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Freedom Challenge 2019 - RASA Race Day 7

1 July 2019

Words: Steven Burnett

 

6am Monday 1 July. Tickets please!

It was the opening of the Baviaanskloof Reserve gate at Bergplaas. There are buffalo and rhino free roaming in this reserve, and for safety reasons escorts are required to chaperone riders for 50km. This train is a one way service and has a timetable of 2 trains per day.  The 6am and 1pm trains become a target goal from a few days out. The riders lined up might have shared this goal, but amongst them encompassed almost every sort of rider on the trail.

Richard du Toit of Batch 2 made a valiant attempt to make it through this gate the previous day, but as outlined in yesterdays report even the best laid plans can come horribly awry quite quickly. He joins in with the rest of Batch 1 who might have ridden in two groups along the way but have matched each other since leaving PMB 14 days ago.

The Payne brothers of Batch 4 have worked their way through the field and now find themselves at the head of it. 

The final inclusion to this group almost missed the boat. Martin Dreyer (Batch 8) had a decent (5hour!) sleep at Gegun (SS13), and left there 4:30am on Sunday morning, riding through Toekomst (SS14), Bucklands (SS15) and Hadley (emergency SS) before taking on the Grootriver crossings at night. According to the GPS timestamps, it was touch and go for a long time and he really did have to push to make this. The group had already left Cambria(SS15) to sign into the park when he arrived, he could have settled in for a well deserved 6 hour break and leave at 1pm, but chose to join the rest of the riders and thus a batch of 8 got going together. I’m sure many stories were shared, and it would have been a change for Martin to ride in a group and take the mind off the chase for a bit.

6am Tuesday 2 July

We do this all over again! There were no riders on the 1pm train, but there are many waiting at the station overnight. Once again this will be a meeting point as they have all come from different destinations! Philip Erasmus; Willem Kamstra; Johan Radcliffe (Batch 2) all slept at the Hadley farmhouse and have had a comfortable “half” day. Graeme Green (Batch 3), Charles Hughes and Francis Bradford (both Batch 4) were at Bucklands and have managed to get through the Grootriver in daylight.

The final 3 passengers are expect to be what has been dubbed P234, our three Batch 8 riders in tied 2ndplace (Alex Harris, Graham Bird and Jaqcues Tattersall). They have been about 20 hours behind Martin for about 3 days now, so are holding the gap he had established by Romansfontein(SS9). They have the same ordeal to get through in order to make this 6am train, and there are enough curveballs to hold them up. While it might seem to many that Martin has got this sewn up, he does still have the small matter of 750km to ride to the finish in the face of the cape winter. All of the P234 riders have won this race before, and they will know that anything can happen in mountain biking and there is still plenty to play for here. 

Further back Johann Lombard, Sandy Maytham-Bailey and Hanko de Beer (Batch 2) went from Kleinpoort (ESS) through Bucklands to Hadley (ESS) and will no doubt do the half day to Cambria in time for Wednesdays’ 6am departure. They should be joined by Bryn Roberts, James Cruickshank and Radislav Zemandi (Batch 3) who have opted for the safe confines of Bucklands guestfarm.

A big mention should be made for our Lanterne Rouge rider, Arno Crous(Batch 8). He has been on his own since Tinana Mission 5 days ago. He has been pushing hard and could well work back to his group if he times his run into Cambria well.

 

 

 

#

 

 

Rider

 

Batch # (Days on the trail)

 

 

Current location

#Days +/(-) 26 day schedule

 

1

Fanus Vorster

1 (15)

Damsedrif (SS#17)

2

2

Nigel Basel

1 (15)

Damsedrif (SS#17)

2

3

Bradford vd Westhizen

1 (15)

Damsedrif (SS#17)

2

4

Richard Erasmus

1 (15)

Damsedrif (SS#17)

2

5

Derrick Muller

1 (15)

Damsedrif (SS#17)

2

6

Johan Radcliffe

2 (14)

Cambria (SS#16)

2

7

Johann Lombard

2 (14)

Hadley (SS#15.5)

