The 34th Dis-Chem Ride for Sight was held in near-perfect weather conditions at Boksburg City Stadium on Sunday 19th February. The road race, a seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour 2024 and the 2023 Virgin Active, Ride Joburg 947, attracted a sizable field of loyal supporters.
The men’s race, over a tough 116km course which was dominated almost throughout by the spirited early and long prevailing 3-rider breakaway of Rohan du Plooy, Casper Kruger and Josh Dike, eventually went to a bunch sprint after this trio got reeled in inside the dying kilometres.
This presented the ideal opportunity to the defending champion, Josh van Wyk, a renowned international track specialist, multiple SA champion, and the record holder of the 124-year-old Paarl Boxing Day 25 Miler to convincingly outgun the field in the dash for the cash.
The second wheel in the all-new straight highspeed finish run in, was the talented junior Emile van Niekerk. Third place went to the once retired 35-year-old Boksburg resident and the 2014 race winner, Herman Fouche, when most impressively recording his best comeback result.
Van Wyk’s victory is particularly remarkable in that Sunday’s was his first race back after a serious velodrome crash last year which left him side-lined for several months.
The women’s race featured a small field content to leave the outcome to a sprint-finish, which saw the race favourite, past winner and former world championships medallist Cherise Williett, the silver medallist at the recent SA Championships, surprisingly losing out on a podium spot, after a superb sprint effort from last year’s runner up Lize Ann Louw, with Sannara Grove and Ricci-Lee Brookestone filing the remaining podium step.
All the categories were hotly contested with many bunch finishes throughout the morning. Neil Crosthwaite, the 1986 SA Professional Champion scored a popular victory in the 50-plus Masters category when recalling his exceptional sprinting skills of old.
This was a superbly presented race with very few casualties and a good field of almost 2700.
One of the country’s most important single day bike races – the Dis-Chem Ride for Sight, is proudly sponsored by Dis-Chem Pharmacies. Retina South Africa is the beneficiary of this event which funds research and upliftment projects in the fight against retinal blindness. Over the last 34 years, the event has raised well over R10m and ensured South African patients will have access to emerging treatments