Raising awareness of leopards through the FNB Wines2Whales 2017 Race

Raising awareness of leopards through the FNB Wines2Whales 2017 Race
Published: 27 November 2017

The FNB Wines2Whales event has supported the Cape Leopard Trust Boland Project since 2011 when the event organizers first donated five digital camera traps for their research. ‘In turn’ we provide the FNB W2W media team with the most up-to-date info and photos of the resident leopards sharing the single tracks with the riders.

This year, a generous sponsorship by Jaguar Stellenbosch, enabled us to increase leopard awareness during the event even more! A team entry and kit was kindly sponsored by Jaguar Stellenbosch for locals Hennie Botha (Pastor at Every Nation Stellenbosch) and Graham Groenewald (business owner). The two Stellenbosch Weekend Warriors are part of a group called “Die Wille Honde” (The Wild Dogs) who ride together weekly on their home turf in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. They had always dreamed of taking part in the W2W and to be able to add to the stories of friends who’ve completed it, but Hennie and Graham also wanted to add a “cause” to their cycling adventures.

Enter Jaguar Stellenbosch!! Hennie expressed their gratitude toward Jaguar for realising their dream: “We feel privileged to represent the CLT and what they stand for – the message of leopard conservation is dear to our hearts. We ride in Jonkershoek NR many times a week and often come across leopard tracks – and each and every time it is such a special feeling, knowing that they still survive – even thrive – in ‘our’ mountains ”

Hennie and Graham had a fantastic FNB W2W Race weekend (3-5 Nov). They were hurting by the last day, but their preparation was good and they finished strong. Due to a technical fault on the second day, they, unfortunately, lost 30 minutes and a good finishing place – but that didn’t stop them from enjoying every possible moment of the event.

Day 1 was a tough stage with rain on Lourenford Estate, over the Gantouw pass into Elgin. Lots of mud, sand and icy cold. But, with the current drought the guys were happier about the rain than the day’s cycling! The portage over Gantouw was very special – to see the grooves left in the lock by the ox-wagons in days gone by had them in awe!

The duo described days 2 and 3 as the best cycling and weather they’ve experienced in a very long time. The spirit of camaraderie was amazing, and the organisers’ efforts to protect the environment is admirable…! “It is evident why they choose the Cape Leopard Trust as their charity beneficiary”, added an elated Hennie.

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