Spier Wine Farm is the official sponsor for the Eerste River K1 canoe race for the following three years. The race starts at Hangbrug in the Mostertsdrif residential area of Stellenbosch winds through the historical centre of town past the River Festival Site at Coetzenburg where it will be watched by thousands of spectators taking part in Heritage Day celebrations and finishes 12km downstream at the Spier Wine Estate. A minimum river level is guaranteed for the race through a water release from the Kleinplasie Dam in the upper Jonkershoek Valley. The canoeing fraternity regards this stretch of river as one the most exciting white water experiences in the Western Cape.
“This festival is an opportunity for us to connect as a community,” says Andrew Milne, Spier CEO. “We are particularly excited about the Spier Eerste River Canoe Challenge as we hope that it will create more awareness of the beauty of the Eerste River and thereby encourage more people to respect and take care of our riparian systems. They are crucial in ensuring a sustainable water source in the long term for the community.”
The numerous sport and cultural events of the Stellenbosch Heritage Project are staged in such a way that participants all eventually end up at the River Festival site in Die Laan which is closed down for traffic on Heritage Day, 24 September. Visitors can enjoy a free live music show by local groups for the entire day, numerous stalls selling authentic Stellenbosch products and food, and fun and games for the entire family. Visit www.heritagefestival.co.za for more information.
Start: 10:00 at Hangbrug on Tuesday, 24 September at 30-second intervals. Paddler with highest rating starts first; Race duration approximately one hour; A-graded paddlers in K1 only;
Training Run: Water will be made available for a training run on Monday, 23 September, from 16:00 to 18:00; Last paddler to leave not later than 17:00 to avoid ending up in the dark.
Prize Money: Cash prizes to total value of R20,000 are available for all the classes. The guaranteed minimum winning prize first male and female is R4000 each. Five canoes need to participate in a class to make the first three eligible for a cash prize. A Spier gift wine will be given to winners in all 13 classes excluding juniors. The prize giving will take place at the Heritage Festival Site in Die Laan at 12:30.
Branding: Goodie Bags will be handed out at registration. All paddlers will be requested to wear a Spier bib and sticker on each paddle blade.
The Spier Hotel is offering a special discounted Family Package should you wish to stay over See http://www.heritagefestival.co.za/spier-eerste-river-challenge.html. Stellenbosch University further made funds available to sponsor top canoeists from other provinces and they will be staying over at the hotel courtesy of Spier.