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Just four days before top endurance mountain bikers line up for the start of the Absa Cape Epic, sports and education charity Songo.info is hosting an exhibition cross country race to showcase the work of the trust. On Wednesday, March 21, Kayamandi township, outside Stellenbosch, will be the scene for a race featuring some of the most talented mountain bike riders on the planet.
According to event organizer, reigning marathon world champion Christoph Sauser (aka Susi), "Wednesday will be a riders' and spectators' day, fully packed with action and fun! Our Songo kids will be so proud to see people joining them in their township. It will also be the first time ever that the current mountain bike world champions are racing in the township!"
Susi is referring to an exhibition race in which he will line up alongside Specialized teammate and reigning cross country world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, who is in the country after competing at the Pietermaritzburg World Cup this past weekend.
Susi has also invited his friends and colleagues from the World Cup circuit to ensure the competition will be stiff including two current and two former world champions and seven current national champions. "The pro race will host riders from more than 15 different nations. We are looking forward to the support of the mountain biking community. We will also be holding BMX races for kids and even a mountain bike race open to the public."
The Songo.info program was pioneered by the Swiss racer in 2008. A chance meeting between local community leader and avid sportsman Songo Fipaza introduced Susi to the selfless work being done for the kids of Kayamandi. The two teamed up and created the Songo.info charity. Susi then recruited South Africa's Burry Stander to ride with him at the Absa Cape Epic, and together they raised sufficient funds to help Songo Fipaza realise his dream of developing a BMX track to serve the community of Kayamandi.
Songo.info introduces BMX, mountain biking and road riding to the children of the township. The Songo.info program provides a fun and safe environment for children to explore and develop their riding skills away from the township streets.
Today the initiative has flourished into a fully-fledged BMX and mountain bike development program with over 150 children involved in riding. The kids have honed their skills under the watchful eye of Fipaza and have gone on to participate in a wide array of events, from local cross country races to prestigious multi-stage mountain bike events such as the Absa Cape Epic.
Sauser and Stander will be teaming up for the fourth time at the 2012 Absa Cape Epic, starting on March 25. The highly decorated team will be defending the coveted yellow leaders' jerseys they won in 2011. It won't be easy for Team 36One-Songo-Specialized - the race attracts some of the best international mountain bikers. A host of current and former mountain bike world champions and Olympic medalists will be competing for honours. The eight-day event will be contested over 781km of rugged terrain in South Africa's Western Cape. It includes 16,300m of vertical climbing on some of the country’s most challenging mountain passes.
For more information, visit www.songo.info.