Stuart Russell, Kobus le Roux, Andre van Vollenstee, Walter Marafioti

Kawasaki ZX10R Masters: this is my Church

As the wind changed direction I could faintly hear the sound of Church bells ringing in the distance, calling out to the faithful and the lost. Beyond the boundaries of Zwartkops raceway, the rest of the world was getting ready for Sunday Service. There will be no Church Service here today; this will be our Church. A few might huddle together in prayer, some might even send their softly spoken words up into the warm summer sky while others might be too busy to realise it is Sunday.

Holy Communion will be served out of a bottle that reads: Replenish*. That is to say if there are any cold ones left in the cooler.
‘Come back later, if you want it cold,’ said the man seated behind the cooler.
I guess, even replenishing your soul has to be done on someone else’s time, or else you’ll have to stay lukewarm.
Psalms and Hymns will guide us to greener pastures, conducted beautifully by a passionate organist; unfortunately the only organ sounding, will be the delicate sound of thunder, when 29 Kawasaki ZX10R exhaust pipes blast off with the drop of the (red) lights, instantly spewing out a thunderous sound wave (containing de-energized 95 octane fuel vapour), its beauty bringing tears to your eyes.

Mark 12:31 (KJV), ‘And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.’ has no significant meaning whatsoever, well at least not today. May the best man win!

Inside the Kawasaki ZX10R race garage, the four Tenors: Stuart Russell #83, Kobus le Roux #39, Andre van Vollenstee #82 and Walter Marafioti #99, grouped together for a photo. These four proclaim that age has nothing to do with motorcycle racing—it’s all about heart. If I remember correctly, Andre von Vollenstee pulls the scale at 58 years of age. In his younger days he might have been the Roger Moore amongst the innocent birdies; his vibrant personality defying his age—SUAVE!

RACE ONE. Lights went out and the ground shuddered as the 29 ZX10R bikes exploded into action with thunderous roars. Stewart Macleod blasted out the starting blocks into an early lead with Gavin Lightfoot, Brian Bontekoning, Paul Jacobs, Pieter de Vos, Johan le Roux, Tony Klem and “Big Bez” Simon Bezuidenhout hot on his heels.
The pace was electrifying.
Lap two saw Brian Bontekoning high sided in turn four, fighting in vain to save his brand new ZX10R. Gavin Lightfoot and Paul Jacobs were pushing hard while De Vos and Le Roux were engaged in a heated battle of their own.
The crowd was cheering on their heroes as they pushed the envelope between traction and speed when the race came to a sudden halt on lap five, as no less than five riders crashed out at the very fast turn four. After a red flag brought an end to what was promising to be a spectacular finish to the first race of the season, the riders realigned on the starting grid nervously awaiting news. Unfortunately the race was called off after a track inspection declared conditions to be unsafe.

After the first race of the new season, Stewart MacLeod, who recorded a very fast 01:04.213 (best lap), is in the lead, followed by Gavin Lightfoot and Paul Jacobs. If the excitement of the first race is anything to go by, the Kawasaki ZX10R Masters will provide great entertainment to the crowd at their new home—The Extreme Festival.

Even though I will remain “Forever Faithless”—the racetrack will always be my Church where I can rightly find inspiration, where my thoughts can rise up above the delicate sound of thunder, where I can experience the magical inside the spectacular, and where I can truly be FREE. Godspeed!

Words & Photos: Adriaan & Martine Venter (Kawasaki ZX10R Masters Cup, Zwartkops Raceway, 2013/02/03, 76 images) Main Image: (LTR) Stuart Russell, Kobus le Roux, Andre van Vollenstee, Walter Marafioti, Kawasaki Masters. Contributors: Johan Fourie, Pieter de Vos. *Brand omitted.

Kawasaki ZX10R Masters Cup, images: 63/76