SA To Host World’s First 7-Day Gravel Stage Race

7-Day Point-to-Point Gravel Stage Race To Be Held In Western Cape.


Bicycling Staff |

The Rainmaker RollerCoaster, the world’s first seven-day point to point gravel stage race, will take place from 6-12 October 2018 in the Western Cape, South Africa.

The RollerCoaster is the latest offering from HotChillee, the cycling event group behind the renowned London-Paris and Cape Rouleur races. HotChillee has embraced the growing phenomenon of gravel riding over the past three years and have joined forces with digital disrupter Rainmaker Solutions, the title sponsor of the inaugural event.

The RollerCoaster offers riders the chance to race 550km with 8000m of climbing from Swellendam to the coastal resort of Plettenberg Bay. Riders can take part in teams of two or can ride in small groups supported by the HotChillee Ride Captains. The event will be open to mountain bikes as well, but the parcours will suit the speed of a gravel bike. There will be jersey and age category awards.

“I was hooked on my first gravel ride three years ago,” said Sven Thiele, HotChillee Founder. “Putting the RollerCoaster together over that period has been a wonderful experience and seeing the level of buy in by locals, authorities, riders and sponsors indicates that gravel racing and riding will be the new wave of cycling. The route between Swellendam and Plettenberg Bay will stand out as the finest and toughest gravel race in the world.

“South Africa, and the Western Cape in particular, is ideally suited to gravel riding with its quiet, long and safe district roads that connect towns, villages and farms. There are challenging climbs and the terrain and scenery is some of the most beautiful in the world. It combines the best aspects of road and mountain bike riding, but at the same time imparts a unique cycling experience that we believe takes this wonderful sport to a new, exciting level.”

gravel stage race
Image supplied

The RollerCoaster begins with a sunset time trial in the Bontebok National Park, Swellendam, a few hours drive from Cape Town, and will finish in Plettenberg Bay on the iconic Garden Route. With a distance of 550km, the route follows gravel roads and trails of the farmlands in Swellendam, into the semi desert of the Little Karoo, along the lush Garden Route, through the Knysna forest and finishes at the breathtaking coast of Plettenberg Bay. Participants will stay overnight in tented race villages, with upgrade accommodation packages available.

gravel stage race
Image supplied

Minister Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities and a keen cyclist himself, said the Rainmaker RollerCoaster would play an important part of the Western Cape’s plan to entrench the province as a preferred cycling tourism destination: “This project has been high on my agenda since launching the Cross Cape gravel routes. Having an international 7-stage gravel race take place in the region will further demonstrate what the region has to offer to local and international tourists.”

Stage details:
Saturday 6 October: Stage 1 – Swellendam (Prologue) (16km/135m)
Sunday 7 October: Stage 2 – Swellendam – Swellendam (57km/1150m)
Monday 8 October: Stage 3 – Swellendam – Riversdale (107km/2000m)
Tuesday 9 October: Stage 4 – Riversdale – Calitzdorp (109km/2100m)
Wednesday 10 October: Stage 5 – Calitzdorp – Oudtshoorn (53km/350m)
Thursday 11 October: Stage 6 – Oudtshoorn – Knysna (140km/2150m)
Friday 12 October: Stage 7 – Knysna – Plettenberg Bay (74km/1650m)
Event date: 6 – 12 October 2018 (5 – 11 October 2019)
Registrations open: 14:00 GMT, Tuesday 5 June 2018
Entry cost start from: 12,950 ZAR (single occupancy two-man tent with all meals)

READ MORE ON: cycling events Cycling South Africa Cycling Western Cape events gravel Gravel Riding HotChillee Cycling news