The Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World will be pulling out all the stops as it prepares to become the official home of cycling in Port Elizabeth for the weekend of The Herald VW Cycle Tour.
With just under a month to go, general manager Brett Hoppé said everything was in place to ensure that the facilities would be ready for the influx of riders and supporters from January 31 to February 2.
“We were happy to welcome the tour in 2013 as one of the first major events to be hosted in our new international convention centre,” said Hoppé.
“In 2014 we will be in top gear to help the organisers make it the best event in the 29-year history of the cycle tour.”
He said all Saturday and Sunday’s road races would start and finish across the road at the Hobie Beach race village, with many of the activities spilling over onto the lawns at The Boardwalk.
Event organiser Linda Harwood said the international convention centre’s exhibition level would once again host the registration and expo on Friday (9am to 7pm) and Saturday (9am to 3pm).
She said riders could look forward to an interactive family experience with a coffee and snack bar, complementary physiotherapy massage service and kids’ play area.
“At registration, the emcee will be conducting live interviews with top riders who will be giving their insights on the race as well as tips for participants.”
Harwood said more than 30 exhibitors would showcase their cycling related products and services at the expo.
Exhibitors include sporting apparel and eyewear brands, cycle shops, nutritional products, cycling accessories, fitness and medical services, as well as tourism and trail ride entities.
One of the major highlights of the weekend will be multiple South African mountain bike trials champion Dylan Victor, who is set to entertain the crowds with a heart-stopping display of stunt riding.
“Dylan will showcase his skills throughout the day in a specially demarcated demonstration area inside the registration venue,” said Harwood.
The 20-minute shows take place at 10am, 1pm and 4pm on Friday and Saturday, with an additional 7pm display on the Friday evening.
At 4pm on Saturday, the action moves to Hobie Beach, where Victor will perform a longer 35-minute set on the walkway in front of the marquee tent.
“After his display, the pasta party gets under way with live music, good food and refreshments,” said Harwood.
“We would especially like to encourage non-riding friends and family to join in the festivities throughout the weekend.”
She added that many of The Boardwalk’s eateries – such as Spur, Steers and Mini Orbits doughnuts – would also offer specials throughout the weekend.
News Café will dish out 500 free beers to finishers on Sunday, while Pro Dive Watersport Centre is offering discounts on a range of outdoor watersport activities.
The weekend festival of cycling comes to a close with the main prize giving at the convention centre at 1pm on the Sunday.
Aside from R100 000 worth of lucky draw prizes, one lucky participant will drive away in a brand-new VW Polo 1.4 Trendline.
Enter at www.heraldcycletour.co.za before January 20 to avoid penalty fees. Follow @heraldcycletour or find the race on Facebook.