The upcoming uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge from Hillcrest to Hilltop Camp in Hluluwe on 9 December had roped in the services of ex-Springbok Jeremy Thomson and TV personality Stacey Holland as ambassadors for the fund-raising event.
The ride forms part of a greater environmental awareness initiative that raises money for Project Rhino, a group that helps in servicing the anit-poaching efforts in KwaZulu-Natal and all riders taking part have to raise at least R5000 to take part.
There are four different distances that riders can take part in with the hardcore riders tackling the entire 340km route, while Thomson and Holland will be peddling the 100km into Hilltop Camp.
“I am friends with Grant Fowlds and he was on my case to get involved again this year after I took part last year at the last minute,” Sharks rugby legend Thomson commented.
“Being from KZN and loving the bush, conservation is close to mine and my wife’s hearts.
“She calls herself an honouree game ranger,” he chuckled.
“Last year I did the 240km event but I will only be riding 100km this year and I am really looking forward to contributing to conservation in our province.”
After being involved in 2016 and getting to know what the whole event is about, Thomson is delighted that he can see the funds raised going to a worthy cause.
“To be part of something this important and seeing the great work that is done by the people that receive the funds that we raise makes it worthwhile.
“It is a privilege to be involved in a cause like this and it is important to say that there are people that deserve huge praise, like organiser Mark Carrol, for putting such an important event together,” Thomson stressed.
TV personality Stacey Holland, who was born in Zimbabwe, also has a close affinity to nature and the plight of the rhino.
“I am an ambassador for Wild Aid which is a programme that deals with supply and demand and how if we educate and limit the demand for rhino horn we can decrease the supply.
“It also focuses on the socio-economic impact that poaching has on communities where there is a need for income.
“So rhino conservation is something that is very close to my heart,” Holland mentioned.
Holland, who took part in her third Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge recently, has been trying to work on her MTB skills going into her 100km ride over the second weekend of December.
“I do a lot of road riding but I am hoping that I can get to a bike park so I can do some single track riding in cleats!
“The distance isn’t a worry for me it’s riding a mountain bike in cleats,” she joked.
The 2017 uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge takes place from Hillcrest to Hluhluwe Game Reserve on Saturday 09 December.