Like so many other sporting events, the South Coast Fever MTB and Trail Run Series has fallen victim to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Series organiser Michael Bester from One Way Productions on Monday confirmed the cancellation of the 2020 edition of the popular annual series.
“Who would have thought that after all the excitement, parties and champagne, together with all the new year resolutions as the numbers counted down to zero at midnight, that 2020 would turn out the way that it did,” said Bester.
“It’s like falling asleep and waking up in some weird post-apocalyptic movie. To think that in the twenty-first century, with all our technology and knowledge, that something so small can still shut the whole world down in such a short space of time…unthinkable and unheard of! That is however where we are and our new reality, but thanks to all the medical engineers, we are seeing some light at the end of this tunnel.
“Our lives are slowly returning to the new normal as the economy starts to open up again, but it will take many months, even years for communities, lives, businesses, sport and so many aspects to our world to fully recover.
“It is with this in mind, that I have to sadly announce that the Ugu South Coast Tourism flagship event, the South Coast Fever MTB and Trail Run Series 2020, one of the South Coast’s most prestigious events, has been the latest victim of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Bester explained: “Even if the lifting of some restrictions are imposed around July/August, simply due to the nature of these races and size of these events, there are so many aspects to consider:
1. “The venues where these events are hosted annually will have to be fully open and when operational, there will be many post-Covid restrictions which will cost the venues money to implement and to date, nobody can say when these venues will be fully available and open. So, planning the future is a nightmare!
2. “The social distancing aspect of a sporting event where racing and competitive sport is part of its adrenaline, will not be possible to implement successfully, and setting batches of 50 runners/riders and then cleaning before the next batch can go, is both impractical and kills the spirit of this very exciting sport. It was initially stated that no spectator-type sporting event will be able to be held until the threat of Covid-19 is gone and/or people can be vaccinated. Vaccinations are still in the testing phase and might be available at the soonest around December if at all this year.
3. “The PPE required with all the masks and cleaning agents, and the duties of an appliance officer to measure and document competitors and visitors, will be more like a sci-fi movie or circus than a sporting event, extremely admin intensive…not to even mention trying to fit all five races in on a new KZN and CSA Cycling calendar, before October and to top it all, we need people to enter and attend which will not happen until people are satisfied that all events are safe.
“It is very sad indeed because this year would have been the fifth birthday of the South Coast Fever MTB and Trail Run Series and we were planning lots of fanfare and excitement as well as lots of big prizes as part of the celebration, but it will unfortunately have to wait for the 2021 season. The well-being and safety of all our competitors, athletes, families and visitors have to always come first.
“MTB racing and trail running is an outdoor sport and nothing beats the fresh air and the trails cleverly laid by the race organisers that takes you through water and over bridges, past coffee farms and deserts, through plantations and over beaches with spectacular views and sunrises…ending with dirty bikes and mud-covered faces. That is how it started and that is how we would like to continue.
“Online racing or eSport was a suggestion at some stage, but it’s simply not the same and trying to make it fit within the parameters of live sport, when clearly it’s compromising the sport and definitely not the same experience, it was decided that the series will be back in its current, exciting format in 2021 with its fifth birthday celebration.
“It will be even bigger than we planned for 2020, so if you want to be part of this spectacular event, don’t miss out when registration opens early 2021.
“All the sponsors for the South Coast Fever MTB and Trail Run Series have confirmed that they will be on board, so we hope to see all the champions, families and lovers of mountain biking and trail running back on the tracks when the series kicks off in June 2021.
“Watch out for lots and lots of specials and packages when pre-entries open for this exciting season! Stay safe, stay fit and get ready for South Coast Fever MTB and Trail Run Series 2021 as soon as it’s safe to do so.”