Gavin Lightfoot + Philip Botha Jnr
—Extreme Festival, Zwartkops Raceway.
Gavin Lightfoot + Philip Botha Jnr
—Two hot laps around Zwartkops Raceway.
Johan le Roux #44
—Tandoori Masala Kawasaki ZX10R.
Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters: edge of the ocean
Many people ask me where I get my ideas from, especially the themes. Why do I write in such a different style than normal? Everything in life is already discovered (well, most of it), so, it is just a matter of how we combine/collaborate things. See things for what they truly are; see things—no matter how small—for the true potential they carry. I write about my own experiences at these motorsport events. About the vibrant people I meet (in the pits), about scoot jockeys and race pilots; about life; about the smells and sounds. It is not always easy to pick the right topic. But once one is picked that can truly encapsulate and enhances the rhythm of my thoughts, the rhythm of every motorsport event, bringing them together in a colourful amalgamation, then, the end result is enthralling.
... / At the edge of the ocean/ We can start over again/ There's a world I've always known/ Somewhere far away from home/ When I close my eyes I see/ All the space and mystery/ ... sings Dominique Durand (from the band Ivy).
Tuesday: I sit with my legs stretched out onto the sidewalk. The wooden bench is old and worn from the weather. I push my thumb slowly over some of the peeled paint, and watch them drop to the ground. In front of me is the most beautiful vista: Sea Point (Cape Town). I’ve included a photo of my vista; it inspired me to use it as a motorsport theme, that and the Ivy song. My view gets distorted by the passing of a beautiful long-hair-blond-girl. She wears a T-shirt that reads: Cupcakes. She passes quickly; I follow her brisk walk for a while. Her track-suit-bottoms hugging her every curve ... I return to my vista as if she was never there. —At the edge of the ocean, we can start over again ...
Wednesday: Two days before the Extreme Festival, and I sit in die Carrera Café, Porsche Centre (Johannesburg), drinking a cup of excellent filter coffee, reminiscing.
The electronic sliding doors opened and closed quietly behind us. It shields us from the world out there. I turn around and watch the carbon-monoxide-snake just for a moment (out on Witkoppen road), slithering at its own pace; in here ... the contrary.
The aroma of coffee and the opulent fragrance of new and previously owned Porsches hang prominently in the air. It has a hypnotic effect on me; I can stay here forever, if, there is such a thing as forever. The rhythm of the place synchronizes with my heart. It must be a great privilege to work in such a pristine environment. I launch myself from one side of the showroom to the opposite and back, appreciating every moment I’m in here, every immaculate bodyline.
(Even though I was accompanied by a very stylish and well-dressed lady, no one even bothered to hear my thoughts.)
At the centre of this ocean of wishes, stood a 350KW Porsche 911 GT3 firmly clawed to the showroom floor on Michelin grippers. Her white body enriched with sultry red numbers, enhancing her ferocity. Toby Venter, the Grand Wizard, of the ribbon of black has truly put his mark on her—9. On the flip side of the Porsche Centre, is Kyalami, recently acquired by the Wizard himself. Not many people understand these things, the rhythm of things. As Sammy Hagar (Van Halen) screams: "Miss a beat, you lose the rhythm." Mr Venter understood that very well: if we lose Kyalami, we lose a big part of history, an internationally acclaimed racetrack and, a big part of motorsport. We will lose what we love most—the delicate sound of thunder. He deserves a standing ovation. —At the edge of the ocean, we can start over again ...
Friday: The Red Square Kawasaki Masters are setting up camp. The Red Army does not waste a second. Their superbikes (Kawasaki ZX10Rs) get filed into these energetic clusters. It doesn’t matter what racetrack they race, you will always find them clustering in the same energetic groups. I remember when I was still young, still at school: Each Sunday in Church, we would sit in the same row, same spot, next to the same expressions (those days they were dull). Maybe this has become in some sense, their Church.
