The brief history of Gautengs biggest cycle race, the Pick n Pay 94.7 Cycle Challenge, is a story of unequalled cycling growth and phenomenal individual participation.
From its very recent beginnings in 1997 when 4 000 cyclists decided to take on the challenge of Joburgs Toughest Race, the event has mushroomed into a race which, with total road closure for the last three years has become Joburgs Safest Race. In 2005, the Cycle Challenge has been forced to set the limit on entries at 30 000!
While some pessimists may consider that figure rather fanciful, the fact is that over
25 000 attempted the challenge in 2004, and, at this point in early May, more than 5 000 very positive people have already entered for the race, which only takes place right at the end of the 2005 cycling year on 20 November (Cycle Challenge Sunday as far as the citizens of Joburg are concerned!).
And its a team effort all the way from every one of those very same citizens, particularly the hard-working members of all the departments of the City of Johannesburg who, together with the event organisers, Harford Sports Promotions, 94.7 Highveld Stereo, Pick n Pay and Midrand Country Cyclists, make sure the Cycle Challenge is the total success that it is.
The event enjoys huge buy-in from the Gauteng Department of Public Transport, Roads and Works in closing roads and Highways and a significant face-lift to the route which has been given the go ahead an announcement in this regard will be made shortly - is a direct result of the support from local government, and in particular the passion of Gautengs MEC for Public Transport, Ignatius Jacobs.
Among the many plaudits earned by the Pick n Pay 94.7 Cycle Challenge was the much coveted title of Race of the Year at the 2003 Pick n Pay Cyclist of the Year Awards.
All this supports and advances one of the organisers most important missions which is to position Johannesburg as the continents major sports and business destination. The City of Johannesburg has adopted the slogan The City of Champions, and the Cycle Challenge fits in very nicely with the ideals of this slogan.
Together with a really impressive prize money fund exceeding R200 000 and a gruelling 180km challenge for the elite men, this is a race which offers rewards commensurate with the efforts, and its not just the elite cycling pros who will have their place in the sun.
Supporting the huge 180km race for licenced elites, there will be for the first time a slightly more manageable 94.7km category for the elites as well. And dont forget the even more manageable option in the Childrens Challenge. The Childrens Challenge only caters for 3500 and is oversubscribed annually, so if youd like your tots to line up, dont get caught napping.
For all the information about the Pick n Pay 94.7 Cycle Challenge contact the Race Office on , or visit www.highveld.co.za and enter on-line.