1.5

8

Sandy Maytham-Bailey

2 (14)

Hadley (SS#15.5)

1.5

9

Willem Kamstra

2 (14)

Cambria (SS#16)

2

10

Richard du Toit

2 (14)

Willowmore (SS#18)

4

11

Hanko de Beer

2 (14)

Hadley (SS#15.5)

1.5

12

Philip Erasmus

2 (14)

Cambria (SS#16)

2

13

James Cruikshank

3 (13)

Bucklands (SS#15)

2

14

Bryn Roberts

3 (13)

Bucklands (SS#15)

2

15

Graeme Green

3 (13)

Cambria (SS#16)

3

16

Radislav Zamandi

3 (13)

Bucklands (SS#15)

2

17

Alex Kingwill

3 (13)

On his way to Toekomst (SS14)

1

18

Nigel Payne

4 (12)

Willowmore (SS#18)

6

19

Adrian Payne

4 (12)

Willowmore (SS#18)

6

20

Charles Hughes

4 (12)

Cambria (SS#16)

4

21

Francis Bradford

4 (12)

Cambria (SS#16)

4

22

Kobus Nel

4 (12)

Gegun (SS#13)

1

23

Alan Rainnie

4 (12)

Gegun (SS#13)

1

24

Francois Roux

4 (12)

Gegun (SS#13)

1

25

Mark Smuts

4 (12)

Gegun (SS#13)

1

26

Renier vd Merwe

5 (11)

Toekomst (SS#14)

3

27

Gavin Robinson

Withdrawn

 

28

Andrew Ryan

5 (11)

Toekomst (SS#14)

3

29

Gary Scoular

5 (11)

Toekomst (SS#14)

3

30

Grant Cowan

5 (11)

Bucklands (SS#15)

4

31

Mark Basel

5 (11)

Bucklands (SS#15)

4

32

Derrick Bingham

Withdrawn

 

33

Leon Kruger

6 (10)

On his way to Toekomst (SS14)

4

34

Grant Hill

6 (10)

Toekomst (SS#14)

4

35

Anthony Avidon

7 (9)

Toekomst (SS#14)

5

36

Kyle Dohne

7 (9)

Bucklands (SS#15)

6

37

Gawie du Plessis

7 (9)

Bucklands (SS#15)

6

38

Scott James

7

Withdrawn

 

39

Liehann Loots

8

Withdrawn

 

40

Arno Crous

8 (7)

On his way to Gegun (SS#13)

6

41

Fjord Jordaan

8 (7)

On his way to Gegun (SS#13)

6

42

Graham Bird

8 (7)

On his way to Cambria…?? (SS#16)

9

43

Leon Erasmus

8 (7)

On his way to Gegun (SS#13)

6

44

Alex Harris

8 (7)

On his way to Cambria…?? (SS#16)

9

45

Martin Dreyer

8 (7)

Currently having a sleep at Damsedrif (SS#17)

10

46

Gavin Horton

8 (7)

On his way to Gegun (SS#13)

6

47

Jacques Tattersall

8 (7)

On his way to Cambria…?? (SS#16)

9

 


 

Freedom Challenge 2019 - RASA Race Day 6

30 June 2019

Words and Buffalo pics by: Mike Roy

Pictures: Llewellyn Lloyd

Today was moving day, the trail south of Hofmeyer gives plenty of opportunity to do more than one stage in a day – to double or even triple up. Even more if you are one of the leaders. With kind weather today the majority of riders did more than one stage. More of that later, we first have to deal with the dog of a day that Richard du Toit experienced. 

Last night we left yesterday’s hero Richard holed up at the abandoned campsite down the Ossaberg track, the culmination of two days of proper non-stop riding. He had spurned the comforts of Hadley and driven on to tackle Mordor (Boksburg). This turned out to a decision that he will probably regret for a very long time. Early this morning, at around 1am, probably out of desperation because he must have been so damn cold, he made his first crossing of the Groot Rivier. I’m not even going to try and describe the nightmare day that followed, I’m hoping Chris will insert an image of his tracker route for today, as that will tell the story better. Basically he went nowhere for 12 hours.

