Brian Joss – Land Rover’s famed all-terrain abilities have enabled organisers of the popular FNB Wines2Whales mountain bike race to perform tricky recces of the remote routes riders will cover this weekend.
First staged in 2009, the FNB Wines2Whales three-day stage race has become an icon of the South African mountain biking calendar with a reputation for a festive atmosphere, gorgeous Cape scenery and amazing trails. The trails may offer competitors a bucket list experience to be enjoyed on two wheels, but very little of the total 207km route is designed to be accessible on four.
In the weeks leading up to this weekend’s tenth staging of the race, organisers have covered most of the entire route from the comfort of Land Rover vehicles in order to finalise and make the last tweaks necessary to ensure this year’s Wine2Whales is extra special.
In addition to the usual route recces, Land Rovers will also be used to support race operations and logistics to access sections of the route which are not easily accessible by regular vehicles. Land Rover’s offroad abilities are crucial to the quick responses required to safely pull off this type of adventure race.
Scheduled to run until November 4, the FNB Wines2Whales event is divided into three separate and consecutive races – Chardonnay, Pinotage and Shiraz – each spanning three days and catering to different rider profiles. The three categories are focused on women’s racing, amateur teams and men’s and mixed racing respectively.
This year there are new trails on each day introduced to improve the rider experience, and each stage includes special Land Rover Technical Terrain sections to add an extra challenge. The biggest route change will be in the last few kilometres which have been updated to accommodate the new finish venue at the classy Marine Hotel, slap bang in the middle of Hermanus. It’s the best whale-watching spot on the entire coastline and will mark an appropriate end for a special event and a place where riders can celebrate their achievements with family and friends.
Tina Pienaar-Smith, Sponsorship Manager, Jaguar Land Rover South Africa, said: “We are very excited to partner with FNB Wines2Whales for the first time this year as the Official Vehicle and Route Partner. We’re also excited to see some of our Land Rover Directors participating in this much-cherished mountain bike race. Good Luck to them and all the 2019 FNB Wines2Whales Riders, as well as the teams that work behind the scenes to pull off such an amazing event.”
Land Rover strengthened its presence in the highly popular mountain biking arena by signing a three-year partnership in May, as the Official Vehicle and Route Partner of the FNB Wines2Whales. Mountain biking remains one of the most popular participative sports, with many taking it up as a form of exercise and opportunity to see the lesser-explored parts of South Africa.
CAPTION: Scouting around: tweaking the final route. Picture: Motorpress