Coetzee Gouws

Organisers of Gauteng’s ever-popular Emperors Palace Classic have rerouted “the race of dreams” for its ninth edition on Sunday, April 10.

With entries now open and high numbers of cyclists expected to roll out from the Kempton Park casino resort, the organisers have opted to put safety first and exclude some high-traffic sections on Rondebult Road.

According to race director Wynand de Villiers of ASG Events, the planned route change will affect both the 98km feature race and 40km short course.

“Entries for this event have grown exponentially over the last two years, which is fantastic, but this has also made a route change unavoidable,” said De Villiers.

He said the major change to the feature race would come after the traditional right turn at Carnival City.
“Instead of turning towards Nigel and Dunnotar, the race carries on towards Heidelberg before making a right turn to come back on the R103.”

After taking the R554 and rejoining Rondebult Road, cyclists would only stay on it for 7km before taking the Pretoria road slipway en route back to Emperors Palace, said De Villiers.

“One thing that hasn’t changed is the general character of the race,” he added.

“The road routes are still fast and flat with good surfaces throughout and riders can look forward to a smooth-flowing experience.”

De Villiers said improved safety measures, such as warning signage, more than 200 marshals and 150 traffic officers, would create peace of mind for organisers and participants alike.

He said more than 8 000 cyclists were expected for the weekend festival, which starts with the 20km and 40km mountain biking events on the Saturday.

Also on the Sunday is the Emperors Palace Kids Classic, which is open to children in the three to five, and six to eight years, age groups.

“The Circuit Spectacular brings the weekend to a close. As the name suggests, this 30-minute criterium race is a spectacular display of speed and skill by some of South Africa’s top riders,” said De Villiers.

Entries for the Emperors Palace races, which are presented by OR Tambo International Airport, have already opened.

“It certainly gives cyclists motivation to keep the wheels turning throughout the festive season,” said De Villiers.

Enter at before March 28. For more information, contact or phone 076 830 5578.

Alternatively, visit or follow @emperorsclassic.