On Wednesday, 6 June 2022, after nearly 500 St Francis Paddling Club time trials since 2011 (and many more before that), a new world record was set for 10km. It smashed the previous time by more than two minutes, with an incredible time of 35 minutes and 58 seconds!!
Given the quality of the two paddlers, we were expecting a good time, but not nearly as fast! And it was low tide when times are about 5% slower!
Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocke are household names in the paddling world. Hank has been the top paddler in the world for many years, and Jasper not far behind, also a world champion.
In May 2013, when the record was 43’23”, Pam Golding offered R1,000 for the first canoe or surfski (single or double) to break 40 minutes. This was increased in 2015 to R10,000.
The idea was to promote St Francis as a paddling and sporting destination, good for businesses and property values.
When it seemed that 40 minutes was a bridge too far, the time was eased to 41’45”, but with a catch. The R10,000 would go to the Sea Vista creche and a bottle of Pam Golding wine to the paddler/s!
In 2016, Greg Louw and local Phil Smith broke 41’45” and 40 minutes, with a 39’50”! So Disney Creche benefitted from R10,000’s worth of building maintenance.
It was then decided to offer R5000 for the first single to break Matt Bouman’s single record of 41’26” (set in 2016) and an additional R5000 to break 40 minutes in a single.
On 19 July 2018, Hank not only smashed Matt’s record, but he also broke 40 minutes! When he had 50m to go, the Pam Golding franchisee shouted that the prize would be doubled if he broke 39 minutes, but (luckily!) his time was exactly 39’00”.
Hank and Jasper winning the 2016 World Marathon Champs in 2016 in Germany (photo supplied)
We thought this time would never be beaten, but with Jasper now living in JBay, we thought maybe this could be achieved. So on 20 May this year, we offered R10,000 for the first single to break Hank’s record. However, we attached some strings: the paddler would give some training and take the Pam Golding franchisee on a downwind to JBay!
In the meantime, local ace Phil Smith had improved the doubles record time from 39’50” to 38’15” in 2021 with Ricci Talevi.
On Wednesday, 8 June this year, whilst I was overseas, I read on our WhatsApp group that Hank and Jasper would be paddling that evening. Messages asked what Pam Golding was offering, which I tried to ignore!
Although our offer had been for a single to break 39 minutes, I decided that Hank and Jasper paddling a St Francis time trial was a once-in-a-lifetime event.
So we offered R10,000 if they could break not only the doubles record (38’15”) and 38min, but also 37min. We thought this was a safe bet, especially with a low tide.
Well, they smashed the old record, and they smashed 38min, 37min, and 36min. So they paddled the 10km course in an astonishing 35’58”
This means they paddled at an incredible average speed of 16.7 km/h for 10km. On a course which includes eleven corners per 5km lap (i.e. 22 corners for 10km), almost all very sharp corners!
Surely a record never to be surpassed!
By Richard Arderne
St Francis Bay MTB Challenge 2009, 2010, 2011
By Richard Arderne
The first St Francis Bay MTB Challenge was held on Sunday 6 September 2009, and we waited anxiously at the Links very early that morning, wondering whether we would have 50 cyclists, or maybe 100, but definitely no more than 150.
444 cyclists arrived!
Jeff Clause had agreed to host it at the Links, and that contributed hugely to the popularity, but obviously with that unexpected number of cyclists that arrived, we ran out of entry forms, burgers and much more! But it was a huge success.
In early 2009, Eric Stewart and I had decided that St Francis needed a mountain bike race. So I called Charl Joubert, then chairman of Fat Tracks MTB club in PE, and said “we have the venue, can you help us organize a race?” … to which he wholeheartedly agreed. And so the first St Francis MTB Challenge was held.
Little did I know much work would be involved. Eric and I worked for months, and nearly all day for the two weeks leading up to the race, and then the huge task of marking the route the day before the race!
But we received huge support from locals: sponsorship, prizes, marshalling, assisting at registration, and all the landowners who gave us permission to cycle through their properties.
