Mazda ends sponsorship of South African mountain bike series

Global economic downturn puts paid to partnership

Mazda has ended its seven-year sponsorship of South Africa’s National Mountain Bike Series, blaming economic pressures.

The car company first became involved with mountain bike race sponsorship in South Africa in 2001 when it backed the Mazda Drifter Series, which combined the country’s six premier marathon-distance races.

Since then, it has backed 17 events including the Mazda National Series, the National Marathon Series, the National Cross Country Cup and the National Downhill Cup, including the South African championships for each of the three disciplines.

Fritz Pienaar, former multiple national champion and now director of the national series, said: “Mazda has been a very loyal sponsor and we’re so grateful for its support over the past seven years.

“Unfortunately, with the economic pressures facing the motor trade internationally, uncertainty prevails and much as the marketing people at Mazda wanted to continue to support South African mountain biking in the long term, they were restricted to a short-term budget.”

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