Global leader in outdoor equipment, Husqvarna, is putting its weight behind mountain biking in South Africa as a primary sponsor of the opening round of the high profile RockyRoads UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Cascades in Pietermaritzburg between March 16 and 18. In addition, Husqvarna is also the official route and trails partner to the Momentum Health XCO Internationals, hosted by KZN MTB, that lead up to this prestigious World Cup event.
Malcolm Corns, general manager of product marketing at Husqvarna South Africa described the UCI World Cup opener at Cascades between 16 and 18 March as the biggest and best mountain biking event in Africa in 2012. The fact that 2012 is also an Olympic Year means that each round of the UCI MTB World Cup will be even more critical as teams and riders battle for qualification points.
Mountain biking is a relatively new Olympic sport. The 2012 World Cup season will see 10 events on three continents.
According to Corns, Husqvarna South Africa’s decision to be a primary sponsor of the Pietermaritzburg leg of the World Cup which is expected to attract the who’s who of mountain biking (including South African favourites Greg Minnaar and Burry Stander) is not a once off. That said, the payoff for the brand from this single event will be enormous. With 500 riders from 35 different countries taking part, the UCI MTB World Cup series will be televised globally.
Husqvarna will also enjoy significant exposure via branding on both the track and on the event’s website.
He said that Cascades MTB Park was fast becoming one of the most exciting mountain bike venues in the world – and one which was recently completely revamped thanks to a unique partnership between Husqvarna and master track designer Nick Floros. The already popular track has been transformed into a bowtie shaped course. It has been resurfaced with granite overburden which makes it better in the wet and two challenging rock gardens have been added.
“We have an ongoing relationship with track builder, Nick Floros from NES Trails, who has been hard at work using Husqvarna products to build a world-class track. Our brush cutters, clearing saws, chainsaws, blowers and tillers form an essential part of the track-building and route preparation process,” he said.
He said that because the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series was a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Olympics and an important part of the global mountain biking calendar, it was a perfect fit for an internationally recognised brand like Husqvarna. “As a company specialising in outdoor power products there is a natural fit between our brand and the sport of mountain biking. Husqvarna is a rugged, powerful and professional outdoor power product brand and the terrain for mountain biking is much like that tackled by our customers every day. We are proud to be associated with a sport that is epitomised by tenacity, achievement and professionalism.”
He added Husqvarna South Africa has historically been involved in mountain biking and has a comprehensive strategy in place to extend its presence in the sport. Corns explained that “The three Momentum Health XCO Internationals – at Giba Gorge in February, Karkloof in early March and Cascades on 10th and 11th of March – show our ongoing commitment to this sport. This is the second year that Husqvarna has been associated with both the Momentum Health XCO Internationals and the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series.”
Husqvarna South Africa also has two of its ‘own’ mountain biking races – the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run (on 20 May) and the Husqvarna Weenen Game Reserve Classic 2012 (on 26 August).