Eventually, towards lunch-time with him totally lost, he luckily managed to join the two riders who had elected to stay at Hadley the night before, Fanus Vorster and Brad vd Westhuizen, and the three of them made it through to the oasis of Cambria late afternoon. Richard will forever be part of the Baviaans FC folklore, his story told in hushed whispers to terrified novice FC riders.  He must be absolutely buggered, three days with no sleep. Last night will have been too horrible for words. Respect Richard, we doff our caps to you. We will watch with great interest as to how you do tomorrow. If you double to Willowmore there is a R200 donation from each of the FC WhatsApp group (all 184 members) to the Scholarship fund.

I have tried to get a few quotes from Richard, I’ve sent him a WhatsApp (there is cell reception at Kudu Kaya). I’m not holding out much hope, he was last seen on WhatsApp yesterday at 16:00, probably at the turn-off to the Ossaberg jeep track.

I have updated the table I prepared yesterday – Chris managed to get it up ok, thanks Chris, although a couple of columns didn’t make it. Somehow it still seemed to make sense. I’ve rejigged it and hope it is helpful in following the progress of our riders. Let me just check (it is now 18:00), two hours since I updated it, that everyone is where I thought they were going to end up for the day.

 

 

 

#

 

 

Rider

 

Batch     (Days on

 the trail)

 

 

Current location

 

#Days on the trail

 

#Days +/(-) 26 day schedule

 

1

Fanus Vorster

1 (14)

Cambria (SS#16)

14

2

2

Nigel Basel

1 (14)

Cambria (SS#16)

14

2

3

Bradford vd Westhizen

1 (14)

Cambria (SS#16)

14

2

4

Richard Erasmus

1 (14)

Cambria (SS#16)

14

2

5

Derrick Muller

1 (14)

Cambria (SS#16)

14

2

6

Johan Radcliffe

2 (13)

Hadley (SS#15.5)

13

2.5

7

Johann Lombard

2 (13)

Kleinpoort (SS#14.5)

13

1.5

8

Sandy Maytham-Bailey

2 (13)

Kleinpoort (SS#14.5)

13

1.5

9

Willem Kamstra

2 (13)

Hadley (SS#15.5)

13

2.5

10

Richard du Toit

2 (13)

Cambria (SS#16)

13

3

11

Hanko de Beer

2 (13)

Kleinpoort (SS#14.5)

13

1.5

12

Philip Erasmus

2 (13)

Hadley (SS#15.5)

13

2.5

13

James Cruikshank

3 (12)

Toekomst (SS#13) 

12

1

14

Bryn Roberts

3 (12)

Toekomst (SS#13)

12

1

15

Graeme Green

3 (12)

Bucklands (SS#15) 

12

3

16

Radislav Zamandi

3 (12)

Toekomst (SS#13)

12

1

17

Alex Kingwill

3 (12)

Jakkalsfontein (SS#12)

12

0

18

Nigel Payne

4 (11)

Cambria (SS#16)

11

5

19

Adrian Payne

4 (11)

Cambria (SS#16)

11

5

20

Charles Hughes

4 (11)

Bucklands (SS#15) 

11

4

21

Francis Bradford

4 (11)

Bucklands (SS#15)

11

4

22

Kobus Nel

4 (11)

Jakkalsfontein (SS#12)

11

1

23

Alan Rainnie

4 (11)

Jakkalsfontein (SS#12)

11

1

24

Francois Roux

4 (11)

Jakkalsfontein (SS#12)

11

1

25

Mark Smuts

4 (11)

Jakkalsfontein (SS#12)

11

1

26

Renier vd Merwe

5 (10)

On his way to Gegun (SS#13) – Tollies?

10

3

27

Gavin Robinson

5 (10)

Withdrawn

10

 

28

Andrew Ryan

5 (10)

On his way to Gegun (SS#13) – Tollies?

10

3

29

Gary Scoular

5 (10)

On his way to Gegun (SS#13) – Tollies?

