Among the thousands of participants who took on the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, were six novice cyclists who represented Volkswagen.
The team consisted of six high school learners from Bergville in rural Kwa Zulu Natal, and of the six, five managed to complete the race.
Siyaphambili Team (meaning moving forward) consists of Thobani Mhlongo who finished in a time of 3hours-26minutes-53seconds, Kwanele Shabala at a time of 3hours-18minutes-15seconds, Mashesha Miya in 3hours-29minutes-42seconds, Nonkuthalo Mgomezulu in 5hours-1minute-46seconds and Samkelo Makhaza at a time of 6hours-21minutes-07seconds. The sixth member of the team, Thembeka Mdakane, completed 67 kilometres and was unable to continue the race due technical issues.
“For a team that only started cycling and training a few months ago, we are immensely proud of the team and their achievements in this past weekend’s race,” said Meredith Kelly, Volkswagen Marketing Communications Manager.
The team only started cycling in May this year when Blue Bikes were delivered to their school which is a partnership between Volkswagen and Qhubeka Bicycle Education Empowerment Programme (BEEP). After showing the most promise and cycling talent, the six learners were selected to develop and groom their cycling skills. The Siyaphambili Team started training on road bikes and a local coach was also appointed to nurture and assist them with training. Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) ensured that the team receives proper training and nutrition. The team also attended specialist cycling camps and competed in races leading up to the Telkom 947 Cycle challenge.
“Through the gift of motion, we were able to take these young people from rural Bergville and ensure they have the best possible chance and support in competing in the world’s second-largest timed cycle race, this is an example of how we move people forward,” said Thomas Schaefer, Volkswagen Group South Africa Chairman and Managing Director.
Also competing at the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, were VWSA employees who amongst themselves raised a total of R13 000, which will buy five bikes for rural and disadvantaged children.
“Not only am I proud of the generosity of our employees in personally raising funds for Qhubeka, I am also pleased about the spectator kindness at the event. The public managed to collectively cycle 200kilomteres on our stationary Blue Bike with a kilometre monitor, this means that an additional bicycle will be donated to Qhubeka on top of the 1 100 bicycles we committed to donate by the end of this year,” concluded Schaefer.