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RTR / RASA 2019 NEWS FEED

RASA | RTR 2019 Partners

5 July 2019

By: Mike Roy

I write this report in the early hours (3.30am) of Saturday 6 July 2019. A cup of tea, a more than is socially acceptable number of buttermilk rusks and a grey cat that goes by the name of Rosy accompany me. 

The Tracker is open in front of me and a number of riders are already on the move. Jacques Tattersall is past the dam wall and almost at the turn-off for the last stretch to Trouthaven. He will no doubt grab a breakfast and move straight on through Stettynskloof to Diemersfontein, to a well-deserved second place and a sub 12 day time. Eleven days fifteen hours and five minutes is his personal best time from 2017, the seventh best time in the history of FC. He has just over seventeen hours to break that time, should be doable, barring Stettynskloof mishaps. 

Graham Bird is through McGregor and also on his way to Trouthaven. He should also finish today, in third place and on the podium, but is likely to be doing a fair amount of Stettyns in the dark, never easy. This will also give him a sub twelve day finish which will comfortably beat his current best time of twelve days and thirteen hours which he nailed in 2014.

The story of the day yesterday however was the remarkable comeback of Martin Dreyer who made an incredible recovery from his mishaps on the run-in to Rouxpos to arrive yesterday evening at around eight pm to win the 2019 FC in the second fastest time in the history of FC, 10 days and 14 hours or so. He now holds the three fastest times in FC and is a four time winner. It is worthwhile pausing for a moment to reflect on Martin’s sporting CV:

·      Seven time winner of the Dusi

·      Four time winner of the Freedom Challenge

·      Seven time winner of the Non-Stop Dusi and multiple other canoeing events

·      Winner of the Land Rover G4 challenge in 2006 (I’d forgotten about this one, remember watching it on TV)

I am sure that there will be more to come, Martin doesn’t look like he is anywhere near finished with his journey yet. 

My wife and I watched Martin coming in to Diemersfontein last night, courtesy of a live feed through Facebook. I didn’t know that was possible but whoever organized that (FC office) very well done. Whilst we were watching, messages were flooding through on social media. We saw how much damage his fall yesterday had done to his face. We heard Martin say a few words and watched entranced as well-wishers, friends and family welcomed and congratulated him. It was a very special moment. All I can say is that he is clearly a very well-liked and respected man, an extraordinary athlete and a wonderful human being who has made a massive impact on many people. Long may this continue. Congratulations from the entire Freedom Challenge community.

If I have read the winners table correctly I think I am right in saying that this fourth win by Martin beats the record of Tim James, a three time winner of the FC (2008, 2009 and 2015). I’d better check that, I think I am right.

Elsewhere the race is rapidly dying down. I suspect the number of readers of this daily report (all ten of you) will start falling off as the rest of the field arrives in dribs and drabs over the next six days or so. Will it be that much? The last batch is in Rondavel. Max would be six days but probably more likely that they will all be home in five days. So five more daily reports, god knows what us Freedom Writers will have to say in the last couple of days. We will probably start meandering, talking absolute rubbish about any number of things, some of which may have nothing to do with the FC. Freedom Writers should never do that.

I may even be tempted to relay a story about pig farming that Tim James entertained us with on the main FC WhatsApp group a few days back. That would take up two or three hundred words or so. The average daily report is around two thousand words, so that would help enormously. Alternatively I could share an interesting discussion Ingrid, one of my co Freedom Writers, and I shared about the farmer dynasty of Moordenaarspoort, but I won’t venture down any of the avenues above. One thing I can say is that it has been a real pleasure producing these daily reports, I’ve really enjoyed the banter with the FC Writers group and the help from many people in sharing stories that we could weave into our report. Whilst I would have loved to be on the trail myself, to have played a small part in FC 2019 has been really lekker for us FC Writers. Almost as lekker as being a Buffalo Herder.

I digress, apparently not for the first time according to my wife. “Why do you write so much crap??” she says to me, not infrequently. I have no idea what she is talking about. 

Back down the trail the story is as follows:

Last station open is Rondavel where four riders bring up the rear of the snake. Sounds a bit rude, but it is all good clean fun. It’s the Batch Four boys, Nel, Rainnie, Roux and Smuts. Sounds like a Boer War commando. Probably was back in a day, even at that exact spot. Certainly will be when they climb ‘Die Leer” out of the Gamkaskloof. Actually that wasn’t Smuts, it was Reitz (author of Commando), but they were on their way to link up with General Smuts so it is close enough. 

Brief acknowledgement to all support stations before Rondavel (SS#18.5). Your job is done for 2019, thank you. Only seven stations remain open.

In Prince Albert (SS#19) we have eight riders. Well at least I think we have eight riders. I can’t find Mark Basel on the Tracker but assume he is there somewhere. Everyone in PA is on track for a sub 20 day FC, which is great going. Not everyone in the whole of PA, just the riders. Diemershof is a renowned stop on FC, the reward after a difficult day from Willowmore.

Up the Swartberg Pass and down into the Gamkaskloof (if you have never been there just do it, it is unforgettable. Bike or car, doesn’t matter, just get there) we have four riders. Sandy, Johan and Hanko and Andrew Avidon. I’m a bit confused about Andrew, his marker is in the middle of nowhere and I seem to recall reading something about wheel problems. I hope he is ok. Sandy is the bookies’ favourite to win the woman’s category for FC and is holding out well.

Rouxpos has five riders, I am not going to name them because quite frankly I am tired of naming each bloody rider at each bloody support station as I am sure you are tired of having to read about each rider at each station. So let’s do a deal, you guys scan through the riders’ table attached to this report and read for yourself. This way there is more time for me to find the interesting stuff. We all come out feeling better about ourselves.