10

3

30

Grant Cowan

5 (10)

Gegun (SS#13)

10

3

31

Mark Basel

5 (10)

Gegun (SS#13)

10

3

32

Derrick Bingham

6 (9)

Withdrawn

9

 

33

Leon Kruger

6 (9)

Jakkalsfontein (SS#12)

9

3

34

Grant Hill

6 (9)

On his way to Gegun (SS#13) – staying at Tollies..?

9

4

35

Anthony Avidon

7 (8)

On his way to Gegun (SS#13) – Tollies?

8

5

36

Kyle Dohne

7 (8)

Gegun (SS#13)

8

5

37

Gawie du Plessis

7 (8)

Gegun (SS#13)

8

5

38

Scott James

7

Withdrawn

 

 

39

Liehann Loots

8

Withdrawn

 

 

40

Arno Crous

8 (6)

On his way to Hofmeyer (SS#9.5)

6

3.5

41

Fjord Jordaan

8 (6)

On his way to Newlands (SS#11)

6

5

42

Graham Bird

8 (6)

On his way to Toekomst (SS#14)

6

8

43

Leon Erasmus

8 (6)

On his way to Newlands (SS#11)

6

5

44

Alex Harris

8 (6)

On his way to Toekomst (SS#14)

6

8

45

Martin Dreyer

8 (6)

On his way to Cambria (SS#16)

6

10

46

Gavin Horton

8 (6)

On his way to Newlands (SS#11

6

5

47

Jacques Tattersall

8 (6)

On his way to Toekomst (SS#14)

6

8

 

Tonight Cambria hosts eight riders, all five riders from Batch One, two days ahead of a regular schedule, probably the finest Batch One grouping in the history of FC. Believe me I know a lot about Batch Ones. They are joined by the shattered Richard du Toit and the two Payne brothers, who have had another great day in the saddle. Hadley looks likely have at least three campers, Phil Erasmus, Johan Radcliffe and Willem Kamstra. These guys will be all be aiming to get into Cambria in time for the 13:00 bus at the Baviaans gate. Alternatively they may well be thinking of staying right there and recharging their batteries for the final push to Diemersfontein, especially if you have a FC Buffalo Herder cooking you a nice steak, although apparently that doesn’t happen anymore, if it ever did.

Hadley may well have another guest for the night in Martin Dreyer. Big question is will he stay there or will he push on through the night to Cambria to try and make the 06:00? Opinions are divided on social media, we will know by the time I finish this report (which seems to take longer and longer each night, this journalist lifestyle is not for the faint hearted).

Further back on the trail Bucklands is hosting Hughes and Bradford from Batch Four and a strong looking Graham Green (Batch Three), who spent a fair amount of time with Martin Dreyer today and is one of the better performers from the first three batches. Looking 30km further back at Kleinpoort are three riders from Batch Two who must be debating on whether or not to move through to Bucklands. Actually I can understand their strategy, I’d hazard a guess they aim to have a very pleasant ride through to Hadley tomorrow where they will overnight before taking a full day to get through to Cambria. They are a day and half ahead of schedule so can afford to drop a half day before the Baviaanspoort proper opens up on the home run.

Toekomst hosts three guys from Batch Three - Cruikshank, Roberts and Zimadi, all three running a day ahead of normal schedule and they too can probably afford to drop a half day to Cambria if called for. One of the more notable performance of the day is probably that from Grant Hill who will have gained more than 2 days today – and is part of a group of five who are staying at Tollies tonight because the inn is full at Jakkalsfontein (SS#12), so they had to ride on. He started in Hofmeyer (SS#9.5) this morning so that would be one helluva effort to get to Tollies from there – almost three stages in a day. That’s Martin Dreyer style. 

For old FC hands Tollies used to be a support station. The entire valley is owned by the Jordaan family, a family with a proud rugby history. Paul Jordaan previously of the Sharks, that’s where he comes from.

