2012 Rally

Post Retief Rally 2012

The date was set and the community had it all planned to host the first Post Retief Rally in the Winterberg. The weather predictions for the coming weekend seemed a bit dodgy and the organizers had many phone calls between themselves about what to do, IF IT RAINED? The thing is, that like many parts of our beautiful countryside, the once accessible public roads have been forgotten by government and most folk cannot even remember when last they saw a “yellow machine” grading the roads. This means that isolated communities like Post Retief, 50km north of Adelaide, becomes totally cut off when it rains, due to no gravel and only clay that is left on some parts.

Like so often in life the excuses from bikers that initially committed to go, just become better the closer you get to D-Day, with a few last cancelations.  Those that committed, arrived on the Friday afternoon at the Post Retief Country Club, a total of 33 Adventure bikes, some 40 riders and pillions.

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The spirits were high, steaks great and the booze cheap.

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The result was that some went on until the early hours of the next morning, while others quietly sneaked off to their tents, to face the cold night air of the Winterberg Mountains. It did rain that night and the organizers considered different routes.

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The next morning everybody was up and ready to go after a good breakfast. The route started at the Club and went up De Waals Kloof, to the escarpment of the Katberg Mountains.

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The views were stunning and some of the less experienced riders had an early “skrik” with the odd muddy section or pothole.

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The ride on the “Ruitjies” which runs on top of the Winterberg range was quick, but cold, with a steady winter breeze at 5°C. The landscape changed from high carrying capacity sour veld, to lower carrying thorn veld towards Bedford. Everybody was going at their own pace and often stopped to take a few photos.

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For some, it was more of a challenge to stay on the bikes than for others to stay on one wheel. There was the odd crash, but nothing serious – amazing how the pace seems to increase the later it gets and the confidence levels increase!!!! The organizers had sweeper vehicles that supplied refreshments and helped breakdowns where they occurred.

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The route snaked through the valleys of the Bedford Baviaans River, with lots of sharp turns and a number of bridges.

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Lunch was enjoyed at the Mill Cricket Ground, on the Farm Spring Grove, which is owned by Lochard Ainslie. The setting of this historic venue is breath taking and a SA invitation Team played Bangladesh here, a few years back.

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The spirits were a little mellower on the second night and all were sharing stories of their experiences of the day. All enjoyed a braai of note. A few lucky draws were done and a few non-stoppers again took it late into the night – a night that I might add without a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind. Temperatures plummeted to -5°C and the tents and sleeping bags were put to the test.

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The next morning we again had a super breakfast and the new found “family” said their thank yous and goodbyes. Bikes went off into various directions to their homes, even as far as Oyster Bay, some 400 km’s away.

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Some did a beautiful ride through the Ford Fordyce Forests and then via Fort Beaufort decided to take the gravel roads back to Grahamstown via Double Drift.

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Once back on the tar “them ears were turned” and a battle against a strong south westerly’s towards the coast was fought . Did everybody enjoy it? – You bet!! Will there be another in 2013? – Already diarised. (There is a possibility of 9 different routes from this awesome destination!) Thanks to all the Post Retief people for a well-planned weekend, you really made a big effort.!