Sleeping at Kranskop tonight and currently forging their way ahead at the front of the field are the RASA Batch A riders Chris, Hayden, Wille and Gerrit. Unfortunately they had to say goodbye to riding companion Ray Sephton at Chesneywold yesterday and would have heard the news today that Ray decided to withdraw after his night’s rest at Chesneywold did little to improve his chest infection - a big disappointment for Ray and a sad loss for his fellow riding companions - get well soon Ray. Their other Batch A compatriot, Fanus had another easier day today, also for recovery, stopping at Slaapkranz for the night.
Rhodes was busy as ever today as the riders kept on arriving - but the sunny hamlet of last week is now a cold and damp place. The first arrival of the day was Martin Dreyer (RTR Batch 11) who arrived at 07h47, a bit later than expected after getting a bit lost on Lehanas in the dark. His non-stop ride from PMB in a shade under 50 hours is the new Race to Rhodes record - 49h47min - an impressive effort, well done Martin.
Later in the day we had the RASA Batch C riders Greg and Richard arriving - after leaving Vuvu this morning, they opted to go around Lehanas via the Mcambalala route due to the threatening weather - s good decision on the day. Their riding mates from the last few days, RTR Batch 8 Nigel, Adrian, August, Arrie, Richard, Steve and George all rode in together and were well pleased with their ride, having had a great adventure together over the last six days.
Next to arrive was Janine Stewart (RTR Batch 10), current women’s record holder and narrowly missing out on her own record by finishing in 3d 11h 10min - only 10min off her previous best - her solo ride is a remarkable effort but not entirely surprising as she is also the current record holder for the Race to Cradock - well done Janine.
Soon after Janine, we had the RASA Batch B riders arriving - Pierre, Hugh, Hughues and Patricia - all slightly cold and wet after testing conditions on Lehanas. Tomorrow they head for Slaapkranz and then into the Stormberg region where more adventure awaits.
Still expected in Rhodes much later tonight are Arno and Eddie (RTR Batch 11), who left Vuvu after supper to take on Lehanas - brave men indeed.
Vuvu is also a busy place tonight with a mix of RASA and RTR riders there - Brad, Ann and Grant (RASA Batch D) came through from Malekgalonyane, together with Stephen (RASA Batch B) and their friends from RTR Batch 9, Nikki, Nick, Johan, David, Richard and Steve. Its been a festive time for these guys with early arrivals and a few she been visits - making it look easy and always having fun - but they still need to get over Lehanas before the final celebrations can begin. Also there tonight are RTR Batch 10 riders Johathan, Kevin and Coen, they initially started out racing but then switched into cruise mode, they will also finish tomorrow.
Ingrid (RTR Batch 10) and Scott (RASA Batch E) are both at Tinana tonight, having ridden through from Masakala - a good effort considering the blustery conditions on those parts of the route today - tomorrow they will aim for Rhodes.
Only three at Malekgalonyane - the two RASA Batch G riders Mike and Tim and RASA Batch F rider Gary. Gary’s antics on the Mparane ridge have kept tracker watchers entertained tonight, he’ll be a bit tired when he finally arrives. Tim is struggling to keep any food down, something that has happened to him before but it doesn’t seem to after his progress much.
Masakala hosts quite a few tonight - from RASA Batch F are Caren, Tony and Werner, back on the road again after taking a replacement frame at Glen Edward, for which he will serve a time penalty in the morning but it shouldn’t affect his plans too badly, he’ll still make it to Malekgalonyane quite comfortably. Joining them are Clint, Neville (RASA Batch E) and Gerald (RTR Batch D) who had another short day from Glen Edward today - they really need to pay attention to the first possible cut-off looming: 8 days to Rhodes… Expected later tonight are RASA Batch G riders Leon and Vaughn, who came from Centocow today, matching the ride of Liehann (RASA Batch G), although he arrived much earlier.
At Ntsikeni tonight are the RASA Batch H racers, Bruce, Theo and TimD, with Jacques still on his way - quick riding by these guys today means they can afford to bank some sleep here before heading out in the early hours to continue. Not far behind them at Centocow is fellow Batch G rider Gawie, who arrived there for supper.
All the way back at the Oaks Hotel tonight is Gavin - a torn calf muscle stopped him in his tracks but after initially indicating that he would withdraw, he changed his mind and hopes to continue tomorrow after some intensive treatment and rehab tonight - let’s hold thumbs he can go on in the morning.