The Fort Schanskop road was first raced back in 2004 but gravity racing in Gauteng seemed to die down after that. In fact there had been no races outside of the Western Cape since 2004 until First Nature helped the South African Gravity Racing Association (SAGRA) bring gravity racing back to Gauteng in 2010 when the first King of the Fort was held. This year, the event as a whole will be hosted by First Nature and SAGRA will be in charge of the actual racing, enforcing rules and regulations and making sure that the race is run in as safe a manner as possible. All racers will get points towards the SAGRA National Championship and national level points towards the International Gravity Racing Association (IGSA) World Cup.
The majestic Voortrekker Monument is situated in a nature reserve near Pretoria (Tshwane), the capital city of South Africa. It is a unique Monument which commemorates the Pioneer history of Southern Africa and the history of the Afrikaner. Today it is the most visited heritage site of its kind in Gauteng and one of the top ten cultural historical visitor attractions in South Africa.
Fort Schanskop is one of four forts built by the government of the South African Republic before the Second Anglo-Boer War. Located in a peaceful environment, secluded from the Gauteng rush and buzz, it boasts an impressive view over the Pretoria CBD and a 1.7km long winding road which will test many of the skills required to be a competitive gravity racer. It’s the perfect venue for a downhill race!
The Schanskop course is steepest at the beginning which propels riders into the first corner. This long left hand corner is possibly the most challenging corner of the hill because it tightens up on the exit and should be hit at full speed in order to maintain as much speed as possible for the long straight that follows. The gradient flattens out a bit on the “Pearly Gates Straight” so if you didn’t get enough speed through the first corner you will lose ground on your competitors here. After the Pearly Gates the riders enter a set of S-bends, starting with a right hander and followed directly by a left hander. Another left hander brings riders into the final straight. It will take the riders over 2 minutes to get to this point so the unpracticed will have to strain to stay in their tuck if they want the advantage entering the Infamous Chicane. The Chicane is two 90 degree corners directly one after the other, a hard right and a harder left which will separate the pros from the newbs. With the finish line just 20 meters after the chicane, this is the most exiting spot on the hill. This is where most of the crashes occur and is usually where the race is either won or lost. The importance of taking a good line through the chicane was emphasized last year when Matt Arderne came from third position before the chicane and finished ahead to be crowned King of the Fort 2010.
17:00 – 21:00: Welcoming at Fort Schanskop and tech inspection.
9:00 – 10:00: Registration (compulsory for all riders) and last minute tech inspection for those who missed Fridays tech inspection.
10:00 – 13:00: Practice runs.
13:00 – 17:00: Qualifying. (More practice runs if qualifying runs finish before 5pm)
10:00 – 13:00: Practice runs.
13:00 – 17:00: Racing.
17:00 – 17:30: Prize giving.
Original article, King of the Fort by First Nature.