2016 sees the Tsogo Sun Amashova Classic turn 30 having grown to become a highlight on most national sporting calendars and a major tourist attraction for Durban in what is normally a ‘quiet’ time of the year for the city. Appealing to all local, national and international social and competitive cycling enthusiasts, race organisers are expecting an unprecedented number of riders to participate this year. Besides its popularity within the cycling fraternity, the event also brings significant socio-economic benefits to Durban each year as well as raises the city’s profile as a world-class tourist destination.
According to an economic impact study compiled by Durban Tourism in 2015, the Tsogo Sun Amashova brought in an estimated R62million to the province. International or national entrants were also recorded as having stayed for two or three nights and spent an average of R4278 during their stay. Besides spending on accommodation and the race itself, spend also went towards restaurants, tourist activities and other amenities which give the city and the province a sound economic boost over the race period – which is normally viewed as a ‘quiet’ period for the travel and hospitality industry.
Races under the Tsogo Sun banner and the Tsogo Sun Amashova events have proved to be a huge success, drawing record numbers of entries, thousands of spectators, and enticing South Africans to experience the thrill of the race while enjoying a family beach weekend away. Tsogo Sun Operations Director for Hotels in the KZN region, Mike Jackson says, “We’re delighted to be celebrating the Amashova’s 30th anniversary as the race’s continued headline sponsor. We anticipate that our partnership with Amashova is giving the race the opportunity to grow to a cycle challenge that appeals to a wider audience of novices nationally and internationally, more riders and families. We have seen year on year growth in terms of hotel bookings which has shown the growth of the race for out of town visitors. We look forward to welcoming a host of new riders to the starting line – and of course to many of our hotels in Durban.”
The study also showed that in 2015, 60% of race participants were local and 40% came from other provinces and further afield. Race Director, Annie Batchelder said, “we had cyclists from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and Namibia. Further afield cyclists from the Netherlands, the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia also participated. This race embodies the outdoor, healthy lifestyle KwaZulu-Natal and Durban have to offer and this is why the race continues to attract riders from all corners year after year.”
The race runs from Pietermaritzburg City Hall to Durban through spectacular scenery, ending at Masabalala Yengwa Avenue, with the prize-giving taking place at Tsogo Sun’s Suncoast. The Tsogo Sun Amashova Classic was the vision of then Springbok Cyclist Dave Wiseman who dreamt of a cycle race that followed the famous Comrades Marathon route. Since its humble beginnings in 1986, the race has grown from a mere 350 entrants to a prediction of over 11 000 in the 2016 race. Starting off at 95kms, adjustments have been made to the route over the years to reach the distance of 106km. In 1999 the race underwent a branding makeover and was named the Amashovashova which means ‘put forward’ or ‘push’ in Zulu. With the addition of the 35km and 65km routes as well as the Minishova 1km and 5km events, the race also started appealing to social riders and spectators as a well organised and fun day out for the whole family.
Jackson added, “It’s annual sports events like this that really promote Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa as a top leisure and sports destination. We’re looking forward to another successful year of the popular Tsogo Sun Amashova.”
The Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic takes place on the 16th October 2016. Late entries are available at registration at the Garden Court Marine Parade on the following days:
- Thursday, 13th of October 13h00 – 18h00
- Friday, 14th of October 09h00 – 18h00
- Saturday, 15th of October 09h00 – 16h00
For more information about the race and road closures, please visit the website the Tsogo Sun Amashova website, www.shova.co.za.