Mogano, Zulu an Epic team

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But he did just that in March with just a week-and-a-half notice competing alongside partner, rally driver Gugu Zulu, as Team Rea Pele.

“It was very hard and I didn’t know what to expect. I enjoyed the single tracks and downhills but not the hills that much. But I was happy with my performance and I’m hoping to compete next year.” said Mogano.

DMA was established in 2006 at the Northern Farm in Gauteng and provides kids from the Diepsloot township schools with basic life skills and access to mountain biking. Mogano was among the eight cyclists of the DMA to be invited to participate in the Epic.

So how was it teaming up with racing champion Zulu?

“It was a bit difficult as my partner suffered so I had to wait for him and that affected our time. But I learned so much from Gugu: that there is no need to compete as you only have yourself to beat, to concentrate and to not get emotional because that will affect you.”

The team finished in 369th position in a time of 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

Zulu who races for Volkswagen Sasol, has won numerous titles and is enjoying his 12th season competing on the SA National Rally Championships circuit.

So how was his third Cape Epic experience?

“I took the race in my stride especially as my original partner had to withdraw two weeks before the event; so I got teamed up with Lawrence and at 19 years old, he really handled himself very well,” said Zulu.

“He has so much talent and patience with me and finished the race with flying colours. I had to warn him, though, that it was an eight-day race so he had to slow down, relax and not go out so hard, to conserve his energy.”

Zulu has been a member of the DMA since 2013 when he used their grounds for training. “I saw the kids and was so impressed with what they were doing at the academy and I must commend CEO Andre Ross for doing such a wonderful job. I am now on their committee and involved in their one-on-one operations.”

If Zulu is not competing on the track, he competes in other cycling and running races.

“I’ve done different stages of the joBerg2c, a couple of local races and the Lesotho Sky. It’s a great opportunity to network and good excuse to get my wife (Letshego Moshoeu) to race because it’s our lifestyle.”

Known as the “adventure couple”, the pair teamed up for the 2013 edition of the Epic and has competed in numerous events from the Cape Town Cycle Tour, 94.7 Cycle Tours, Ironman to most recent, the Two Oceans Marathon.

Mogano was a key member of the DMA High School MTB Series racing team, and 2014 highlights include competing at the South African National MTB XCO Championships, the Gauteng Provincial MTB XCO Championships and representing the national team for MTB XCO at the African Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana.

He matriculated last year at Sunrise High School and trains at the academy over the weekend. “We don’t race one another, just ride the course to try to improve our time and skills.”

Mogano admires fellow DMA member and professional cyclist, William Mokgopo, who was a member of the Elite Under-23 XCO Team last year and is a regular Epic competitor.

Zulu believes Mogano, one of the promising young leaders at DMA and shortlisted to undergo UCI coaching training in the future, can go far in mountain biking.

“The academy is looking at a race in Namibia for him and encouraging him to spread his wings.”

Zulu says motorsport faces the same obstacles as mountain biking. “It’s quite an expensive sport when it comes to rallying and finding new people who can afford to compete so hopefully there will be more categories to cater for these top-notch drivers.

“It’s quite challenging as some still view motorsport as a hobby and finance is tight with a full budget to run a team but we’re hoping to get more profile and sponsors on board.”

Zulu has enjoyed competing in the racing league for over a decade and has no plans to slow down.

“I love travelling all over our beautiful country, with races in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, a couple of races in Gauteng and Northern Province (Limpopo) . Each race is different from Durban where it’s slippery, to Mpumalanga which is through the Sabie forest so there’s plenty of forest and hills.

“I would love to compete at the Le Mans 24 and the Dakar Rally and I’m up for the challenge if I’m able to get sponsorship.”

And 36-year-old Zulu prefers the outdoors for his motor racing training.

“I enjoy keeping fit by mountain biking and putting in the hours at the academy rather than being cooped up in a closed atmosphere like the gym.

“It’s still early days in our season. I finished sixth in the last race but there are still eight races to go so.”

As for Mogano, his plate is quite full. “I’m going to do a part-time course in cycle mechanics and want to get a degree in Sport and Leisure Studies.”

Original source: Mogano, Zulu an Epic team

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