Two of Botswana’s top development cyclists, Jabu Tabolane and Tumisang Ramasankate, have appealed for sponsorship as they set to do the country proud at the Joberg2C mountain bike race in South Africa. The race, one of the biggest in the South African calendar of events, is due to start on the 26th of this month.
The 925 km, 9 day cycling race, which starts near Heidelberg, Johannesburg and finishes at Scottburgh in South Coast of KwaZulu ÔÇô Natal, is one of the most grueling cycling events and sees riders completing at least 100 km a day.
Speaking in an interview, the duo, which represented the country at last year’s edition, said they are prepared to go much further in the race this year.
“Last year was our first time in the race and we have come back from it with much better experience. It was very tough but we did well and finished in the top 70 teams out of the 300 that were competing,” Tabolane said. This, according to the duo was achieved despite them not being able to finish the race and competing against international and professional cyclists.
As fate would have it, the duo’s performance during the race impressed their sponsors and now they have been selected to once again compete at the race. The two riders however say going into this year’s race, their intention is to finish in the top 30 teams. Standing in the two riders’ way, however, is lack of funds to make it to the race. Mutual & Federal (Jack Bekker) and the Gaborone Cycling Club have contributed P20, 000 towards the cost of sending Tumisang and Jabu to the Joberg2C event.
“What happens is that Mutual & Federal sponsor us with registration as well as service for our bicycles. For registration alone, they pay at least R27 000 to have us in the race. However, this leaves us in need of accommodation, transport to and from the race as well as food rations during the duration of the race and this is what sponsors are needed for,” Ramasankate explained.
Added Tabolane: “We would also like to have GPS speedometers for the race so that we can see how far we are travelling during the race as well as to check pulses. This can be a great opportunity for local companies to help us and get some mileage in the process. Joberg2C is a very big race and attracts professional riders from across the globe. It also has a lot of media attraction and is broadcast on television which we believe can help our sponsors to be visible to a lot of people,” Ramasankate chipped in. While thankful of the current sponsors, Tabolane and Ramasankate said they would however like to have long term sponsors to take over in the next races. They said with a lot of young development riders coming up, they would like to move on so that they create an opportunity for others to be sponsored to develop.
“We are very thankful to Mutual & Federal who are our main sponsors as well as Seamus O’Neill on behalf of the Gaborone Cycling Club leadership, Medswana, Appex Properties and Seabelo Couriers who have been sponsoring us,” Tabolane said.