Gordon has a target on his back

The Limpopo mountain biking community is looking forward to their provincial championships on Saturday (November 2nd) when they have a chance to unseat Australian Crocodile Trophy Champion Alan Gordon at the Insect Science Classic event.

This year’s Insect Science Classic doubles as the provincial marathon championships which makes the popular event a must-do for all the serious riders in the region, and the fact Gordon will be taking part just adds to the incentive for many up-and-coming riders.

Earlier this month Gordon became something of a minor celebrity in Limpopo when he won the gruelling eight-day Crocodile Trophy in the outback of Queensland, Australia. Gordon added his name to a trophy that already includes cycling stars such as Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España stage winner Adam Hansen and Absa Cape Epic champion Urs Huber.

His Australian heroics will however mean he has something of a target on his back and there is sure to be a host of young bucks hoping to show him that conquering the tough Australian outback is no guarantee of success in the mountainous forests of Limpopo.

The Insect Science Classic (formerly the Magoebaskloof Classic) has a well-deserved reputation as one of those one-day races that are worth doing, and the race organisers are promising to make it even better after rebranding and revamping the event.

The 82km, 45km, 20km and 10km races all start and finish at the Stanford Lake College in Haenertsburg, between Polokwane and Tzaneen. The four race distances mean there is something for everybody from the novices up to the elite racing snakes.

The hilly terrain ensures riders are in for a true mountain biking experience, particularly for the longer event which provides a balanced test of speed, strength, fitness and skill.

Gordon faces some stiff competition from a phalanx of riders that includes the top two in the standings for current Limpopo Provincial Series, Respect Ramashia and Heinro Malan, as well as Carel van Wyk who was with Gordon in Australia and finished ninth in the Crocodile Trophy.

“I think we can expect some fierce racing at the event, and I believe we have the event to do it justice,” said Race Director Marc Noné this week. “Alan was fantastic in Australia and his win there was incredible for the local riding community, but there are a few of his regular rivals from this area who want to muscle in on his glory.

“We have upgraded a few things and generally improved the event so as to give the riders an experience they can really enjoy and produce some racing that does justice to the provincial championships.

“I am sure the riders in all four events will find things better than before when they are out on their bikes, and then they can settle down and watch the Springboks win the Rugby World Cup final on a big screen we have organised,” he added with a hopeful smile.

The racing starts at 7am on November 2. Entries are via www.entryninja.com and online entries close on Tuesday October 29. The event is timed by FinishTime.