Jakkalsfontein (SS#12) has five riders staying tonight. All five guys are keeping to a conservative schedule, four of them a day ahead of standard schedule. The fifth rider, Alec Kingwell is the one rider left in 2019 FC who needs to make sure that he doesn’t start losing days. He has been on the trail for twelve days, a day in a day for the entire route so far. Good man, he is my guy, I’ve got his back. Maybe a double tomorrow Alec…? Right through Gegun to Toekomst? That will give you a possible gap to do the Bucklands- Cambria leg in two days. The racing snakes will be very puzzled by all of this, but this is how it works at the back of the field. We also have to think ahead. We just think more slowly because we have more time.

The three riders left from Batch Seven, Anthony “Brian Ferry” Avidon, Kyle “Do” Dohne and Gawie “Gawie”du Plessis are going great guns and should all be in Gegun tonight, five days ahead of standard schedule. I have no idea why I have given each of them ridiculous nicknames. This journalist lark is very demanding and to pass the time it helps to invent things. Anthony has a very lovely wife Ingrid who has had enough of all of this FC nonsense and has gone away for a week to a remote beach. “Stuff this” she said and left Steve and I to do the daily reports.  Which we love doing, don’t get me wrong.

Kyle is another Eston boy – or is he same one that I’ve mentioned in previous reports? I’ll have to check. I have checked and I’m still unclear. Anyway I’ve stalked him on FB and all I can tell you is that he is that he is a fan of the band (musician?) Jeremy Loops, a first for an FC entrant.

***BREAKING NEWS**** Martin Dreyer is nearly at Hadley. We will shortly know whether or not he going to set off for Cambria. If he does we are all in for a long night. Hold this thought.

F”jord”Jordan, Leon Erasmus and “Lays an Egg” Horton look like they are going to Newlands. We may have a problem here – they are very good riders and may want to push on to Jakkalsfontein, which as we know is full. They could move on to Tollies and join the others who are there. OR they could just ride through the night like Richard du Toit. Right now all options are open. It’s just dawned on me that Phil and Leon Erasmus may be brothers.

News from the chasing three – known as P234 on social media (position 2, 3 and 4). All three appear to have left Gegun for destinations further down the trail. Martin Dreyer left Gegun at 04:00 today so they are 16 hours behind Martin and must surely be furiously doing the Baviaan’s gate calculations in their heads as they ride. 

*** BREAKING NEWS*** Martin Dreyer sails straight past Hadley, this is going to be a long night. Some interesting stats from stats guru Carl:

Martin Dreyer’s time to Hadley:

2017 out of Hadley 01:40

2019 out of Hadley 20:35

By my reckoning he is therefore 5 hours and 5 minutes ahead of his record 2017 pace. Not too bad.

A few guys who I haven’t mentioned:

Arno Crous, who is right at the back of the field in terms of where he physically is (coming in to Hofmeyer) but who is actually three-and-a-half days to the good and still quite capable of a very good FC. He is however very lonely, so please get in contact with him and perk him up a bit. 

Liehann Loots unfortunately had to withdraw due to illness. He is the fourth rider from this year’s FC to do so. Liehann will win FC one day, mark my words. I have some great pictures of him and a buffalo from 2016 on the descent from Bergplaas when I was a Buffalo Herder. I’ll see if I can find them. It was an interesting moment and the only time that the Buffalo Herder strategy actually made sense.

We also bid farewell for 2019 to all support stations before Hofmeyer. Thank you. 

Enjoy the night folks.

Footnote: on reflection Richard du Toit isn’t going to regret his decision to go through Hadley last night. He is going to dine out on this story for the rest of his life. Once he has perked up a bit.

 

 

 


 

Freedom Challenge RASA - Race Day 4 and 5

 


 

29 June 2019

Words by: Mike Roy

Pictures: Llewellyn Lloyd (taken from RTW 2019)

“Snow on the radar as cold fronts set to hit SA over the next seven days” is the newspaper headline today. Not great news for the 44 riders (out of 47 starters) left in RASA, with temperatures set to plummet on Monday.  Everyone should be through Hofmeyer by then, so no-one will get caught at altitude. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to be very uncomfortable, especially when one remembers that the Western Cape is a winter rainfall area. For those approaching the Baviaanskloof an extra incentive to get through as quickly as possible, a full Groot Rivier is a terrifying prospect.