The Fat Tracks letter after the race from Charl Joubert stated “thank you for making the St Francis Bay MTB Challenge such a special event. … The way everything came together was unbelievable .. riders are not going to forget this race”
So we held the race again in 2010 and 2011, both also great successes. In 2011, due to a very wet winter, we had to postpone the race to November.
Cycling SA’s report after the 2011 race stated “Compliments to the organisers and helpers .. with 570 entries, you are well on your way to becoming the biggest MTB race in the East Cape. The organiser certainly went out of his way to make the event the success that it was, it was once again a fantastic event and everybody confirmed this”
An extract from Our Times after the 2011 race: Next year the race will be organised by the newly formed St Francis Cycling Club. “After three years, I have decided it is time for fresh ideas to take the race to the next level” said Arderne.
Sadly the wet weather in 2012 resulted in another postponement, and it was held only one more time in early 2013, but then wasn’t held again. About time it is reinstated! Maybe the new Coimbra Cycle Centre should do so?
Thanks to various photographers listed in the document below which is mainly from the 2010 Info Document, but with some info from 2009 and 2011
St Francis MTB Challenges: Info
Sunday 6 September 2009, Sunday 5 September 2010, Sunday 27 November 2011
Hosted by Pam Golding Properties and Fat Tracks MTB Club, based at St Francis Links.
Organising Committee: Charl Joubert & Kevin O’Moore (and Kathy van Dyk in 2010, and Wynand Botha in 2011) (all from (Fat Tracks), Jeff Clause (St Francis Links), Richard Arderne (Pam Golding), Eric Stewart (2009 & 2010), Daniel Nel (2009)
CSA MTB approved: one of only four East Cape MTB races on the national MTB calendar. For 30km and 60km races, R5 goes to Cycling SA.
Pre-entries: for 30km and 60km races. Entries after Sunday 29 August might not get a free t-shirt. Numbers are limited due to the sensitivity of the area. www.fattracks.co.za
Fee: R120 for the 60km, R80 for the 30km includes goodie bags with great freebies and free tshirt. 15km is R30 and 5km only R20.
Registration: St Francis Links from 7.30am to 8.45am, start at 9am. Local member of parliament Elza van Lingen will start the races, with a golf cart leading a “slow” start from the carpark, for about 500m until the first hill, to ensure a safe start.
Prize-giving: Medals for the first three men and first three women for each of the eight age groups, from under 12, to over 50. Also great lucky draw prizes.
Prizes: by USN, Sandals Guest House, Country Feeling Clothing, and St Francis Links, plus a Pam Golding award for the first local resident in the 60km race. (2011: lucky draw Commencal bike)
Come the day before: stay at the Cape St Francis Resort at the never-to-be repeated rate of R100 pp, including breakfast. Register between 6 and 7pm whilst enjoying a drink, and enjoy a pasta special. A relaxing breakfast in the morning, knowing you won’t have to queue at the Links.
Water/USN points: Three this year.
Medics and an ambulance: Dr Jean Malan on standby. Roving medic on 4-wheeler.
Free entertainment for the whole family: jumping castle, face painting and dvd’s.
Beneficiary: Disney Creche, in Sea Vista township, St Francis Bay. 80 kids, between 2 and 5 years are fed and looked after every morning. Last year, we raised R2968 which enabled the crèche to be upgraded. This year R10 per cyclist will go towards further help for this worthy cause. We are hoping to raise R5000 this year.
Kouga Municipality Traffic: John Brown, Randall Prinsloo, Nono Soul, Solly Nelson.
