REMARKABLE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR PAARL BOXING DAY TRACK CHALLENGE
The historic Paarl Boxing Day Track Challenge this week welcomed the Drakenstein Municipality as official premier partner for the 122nd staging of Africa’s largest track cycling meeting on 26 December 2019.
Drakenstein, which governs Paarl, Wellington, Gouda, Saron and Simondium, has undertaken to exhaust its resources in their bid to market and further establish the meeting as an internationally recognised sporting brand. The municipality has also made a financial sponsorship available to ensure the presentation of a world-class event.
“Drakenstein is honoured to be a key stakeholder in the Paarl Boxing Day Meeting,” said Gerald Esau, Executive Director of Community Services at the City of Drakenstein. “We wish the organisation all the best with the planning and execution of the event.”
The Paarl Boxing Day Track Challenge boasts the distinction of being the longest running event worldwide in all forms of cycling. This year will see the 122nd consecutive annual staging!
It’s truly a sporting monument and still attracts a capacity 5000 spectators to the Faure Street Stadium in Paarl annually. It consistently attracts South Africa’s top professionals as well as a host of international riders who tackle each other for a share of the R100 000 prize purse on the day after Christmas.
It is very much the focal point of track cycling in Africa and victory in the 25 Mile Race remains the pinnacle of achievement for South African track and road cyclists.
Former Cycling South Africa chairman Gotty Hansen still fondly recalls his two victories in the 25 Mile at Boxing Day as the highlights of his career. “The Paarl public are fanatical about the meeting – it was like taking part in the World Championships,” recalls Hansen.
The Paarl Boxing Day Challenge carries years of history and stories that form part of cycling folklore. Another rider who regards his win in the 25 Mile as the most significant of his career, is former South African champion Chris Willemse. Willemse won Boxing Day shortly after opening his first store in Paarl in the early eighties.
“For us Paarl Boxing Day was greater than the World Championships. It was and still is the highlight of the South African track cycling season,” said Willemse.
No other rider has dominated Paarl Boxing Day like local hero Nolan Hoffman. Hoffman grew up in Franschhoek in the Winelands, which is located just 25km from the Faure Street Stadium.
Hoffman has won seven 25 Mile titles and was denied last year by an impressive Bernhard Esterhuizen, who attacked in the back straight on the final lap to claim an emphatic solo victory.
“Boxing Day is not only the biggest track cycling event in Africa, but it is also one of the most spectated stadium sporting events on the continent,” said newly appointed organiser, Mauritz Meyer, from Hectic Promotions.
The meeting concludes with the famous 25 Mile Race and the winner of the final event is regarded as the winner of the day. In addition to the generous prize purse, the Minnaar Cup floating trophy, which dates to 1908, is also up for grabs.
For more information go to www.hecticpromotions.co.za
Follow the race on Facebook @paarlboxingday
Picture caption: Belgian Rickaert Jones (right) edges out South African Champion Nolan Hoffman to win the 10km Points Race at last year’s Paarl Boxing Day Track Challenge.
Picture byline: Owen Loyd
RELEASED BY DE VILLIERS NATIONAL CYCLING, ON BEHALF OF HECTIC PROMOTIONS AND PAARL BOXING DAY.
MEDIA ENQUIRIES EMAIL WYNAND DE VILLIERS ON DEVILLIERSCYCLING@MWEB.CO.ZA OR PHONE 0832697659