Himeville - Ten former rugby stars will setting off from the Southern Drakensberg Hamlet of Himeville for the 2017 KAP sani2c mountain bike “Adventure” on Wednesday 10 May, each with a different agenda for the three day odyssey to Scottburgh.
SARLA Boss Stefan Terblanche will head up the five pair entry from the SA Rugby Legends Association (SARLA), partnering former lock John Slade for the legendary trip from the Berg to the beach, and says he is itching to start the 2017 challenge, his fifth edition of the world’s biggest MTB stage race.
For his partner John “Slugger” Slade, the 2017 race presents an opportunity to set right the hiccups that dogged his race last year.
Said Slade, who is the most experienced sani2c rider in the SARLA line-up, having completed the race seven times before. Last year his final stage into Scottburgh was something of a nightmare after he broke his derailler and had to ride the entire stage in one gear.
“And it wasn’t the right gear either!” Slade quipped. “sani2c single speed was not part of the plan!"
This year he has drawn SARLA boss Stefan Terblanche as a team mate, which has both its own pros and cons.
“Stefan is a freak of nature,” says Slade. “He is so strong. I will just try to stay on his wheel.”
It didn't take long for the sani2c to wrap its hooks around the former Sharks forward, and over the years he has ridden it in various different formats and at different times of the year.
“Every sani2c is different. Farmer Glen always tweaks and changes the course and it gets better and better every year. Last year’s route was unbelievable and the single track was superb,” says Slade.
He said the SARLA team approached the race as a unit, set on enjoying the mood and vibe of the Adventure, where time and position are less important.
“On Day One and Day Two we tend to ride with our partner, but on Day Three we stick together as a unit, all the teams ride together.
“That way if someone is battling or has a problem, we all work together to get them to the finish in Scottburgh,” he noted.
He was also thrilled that Terence Chapman, who runs the SARLA office and has been a loyal seconder and supporter of the SARLA teams taking part in the KAP sani2c, was due to ride his debut sani2c.
“That is well deserved!” gushed Slade. “He has been such a great guy supporting us for many years and to get to finally ride is brilliant. He may struggle a bit on the hills on Day Two, but we will get him through,” said Slade
Also riding in the SARLA colours will be old time scrumhalf and flyhalf pairing of Craig Jamieson and Henry Coxwell, the centers Trevor Halstead and Matt Pennefather, outside backs Shaun Payne and Neil Penrose, and the sani2c debut pairing of SARLA’s Terence Chapman and Neil Cole.
The SARLA teams entered into the KAP sani2c are John Slade/Stefan Terblanche, Craig Jamieson/Henry Coxwell, Trevor Halstead/Matt Pennefather, Terence Chapman/Neil Cole and Shaun Payne/Neil Penrose.