Talking about interesting stuff I haven’t mentioned the Payne brothers who have in fact finished the race in an outstanding time of fifteen days and change. So they did go through as predicted a few days back. Very impressive, well done.

Another eye-opener is Richard ‘RG” du Toit’s continued troubles. He is one helluva strong cyclist. In fact he is a world-class duathlete in his age category (thanks for this info to Mandy Stephens who rode with him in RTW (Race to Willowmore, a satellite FC event) – “one tough guy” she said). Richard is stuck somewhere in Stetteyns, he was on his way to Diemersfontein. He seems to have tried to retrace his steps to Trouthaven. Another horrible night for Richard after his well-documented adventures in the Osseberg. A night in Stettyns alone is an interesting experience, I know it well, an old friend.

The biggest shock as we open our eyes this morning is the breakup of Brad’s Lads. In their quest for a blanket Batch One have ridden so far under one blanket. Like clockwork mice they have marched down the trail together. What the hell happened last night we will probably never know but Brad their leader has set off on his own out of Montagu. Perhaps we will learn more during the day but the trail is full of dark secrets.

Another sterling stint has been put in by Arno Crous who is now only one stage behind his buddies from Batch Eight. Hopefully he can catch them before the end. I never did find out why he fell behind in the first place, he is clearly a proper rider.

Everything is still on track for nine riders (at least) to finish within fifteen days. As pointed out in a previous daily report this will be a record for an FC event.

There isn’t really much more to say about yesterday/last night. I’ve just seen a post by Mike Woolnough that Jacques Tattersall has just signed in at Trouthaven after spending the night at Reeds Country Lodge – “the one commercial stay allowed” – there is now a debate on about the non-support station stays. My understanding is that a rider can stay at as many commercial spots as he likes but can only stay at one ‘knock-on-the-door” spot. Anyway, let’s leave that discussion for another day.

Enjoy the weekend.

 

Congrats again to Martin Dreyer.

 

#

Rider

Batch # (Days on the trail)

Current location

#Days +/(-) 26 day schedule

 

1

Fanus Vorster

1 (19)

Montagu (SS#23)

4

2

Nigel Basel

1 (19)

Montagu (SS#23)

4

3

Bradford vd Westhizen

1 (19)

Montagu (SS#23)

4

4

Richard Erasmus

1 (19)

Montagu (SS#23)

4

5

Derrick Muller

1 (19)

Montagu (SS#23)

4

6

Johan Radcliffe

2 (18)

Montagu (SS#23)

5

7

Johann Lombard

2 (18)

Die Hel (SS#20)

2

8

Sandy Maytham-Bailey

2 (18)

Die Hel (SS#20)

2

9

Willem Kamstra

2 (18)

Anysberg (SS#22)

4

10

Richard George du Toit

2 (18)

Stuck somewhere in Stettynskloof, having fun

7/8

11

Hanko de Beer

2 (18)

Die Hel (SS#20)

2

12

Philip Erasmus

2 (18)

Montagu (SS#23)

5

13

James Cruikshank

3 (17)

Rouxpos (SS#21)

4

14

Bryn Roberts

3 (17)

Rouxpos (SS#21)

4

15

Graeme Green

3 (17)

Rouxpos (SS#21)

4

16

Radislav Zamandi

3 (17)

Rouxpos (SS#21)

4

17

Alex Kingwill

3 (17)

Prince Albert (SS#19)

2

18

Nigel Payne

4 (16)

Diemersfontein (SS#26) - finished

10 

19

Adrian Payne

4 (16)

Diemersfontein (SS#26) - finished

10 

20

Charles Hughes

4 (16)

Montagu (SS#23)

7

21

Francis Bradford

4 (16)

Montagu (SS#23)

7

22

Kobus Nel

4 (16)

Rondavel (SS#18.5)

2.5

23

Alan Rainnie

4 (16)

Rondavel (SS#18.5)

2.5

24

Francois Roux

4 (16)

Rondavel (SS#18.5)

2.5

25

Mark Smuts

4 (16)

Rondavel (SS#18.5)

2.5

26

Renier vd Merwe

5 (15)

Prince Albert (SS#19)

4

27

Gavin Robinson

Withdrawn

 

28

Andrew Ryan

5 (15)

Prince Albert (SS#19)

4

29

Gary Scoular

5 (15)

Prince Albert (SS#19)

4

30

Grant Cowan

5 (15)

Prince Albert (SS#19)

4

31

Mark Basel

5 (15)

?? can’t find him, probably with his mates in PA

 

32

Derrick Bingham

6

Withdrawn

 

33

Leon Kruger

6 (14)

Prince Albert (SS#19)

5

34

Grant Hill

6 (14)

Prince Albert (SS#19)

5

35

Anthony Avidon

7 (13)

Die Hel (ss#20)

7

36

Kyle Dohne

7 (13)

Anysberg (SS#22)

9

37

Gawie du Plessis

7 (13)

Anysberg (SS#22)

9

38

Scott James

7

Withdrawn

 

39

Liehann Loots

8

Withdrawn

 

40

Arno Crous

8 (11)

Rouxpos (SS#21)

10

41

Fjord Jordaan

8 (11)

Anysberg (SS#22)

11

42

Graham Bird

8 (11)

McGregor (SS#24)

13

43

Leon Erasmus

8 (11)

Anysberg (SS#22)

11

44

Alex Harris

 

 

45

Martin Dreyer

8 (11)

Diemersfontein (SS#26) 

15

46

Gavin Horton

8 (11)

Anysberg (SS#22)

11

47

Jacques Tattersall

8 (11)

On his way to Trouthaven (SS#25)

14



 

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