The Bestmed Tshwane Classic has received the remarkable accolade of being acknowledged as one of the five finalists for Participation Event of the Year at the annual Hollard SA Sports Industry Awards, which take place next Friday.
The Bestmed Tshwane Classic is only in its third year of presentation and the nomination, which comes after a process of sifting through hundreds of events, is an incredible feather in the event’s cap.
“We are honoured and humbled to be regarded amongst such illustrious company at this early stage of the event’s history,” said race organiser Mauritz Meyer from the Hectic Promotions non-profit company.
“We are busy vesting the Bestmed Tshwane Classic as a major sporting event on the African continent. That’s the simple and stated goal for Pretoria’s signature mass participation cycling event,” he said.
At last weekend’s third edition of the race, Tshwane Executive Mayor, Stevens Mokgalapa, said the event had proven itself not just in the mass participation space, but also as an immense asset to the city for its contribution to numerous charity projects in Tshwane.
“It is abundantly clear that the race gives back to the community and is committed to the growth of the city and the upliftment of its residents. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Tshwane Metro and we will continue to support the event to ensure it reaches its full potential,” he said.
According to Meyer, most industry commentators said it couldn’t be done when he embarked on the process of staging four years ago. “We were in an economic slump and nobody was starting new major events.
“We also had the specific brief to showcase the city of Pretoria and the logistics behind road closures are very difficult to plan and implement in a city that is largely made up of road crossings and which is densely populated,” he said.
According to Meyer some of the differentiators which the Sports Industry Awards judges considered were:
- In just three years the event already hosts participant totals that took the other major city mass participation cycling events up to eight years to achieve.
- The event hosted more than 200 members from the diplomatic community this year, including 23 ambassadors.
- The event hosted 650 development cyclists who all received free entry and were transported to and from the event by the My Citi bus service.
- The race boasts unprecedented growth in the mass participation event space in the current economic climate. It was presented for the first time in 2017 and was an incredible success, attracting just over 5000 riders. Last year the event built on this success and reached a participant total of just under 7000 cyclists. This year it topped this, if only just, but on the weekend of the Rugby World Cup Final it was a strong indicator of continued buy-in.
- The vision of the Tshwane Classic was to present Tshwane’s version of the Cape Town Cycle Tour and 947 in a traffic free environment. Courtesy of significant and ever-increasing buy-in from the Tshwane Local Government and a headline sponsor procured this year, the event is irrevocably set on this path. This is an incredible achievement in these challenging economic times.
- Buy-in and support from the city increases year-on-year and is nicely illustrated by their commitment annually fund all personnel and equipment for road closure. This is pivotal to create safe passage for cyclists in the city centre, which enables the event to pass by all the major historic landmarks on the Pretoria landscape.
- An iconic venue and well-balanced and scenic route are at the essence of the event’s success. These two elements were underlined again by participants on various platforms after this year’s race.
- The success stands and falls with route control in the inner-city. The Tshwane Metro Police Department continues to grow with the event and route control improves every year as they become more accustomed to the challenges of creating a traffic free environment for a cycling race, which is a lot more difficult than a running/walking race, especially in the Pretoria inner-city.
- The Tshwane Classic is viewed by residents and cyclists as an event which brings the people of Pretoria together for one day in a year to celebrate the city’s beauty, amazing sense of community and camaraderie. These are all crucial elements in bringing positive change in difficult socio-economic conditions in South Africa and the Tshwane Classic is proud to be an enabler in this environment – at an entry fee which is 30% cheaper than any of the other mass participation cycling events.
- The event is presented by non-profit organisation and proceeds are used directly to manage various community-based welfare projects in Tshwane, in collaboration with the Tshwane Metro.
- Courtesy of its start and finish venue at the Voortrekker Monument, the event focusses on the role heritage plays in unity. To this end former Deputy Minister Dr Pieter Mulder presented a guided tour of the Monument this year, which was attended by scores of cyclists including the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Stevens Mokgalapa, numerous ambassadors as well as sponsors and stakeholders.
- The Tshwane Classic is the only mass participation cycling event which presents a professional kermesse to enable spectators to see the professionals up close
- The Tshwane Classic is the only mass participation cycling event which presents a separate fun wheel- chair race for the physically disabled.
“Sport is crucially important for the city and we owe it to residents to present a showcase cycling event. It’s time for Tshwane to present a true mass participation cycling race and we will ensure the event receives continued support to create a traffic free environment for its presentation,” said Mokgalapa.
“The positive response from residents has been remarkable and by far the majority of residents have embraced the event.”