The 2021 Momentum Medical Scheme Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen scheduled to take place in the Western Cape from 5-11 September, has been cancelled. The decision was made by the organisers, Dryland Event Management, in conjunction with sponsors and partners.
This is the second time the seven-day UCI-graded race has been cancelled. The 2020 edition was cancelled due to the government restrictions in place to combat Covid-19. The 2021 edition, which has attracted a record number of entries, has also been cancelled for a similar reason, even though the event staff were ready to go following the relaxing of the Lockdown measures from Level 4 to Level 3 this past Sunday.
“The safety of our participants and staff remain our priority. The Dryland Event Management team is ready to meet all the South African government’s Lockdown Level 3 requirements for the 2021 Cape Pioneer Trek, but unfortunately we don’t have assurances from all local government sectors yet and we simply can’t continue to wait and potentially have to cancel the event closer to the race date, so we made the difficult decision today,” said Henco Rademeyer co-founder of Dryland Event Management.
The 12th edition of the event that’s dubbed the #RaceWithSoul was scheduled to cover a distance of 462km with 11250 metres of ascent over seven days in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo regions of the Western Cape. There’s also a shorter four-day version. Because the event moves between different venues, which involves traversing some government land and includes race villages being based at government schools, full support from those departments is required in advance for the event to successfully go ahead.
“In order to stage an event we need full approval from a range of government departments as well as the local Disaster Management Group and South African Police Service. All of these departments give different levels of priority to a sports event like ours. It’s now just over five weeks until the event is scheduled to begin, but we still don’t have full approval from all these departments and don’t actually know if we’ll get it all in time.
“It’s also important to note that Garden Route Covid-19 hospital admissions are on the rise currently. This is likely the primary reason why some departments are reluctant to grant event authorisation,” said Rademeyer.
“So we had a discussion with our main sponsors, Momentum and Biogen and all other event partners, who have been very supportive and understanding throughout the past 18 months of uncertainty and decided it was best to cancel the event. We really do appreciate their understanding and full backing of our decision,” added Rademeyer.
“These are challenging times, but our priority is the health of the participants at the Cape Pioneer Trek. We acknowledge and appreciate that the event organisers are trying everything they can to present events in a safe, compliant manner,” said Carel Bosman Lead: Events and Sponsorships of Momentum Metropolitan. “But with the government regulations in place now, it’s difficult to hold a stage race with all that goes into a race village and we look forward to a return to normality in the near future.”
“We are all obviously disappointed to cancel this year’s Cape Pioneer Trek, and look forward to a time when we can enjoy these amazing events again in their full capacity. That being said we believe the health and safety of all riders and South Africans at large remains the priority during these delicate times. We stand by our partners at Dryland and Momentum and agree this is the best decision for the current circumstances,” said Brandon Fairweather, General Manager Biogen.
Entrants to the 2021 Momentum Medical Scheme Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen will be contacted by Dryland Event Management with various options.
“We will continue to ensure our participants are given the best possible treatment as we protect the integrity of the Cape Pioneer Trek brand. We have a number of options that we will communicate to entrants soon,” added Rademeyer.