MTB racers raise funds for wheelchairs

Participants in this year’s Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race, which takes place on Saturday 16 June at Scottburgh Main Beach, won’t only be in for the usual South Coast cycling treat, but will also be doing their bit to help support local and surrounding communities.

Organisers of the event, now hosted by the newly formed Cycling 4 Mobility, will look to make a major difference in the lives of those with crippling disabilities in the area by using all of the event’s profits to purchase and distribute wheelchairs to those in need.

“All money that we raise from the race will go towards the Cycling for Mobility cause and we’re really hoping to be able to make a significant difference in the lives of numerous people who are unable to enjoy activities such as riding a bike through nature,” said event director and leader of the organisation, Flavio Scarpa.

“Cycling 4 Mobility only started a couple of months ago but already we have managed to make a massive impact and we really hope that, through a successful Sappi Scottburgh MTB race, we’ll be able to continue this work.”

ADDING TO A CAUSE

cycling4mobility-250Bruce Hughes claimed second place in the 2011 Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race (Photo: Kyle Gilham / Gameplan Media)Born out of four mountain bikers’ interest in tackling the gruelling Old Mutual joBerg2c, Cycling 4 Mobility aims to raise funds to purchase and distribute wheelchairs to those who are unable to purchase one themselves.

“It all began when the four of us, Jo Mackenzie, Beth McLeod, Michelle van der Westhuizen and myself, along with the administrative help of my wife Jacqui, got together ahead of the Old Mutual joBerg2c and decided we wanted to make a difference,” said Scarpa.

“We had seen articles in the papers of Peter Fielding’s incredible efforts to collect plastic bread sealers which he then sold and used the funds to repair old wheelchairs and give them to needy recipients and we decided we wanted to add to this cause.”

He says they managed to raise over R20 000 before joBerg2C through a Spin-a-thon, wine tasting evening and a golf day which enabled them to purchase twenty wheelchairs, which were distributed at every overnight stop of the race.

As word of what the four had set out to do got around the support of their fellow mountain bikers was overwhelming and soon the figure had quadrupled.

“Kevin Evans and David George (Nedbank 360Life) appeared on stage at the first overnight stop and surprised us all when they announced they would donate R1 000 of their prize money from every stage they won and that they would auction off one of their ABSA African winner’s jerseys from the ABSA Cape Epic.

“After they won five stages and brought in R14 000 through the auction they gave us an incredible R19 000 which others such as Subaru, Old Mutual and some private individuals helped increase to R60 000!

“It was absolutely unbelievable what these guys did to help and we knew then that we were doing something worthwhile,” Scarpa said.

GREAT PLANS

With Scarpa and his fellow Cycling 4 Mobility members eager to continue their work in assisting disabled members of underprivileged communities, the need to raise funds remained and hence, after previous organisers of the Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race left the event, in stepped the Cycling 4 Mobility team.

“We are really hoping things go exceptionally well at this year’s Sappi Scottburgh MTB Race. The race has just been getting better and better over the past few years with last year’s race really being a fantastic event and we’re hoping that this year will be even more of a success,” said Scarpa.

“We have some great plans for Cycling 4 Mobility and we hope that simply by riders taking part in an already well-established and successful event, that we can keep making a difference.”

More info on Cycling 4 Mobility can be found via www.c4m.co.za and riders can enter the Sappi Scottburgh MTB race via ROAG (www.roag.co.za) with the event offering a 45km Classic, 28km Intermediate and 10km Fun Ride.