The Gabone Cycling Club (GCC) says it expects this year to be a very hectic one for mountain bike cycling in the country.
The GCC, which will kick off its annual cycling schedule at the end of January this year, says they will be expecting to have more and better organised events this year.
Speaking to Telegraph Sport, Peter Sekwale of GCC says they have already started negotiations with potential sponsors for some of their big races.
“All our annual races for our calendar year will be held as usual. We will kick start the year with the Wharic Cycle challenge on the 30th of this month and it will be followed by our Valentine’s Challenge on either the 13th or 14th of next month. Other races will follow thereafter,” Sekwale told Telegraph Sport.
According to Sekwale, finances allowing, they will also be sending teams to participate in mountain bike events in countries like South Africa. He says having sent a developmental team to take part in one of the competitions in South Africa in the past year, they are hoping to do the same to give them as much international exposure as possible. Apart from the developmental teams, Sekwale says they will be hoping to see some of the club’s seasoned cyclists taking part in the more challenging tours in South Africa as have been the norm in the past years. This is despite the fact that the country has not yet taken part in any competitive cycling challenges due to the fact that cycling in Botswana is still at its infancy stages.
He, however, expressed hope that this may be a better year in which Botswana will make its debut in international events.
Meanwhile, the GCC official says there will be a lot of improvements for this year’s Wharic Cycle Challenge road race. For the first time in its six year history, the 108 km challenge, which is made up of two 54 km loops from Boatle to Mmankgodi, will have a kids’ 10 km race category added to it. This latest development follows the ones taken during last year’s Nissan Adventure and the Scorpion Challenge to include kids in cycling events.
“The reason behind this is firstly to groom youngsters interested in cycling from a very young age. This is part of our developmental strategy to groom kids for the future,” Sekwale said. “Secondly, we realised that a lot of these kids come to our events but never have anything to do. We therefore want to encompass them into our events and ensure that they have something to do while their parents and guardians are cycling,” the GCC official further added.
According to the GCC, the other reason for the inclusion of kids’ category is due to the success the club has seen in this category in the past races. Meanwhile, the GCC says it will be cutting on some of the spot prices it has been giving at the event.
Sekwale said that the idea is to put more money into the refreshment tables as well as the price monies for the event. This latest change will be a more welcome development for cyclists taking part in the events, who for the most time had been crying of lack of enough water tables and other essential necessities during races.
Sekwale says the registration for the Wharic challenge, due on the last Sunday of this month, is already on and will end on the 28th of this month.