Rain forced the postponement and eventual cancellation of Round 3 of the 2022 Gauteng XCO Series, presented by Suzuki at Future XCO, Monte de Dios, east of Pretoria. But the brand new racing venue will get its chance to shine when it hosts the Gauteng Championships on Saturday 11 June, where a strong field will do battle for provincial titles.

Provincial XCO racing has never been in such a stable position in Gauteng; and while rain did create some havoc with the 2022 Gauteng provincial series events, the standard of racing throughout the categories has improved immensely, especially in the Junior, Youth and Sub-Junior divisions, which attract large numbers.

Jaedon Terlouw and Karlise Scheepers will start as the favourites in the Elite/U-23 men and women’s races respectively on Saturday. Both have won a round of the provincial series and performed well at Round 4 of the SA Cup at Thaba Trails last weekend, confirming their good form ahead of Saturday’s provincial showpiece.

Monte de Dios is an upmarket weddings and conference venue just outside Pretoria. It’s home to Future XCO course, which has been built and refined with the aim of being one of the premier XCO race venues in the country. The provincial XCO course is 3.9km long with 148m of ascent and 141m of descent per lap.

The course includes a range of stimulating obstacles to ensure skill is tested as much as strength and stamina. The main ascent includes a 24% pitch, which should offer a solid climbing test, while a blend of rock gardens, drop-offs, gap-jumps, jumps and berms make up a course that’s challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

There’s an additional course that’s tamer (2.5km with 60m ascent per lap) and will be used for the Lite events on Saturday. The Lite races are designed to encourage new participation and cater for the younger divisions and are presented by Like2Bike.

“Gauteng-registered riders will be recognised with titles and medals. If a rider from different province finishes in the top three, he/she won’t qualify for the provincial accolades as that will go to the top three from Gauteng. There will, however, be two podium presentations where non-Gauteng riders that finish in the top three will get some recognition,” said Paola Damilano, Gauteng XCO Series organiser.

“The top three in each category will qualify for provincial colours for 2022 if they have competed in 75% of the provincial series events and if they aren’t lapped during their race,” she added.

Suzuki is the presenting sponsor the 2022 Gauteng XCO Series and provincial championships. Other brands that have invested in the sponsoring the Gauteng XCO Series are EcoLogic (bike wash products), 100% (eyewear products), 32 GI (performance supplements), Med Guys (medical support) and SHRED (media partner).

For more information, contact Paola on 083 2523752 or paola.damilano@me.com