I stand in this encapsulation, surrounded by an animated aura of vibrant souls and Kawasaki ZX10R superbikes. JB is on the phone ... I tap him on the leg with the Daily Sun, just to say hi; Pieter "the Terrier" de Vos is rummaging through a toolbox, looking for a front sprocket; Tony is not in yet. Next to THIS strange character (that’s Tony) is Johan Le Roux #44, sporting what is most probably the best looking Kawasaki in the house: his Tandoori Masala Kawasaki ZX10R. At the garage entrance are the Kawasaki twins: Brian Bontekoning #16 and Rodney McLachlan #42. Suave Devil #75, André van Vollenstee, is also back in the saddle, haven’t seen him around for a long time.
One by one the race bikes fire up. The thundering sound, fuelled by Red Square Reload and normal 95 octane, displaces every quiet moment, filling up every crevice; it makes the hair on my arms stand up. Next to me is Philip Botha Jnr, his father Philip and sister Nicolene. They also enjoy it as much as I do. For those who have never experienced such an energetic moment, just come down to the race-garage, these war dogs will make it worth your while, and they appreciate the company.
Helen Keller once wrote: "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart." The fox in the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry novella, The Little Prince, says the same thing: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
Gavin Lightfoot (KMSA) was bestowed the responsible task to make a dream come true; Dream Catcher Johan Fourie, pulled all the right strings and made this into reality, which will not be forgotten any time soon; Tony "Diamonds" Klem provided a beautiful black Kawasaki ZX10 motorcycle for this momentous occasion. The rest of the Masters added to the ambiance. Making a young man’s (who has never experienced two quick laps, on the back of a Kawasaki, around Zwartkops Raceway) race-dream a reality.
Philip and Gavin lined-up on the off-ramp leading onto the racetrack, just after the red light, to pose for the moment. And off they went, followed by the rolling thunder of 22 Kawasaki ZX10R race bikes.
I close my eyes for a moment. Imagining how it must have felt for the proud young man—feeling and not seeing. Unfortunately you can’t feel the wind in your hair, the helmet prevents that from happening (but you already knew that). He can still feel it on his skin, he can still feel the acceleration, the movements from side to side through the turns: Gavin enters turn two, releasing the throttle, out they come to enter turn three, now they step on it, down the back straight, into four, up to table top, into treacherous turn five, then six. Into quick turn seven, down to eight, into the pit straight ... I open my eyes (and continue typing), and not for a moment have I experienced what Philip Botha had experienced. I have had many hot laps around Zwartkops, Kyalami and Phakisa—thanks to Willem van der Westhuizen, Black Mamba Zoo (his Ferrari 360) and, Nicky "Sheriff" Dicks, piloting a red Ferrari F430, BUT, never on a race bike—this was truly a momentous occasion!
Red Square, the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, stevedore and Dream Catcher Johan Fourie, Tony Klem and Gavin Lightfoot, turned what we can only experience from a spectators point of view, into a vibrant reality for someone that can only experience what is truly important in life with his heart. —At the edge of the ocean, we can start over again ...
Most of us don’t live near the ocean or any other body of water for that matter. If you want to count a drawn hot bath with a little bit of Radox your edge of the ocean, then at least you have seen the value in it. We don’t always need the true edge of the ocean to start over, or get our minds in the right place; inland we can look for our own edges. I have found my edge of the ocean at Carrera Café, even though the moment was ephemeral, it was still worth the drive; standing in the Masters’ race-garage cooling off from the hot sun with a Red Square Reload, experiencing how they turn a young man’s dream into a greater than life moment; visiting local motorsport racetracks: Zwartkops Raceway, Kyalami (thanks to the Grand Wizard, Mr Toby Venter for keeping that edge) and Red Star Raceway, one of the best out there. We don’t need the edge of the ocean to start over—we only need to find our own. —Godspeed! •
—If anyone would like to come in contact with Dream Catcher Johan Fourie of the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, you can click here. Maybe you have a dream too?
Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters
—Extreme Festival, Zwartkops Raceway.
Stewie Christie #65
Stuart Russel #83
—The future ain't what it used to be.
Stuart Russel #83
—Back in contention.
Stewart MacLeod #46
Sea Point, Cape Town
—I push my thumb slowly over some of the peeled paint, and watch them drop to the ground. In front of me is the most beautiful vista.
Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, Extreme Festival, Zwartkops Raceway, South African Motorsport, 2014/08/09.