Thursday, August 18, 2022

Cycling and Pick n Pay team up for Mokolodi Scorpion race

The partnership between the Gaborone Cycling Club (GCC) and retail giants Pick n Pay continues to grow as the two partner yet again for the Pick n Pay Mokolodi Scorpion Mountain Bike Race.

This year’s race is set to take place on the 25th of this month. The race, which has been dubbed ‘the race with a sting in the back’ due to its gruelling finish on the hill, will be marking the ninth (9) consecutive year that both Pick n Pay and GCC have been partnering to bring the race to Batswana.

According to Seamus O’Neill of the GCC, as it was in the past year, the retail group has sponsored this year’s edition of the race to the tune of P40 000. Briefing the media on the race at the Pick n Pay offices, O’Neill said with at least 250 cyclists having taken part in the race’s last edition, they are hoping to get 300 cyclists for this year’s event. He says the race will be divided into three categories, namely, the premier 60 km race, the 20 km social race as well as the 5 km kiddies’ race, which will be in its second edition.

“The most popular race was the kiddies’ 5 km last year, and this year it is back by popular demand. We have approached schools to enter teams into the event and we are hoping for a good turnout,” O’Neill said.

In a case of man versus man and nature, O’Neill says despite the gruelling nature of the race, they are expecting a very tough competition as the defending champion Angus Boxshall-Smith will be going head to head with some of the best cyclists in the mould of Neville Van Zyl and Hezekiah Sibanda, just to mention a few.

For his part, the race’s competition coordinator, Marius de Wet, said there will be no changes on the competition routes. He says as in the past year, the 60 km’s race route will include among others single track routes and gravel route before it ends at the top of the hill to give it a sting. He also pointed out that as in the past year, the 20 km race will have a different route to the 60 km race with the only similarity being it will also end with the ascension to the World’s View hill.

With the race taking place in the Nature Reserve, the Mokolodi Pick n Pay Scorpion challenge coordinator says they have taken every possible precaution to ensure the race is safe for participants. “All the track routes are accessible in cases we need the medics to help cyclists who may have problems. Also, the Rhino in the reserve has given birth and as such we have taken precautions to ensure that there is no encounter between the cyclists and the animal,” de Wet added.

He says as such, there have been new trails added to the cycling route to ensure that encounters with the Rhino are minimised. While the race has never attracted foreign competitors in the past, the race organisers say this is likely to change this year as at least ten riders from the neighbouring South Africa have registered to compete. Meanwhile, Pick n Pay representative at the briefing informed the media that the retail giant is proud to be associated with the race.

“Pick n Pay Botswana is excited to play a role in the growth of cycling in Botswana and are equally excited to be able to assist such a great facility as Mokolodi nature Reserve,” Kealogile Moagae informed the media. Registration for the event will take place on the 24th of September at the Pick n Pay shop in Sebele Shopping Centre and very early on the race day at Mokolodi. Proceeds from the race will go to the Mokolodi Nature Reserve.

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