School mountain bike racing has become very popular and grown extensively over the years, with schools competing in races in many areas across the country.
The Spur High School Mountain Bike League was launched by Spur Steak Ranches and Amarider in 2009 as an initiative to provide regional and national structure in sport at school level. Early on, the aim was to stimulate event-planning in the many regions where the sport was not active at school level.
Gauteng, originally started in 2001 with just 22 scholars and known as the Anatomic High School MTB Series, joined the League structure and now sees over 750 high school entries at their Spur MTB League events. Each province has worked hard at driving interest amongst their schools and are seeing tremendous growth in numbers as well as school buy-in.
Three years into the League, 2011 saw just over 5000 entries with 243 schools being represented. Now more commonly referred to as the Spur MTB League, has almost 13 000 entries with 500 schools being represented, and allows for primary school participation in selective regions in order to grow a feeder system for the sport. Through the facilitation of Amarider and the hard work by local groups a sustainable model is well on its way to full development.
Thanks to sponsorship from Spur, Amarider now funds all 9 provinces around South Africa with the Inter-schools Final (High Schools only) effectively being the “end goal” for school teams to work towards during the season. The League often refers to the 11 Spur MTB League regions because of the split of Eastern Cape into East London and Port Elizabeth who each hold 3 events and a combined provincial Final. A total of 48 events are organized between May and September in South Africa with the Spur MTB League Inter-schools Final in October.
In addition, neighbouring countries, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Zambia, have formed part of the League in order to achieve the same goals within their structures and are invited each year to compete at the Inter-schools Final at Bekker High School in Magaliesburg.
The League is currently focused on developing an integrated regional structure, while ensuring the development of local capacity.