Going into the third week of RASA and the riders are spread out across the countryside.
At the back of the field we have Mike Glover, John Exley, Nico van Zyl and Mike Devereux, all staying at Elandsberg tonight after all getting across the Elandsberg portage safely. Tomorrow they should be aiming for their first double, going via Stuttgart to Grootdam.
Next up we have the ex-racing snakes Marnitz Nienaber and Ivor Jones – they took a short day today to rest aching knees, so tomorrow they could bounce back and attempt some sort of comeback – Toekomst lodge is likely to be their goal.
“All by myself” is the song going around in Pierre Oosthuizen’s head tonight – he’s all alone at Gegun after watching a peleton of riders come past earlier today. And carry on to Toekomst. Strong headwinds didn’t help his singlespeed efforts today but he plans to leave early tomorrow to start doing something about the impending Willowmore cut off.
Up the road at Toekomst lodge tonight we find quite a large group: Andrew Blackburn, nursing a strained thigh, Nic Jordan, Mike Potgieter and Mike and Ingrid Talbot are all there, having ridden through from Grootdam today. Also there is Andrew Hunt who took another famous left turn on the approach and added some extra miles but eventually found his way home a bit later. Andrew Brnes was the last arrival for the day, having ridden all the way through from Stuttgart today, a big day out for him.
Earlier arrivals and then departures at Toekomst lodge were Fjord Jordaan and Theo Van Wyk – they left with Tim James just before sunset for some night time fun, headed for Kleinpoort for a snooze, then Bucklands for another snooze and breakfast before going on towards the Osseberg, let’s see where they run out of steam…
The night riding trio will most likely bump into Mike Roy and John Bowen at Kleinpoort. They inched their way along the trail today after a night out in the Vogelrivierpoort near Koedeoskop. Already making sums about the dreaded Willowmore cut off, they need to step it up in the next few days and can’t afford any more half days.
The ever reliable pair of Liehann Loots and Beat Jegerlehner had a great day today, going from Toekomst through Bucklands to Hadley – this move positions them for an early assault on the Osseberg tomorrow with every chance of going on to Dam se Drif after that.
Cambria is a crowded place tonight with eleven riders in attendance: Johann Rissik, Ian Verwayen, Alan Haupt and Paul Dalton came through from Hadley and Gary Green, Lee Fuller, Gary Preston, Dave Telford, Ant Jankovic-Bessan, Stu Brew and Mike Ward all came through from Bucklands. Tomorrow could be an ideal time to push through to Willowmore but first they all have to get past the good food and hospitality at Dam se Drif.
In Willowmore tonight are Maarten Witters and Jacques Tattersall, who rode the big double from Cambria today. On arrival they were still entertaining thoughts of pushing on to Rondawel tonight but sanity, a warm fire and three course dinner prevailed – tomorrow more of the same at Prince Albert.
Still with their noses out front are Anton Wood and Gert Peens – although they rode 165km today, it was a relatively flat and easy stage with no nasty headwinds. Tomorrow they head up the Swartberg Pass and into Gamkaskloof.
With many riders still dropping south towards the Baviaanskloof, the end may seem a long way off but for those already beyond Cambria and heading due west, this is the home straight and Diemersfontein should be less than a week away.