Monday, 23 August 2010

Brother Igor - National Off-Road in Brits

My brother Igor in South Africa has been doing well at the National Off-Road series:

Did the 5th round of the National Off-road series on Sat, it was in Brits and surrounds and used a lot of our usual De wildt trails so course knowledge certainly helped.

The track had everything from mud, sand, rocks, river crossings, whoops etc so was a very interesting but punishing race. Took it easy in the time trial on Friday and started 61 out of about 180 bikes. Race went quite well considering, had a huge off early on which shook me up abit - moved over for a faster rider and my front wheel rode up against a side lip on the path, it slid for a few meters slowing my momentum, shifting my weight over the handlebars, then of course the front bit sideways, high-siding me like a champion.

All the time I'm flying through the air I'm hearing the “Wooooow” reaction of the rider that I let past. Tucked and rolled twice, landed on my feet, clapped my hands to check all was in order, gave the now stationary fellow competitor the thumbs up and remounted... still shaking the stars out of my helmet. Bike was also lucky enough to come away from that unscathed.

Plugged along nicely until I came upon a close rival in the championship points and it was 'GAME ON', the two of us traded positions all day, he blitzed me in the open stuff, but I always got him in the rocks, and sand.

I was ahead of him with 40km to go and one major obstacle to master, a deep river crossing. I approach and the two main lines are blocked by quads! Naturally! I try go around and half way through the back wheel bogs and bike is standing up at 45degrees with exhaust in water. “Dumbass” switches off and bike sucks water back up into motor... F-ing brilliant!

Takes 5mins to wrestle the machine out of the thick sand and river with help, by which time Neil had passed me again, and another 5mins to pick bike up on its back wheel to drain water and crank it till it eventually takes. On I ride with a new sense of urgency. It was now a part of the course I knew very well and scythed through it knowing that I am making time on Neil. I catch and pass another two riders that got past while I was taking a bath and knew Neil wasn't far ahead. Finally I catch him on a long rocky climb called "coconuts".

I struggled up 'Cococnuts' on a previous trip to SA - it's got to be punishing after 7 hours riding!

I can see he is battling with fatigue and pain in his hands (as we all were) from 7 hours of pounding. So I try put the hammer down even more and focused on the last stretch home. Barely able to hold on an longer. Made it! Got in 4 or so minutes ahead of Neil who looked spent. We shook hands and congratulated each other on an awesome chase and he thanked me for the inspiration.

Race distance 320km, time 7 hours 22 mins. Result 6th in Senior class which moves me up to 7th in the National Championship. Good job, bike needs a new top end and I need a few days sleep.

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