Tracker doubles its sponsorship of the Tracker Highlands Challenge

10 August 2006 Gareth Crocker

Stolen vehicle recovery leaders, Tracker today (August 10, 2006) announced that they have doubled their sponsorship of the Tracker Highlands Challenge canoe race, which this year will be hosting the 2006 SA K1 National River Championship.

Following the company's inaugural sponsorship of the race last year, Tracker decided to increase its total investment in this year's race to approximately R200 000 to elevate its status as one of the most highly anticipated events on the national paddling calendar.

As part of the increased sponsorship, prize money of some R80 000 will be in the offing with the overall winner of the race receiving R15 000.

The race covers almost 70 kilometres and will be held over two days between August 19 and 20 on the picturesque Liebensbergvlei in Bethlehem.

Voted the Best Organised Race of 2004 and 2005, this year's event has attracted a top field of paddlers including Hank McGregor, Mike Harris, Loveday Zondi, Michael Mbanjwa, Jacques Theron, and Sven Bruss and Darryl Bartho, who recently finished first and second respectively in the K1 race at the much vaunted 135km Avon Descent Canoe Marathon in Australia.

The Liebensbergvlei is essentially a "new" river which flows down from the Katse Dam in Lesotho and feeds into the Vaal as part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Some 250 paddlers are expected to take part in this year's event.

As part of the company's newly launched Corporate Social Investment programme, Tracker will be sponsoring members of the Soweto Canoe Club to participate in the race. This will cover all their costs relating to travel, meals, race entry and accommodation.

Says Tracker's Managing Director, Pierre de Clerk: "The success of the Tracker Highlands Challenge last year prompted us to cement our involvement in South African paddling and we are very proud to further invest in such a wonderful sport. We've chosen to immerse ourselves in paddling because of its clean image, positive association with nature and the fact that it is often enjoyed in the more remote areas of our beautiful country - areas which Tracker is proud to have covered by its national satellite and radio recovery network. To coincide with the launch of our 2006 Corporate Social Investment programme we'll be using the race as an opportunity to make a donation to a local charity and bring up some promising young paddlers from Soweto which is immensely exciting for all of us."

Chairman of the Dabulamanzi Canoe Club in Gauteng - who in partnership with the Maluti Canoe Club in Bethlehem organise and host the race - Colin Simpkins, is overjoyed that Tracker has increased its sponsorship of the event.

"We're very excited about Tracker's extended commitment to the event and believe that this will only add further impetus to a race that is already becoming a highlight on our national race calendar. Paddling is growing well throughout South Africa, but desperately needs companies such as Tracker to get behind it. One of the great benefits of paddling events is how much money they generate for the local communities where they are held. For Bethlehem in particular, the Tracker Highlands Challenge will provide a welcome boost for their economy," says Simpkins.

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