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Register on ROAG

Take up the Bell Big 5 Challenge and register on www.roag.co.za for all 5 races and get one race free.The first 300 on-line etries to register for the Challenge receive the Challenge shirt and Bandana plus receive a great goody bag with goods sponsored by Hyperpharm.

Challenge entries will only be accepted on-line at www.roag.co.za.

Bell takes on Big 5 sponsorship

on .

Local manufacturer, Bell Equipment, has announced that it will be the main sponsor of the Big 5 Mountain Bike Series for 2014, succeeding the previous sponsor, MiWay.

Bell Equipment Executive General Manager: Group Marketing, Stephen Jones, said Bell Equipment is no stranger to the Big 5 MTB Series having provided ad hoc sponsorship to the individual races for several years. We are excited by the opportunity to continue and step-up our involvement by taking on the main sponsorship. This includes naming rights to the Series, which will now be known as the Bell Big 5 MTB Series."

According to Jones the company's involvement with the sport of mountain biking started in 2008 when Bell launched the country's first sponsored ladies mountain bike team, in a strategic move which sought to iron out inequalities that existing between the sexes in the sport. "Hayley Smith was our youth development rider in that team and we are proud to have continued our sponsorship of Hayley, who was last year awarded with her South African colours for the sport."

He added: "Mountain biking has great synergy with our business because it is an outdoors, rugged and physically challenging sport. It has great family appeal, which ties in well with the Bell family ethos. The sport is also fast growing and a large number of our employees, customers and suppliers are mountain bikers so our sponsorship is a great way of connecting with our stakeholders and supporting our local community."

Bell Big 5 Chief Organiser, Shane Webster, said: "We are very pleased to have Bell Equipment as our new main sponsor and are certain that the partnership will be a win-win. We would like to continue our current growth rate of 15 to 20% per annum but more importantly we would like to see more family involvement in the Series and make the Series more accessible to everyone. With a local company, of the stature of Bell Equipment, endorsing our event we are confident that this can be achieved."

Webster and his committee are already actively planning the 2014 events, which start on 4 May with the Zini River Estate Buffalo Classic in Mtunzini. However, the usual order of the events has been changed so that the Eshowe Elephant MTB Classic will follow on 22 June, the Kwambonambi Lion MTB race on 20 July, the Monzi Hippo Challenge race on 7 September and the Hluhluwe Super Spar Rhino Charge on 21 September. "This is to hopefully prevent riders having to tackle the Kwambo event in the rain, because the route isn't suited to wet conditions," explains Webster.

Each race is geared to accommodate all ages and fitness levels, featuring a 10km, 25km and 50km ride for all age groups.

The Bell Big 5 Series attracts a fair number of riders to our area to appreciate the nature of Zululand, which takes them through farm lands, sand forest and indigenous bush often including scenic single-track sections. Interestingly last year 3 500 riders registered for the Series of which 75% were aged 35 years and older. Sixty-three percent of riders were from Zululand, 18% from Durban, 14% from elsewhere in the province and 5% from other provinces.

Once again riders are encouraged to take up the Big 5 Challenge of completing all five races, with the best four times of the five races counting towards the Overall Series Results. As added motivation Challenge riders will receive discount of one free race on entering.

Rider registration is online through ROAG. Riders will also be able to register for all five races with ROAG and collect their Big 5 Challenge goodie bag and t-shirt at the Bell Big 5 Challenge Registration at the Mtunzini Country Club on 3 and 4 May.