Honda Quest's first casualty, Team #1’s Murray Campbell had injured his ankle. He and Andrew de Bruin have been offered the choice of either;
They chose to rest Murray.
Soon after setting off from Oewerbos heading South through the Richtersveld mountains, in a beautiful spot, there is an unusual place the rough gravel road passes, called Stone Piles. Over the years, many thousands of piles of balancing stones have been raised by travellers who had memories to honour or troubles to shed. The group were asked to think about this ritual and in a collective fashion build their own. Not so unexpectedly, it was deeply moving.
Tom Stewart when asked summed it up best, “I am not an emotional person, but I really felt it there. For the next 2 hours of riding, It was good to have my head in a helmet to process that experience.”
Just 30km later, through sandy and stony jeep tracks amongst a pallet of colourful desert shades, lies the Red Staircase. The CRF1100L is deceptively capable, however there is no getting away from the fact that it is a big bike and in steep climbs where the going is loose, it takes some skill and commitment to clear. In previous Quests, this climb has proven to be something of test for the riders. This year, despite 3 tumbles and some near misses, the teams all made it up within the time limits. They were not only doing great as teams but the group in general were drawing closer. The spirit of the true adventurer was emerging.
The last few days has been reasonably technical, coming down off the Richtersveld into the Concordia Conservancy, the back roads to Springbok, were an opportunity to open up a little. The flowing tracks have a mix of hardpack that suddenly switches to deep 2 track sand to catch the unwary.
A great opportunity to stop and swap tales, was that we’ve been plagued by numerous punctures. The Africa Twin encourages spirited riding and on Honda Quest is riding where few will ever venture and as such, they are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. It’s part of the adventure and mostly 15 minutes is all that’s needed before we’re off again. The evenings camp is in Modderfontein and it was very crisp considering we’re supposed to be in summer. Jaco Swiegelaar’s presentation was on the land we were traveling through – Namakwaland.
Elio Striglia had Thomas Bain, the unbelievably productive roads and passes engineer who’s efforts litter our more iconic spaces.
Today was quite an emotional day. Tomorrow, the toughest climb of them all. Honda Quest is working its magic.