2017 Rally

Ride with me………by Barry James


Post Retief Adventure Bike Rally 19-21 May 2017


The deep autumn colours and the long May shadows tantalized the squinting visitor-covered eyes of more than 50 adventurers headed for the biking land of milk and honey:  Post Retief.


The Annual Jamboree played itself out at the Post Retief Country Club which was a hive of riding festivity where Food, Fellowship and Fun were all spelt: Post Retief!!!  Under the banner emboldened on the chests of the prized long T-shirts “Dust ‘n Dirt” the riders checked in with Miné Norval.


Soup, Coffee and “Cold ones” were immediately entertained to wash away the dust of another district by the riders who hailed from Stellenbosch, Knysna/Wilderness, Trompsburg, Patensie, Port Elizabeth, East London, Stutterheim, Cathcart, Somerset East, Cradock, Fort Beaufort, Adelaide and of course the Principality of Post Retief.


Friday night welcomed the last arrivals with Francois Norval warmly welcoming the crowd as well as the 25 new riders to Post Retief.  This rally, of which we have just enjoyed the 6th, is the main fundraiser of this beautiful oasis amidst the Winterberg Mountains.  More importantly perhaps it is the opportunity where the Romans can share the spoils of the city of Rome.


The crisp night air, stars by the million and hospitality unmatched anywhere in the world saw our visitors treated to a lamb braai of mouth-watering propensity pushing salivation levels off the Richter scale.  A mealie side dish and others teased all of the other dormant non-protein senses into an absolute frenzy.


Closing our pub shortly after midnight saw the heavy snorers retire to their tents, another claiming rights to an empty props room and the rest to the bunkroom which sounded like the reverberating sub-sea engine room of a naval destroyer at full tilt.  Having had a good 6 hours sleep the erstwhile revellers enjoyed hot showers and coffee before dealing with a “Mountain Man” breakfast.


Barry James and Scott Pringle briefed the riders and made mention of the concession granted to us to ride through Many Waters, property of Gavin Hibbert and Alex Pringle of the Baviaans River.  Riding the “tweespoorpad” is both challenging and exhilarating, especially for the 800cc plus brigade.  A number of water crossings, mud holes, ant bear holes, as well as the approximately 350m long steep, rocky and loose stones (Pebble Ally) unnerved a number of guys and elevated their skills to new-found highs.  The smell of dust, fuel and rubber was heavily over-powered by the heavy adrenaline fog engulfing the hill as this stage.


Earlier in the day a number of riders had got lost turning up the Prieshoek valley and then Alun Davies’ valley, however, the aroma of a burger patty being braaied at Waldeck in the Lower Baviaans lured all of the truants back on track. Thanks to the Wienand family for opening their home to us.


Chanting halting for malting the troupe popped in at the Midgley’s Hotel where they were treated to a drifting show gone wrong – a crashed car being evacuated of green bottles and then a wobbly runaway sprint from the law enforcers enthralling the crowd, eliciting a round of applause from the appreciative two-wheel gathering.


The serpent-like dust trail over Bushnek and the Bles took all of us home to the familiar surroundings of Wadi-Al-Post Retief, our watering hole of Friday night, which awaited us with Leani Loots and her “bar tenders” ready to keep the glasses topped up.


The mountains draped now in long shadows, the air cooling and the thorn tree smoke braaing our thick juicy steaks confirmed that we were “Home”.


A great day, perfect weather, tremendous company and willing mountain gobblers allowed the riders to ride higher and higher……sooo high that this rally could easily be called “Tickle the Clouds Tour”.


The adventure rally would never be the same without the crooning brothers Leon and John Deere from East London and Komga respectively.  These two amazing entertainers add such a positive vibe to an inspired audience while socializing, snacking, imbibing and watching the day’s action of the go-pro footage being played out against the movie screen.  Billy Joel’s Piano Man sweetly played by the duo was briskly joined in by the merry throng of wanna-be Billy’s.


Breakfast on Sunday morning was a laid back affair with another wild man food frenzy on offer before man and machine departed, leaving Post Retief with all of her potholes and just a few stripes to compliment the gravel roads.  Friendships renewed and new ones kindled, this gathering and riding remain PURE  SOUL  FOOD!!!


P.S.:  Sunday afternoon became “TW200 recovery time” and my neighbour, Evan Sumner, and I fetched Samantha’s Yamaha.  The round trip of 140km and 4.5hours later we were home after visiting the historic Glen Thorn Settler Church where my great-grandfather, Rev. Samuel Workman, my great-grandma and my great-aunt Myrtle, who taught Nelson Mandela at Healdtown College near Fort Beaufort in the 50s, are buried.  Had she taught our current president maybe South Africa would then enjoy the rainbow over ALL of its citizens.

Post Retief Rally greetings until next year……