by Robynne Stastny

The very popular Redstone MTB & Trail Running Weekend celebrated its 13th year in the beautiful surroundings of Buffelskloof, Kruisrivier near Calitzdorp on the weekend of 11-12 May 2018 with perfect weather and the Redstone Hills as a backdrop – you could hardly ask for more. Although many participants who entered are based in the Eden area, many riders and runners from Cape Town and as far as Pretoria made their way to the event.  The Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport from the Western Cape Government, Annroux Marais also attended.

The event’s location is quite remote, it being situated on the slopes of the Swartberg Mountains between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn. This remoteness and rural atmosphere is probably the attraction to this event. What started as a local-ward project became a parish project of the Dutch Reformed Church in Calitzdorp, evolved into a community project under the auspices of the Redstone Hills Trust, achieving amazing work in the community.

Although the main attraction of Redstone is to spend quality time with your family in a spectacular setting, it also offers a chance to do some competitive riding and running. Through the years there were some serious battles for the honours. Some two time 60km winners through the years were Matthys Beukes, Ischen Stopforth, Yolande de Villiers, Fienie Barnard and Aiden van Niekerk. Hannelie Booyens, Louis Visser and Robyn de Groot are also some of the Redstone alumni.

This weekend was all about families and there were events for everyone. There were 4 MTB distances to choose from were 60, 43, 17, and 11 km. The 17km accommodated more riders from younger ages.

Friday night hosted an 11Km Night Run and 11km Night Ride with a medal for those who finished the race with participants treated to a potjieskos at the race village afterwards.

The racing on Saturday was highly contested with good competition in all the distances. An Oudtshoorn local, Yolande de Villiers won the women’s 60km title for the third time, while Jan Paul Gerber from George won the men’s race the third consecutive time. Second women’s finisher, Fienie Barnard along with her husband Kobus have 13 Redstone Hills finishes to their name of which Fienie was on the podium 6 times and Kobus 7 times. Kobus was also one of the founders of the Redstone Hills event. Robert Du Preez also competed in all 13 Redstone events.

Some of the young riders that made an impression at this year’s event include: Alissa Coetzer, Charlisa Schultz, Zenedine De Nil, Linelle Engelbregt, Reece Wheeler, Nelis Du Plessis, and Cronje Beukes. Most of these riders will participated in the Southern Cape Spur School MTB series that starts on 19 May at Klipheuwel Trail Park, Klein Brak River.

In 2017 Jakhals Events took over the race organizing duties from Dryland Event Management, and again showed their ability to keep up the high standard. The combination of Klein Karoo hospitality and great racing contributed to a fun filled family weekend.

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