Liberty Winelands Encounter, a mountain-biking race which is presented by ASG Events, has confirmed that the J9 Foundation cycling team will take part in the event for the first time in memory of Springbok rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen.
In partnership with STANLIB, the three-stage mountain bike race starting on 21st April 2017 will take riders through trails in the Cape Winelands just over two months after Van der Westhuizen passed away from motor neurone disease (MND).
The J9 Foundation team of Cape Town lawyer Dirk Kotze and Namgear cycling equipment company boss Marius Bronkhorst will represent the foundation at the race.
Dirk Kotze said: “Most people, of course, know of Joost and when they see our kit with the J9 Foundation logo there is always a lot of talk about what we are trying to do. People usually ask us if we are riding for the foundation and if they do not know much about it; it provides us with a chance to inform them what it is all about.
“The J9 Foundation was formed by the 1995 World Cup-winning star after he was diagnosed with MND in early 2011. The foundation aided those suffering from the disease and helped with MND research. The foundation have 29 beneficiaries and care for over 40 families who are affected by MND.
“Our main priority was creating awareness of MND rather than raising funds. However, we do have a snapscan logo on our left arm and anybody who wants to donate some money can do so by scanning the code with their cell phone.
"With my regular partner Brendan Snyman, we decided that we wanted to do something more meaningful and support a foundation or organisation. It was then that I saw an interview with Joost on Carte Blanche and decided to contact his foundation.”