Not many FNB Wines2Whales participants will be familiar with the names Brendan Booysen, Jason Adams, Denzel Scheepers and Ashwell Swartz –but the riders would have been appreciating their handiwork over the past few days.
The four – the Cape Trails team – are responsible for building the trails along the route which have made the three-day stage race a massive hit every year.
Seven years ago FNB Wines2Whales founder Johan Kriegler, looking for ways to help uplift local communities, hired the four Grabouw locals to help build trails. Three years later the four registered themselves as Cape Trails with the FNB Wines2Whales as their major client.
“They have become integral to the race, if not the most important part of it,”says route manager Lance Stephenson. “They are a shining example of empowerment.”
This week the energy and commitment the four have put into their work earned another reward: the keys to the Grabouw house where they have been living. Grandstand Management, which acquired the FNB Wines2Whales, transferred ownership across to the four.
“Now they have a bond-free house,”said Kriegler.
Stephenson added: “This means they have they have a secure place with a kitchen, warm water, a garden and room for the dogs that they own. There’s also a container provided by Big Box at the back where they store equipment to fix bikes and earn a bit of extra money.”
Booysen was over the moon at the news and said it was a “very good”development for the four.
Kriegler said the house was just reward for their efforts in building many kilometres of singletrack over the years: “Their passion and commitment is incredible.”
“I have such fun working with them, it’s unbelievable,”said Stephenson. “They are very special and committed people and want to improve themselves.”
And there was more good news: FNB Wines2Whales sponsor Plascon has decided to paint the house for them.
“The house wasn’t looking so good and then Plascon came on board as a sponsor,”Stephenson said. “I drive past their house every day and Plascon have done a great job …it’s looking very spiffy.”
And there’s more. Kriegler recounted how “they cycle to work and back every day carrying their equipment …chainsaws, hammers, picks”. And now BH bikes have sponsored the team new bikes: “Thanks a stack for coming on board BH”, said Kriegler.
The race founder said the Cape Trails team was fundamental to the success of the event and quipped: “The route is king and they report directly to the king”