Songo Champions Race! For the second time we invited all the ABSA Cape-Epic pros for having a exciting 40min race. A world class field lined up, but most importantly it was to inspire the kids in the township, showing them dedication, commitment and excitement. It was simply mind blowing to see so many enthusiastic kids running around and cheering. The kids was so happy and just wanted a handshake or hug afterwards. The most special crowed ever!

Read Oli Pinner Munnik blog about it below. Nobody could write it any better, plus he just safes me 15min of my afternoon!

Yesterday afternoon, Cape Town’s cycling community, and more importantly the residents of Kayamandi, were treated to a racing extravaganza second to none. Oli was on the grid and recounts the electric yet humbling vibe of the unofficial World Champs.

WOW – The Unofficial World Champs was one hellava vibe!

Yesterday afternoon Cape Town’s cycling community, and more importantly the residents of Kayamandi, were treated to a racing extravaganza second to none. Hundreds of ecstatic spectators cheered as the world’s fastest mountain bikers battled it out on the part urban, part off-road XCO track which took them through the heart of Kayamandi.

As riders were called onto the grid, I can assure you I wasn’t the only one with goosebumps. In addition to a quality field of local racers, we had the pinners Marco Fontana (Cannondale), Nino Schurter (Scott/Swiss Power) and Yaroslav Kulhavy (Specialzed) who achieved Bronze, Silver and Gold at London 2012. Add the likes of Sauser (Specialized), Fumic (Cannondale) and Yamamoto (Specialized) and you get the idea. To quote Nic Lamond, this kind of field delivers you straight to the pain-cave!

With the ever cheerful (and insightful) Paul Valstar on the mic, every rider enjoyed a colourful introduction before they found their pozzie on the grid. As Marco Fontana was introduced and eased into position I heard a bystander asking the person next to him, “Which oke is Van Tonder?” With a wry smile his friend politely corrected him by saying, “Bliksem bru, dis nie Van Tonder nie, dis Fontana.” It was a lag.

Similarly to a UCI World Champs or World Cup grid, spirits were high (without the tension) as we waited for Songo himself to get the action under way. As the gun sounded, riders revved their engines and hooked it as if a world title was on the line … this was no fun race. Let me tell you, the Unofficial World Champs is not for kids! Nic Lamond’s pain-cave was proving to be a deep hole.

After 30mins and 3 laps of racing, Christoph Sauser defended his 2012 title by crossing the line in 1st. An ecstatic Yamamoto and Kulhavy completed the podium. To say the kids of Kayamandi went berserk (in the best kind of way) is an understatement. Within seconds of the leaders finishing, the hundreds of lighties were swarming their heroes. The energy was electric!

Yesterday’s outpouring of energy goes to show how (and sport in general) can be used, as a tangible mechanism, to break down boundaries, build new relationships and most importantly give South Africa’s disenfranchised youth the tools to believe in themselves and work towards achieving a dream. humbles me.

When you next see a rider in the colours, give them a high 5! They are moving mountains.

Ciao Ciao


More information link