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  • Day5

    Day 5 - Amashova day

    October 22, 2017 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Race day from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Final 106 km 1160m ascent to Durban. Unfortunately Paul and Maurice had a stomach bug and were unable to race.


    The history of this, the oldest ‘classic’ cycle race in the country, is one of dogged determination to succeed in spite of the odds. The idea of having a bicycle race on the route of the world famous Comrades Marathon, between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, was the dream of veteran Springbok cyclist Dave Wiseman and his friend Tony McMillan. Realising that they needed media support to make the venture fly; they enlisted the help of Fred Forge at the Natal Mercury. Forge assured the duo that he would give the race publicity if they went ahead, and with that assurance they approached Pick n Pay who agreed to sponsor the event.

    The relevant authorities, however, did not share the enthusiasm of this visionary group. The NPA felt one “day long” event was enough and wouldn’t budge. Finally, a local politician, who saw the value to Durban of hosting such a race, forced the traffic authorities’ hand. So, reluctantly, permission was granted for the first race to take place in 1986. The race was called ‘The Natal Mercury/Pick n Pay National Classic.’ The traffic authority gave permission for only 150 riders to participate.

    In the years that followed, the traffic authority gradually increased the allowable participation from this small group to 350, then 500, then 550 and so forth. In addition, these cyclists would have to qualify for the race by doing other events at a fairly high average speed. Only 4 hours was given for all to finish. The impression created by these restrictions was that this was a race for only the most serious cyclists.
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