Speaking of which the hero for the day is undoubtedly Richard du Toit, who is by some margin the stand-out performer from the first three batches of RASA 2019. Seems like Richard did an all-nighter, set out from Jakkalsfontein (SS#12) early yesterday morning (04:00) and has sailed through Gegun (SS#13), Toekomst (SS#14), Kleinport (SS#14.5), Bucklands (SS#15) and Hadley (SS#15.5) since then. The dot-watchers alert button was pushed as Richard carried on through Hadley and the intriguing prospect of a solo night journey through what is known as “Mordor” reared its head. 

For those of you are new to this race there are many scary places along the route, but two stand out head and shoulders above them all. The last day (or more) in Stettynskloof and the trek through to Cambria from the turn-off onto the Osseberg trail, christened “Mordor” by an FC legend some years back. Lord of the Rings territory, orcs and all. Hopefully Chris can post a few pictures to this article, words cannot do justice to this uniquely challenging stage. In fact it is only officially a half stage but many treat it as a full stage. I know I do. Maybe it’s only me, come to think of it.

It seems as if Richard has decided (perhaps wisely) to call it a temporary day (two days actually) at an abandoned campsite in the Baviaans valley. Any further and he would have to wade chest high through the Groot Rivier, the first of many crossings.  Tim James who, aside from being a multiple past FC winner, is also pretty adept at reading maps of any description, has just pointed out that Richard seems to be walking around the campsite in random small circles. From my recollections of that campsite this is not a good idea at all. The area there is infested with the mother of all burrs, an aggressive plum size burr with teeth that ferrets itself onto (and then into) one’s leg and causes all sorts of panic. That’s my guess as to what is happening with Richard. The horror, the horror.

Whatever happens he has given himself an excellent chance of making the 13:00 slot time slot to start the journey through the Baviaanskloof proper tomorrow. This probably needs some explaining. In days gone by you left Cambria (SS#16) at your leisure. In recent years the presence of buffalo (which were always there, go figure) has meant that a deal had to be done with Nature Conservation authorities such that riders have to be escorted through the Baviaanskloof by a Freedom Challenge Buffalo Herder. 

The Buffalo Herder chugs along in a vehicle behind a group of riders, ostensibly protecting said riders from buffalo. I think I am doing tomorrow’s report as well so I’ll expand a bit on the hallowed duties of a Freedom Challenge Buffalo Herder then, having had the privilege of being one myself back in 2016. Suffice to say that only two batches leave the Baviaans gate each day – 06:00 and 13:00. Miss the 06:00 slot and you go at 13:00. Miss the 13:00 and you have to wait overnight for the 06:00 slot the next morning. Doesn’t take a genius to work out that this has a massive impact on race strategy. More on that later when we have a look at what is happening with the race leaders.

Before we do that I have taken a different approach for today’s report. Hopefully Chris can load a table (see below) that I have prepared that tells us where each rider is and how much they are ahead, on, or behind a twenty six day schedule, relative to each of the main support stations. Take Grant Cowan – he started in Batch Five and is at Newlands (SS#11) and he has been on the road for nine days. He is therefore two days ahead of a twenty six schedule. Martin Dreyer, on the other hand, is in his fifth day and is on his way to Gegun (SS#13), and is therefore 8 days ahead of a twenty six day schedule (after 5 days….). Hopefully this is clear. I am aware there is a progress sheet available on the FC website but hopefully my table makes it possible at a glance to see where everyone is for the night and how they are doing, relatively. If it isn’t clear I’m pretty screwed because my entire report has been prepared on this basis. Ploughing on regardless:

NOT A SINGLE PERSON IS BEHIND A TWENTY SIX DAY FC. This is astounding, there is ALWAYS someone at FC, usually two or three poor bastards who are in way over their heads and who provide endless entertainment for the dot watchers, in their courageous and usually vain attempts to claw back lost days and make it to Diemersfontein for a holy blanket. I know this end of the field so well because that is my territory, I’ve been there (and only there) twice, minus 3 or 4 days is nothing to get alarmed about, Diemersfontein is still possible. Or not, unfinished business for quite a few of us. But this year, not a single soul.

