2014 Rally

Post Retief here we come!

Post Retief here we come!

POST RETIEF ADVENTURE BIKE RALLY 16 – 18 MAY 2014

The much anticipated Annual Adventure Bike Rally took place over the weekend of 16 – 18 May 2014.   Post Retief Country Club, nestled in the valleys of the Great Winterberg Mountains, played host to this sought after destination.   Crowned by the Winterberg and Katberg, these valleys, with it’s many mountain passes, The Katberg, The Bless, Fordyce, Bushnek, De Waals Kloof and Bennetts Hill has become the annual mecca of adventure bike riders from Stellenbosch, Ficksburg and closer to home.

Beauty of Post Retief

Beauty of Post Retief

The diverse riding conditions of gravel roads far from the closest town lends itself to this fast growing leisure sport. Bikes began roaring into Post Retief from 3 p.m. on Friday, some having left home on Thursday and riding via Karroo back roads and tar only where necessary!!

Two slight mishaps were recorded on Friday with riders going down in first and second gear.

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  F800 with some cosmetic damage!

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Registration

The Bless mountain pass had claimed its first victims of the 2014 Jamboree!   With little damage Sampie and Eugene were able to continue on their pilgrimage to the Post Retief Country Club, sporting slightly bruised egos and well dusted protective gear.

The Post Retief Country Clubhouse manned by the ever willing members awaited their guests in anticipation and excitement with steaming butternut and bean soup prepared in their farm kitchens using Ouma’s well kept secret Recipes. A comment from one of the Port Elizabeth riders who had just arrived was, “If I only came for the soup it would have all been worthwhile.”  Coffee and tea were also on offer for  the weary riders and their pillions.   The Vito Transporter, with a couple of ladies and wives, soon brought up the rear to complete the P.E. rider’s group.

One puncture, a leaking fuel tank and a snapped clutch cable added spice to the anticipated morning ride.

Registration commenced with goodie bags containing Post Retief Rally T-shirt, badge, sticker, cooldrink, droewors, sweets, chocolate peanuts, pens, caps and lighters were excitedly opened and approved of while brisk business began at the well stocked bar!   Country hospitality and cuisine was about to be experienced!!

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Chappie hard at work.

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..to whom it may concern!

Well cured steaks were flawlessly prepared by the club members for the hungry throng.   “Masterchef” step aside – the food being prepared by the seasoned catering team was served fresh from the smokey wood fired braai and was once again enjoyed while new and old acquaintances were reunited.   Good food and cold drinks once again cemented relationships concentrated in a common purpose of burning up energy on the gravel roads of this awesome destination.

This tiny Country Club has in the preceding 12 months created a comfortable backpackers bunk room and built a great new bathroom complex for our annual event. Guest houses and private home-hosting were well patronised with camping facilities also on offer.

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Nice setting of Post Retief Country Club.

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Some preferred not to camp this year.

After a sumptuous breakfast in the morning the modern camels and their Tuareg riders were briefed on the well marked ride of 230km and allowed to proceed. 45 riders and 11 pillions made up the small and personal contingent of adventurers. Some technical sections pumped the adrenaline to new heights.

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Breakfast is served.

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Briefing before the ride.

The slight mist rain dampened the dust creating an ideal riding environment – 7 degrees at the coolest and 18 degrees at the warmest.

Off they go

And away we go!

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Exploring the back roads.

The secrets of the Winterberg were being unveiled at every corner and valley as they unfolded their beauty to the picture snapping adventurers.   Piet Retief farmed here; Thomas Baines, the famous painter, often visited; Allan Lamb, the accomplished cricketer, fetched his bride here, 1995 World Cup winner, Gary Pagel, chose to make his home here; seven Frontier Wars were fought here and many of the families from that time still live here and tales of bygone days and our forefathers opening 43 gates en-route to Adelaide, still abound!!

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Climbing the Winterberg.

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Taking photo’s in the ride.

Cool riding ensued with a few aspiring Dakarists sneaking into the Adelaide pub for OB’s and to see the Sharks beat Crusaders.   Great Celebrations!   Burgers, salads and chips in the beautiful surrounds of the Adelaide Bushveld went down well at the home of 2011 Cape to Cairo Adventurer, Norman and Cheryl Emslie.

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Lunch stop at Kommandofontein.

DSCN2595Chilling on the lawn.

On to Fort Beaufort through kudu and warthog country interspersed with goats, cattle, sheep and awesome riding.   The mandatory fuel stop in Fort Beaufort allowed us to have a breather before we tackled the last leg of our journey.

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Tummy full, throttle open…

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Last fuel stop in Fort Beaufort.

Francois Norval, our famous route plotter and marker, allowed us just 9km of tar before he hived us off onto a seldom used track – BRING ON THE FORDYCE PASS.   Knysna type forests of immense beauty and road-building ingenuity followed.   Rising 1 500ft we landed up at a place of breathtaking vistas and far-off views – you can almost see tomorrow.   The Elandsberg, Nico Malan Pass, Mitchels Pass and Hogsback are clearly visible from this amazing peninsula that gets up to 50 inches of rainfall a year.

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Heading up Fort Fordice Pass.

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View from Fordice.

The home-strait featured farms, sheep, cattle, two spoor jeep tracks as well as a well maintained road back to Post Retief.   Bikes ranging from a new lady rallyist on a TW200 Yamaha to big KTM 990’s and GS 1200 BMW’s, as well as a host of others completed the field (the Vito bus did very well too).

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Prize giving.

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Smiles all around – Family and friends.

With the brazier on the Country Club’s deck blazing forth the conquerors of the 2014 Challenge gathered around to fellowship once again before supper. Lamb chops, boerewors, breads, salads, potatoes and sweets tantalised the suppurating taste buds of the battle weary “Opsaal, Burgers”.  Generous spot prizes of R1000,00 (won by Heimie Dorfling of Steytlerville), R500,00 each (won by Michael Osner of East London and Gavin Holmes of Cradock), a welder donated by Industrial Welding Supplies (won by Jurie Kotze of Port Elizabeth) and many other exciting prizes.

Compliments were overflowing from our guests, driving our enthusiasm to lift the bar for 2015 to new heights.   Gee this was FUN – fun for the citizens of Post Retief and fun for our new found family.

After an awesome belly filling farmers’ breakfast on Sunday morning the bikes were packed!   Winding down a hyped-up weekend is not easy.  Bear hugs, handshakes and high fives said it all!!   “See you next year, see you soon and can we come back before the next rally” were comments heard all around!   “See you at the Bedford Garden Festival” was the final goodbye we received.

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The magic of the mountains.

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… till next year!

An observation from one of the senior riders was as follows, ”We experienced a special gees there, this weekend, among you folk.  I was really impacted by the sense of binding together, of community and love….ja soppy goed ne?  But it’s real and very powerful!……..you all have something special that townies have lost.  So don’t give it up”

Forty five bikes, pillions and partners departed from Post Retief via Mpofu Game Reserve, Bushnek and the Katberg Pass en-route to their homes.   Auf Wiederzein, ‘till next time’, Hamba Kahle!