This year’s Varsity MTB race will form part of the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage event, which takes place in the Western Cape from 28 to 30 October.
By forming part of the mid-week Pinotage event in the FNB Wines2Whales series of races, the students taking part will be treated to one of South Africa’s premier stage racing experiences.
They will race the full course, from Lourensford to Oak Valley and on to Onrus over the three days of the race. The extended format will ensure that the strongest mountain biking team, from one of the country’s top six cycling universities, will be crowned 2019 Varsity MTB champions.
“This symbiotic event epitomises our strategy of unearthing and supporting talent from the grassroots levels to professional sport in South Africa,” says Bonga Sebesho, Head of Sponsorships at FNB. “Mountain biking is a growing sport in South Africa and there are a growing number of students who are participating in the sport. We see this event as an enabler for students to develop their skills and showcase their talent. FNB will continue to invest in creating a pipeline of talent in all the different sporting codes that we support.”
“We’re extremely excited to have the return of Varsity MTB,” says Xhanti-Lomzi Nesi from Varsity Sports. “We watched the teams take part at the USSA MTB and there are some very strong riders that will relish the opportunity to take part in the prestigious FNB W2W. It is our goal through all our sporting codes to provide a platform for talent to flourish and this will be no different. We look forward to seeing our riders in action and partnering with the ever-growing successful FNB W2W race.”
“Varsity MTB is a rad event because it’s super unique,” says 2017 women’s champion Frankie du Toit. “You’re competing against your peers, other university students, on amazing trails, and just having a good time.”
Teams from Stellenbosch, UCT, North-West University, University of Pretoria, Nelson Mandela University and the Tshwane University of Technology will be invited to compete. Each of the six universities will be invited to send two teams - either men’s, women’s or one of each. The Varsity MTB teams will have the honour of being individually called up to an AA start batch on Stage 1 of the race, and thereafter they will start with the rest of the field in a batch determined by each team’s overall time.
“The Varsity MTB is going to add #SeriousGEES to the 2019 Pinotage race,” says Michael Flinn, MD of FNB Wines2Whales. “I think I can speak for the whole team when I say I look back fondly on my varsity days. I’m sure that the Varsity MTB forming part of the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage will provide participating students with memories which will last them a lifetime - memories I’m sure they’ll forge on and off the bike at what is a famously social event. They will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with both on the trails and in the CBC Chill Zone!”
Varsity Sports has become one of South Africa’s most recognisable sporting brands, promoting university football, netball, basketball, athletics, hockey, and cricket.