New Race to hit local cycling circuit
by Botlhale Koothupile
Local cycling enthusiasts are in for a cycling spectacle of its kind this month with the commencement of a new cycle racing event, The Comma 5 Cyclo Grand Prix.
The cycling event, which is hailed as a new concept in cycle racing in the country, is expected to be held on the 12th of August at the Airport Junction mall.
The event is the brainchild of local rider and cycling enthusiast Keith Marais of Comma 5 CRM who are the main sponsors of the event. Speaking at a Media briefing to launch the cycling event, Marais said the main aim of the cycling event will be to promote cycling, develop cycling in the country as well as to help advocate for a healthy lifestyle through cycling.
Explaining the concept of the race, Marais said the Cyclo Grand Prix will be a Criterium Cycle racing.
“A criterium cycle racing is a bicycle race held on a short course, usually less than 1 kilometer and often run on closed off city centre streets,” he explained.
In the case of the inaugural Comma 5 Cyclo GP, Marais said the event will be held in a barricaded parking lot in front of the Airport Junction mall. Marais said unlike in the normal cycling aces common in Botswana, the new cycle racing event is meant to give cycling enthusiasts and spectators sheer viewing pleasure.
“While the road races are good, they do not give spectators all the viewing pleasure as spectators only get to see riders at a certain point only, either it be at the start or finish. Spectators are not able to follow the whole event. In the case of the Comma 5 Cyclo GP, spectators will be able to view the race throughout,” Marais explained.
He said on the day of the race, there will be a spectator stand from where people can watch and follow all the races. To make the event accessible for all, Marais said any bicycle will be allowed during the race, it be the road bike, a mountain bike or even a Hamba, which is a popular bicycle within local communities. As an incentive to ensure that Hamba bicycle owners enter the race, a winner of the Hamba bicycle category is expected to walk away with a P2 000 cash prize.
Apart from the Hamba bicycle category, other categories will include the open category, the kids’ category, team open and team kids’ categories as well as the mountain bike category.
“There will also be an area reserved for kids within the race barricade where they can cycle or even skate,” Marais said.
On why they chose Airport Junction Mall, Marais said the mall will provide for a greater viewership of the race due to the influx of people during the weekends, something which he believes will go a long way in promoting cycling in the country. To give the event a cycling entertainment value, spectators will be treated to cycling stunts by Cape Town’s extreme cyclist Dylan Victor. There will also be a wheelie competition where riders will try to outshine each other on who can ride the longest distance on a single bicycle back wheel.
The races will be expected to commence at 7:45 in the morning and conclude with a prize giving at 1:30 PM on the same day.