Max Menzies and his Mcgregor Young Warrior, Fernell Reque. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za
Close to 500 riders will set off from George today for the fourth stage of the Momentum Health Cape Pioneer Trek presented by Biogen.
As the iconic event moves from town to town along the East Coast and into the Klein Karoo, the deeply embedded footprint of the ‘Race with Soul’ only becomes clearer.
Mossel Bay came alive for the opening Prologue event with Milkwood Primary School as the official race venue for two days. Teachers, parents and learners alike rallied up to serve the cycling community in every way possible, from lavish buffet dinners to supporting them along the route.
The same heart-felt hospitality was encountered at Kervel High School in George, who has been a part of the Cape Pioneer Trek journey since its inception 10 years ago.
These are just two of many schools that benefit immensely from the funds raised with each edition of the event, and were proud to display newly-developed hostels, astro-turfs and sporting equipment as a result.
Farmers open up their land in Outeniqua for cyclists to enjoy. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za
Another significant impact is made on local farming communities, who offer their land to give cyclists the ultimate experience of South Africa’s scenic landscapes.
One such farmer, Piet van Zyl, approached Dryland Event Management with over 30km’s of trails in Outeniqua Bosch Estate to offer.
“It has always been a dream of mine to develop mountain biking trails here, and the opportunity to team up with the Cape Pioneer Trek forced me to make that a reality. It was a privilege to offer the use of my land for this event, and I was blown away by the amount of cyclists who came to enjoy it!” he explained.
Perhaps the greatest impact of the ‘Race with Soul’, however, is made on the riders themselves. A particular participant stood out at today’s start line, a young man by the name of Fernell Reque.
The school learner grew up in an impoverished farming community in McGregor, Western Cape.
His life changed dramatically, however, when he was approached by Max Menzies who had started a riding academy called ‘McGregor Young Warriors’ to help children in the poverty-stricken area.
As Menzies nursed the youngster’s cycling dreams, he reached out to the sponsors of the Cape Pioneer Trek for help.
Momentum Health gave Reque a complementary entry to the iconic event, and Dryland Event Management in conjunction with Giant SA organised a proper bicycle for him to buy at a discounted price.
As Menzies watched his young athlete take on an experience that once seemed completely out of reach, he commented:
“Cycling this race is just a small portion of what’s going on here. Fernell has been exposed to a completely different world, and has become part a much bigger cycling community. He’s seen a glimpse of this crazy life we’re all very blessed to have, and with our help, he now has hope to strive for more in life.”
A parting shot from Carel Bosman, Momentum’s Head of Sponsorship:
“We’re not only proud to be a sponsor of this event, but a helping hand to the many lives that are impacted because of it. Fernell’s story is one of many we get to encounter each year, and we trust that this experience will lead to even greater things for him.”
Milkwood Primary’s learners cheer on Cape Pioneer Trek cyclists. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za