The 2023 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival will once again dish up an exciting tussle in the elite women’s race with a number of title hopefuls lining up for a shot at the 60km marathon victory on Sunday.
Coming off her double victory at the recent aQuellé Tour Durban, Joanna van de Winkel will be back on her mountain bike this weekend and will provide a significant test for the likes of 2021 champion Rouxda Grobler and Hayley Smith.
After a second placed finish at the recent KAP sani2c, Sarah Hill will be another woman rider that will be fighting for the top step on the podium.
Both Grobler and Smith have won the Quattro ROAG Series with Smith winning the title in 2022 and Grobler taking the overall crown in 2021.
Durban North resident Smith is coming off some good form having recently raced the sani2c and will be a big threat at one of the country’s premier one day marathons.
“This weekend will be my first race since sani2c, so I’m looking forward to getting back out racing again,” Smith said.
“sani2c was a great race for us and I won the mixed with Jason Davies, so there is some good form in my legs going into this weekend.”
Smith and Davies put in a strong effort over the three days of the sani2c recently and finished inside the top 50 individuals across the line, with Smith the third woman overall at the end in Scottburgh.
The Karkloof Classic is an event that mountain bikers around the country try and compete in at least once, and Smith’s comments confirm that it is a race that is a must-do.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s race because it is definitely one of my favourite races on the calendar.
“The trails are incredible, and I love the single-track they offer so it’s a race that I try and book off every year.
“It’s going to be another exciting race this year and I’m looking forward to the race because it will be an exciting one.”
Smith, Van de Winkel and Grobler will provide a strong race with a few other names expected to be added to the entry list in the days leading up to the race.
The 60km marathon also forms an important part of the ROAG Series, a title that Smith won last year, and she will be looking to claim maximum points this weekend.
“It’s great to have another opportunity to pick up some ROAG Series points and I’m trying to get in as many races in the series as possible.
“It’s important to try and pick up as many points as you can when you can,” Smith added.
The Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival 2023 will take place on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May. More info can be found at https://www.karkloofclub.co.za/events/sappi-karkloof-classic-trail-festival-2023/
Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival 2023
SATURDAY 27th MAY
07h30 – 21km Trail Run
08h00 – 9km Trail Run
SUNDAY 28th MAY
07h30 – 60km MTB
08h15 – 40km MTB
09h00 – 20km MTB
09h20 – 9km Trail Run
09h30 – 10km MTB