The 2017 XTERRA racing season will kick off on a high note at the magnificent Buffelspoort Dam in the North West Province of South Africa next weekend.
“We are excited to once again kick off the XTERRA Racing Season at Buffelspoort Dam,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports. “Our course designers have been hard at work over the Festive Season ensuring that only the best routes form part of the XTERRA experience. Entrants can look forward to an exciting challenge that incorporates magnificent routes and spectacular scenery.”
According to Hendrico Burger, Fedhealth XTERRA Race Director, the 2017 routes feature some exciting upgrades. “The first half of the XTERRA mountain bike (MTB) course will be more challenging and will include a +- 3km steep technical climb with a +- 230m ascent. The second half of the MTB course will be faster and less technical. Route highlights will include spectacular views from different vantage points on top of the plateau. The trail run route will feature a long, steep climb to the top of the plateau, with a new decent towards the Buffelspoort Dam.”
Reigning Cross Triathlon Junior Elite Men’s World Champion, Michael Ferreira, will make his XTERRA “long course” debut on Saturday, January 21st when he takes on the Fedhealth XTERRA at Buffelspoort Dam.
“I took part in my first XTERRA Lite at Buffelspoort in 2014,” says Ferreira. “Although I tried my hand at a couple of road triathlons, I was always a mountain biker at heart. I was able to make a name for myself in the XTERRA Lite Series. In 2017, however, I will be turning 20, which makes me old enough to move on to the long distance XTERRA. XTERRA Buffelspoort will be my first long distance triathlon. I plan to take part in all three XTERRA SA races: Buffelspoort, Nelson Mandela Bay and Grabouw.”
“The XTERRA Buffelspoort route is definitely world class,” continues Ferreira. “The swim is always pleasant. The bike course is challenging, but also fun with a lot of single track. The run is slow going and tough, exactly what a trail run should be like. The trick is to pace well so that you aren't over extended going into the run. The XTERRA Lite is a good introduction to the sport of XTERRA. The course is of such a nature that the faster you go the harder it gets. Newcomers to the sport can take it slow and it will be a fun, easy race to participate in. My goal at the 2017 Fedhealth XTERRA will be to achieve an overall top ten position.”
In addition to the main event on Saturday, January 21, there are also kids races on Friday, Jan. 20, and the XTERRA Lite race on Sunday, January 22nd.
After Buffelspoort, racers can look forward to the Fedhealth XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern Cape) Feb 10-12, then the Fedhealth XTERRA South Africa Championship (Grabouw/Western Cape) Feb 24-26.