Local drivers please be aware that Durban roads will be filled with cyclists who have right of way this weekend.
Beisdes the Standard Bank 70.3 Ironman event which will see cyclists racing along the M4 to Ballito, local cyclists will be taking an early morning start on the M13 Westville between Cowies Hill & 45th Cutting, with start and end points at Roger Sishi (Blair Athol) offramp.
The Universal Networks Westville M13 Classic, which is being held for the first time on Sunday, offers riders a full-road-closure event on a fast surface while spectators can expect to see some exciting racing with recently crowned KZN Champions Sean Merredew and Tiffany Keep leading the charge.
The two KZN Champions, who were crowned at the provincial championships in February, are at opposite points in their careers. Keep, a talented young matric schoolgirl, is just starting out on a journey that promises to bring a lot more racing success on and off the road, while veteran Merredew is heading toward the finish line of his elite racing days.
Merredew had to use all his experience to claim the provincial title and he will need to be at his best once again if he has any hope of claiming the inaugural M13 title on Sunday. With the number of road races having dropped off significantly in recent years, elite riders are somewhat race starved so a strong field is expected to line up for the 85km, five-lap event up and down the King Cetshwayo Highway.
Merredew needed a powerful end sprint to claim his title in February and can expect the men he beat then to challenge again on Sunday. Wessel Swanepoel and Luke Chambers would like to be one or two steps up the podium this time, while mountain bikers Andrew Hill, Henry Liebenberg, Calvin Louw and Brennan Anderson as well as age group world champion Deno van Heerden could all be in the mix at the end of five laps.
In the women’s race, Keep was a breakaway winner at the provincial champs, but will struggle to repeat than on the M13 course with has a long climb each lap and a corresponding descent which may see the lead group breaking up and reforming a few times.
Keep’s challengers could include Elne Owen, Jeannie Dreyer, Lauren Cannon, S’annara Grove, Candice Parker Dennison and Courtney Smith.
The event is not only limited to elite competitors however and individuals, tandems and even a team event means riders are sure to find something to suit their interests and fitness levels. Distances of the three races are 17km, 51km or 85km with the circuit in the area between the Westwood Mall and Cowies Hill starting and finishing at the Blair Atholl (Rodger Sishi Road) off ramp.
The racing starts at 7am, and the late entry fee of R300 per person includes a breakfast roll, prizemoney and medals. Late entries will be taken on the day from 5am.
Photo Credit : Gavin Ryan (Quickpix) & Tim Whitfield (Sports Wrighte)