Without doubt one of Johannesburg’s premier motorcyclists’ gatherings is the Ink & Iron Festival. For 2018 it was a momentous occasion because it marked the 15th anniversary and it turned out to be one seriously entertaining day out for all concerned.
Our concern was that Natalie and Bill were asked to ‘attend’ the event to represent SuperBike Magazine and billysbikes.co.za. Bill was strangely asked to judge the Custom competition by event organiser and long time friend, Grant Mc Nicol, which he gladly accepted.
Much merriment ensued as the day progressed with local live bands filling the air with tunes and the whiff of tempting foods from various vendors also filled the air. Of course lots of drinking and ‘ha haaaring’ goes with mention!
Natalie spent most of the day caressing Mark Giltrow’s ego from SBK eyewear to obtain ‘free’ eyewear which, being a woman, was a successful exercise. However Bill was shamed and ‘fired’ from his judging position due to over-socialising with people around him, consuming too much lager and, irritating Natalie and her friend.
Anyway, everything ran smoothly and we have no idea how long the event held in Germiston carried on for, probably well into the night. But one thing is for sure we’ll be back there again next year because it’s such a well-run and enjoyable event for all kinds of motorcyclist, see you there!
The official launch of the Liqui Moly Superhero Academy has brought new hope to a homeless community in Boksburg, Gauteng.
Since 1999, families in desperate need of shelter, food and medical care have taken refuge at the New Beginnings Care Centre. The facility has an occupancy rate of approximately 1400 people, many of which are children.
Education is provided at a crèche on-site, but without sufficient funding and support, this has taken place in frightening conditions.
“These children were in filthy conditions, and growing up in complete sadness. I bought into this amazing dream of uplifting an entire community, starting with little children from three months old right up to matric students. This is going to be a miracle place,” said Leigh Scheepers, principal of the Liqui Moly Superhero Academy.
The Liqui Moly team were approached about investing in the structure of the day care, which they soon discovered was nothing more than dilapidated garden sheds. The facility was beyond repair, and would have to be demolished and built from the ground.
In collaboration with Joint Aid Management (JAM), the team has worked around the clock for the last three months to create a new environment for the children of the Care Centre.
"When we first came to this centre, I saw a lot of heartache and hopelessness. Many of the adults who arrive here have been sleeping on the streets and are suffering from things like addictions and unemployment. The thing is, young children who cannot fend for themselves often arrive with them. That's where Liqui Moly wants to step in - we want to reach out to those helpless children and make a difference in their lives. They are the future of South Africa," commented an emotional Melicia Labuschagne, managing director of Liqui Moly SA.
On 23 February close to a hundred little faces eagerly gathered behind the red ribbon that was strung across the entrance to their new day care.
It was heart-warming scene as they ran to discover completely new classrooms, a colourful playground and even a track with plastic motorcycles begging to be used. Infants were placed in sturdy cots and surrounded by bright, artistic paintings that covered the walls.
Amanda van Niekerk lives at New Beginnings with her husband and two children. As a witness to the transformation of the day care, she said: “This doesn’t just bring joy to my children, but complete security to me as a mother. Just look at the excitement in my children’s eyes… I can’t describe how grateful I am.”
The National Cross Country season was off to an interesting start in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal this weekend.
The Brother Leader Tread KTM squad took their place at the start line expecting to push the pace and blitz their way across Natal’s lush vegetation – but what they encountered instead was a tough and technical loop that put their enduro skills to the test.
With steep climbs, river beds and rocky terrain, both the riders and their bike setups were taken by complete surprise.
Event organisers had cancelled the time trial and lined riders up according to previous championship points instead. The first of six laps in the main race was also given to riders as a sighting loop to ensure rider safety.
Defending OR1 champion Branch remained calm under the circumstances, and set off into the unfamiliar territory with a sprained wrist. With the 2019 Dakar Rally on cards and a full season ahead, the rider did some damage control and conserved his energy instead of risking further injury.
While he admits that it took him a few laps to get going, Branch managed to stay in contention for the podium and pull off a second place for the day.
Amused by the technical challenge he encountered, he commented: “So this was a learning curve… my first tough ‘enduro’ event! It’s been a hard day out and I’m relieved to be on the podium. Definitely going back home to practise on some rocks – I’m excited! I’ll hopefully get my KTM 450 XC-F back on the top spot at the next one.”
The journey back to the number one plate was off to a promising start for Louwrens Mahoney. The cross country legend stepped up to the technical challenge with a wealth of experience behind his name, and quickly pulled away from the rest of the OR2 field. With Husqvarna’s new addition Taki Bogiages just a few minutes behind him, Mahoney was the first man to reach the finish line and ultimately the top step of the podium.
“It was super challenging! The route was just in your face the whole day, and took a lot of concentration. Hats off to the youngsters, who handled it all super well,” said Mahoney.
Reigning champion Juan van Rooyen never left fans disappointed. As he attempts to stake his claim in the Senior Class for the fifth consecutive time this year, his Zululand victory came as no surprise. Not only did he take the win for the day, but managed to do it with an impressive 10-minute lead.
Returning to the cross country scene was Louw Schmidt and Jarryd Coetzee.
Schmidt has had to take the past few months easy after surgery, and spent less time in the saddle before the season opener than usual. His performance surprised him, however, and with a fifth place in the OR1 class he said: “It was a true test of skills and ability to race out there. After almost three months off, I felt a lot fitter than I thought I would. I brought it home safe today – didn’t want to make any mistakes, there’s a long season ahead!”
Coetzee’s come back is also well underway. The OR3 rider has struggled with a knee injury and was side-lined for the majority of 2017 season. With a renewed determination to ride, Coetzee narrowly fell short of the podium and finished the event in fourth place.
Missing from the team was Kirsten Landman, who would have raced her first cross country event in years. She was unfortunately suffering from tick bite fever, and with a heavy heart had to pull out of the race.
BROTHER LEADER TREAD KTM RESULTS
1 Kenny Gilbert (Husqvarna) 03:58:43
2 Ross Branch (KTM) 04:00:30
3 Charan Moore (Yamaha) 04:10:15
5 Louw Schmidt (KTM) 04:24:02
1 Louwrens Mahoney (KTM) 04:03:59
2 Taki Bogiages (Husqvarna) 04:18:53
3 Travis Gehlig (Husqvarna) 04:30:00
1 Bradley Cox (KTM) 03:58:26
2 Calvin Hume (Husqvarna) 04:00:14
3 Stefan Van Deventer (KTM) 04:03:52
4 Jarryd Coetzee (KTM) 04:11:15
1 Juan van Rooyen (KTM) 03:30:49
2 Wade Blaauw 03:39:15
3 Hentie Hanekom (Husqvarna) 03:49:10