The East Rand Classic will move to a slightly different time-slot next year, taking place in early April, which organisers ASG Events feel will be a better fit for the road cycle race.
With mountain-biking options also on offer, entries are open for the races, which will take place on April 4 and 5 in Kempton Park in Johannesburg.
The events have traditionally been held at the end of April, but ASG Events chief executive Erick Oosthuizen said the new dates would suit them better.
“It is nicely situated between the Cape Town Cycle Tour (March 8) and Tour Durban (April 27), so we believe there will be plenty of incentive for cyclists to enter the Classic,” he said.
“It remains one of the most popular races in the region, providing cyclists with a fast course where the outcome often is in the balance until the final stretch.”
This year, however, Kent Main soloed to victory when he broke away with 15km to go to win by two minutes, which Oosthuizen said indicated that you could never quite predict how a race would unfold.
He added that they would be looking at making improvements to the final stretch of the road race.
“We are working on refining a few things regarding that section to see if can make it a bit better for the cyclists heading into the finish,” said Oosthuizen.
“In addition, we are planning to arrange a bike-wash as a service for the mountain-bikers following their races.”
He said they would again be offering a full package of events over the two days, with the start and finish venues at an Airports Company South Africa parkade adjacent to the OR Tambo International airport.
The programme will kick off with the mountain-bike races of 50km and 25km on the Saturday. The longer distance will start at 8am, followed by the 25km at 8.15am.
On Sunday, the 98km classic will get under way at 6.15am, with the 45km race starting at 7.50am.
Oosthuizen said the new race venue proved a success this year, providing a much better logistical outcome in terms of access, security and parking.
“The space available in the parkade allows us to create a venue which is user-friendly for both cyclists and spectators.
“There will also be a beer-tent with refreshments for both days and we feel that will provide a nice vibe to the occasion.”
Caption: Competitors will have a range of races, including road events of 98km and 45km, to choose from when the East Rand Classic is held in Kempton Park in Johannesburg on April 4 and 5. Photo: Henk Neuhoff