Marshall Coordinator: Cathy Carmichael, Motor-bike Marshall: Byron Andrews
T-shirt sponsors: Moore Stephens (x3), African Overalls (x3), Midas Earthcote (x2), PortBay Homes (x2), St Francis Brick (x2), Tag Yachts, Teloc, Jean Hugo, Scribbels, Farol, USN, Custom Bikes, Commencal, Focal Point, Cape St Francis Resort, Humansdorp Butchery
Land Owners: St Francis Links (Jeff Clause); Dunes Country House (Derek & Brent Cook); Sand River Sanctuary (Jimmy Haupt, Terence Marshall, George Lubberson); Chris Erasmus; Rudolph Gerber; Du Plessis Papenfus; Theo v Wyk; Rebels Rus (John Oddy); Rocky Coast (Jan Riggard); Irma Booysen Reserve (Foster – Richard Cowling); St Francis Field (Peter Mitchley), Eskom, Mosterts Hoek, Kouga Municipality
Photographers: Emlyn Horne, Jane Arderne, Mickey Freund, Martin Barbour, Mike Tagg, Sasha Park, Carolyn Greathead, Stan Blumberg
Route Description 2010
The routes are almost identical to last year, with some small improvements, partially to reduce the amount of sand: (good) cyclists shouldn’t have to get off and push anywhere on the route. Most of the race is through private land, so this is an annual opportunity for cyclists to ride on a normally restricted route. Please respect this, and do not leave any litter, not even the smallest item.
The routes will be well marked, (again!), so no-one should get lost. Look out for arrows, white arrows marked on the ground with lime, and danger-tape always on your left. This will be explained again at the pre-race briefing. Traffic officers will be on duty where the route crosses public roads, and local volunteer marshalls at many points where we think there is a chance someone might go wrong.
The 5km route is within the safety of the Links, fairly flat, all on the brick-paved roads, suitable for young children, and even younger one’s accompanied by their parents. Last year this was a very popular race, for many youngsters, their first bicycle race. Great opportunity to see the beautiful Links. When the youngsters get back to the Links, there is free entertainment.
The 15km route is for the more adventurous, an easy flat route out of the Links, onto gravel roads through the indigenous bush of the private Sand River Sanctuary. Look out for small buck, and other small animals.
The 30km route is the ideal route for the reasonably fit cyclist, who will experience a fantastic route: after leaving the Links and the Sand River Sanctuary to the west (and the 15km route), cyclists will head further west, through an indigenous forest, suddenly emerging to a magnificent view of Thyspunt beach, before descending about 2km down to the coast. Here you turn left and head back through Rebels Rus private estate on a jeep track about 100m above the high-water mark, with plenty of sea views, if you are fit enough to enjoy them!
After about 5km you descend right down to the high-water mark, through Rocky Coast Farm (also known as the “Wild Side”) for a very enjoyable 3km, within touching distance of the waves, until you arrive at Cape St Francis.
After a very short section of tar, past some of the houses in Cape St Francis (but short of the Light House), you head along the old road Cape St Francis road, now a gravel track, then a sharp right down a steep gravel path to Stix Pub (best not to stop!). Left into da Gama Rd, left again into Grosvenor (about 500m of public roads), then sharp left up into St Francis Field private estate for a steep 500m climb to the water tower. You then descend about 500m to the St Francis Field exit gate, and soon turn right, onto 3km of tar back to the Links gate, with a last 1km climb, before finishing at the clubhouse.
The 60km route is two laps of the 30km route, with a cut-off of two hours at the 30km mark.
The 70km route is now just one lap of a new route: out to Oyster Bay on the gravel road (22km), and then back to Thys Punt through the Eskom property on a beautiful jeep track (with no sand), through indigenous forest and fynbos, with some amazing views of the coast, and the dune fields. The route then joins the 35km route above Thyspunt beach.
Richard Arderne congratulating Hank on 19 July 2018, after he set the new and still current world record.
© Sandy Coffey
The local Pam Golding office has decided that the first paddler who breaks Hank McGregor’s amazing record of 39min 00secs will win a bottle of Pam Golding red wine … and R10,000.
The St Francis Paddling Club members were blown away that evening when their long-standing record was shattered by nearly 2.5min! Not only the singles record, but he also bettered the doubles record! It was dark, he was on his own on a unfamiliar and winding course, but paddled at over 15km/h for 10km! It was a perfect evening, but the tide was only halfway in, so all the more remarkable.
But now that Jasper Mocke is almost local (living in JBay), it might be time to break the 39min barrier! (he paddled a 19min 35sec 5km a few days ago!)
