Track cycling takes over the city of Durban, when the Grand Prix and Inter-Provincials take place at Cyril Geoghegan Cycling Track on 10 and 11 July. The events will see some of South Africa’s finest track stars competing for victory at the Olympic standard track.
Built in the early 80’s, the Cyril Geoghegan Cycling Track was constructed to commemorate the late cycling stalwart of the 60’s. It has played host to many SA Track and Para-cycling Championships. The 333m, 42 degree banked track is said to have been the birthplace and catapult of SA sprint star and London 2012 Olympian, Bernard Esterhuizen’s success.
Member of CKZN Track Commission (media), Wally Bodin, says that all preparations have gone smoothly ahead of the weekend’s events. “We have got some fantastic sponsors on board. A sponsor that has been super is Wilderkrans Wine Estate,” he said.
The award-winning vineyard in the Western Cape will be providing bottles of sparkling wine for the winners of the Grand Prix. “This is fantastic, because it takes it all back to the old traditions of a real Grand Prix in other sports, with the winners all receiving champagne on the podiums,” said Bodin.
“We’ve had teams confirmed from the Western Cape, Free State, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. It’s awesome to see that there is a team from the Free State coming, despite the province not having their own track.
“There has been a great entry in the Elite category, with some really good riders competing, as well as the Masters’ categories.”
Names to look out for this weekend, to name a few, would be Esterhuizen, Jean Smith and Team Europcar’s Ryan Gibbons.
“The track has just been cleaned, and its all coming on very well, so we’re all systems go,” concluded Bodin.
South African sprint sensation, Jean Smith, arrives in Durban on Friday, and is feeling good ahead of the weekend. “I’m looking forward to racing this weekend, it’s going to be a good one,” he said.
Smith, who is a well-known track cycling sprinter, has been focusing more on endurance riding of late. “In terms of preparation, I’ve spent a bit more time on the road and in the gym to improve my strength and endurance,” he said.
Team Europcar rider, Ryan Gibbons, is not too nervous about this weekend’s events, but is rather interested to see how the races unfold. “To be honest I’m a bit of a track novice, I only really started on the track last year. I competed in November and didn’t even have a bike, the first time I got on a track bike was for the event,” said Gibbons.
Gibbons mentioned that he has been using a borrowed bike, and learning a lot about track cycling as he goes along. “I have received lots of help from Martin van Wyk, whose been helping me out with gearing and all of that, which has made a huge difference,” he said.
“Being a road cyclist, I’m fairly comfortable with the longer distances, but I’ve been entered by my province as a sprinter. I try to make it onto the track at least twice a week,” he said.
With many accolades to his individual as well as team name this road season, including taking the 2015 aQuelle Tour Durban victory, Gibbons also received four medals in the 2015 South African Track Championships earlier this year.
“I’m really enjoying track cycling, it adds something new to my cycling abilities and I feel will ultimately help me out with other variables on the road. It’s never a bad thing to be a bit more versatile, and many great road cyclists started out on a track bike.”
The 2015 Durban Interprovincial event will take place on Friday 10 July from 6-8pm, and the 2015 Durban Grand Prix will take place on 11 July, from 9am-4pm.