The closest we have in 2019 so far are eight individuals who are either on schedule or perhaps half a day ahead. Make no mistake these are very respectable performances, a day in a day is always a very solid achievement. But for Alex Kingwell, Kobus Nel, Alan Rainnie, Francois Roux, Mark Smuts (all exactly on schedule) and for Renier vd Merwe, Andrew Ryan and Gary Scoular (half a day ahead) the margin for error is fairly limited. That being said there are plenty of double-up options available for most (witness Richard du Toit today) but then again the Hadley-Cambria half is probably worth a day and Stettyns can bite you in the bum. Best get ahead of the game. Many more nights ahead in FC 2019.

I’m not going to list each and every rider and where they are, easy to read from the table. 

 

 

#

 

 

Rider

 

 

Batch #

 

 

Current location

 

#Days on trail

#Days +/- 26 day schedule

 

1

Fanus Vorster

1

Hadley (SS#15.5)

13

2.5

2

Nigel Basel

1

Bucklands (SS#15)

13

2

3

Bradford vd Westhizen

1

Bucklands (SS#15)

13

2

4

Richard Erasmus

1

Bucklands (SS#15)

13

2

5

Derrick Muller

1

Hadley (SS#15.5)

13

2.5

6

Johan Radcliffe

2

Toekomst (SS#14)

12

2

7

Johann Lombard

2

Gegun (SS#13)

12

1

8

Sandy Maytham-Bailey

2

Gegun (SS#13)

12

1

9

Willem Kamstra

2

Toekomst (SS#14)

12

2

10

Richard du Toit

2

 Between Hadley (SS#15.5 and Cambria (SS#16), camping

12

3.75

11

Hanko de Beer

2

Gegun (SS#13)

12

1

12

Philip Erasmus

2

Toekomst (SS#14)

12

2

13

James Cruikshank

3

Jakkalsfontein(SS#12)

11

1

14

Bryn Roberts

3

Jakkalsfontein(SS#12)

11

1

15

Graeme Green

3

On his way to Gegun(SS#13) – riding with Martin Dreyer

11

2

16

Radislav Zamandi

3

Jakkalsfonten(SS#12)

11

1

17

Alex Kingwill

3

Newlands(SS#11)

11

0

18

Nigel Payne

4

Bucklands(SS#15)

10

5

19

Adrian Payne

4

Bucklands(SS#15)

10

5

20

Charles Hughes

4

Gegun (SS#13)

10

3

21

Francis Bradford

4

Gegun (SS#13)

10

3

22

Kobus Nel

4

Elandsberg(#10)

10

0

23

Alan Rainnie

4

Elandsberg(#10)

10

0

24

Francois Roux

4

Elandsberg(#10)

10

0

25

Mark Smuts

4

Elandsberg(SS#10)

10

0

26

Renier vd Merwe

5

Hofmeyer (SS#9.5)

9

0.5

27

Gavin Robinson

5

Withdrawn

9

 

28

Andrew Ryan

5

Hofmeyer (SS#9.5)

9

0.5

29

Gary Scoular

5

Hofmeyer (SS#9.5)

9

 

30

Grant Cowan

5

Newlands (SS#11)

9

2

31

Mark Basel

5

Newlands (SS#11)

9

2

32

Derrick Bingham

6

Withdrawn

8

 

33

Leon Kruger

6

On his way to Hofmeyer (SS#9.5)

8

1.5

34

Grant Hill

6

Hofmeyer (SS#9.5)

8

1.5

35

Anthony Avidon

7

On his way to Hofmeyer (SS#9.5)

7

2.5

36

Kyle Dohne

7

Newlands (SS#11)

7

4

37

Gawie du Plessis

7

Newlands (SS#11)

7

4

38

Scott James

7

Withdrawn

 

 

39

Liehann Loots

8

Romansfontein (SS#9)

