Cyclists are normally top of mind when thinking about the Absa Cape Epic, or any major cycling challenge. What many people don’t consider is how the thousands of bikes are serviced and maintained throughout the eight-day race? The grueling task of keeping cyclists safe and on track to achieving their epic goals is left to the hard working mechanics behind the scenes.
Mechanics are a fundamental part of any team entering the Epic noted Eben Venter of West Rand Cycles – a longstanding partner of Team Absa. “We need more skilled and experienced mechanics in cycling, it can become a lucrative career path, one that many young job seeker doesn’t always consider.”
He went on to note that for the 2014 Absa Cape Epic two young men from the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy (DMBA) were chosen to form part of Team Absa’s mechanic support team. Tebogo Mokwatlo, 22, and Clemont Mabula, 20, both have displayed a great willingness to learn. The inclusion of the two young men further showcases the spirit of the Team Absa campaign for this year – which centers around #prosperity.
Mokwatlo joined the DMBA as a cyclist seven years ago and has stayed on as their mechanic. He was drawn to the project because it provided him the opportunity to avoid going down a negative path, offering an opportunity for growth.
Five years ago his interest was piqued by watching the mechanic working at Northern Farm and asked if he could help out with small tasks. “Since helping DMBA with basic maintenance I have been able to start up a small workshop on site where I can store the tools and work on the bikes in a safe area,” says Mokwatlo. “It is my responsibility to make sure that all the bikes are in running order for the kids every weekend and to keep a log of all our equipment.”
He is currently studying towards his qualification in electrical engineering at Jeppe College and started working as a mentored mechanic at West Rand Cycles in January this year, under Venter’s watchful guidance.
“This is a dream come true for me,” he says of being selected for the Absa Cape Epic apprenticeship programme for Team Absa. “Most people where I come from will never have an opportunity like this. I consider myself privileged to be part of Eben’s highly skilled technical team. I am hoping to learn more about team work and hard work itself!” he says excitedly.
He went on to add that his long-term goal is to own his very own workshop, and to become a well known in the industry. The name he has chosen, ‘The Diep Wrenches’, in homage to his hometown.
Fellow Team Absa mechanic working his way through the ranks is Clemont Mabula, the fellow Diepsloot Mountain Bike Academy member shares Mokwatlo’s appreciation for the incredible opportunity to change his destiny. The two young men will receive guidance from the full West Rand Cycles team during the 2014 Cape Epic, representing Team Absa in their challenge for Epic glory. Mentored by Venter and fellow colleagues including Michael ‘Junior’ Murdock.
“Tebogo and Clement were chosen for the mechanic apprenticeship based on merit and their current role at the Academy,” explains Andre Ross, Chairman of the Diepsloot MTB Academy. “We are very excited about this partnership with West Rand Cycles as Eben has been a loyal supporter of our project over the last two years. We are certain that the Absa Cape Epic work experience will up-skill Tebogo and Clement and enable them to further their career prospects in this field. Education and empowerment are core values at the DMBA and we are thankful for this opportunity to provide two of our older members with real-life skills that can assist them in building a better future for themselves,” concludes Ross.
Source: Max Cluer Sports Marketing