Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cycling Classic a dream come true



Mark Fraser

The annual Republic Day Cycling Classic has been re-branded the Michael Phillips Republic Day Cycling Classic, “Celebrating 18 years championing the cause of cycling”. The Republic Day Cycling Classic has been a much anticipated fixture on the cycling calendar for a decade, but Phillips actually staged his first cycling event 18 years ago. It began with a dream to rejuvenate the sport which had gone into decline, a lucky opportunity and a bold approach.

“I was dating a dancer at the time, and we were recruited to a photo shoot for a Supligen ad. I arrived at the photo shoot armed with a proposal to Nestle, complete with poster, press ad and t-shirt design,” Phillips revealed.

He submitted the proposal, but with no track record of event management, he secured the deal with creativity, literally.

Phillips, an accomplished artist, invited Nestle to buy one of his original paintings appraised by the 101 Gallery for $7,000.

Half of this was used for him to go to the World Cup, and the other half was to be used as prize money for his first event, the Nestle Nesfit Cycling Classic. With the endorsement of the Nestle brand, Phillips learned the value of networking and the relationships he had established, and moved on to secure other sponsors.

This Criterium takes place around Nelson Mandela Park (formerly King George V) from 2.00 p.m. on September 24. There will be events for all age-groups and divisions.

The main event is the final race, the 30 Lap International Invitational. Several international cyclists will compete against top local riders. All are invited to an exciting day of racing, and in celebration of Republic Day, to come out in Red, White and Black.