R10,000 is definitely not sufficient reward for the training required to paddle at that superhuman speed for 10km, so the Pam Golding office is hoping other sponsors will add to this amount.
Obviously there are strings attached! We would like the winner to pass on some of their magic to us by giving the paddling club a talk one evening after our Wednesday time trial and also give our academy paddlers some tips.
Top paddlers motivate us to keep fit .. they are role models and deserve recognition.
It is hoped that one of our club members will take the prize, with former world champ Jasper Mocke being the most likely but maybe Phil Smith or Riccardo Talevi
But the challenge is open to any paddler (without an engine!)
left to right. Lollie Hlela, Joggie Mentz, Greg Renault.
Local Karate Update
At the 2022 Eastern Cape Province JKA Championships held in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, 12h March, students from St Francis Bay JKA Karate performed exceptionally well. They all won or placed in the top three in their respective sections. For many of the students, this was their first Championship. All the hard training paid off, as seen from the superb achievements. As a result, the students received their Eastern Cape Province JKA colours. As a result, they were selected to represent the Eastern Cape Province JKA team to compete in the National Championships in Johannesburg in May this year.
Students: left to right. Chen Wang, Yu Wang, Isabeau Wood, Sean Watson, Davidko Siemens
The SFB JKA KARATE DOJO under Sensei Phil is small in size and numbers, but once again through dedication and determination has produced excellent results.
The detailed results are as follows:
Joggie Mentz (Black Belt) 1st Elite Mens Veterans KUMITE
Greg Renault (Brown Belt) 3rd Elite Mens Veteran KUMITE
3rd Elite Mens Veteran KATA
Sabelo Nkomo (Blue Belt) 1st Young Adult Male KATA
1st Young Adult Male KUMITE
Lollie Hlela (Blue Belt) 2nd Youth Novice Male KATA
2nd Young Novice Male KUMITE
Yu Wang (Purple Belt) 2nd Junior Boys KATA
2nd Junior Boys KUMITE
Sean Watson (Blue Belt) 2nd Junior Novice Boys KATA
2nd Junior Novice Boys KUMITE
Davidko Siemens (Yellow Belt) 1st Junior Novice Boys KATA
2nd Junior Novice Boys KUMITE
Isabeau Wood (Yellow Belt) 1st Junior Novice Girls KATA
1st Junior Novice Girls KUMITE
For information on Karate training contact Sensei Phil (6th Dan) 082 448 3898, or email@example.com
World Surf League Announces Recipients of Second Annual WSL PURE Grant Program
In celebration of Earth Day, the World Surf League (WSL) announces the recipients of the second annual WSL PURE grant program, which has been awarded to organizations in key WSL regions whose work is in support of We Are One Ocean™, WSL’s campaign to protect and conserve the global ocean. WSL PURE is the non-profit partner of WSL.
The 2022 recipients have been chosen in Hawaii, Portugal, Indonesia, South Africa, California, and Mexico, and each grant has a unique connection to the 2022 Championship Tour:
The Freedom Riders Surf Therapy Program in JBay is the South African recipient.
Freedom Riders Surf Therapy Program, South Africa: the program brings surf therapy and ocean education to the youth of Jeffreys Bay. Through the help of caring adults and a supportive peer group, children are able to build a positive self-concept by independently mastering surfing and meditation. Ocean education and awareness are included in the curriculum, inspiring the young participants to become ocean activists and community leaders.
“We are thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2022 WSL PURE grant program and are humbled by the incredible work of these organizations,” said Emily Hofer, Executive Director of WSL PURE. “Last year’s grant recipients protected and restored surf ecosystems in Brazil, Mexico, Hawaii, and California and led a youth conservation summit in Africa. We look forward to supporting the 2022 WSL PURE grantees in bringing their projects to life this year. In particular, we are excited to see the investment in youth and youth education as part of every one of these projects. We at the WSL and WSL PURE are thrilled to use our platform to share this inspiring work and impact with our fans around the world.”