Stephen Saad completes grueling 240km mountain bike challenge

29/04/12:

Stephen Saad completes grueling Aspen Trans Karoo challenge

Sutherland, Western Cape: Stephen Saad, Aspen Group Chief Executive, completed the grueling inaugural 240km Aspen Trans Karoo mountain bike challenge in 15hrs59min30sec in a bid to raise funds for desperately needed paediatric healthcare facilities in South Africa.

Raynard Tissink won the endurance race in a time of 9hrs42min. The challenge started at Ezelfontein in Ceres and stretched to Sutherland in the Western Cape. Tissink completed the race some 4 minutes head of Timo Cooper and Hannes Hanekom who crossed the line in second and third place respectively. Hannele Steyn was the first lady home with a time of 11hrs32min44sec.

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Stephen Saad, Aspen Group Chief Executive started the grueling race together in support of healthcare facilities for children in South Africa. Saad took on the challenge to raise funds for children’s hospitals through the Sifiso Nxasana Paediatric Trust for the Children of Africa (“the Trust”), which Stephen recently established. The initiative was fully embraced by Dr Motsoaledi as was demonstrated through his race participation.

Saad said, “The race was a beast but an incredible endurance challenge as I’d never cycled this distance before. It was a fabulous feeling to cross the finish line, knowing that my efforts would make a huge healthcare difference for children, irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds.” He completed the race together with team Aspen cyclists Chris Mortimer, a non-executive director of Aspen, Rob Scott and Rick Kennedy.

The 18½-hour race route reached its highest point at 185km, with a 724m climb over 6km on a 12% gradient.

Additional first place race results included:

  • Two man solo team: Mathew Wentworth & Hudson Chevallier.
  • Two ladies team: Anneke Jacobs and Alma Colyn.
  • Two mixed team: Neil and Belinda van Tonder.
  • Four man team: Ben Mathewson, Craig Lillie, John Andrew and Jason Bailey.
  • Four mixed team: Jean Goussard, Francois Boonzaier, Andre du Toit and Hannelle Smith.

Saad has been calling on organisations that have an interest in Africa to support the Trust through sponsorship or donations. The two primary beneficiaries are the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Children’s Hospital.

The Trust was established to support the Long Ride for Sifiso Campaign following the untimely passing of Sifiso Nxasana, son of Judy Dlamini and her husband Sizwe Nxasana, CEO FirstRand Ltd. Judy is the Chairman of Aspen.

Africa presently has 4 specialist paediatric facilities to care for some 450 million children with the only local facility being the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. In contrast, there are 23 children’s hospitals in Canada, 19 in Australia and 20 in Germany.

To support the Trust, download and complete the Sifiso Nxasana Long Ride Campaign pledge form on www.transkaroomtb.co.za.