5

4

40

Arno Crous

8

On his way to Kranskop (SS#7)

5

2

41

Fjord Jordaan

8

On his way to Romansfontein (SS#9)

5

4

42

Graham Bird

8

On his way to Elandsberg (SS#10)

5

5

43

Leon Erasmus

8

On his way to Romansfontein (SS#9)

5

4

44

Alex Harris

8

On his way to Elandberg (SS#10)

5

5

45

Martin Dreyer

8

On his way to Gegun (SS#13)

5

8

46

Gavin Horton

8

On his way to Romansfontein (SS#9)

5

4

47

Jacques Tattersall

8

On his way to Elandsberg (SS#10)

5

5

 

What I am going to do is go and make myself a coffee. This Freedom Writer business is strangely seductive. I am getting a glimpse of what Freedom Rider Kevin Davie does for a living. Kevin is the Business Editor for the Mail&Guardian and knows a thing or two about being a journalist. With 30 odd Dusi canoe marathons under his belt he also knows a thing or two about canoeing, so much so that he knows never to let me into the front of the boat, on the odd occasion we paddle together. For one thing it doesn’t look good, two guys in the front of a K2. One day I hope we will see Kevin back doing RASA. Perhaps with Professor Lynne Morris, now there is an idea.

This coffee has got me wired, where on earth was I? Oh yes, how riders are doing relative to the twenty six day schedule. One thing that stands out is the performance of the Payne brothers. They are motoring, at Bucklands (#15) after ten days. Sub 16/17 day FC coming up? Certainly possible, perhaps even quicker.

Most of those in Batches seven and eight are making the ground that would expected of starters in the last batches. In terms of the race for the overall win Martin Dreyer has opened up what would, barring any mishap, seem to be an unbeatable lead. The main question remains as to whether he is on track to break the ten day mark. From what I can gather from the chatter amongst the veterans who know far more than I do, is that it is definitely still on. Lots of talk about Martin making the 06:00 bus at Baviaans that I was referring to earlier. Apparently this is touch-and-go and he will need to traverse through the Mordor I was taking about earlier at night. The pundits are suggesting that if he doesn’t make the 6:00 slot it won’t be the end of the world as he can grab a proper power sleep and from 13:00 cycle non-stop to the end from there.

The three chasers have teamed up and have been hunting as a pack. I imagine this helps with the opening of gates and hauling of bikes over fences. And I guess the companionship, it gets lonely out there. The only problem with this chasing pack is that Alex Harris keeps getting lost. You would have already read of his Jamestown excursion yesterday. I read earlier that he has been at it again. At the end of this report I’ll check to see if he has found his two buddies again. The intrigue for the chasing three, assuming Martin Dreyer has the race in the bag, is as to whether they can get their personal best times. For the record these are as follows:

Martin Dreyer 10d 6h40

Alex Harris 10d23h57

Jacques Tattersall 11d15h05

Graham Bird 12d13h00

Some great video footage came through today. Grant Hill is proving pretty adept at being a roving face and voice, lovely stuff from him, again mentions that he is missing his wife and loves her very much. I can think of perfect solution Grant, why don’t you and Saskia do the race together next year? Problem solved.

On a more serious note it was lekker to hear Martins Dreyer’s words to his wife Jeanie on her birthday. Gives one pause for thought at the sacrifices that are made by all involved in this obsession of ours. This is an emotional race, I am quite sure that each and every one of us have at some stage during the FC had “a sensitive moment” or two.  There is nowhere to hide out there, one has no choice but to deal with stuff, perhaps why we keep coming back. I’ve seen more grown men shed tears on FC than anywhere else. Which is absolutely fine. I’ve never seen any women shed tears, just goes to show. 

Right, that is enough for today. Quick check to see if anyone has gone and ridden beyond what I have put in the table and of course to see if Alex Harris has caught up with his two buddies.

Looks about correct and yes, Alex has caught his buddies. Well done. Martin Dreyer hasn’t yet left Gegun, it’s now 00:05 and the vigilant dot-watchers are urging him to get moving, as am I.

 


 

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