New Karoo mountain bike race launched in Barrydale

Rick Melvill (left), owner of the Karoo Art Hotel in Barrydale, and Kevin Hayes celebrate finishing the inagural Dorp2Dorp race with their Spekboom ‘finishers medals’. Photo: Guy Jennings

THE inaugural Dorp2Dorp Gravel & MTB Race, from Barrydale to Van Wyksdorp, took place on January 28 and 29 and a small field of riders experienced the beauty, heat and hospitality of the Klein Karoo.

The concept for this bespoke series was devised between the organisers Guy Jennings and Alan Hardaker while out exploring the area on their own bikes. Both experienced riders and endurance athletes in their own right, they felt that there was a gap in an already saturated bike racing market.

“One year I raced three races on three different continents, and all three purported to be the ‘Toughest Race on Earth’.

While we definitely don’t want easy races, our rides are more about getting out with limited numbers of like-minded people, mee­ting locals, and discovering places, rather dorpe, around South Africa,” Jennings said.

Both agreed that in all their adventures, it was the people and places that made memories, not the bragging rights afterwards.

Organized under their company Revive Adventures, which was born after lockdown with the idea of reconnecting people with nature, simple pleasures and a revival of their adventurous spirit.

Dorp2Dorp was a two-day race, stopping for lunch in Van Wyksdorp, at the aptly named Spekboom Res-taurant, and overnighting at the beautiful Rooiberg Lodge.

The next day a different route took the riders back to the finish at the Karoo Art Hotel in Barrydale.

Hardaker, who devises the routes, made sure both days were a little over 110 km, with a similar amount of climbing.

Conditions were very kind, with plenty of tail wind, leading to fast times there and back.

“With the amazing routes we have discovered and experienced in the Karoo, I can’t wait to get onto my computer every evening and devise new tracks that I know people will love!” Hardacker said.

Racers enjoyed special touches like ice-cream and PowerBar pro-ducts at the waterpoints, a choice of vegan faire at all venues and a potted Spekboom plant as a finishers ‘me-dal’. More Dorp2Dorp races are in the pipeline, enabling riders to discover new dorpe, people and plea-sures of the South African ‘outback’. (By Mickey Mentz of News62)