Another day at Diemersfontein, another finisher and another blanket.
Jacques Tattersall came across the line just before 7pm, after a long day in the kloof - he described Stettynskloof as the hardest thing he’s ever done, so his sense of achievement was high and despite the fatigue, he was in good spirits. He’s had an amazing ride - as a strong rider with little navigation experience, he picked it up from other riders during the race, riding with different groups as he moved through the field. Yet despite this, he was bold enough to go it alone for a few days and always got to the next support station without any danger of sleeping out. As an FC rookie, his finishing time of 18d 12h 40min is impressive and receiving his blanket was a proud moment for him.
Tim James is the next rider heading for Diemersfontein and is currently making his way up a very lonely and dark Stettynskloof. Having left Trouthaven just after 2pm, he is expected to finish in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
The group waiting at Trouthaven to go through Stettynskloof tomorrow includes Andrew Barnes, Gary Green, Mike Ward, Fjord Jordaan and Ant Jankovic-Bessan. Andrew Barnes rode through from Anysberg and arrived earliest. The other four came through from Montagu and had to serve a 3 hour time penalty at Good Hope this afternoon after going off route through an out-of-bounds area after the Coeniesrivier portage - this meant a later than usual arrival. On the way to Trouthaven, Ant suffered a pivot bolt failure and is trying to make a temporary repair so he can finish with the other guys tomorrow.
Theo van Dyk woke up this morning feeling really ill due to suspected food poisoning (possibly bad biltong from a raided box he thought) but he left Good Hope in an attempt to get to Trouthaven. He made it as far as the Trappieskraal portage before phoning the race office for assistance. A lift was arranged from the Doringrivier store, so that he could see a doctor. If he is well enough to continue, he will rejoin the trail there and hopefully still finish the race.
Montagu hosts a big group of riders tonight, most arriving at different times after having all left from Rouxpos today. Liehann Loots and Beat Jegerlehner arrived with Andrew Hunt. Then came Lee Fuller, Dave Telford and Gary Preston. The late arrivals were Johann Rissik, Ian Verwayen, Alan Haupt and Paul Dalton. Stu brew is also there tonight, although he arrived yesterday - he was ill this morning and decided to stay a day to recover. He’s hoping to move on tomorrow again.
Mike and Ingrid Talbot started out late from Prince Albert today because they were aiming for an easier dat to Gamkaskloof. Somewhere along the way they changed their minds because they ended up pushing on to Rouxpos instead. This sets them up for a slightly easier ride tomorrow to Montagu.
In Prince Albert tonight are Andrew Blackburn, Nic Jordan and Mike Potgieter, who rode through from Willowmore together with Marnitz Nienaber and Ivor Jones - they all arrived by mid afternoon and spent the rest of the afternoon in the bar. John Bowen and Mike Roy also came through from Willowmore, arriving just before dark after a massive 16h day.
Mike Glover and John Exley are staying in Willowmore tonight after a successful double from Cambria via Dam se Drif. They will be keen to start pushing for the finish now too and there are some good dirt roads ahead to help them do just that.
Our sweepers, Mike Devereux and Nico van Zyl are staying at Hadley tonight. They will get an early start for the Osseberg and then hopefully push on to Dam se Drif. From there its more open road, so they too can look at putting in some longer days to make up for lost time.