Pieter De Vos #17
—1 + 1 for the day.
—Red Star Raceway.
Tony Klem #13, Graeme Van Breda #41
—Shoulder to shoulder at 200+.
Graeme van Breda #41
—Shoei! Was that really necessary?
STARTING GRID LINE UP:
Pieter De Vos, Graeme Van Breda, André Denoon, Tony Klem, Johan Le Roux, Raymond Keel, Jaco Gous, Sid Farinha, Peter Clark, Stuart Russel, Stewie Christie, Michael Smit, Hennie Du Plessis, Abrie Marais, Appanna Ganapathy, Kyle Robinson, Hannes De Vos, Ian Harwood, Henk Schuiling, Banie Van Dyk, JB Schoeman, Henry Van Der Merwe.
Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters: stars
"Live free and beauty surrounds you/ The world still astounds you/ Each time you look at a Star"—Andy Williams. (Wish he had known Red Star.)
Saturday: Slowly but surely the Red Star Raceway (RSR) pit complex fills up with eager spectators and superbike jockeys. The sum total could have been ten times higher if the event was held in conjunction with the Extreme- Festival, Supercars—This is how the South African motorsport enthusiast knows motorsport: fast cars, and superbikes; it goes together like peanut butter and syrup.
It looks like rain. Every now and then the sun gets obscured by a few loose clouds drifting leisurely in an easterly breeze; it is still a hot and beautiful day and the motorcycle racing—SOUNDS promising.
On the northern side of the Red Star pit complex, the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, or the Red Army as they are also known, has set up camp. I quickly pass by all the demarcated garages; jovially greeting the geared-up riders. Ever wondered why the Club is so successful? Why do they have the most numbers on the starting grid, even if a few got wounded along the way? Because they are the RED ARMY. As a unit they move and act together for the greater good, sponsored by Red Square and properly drilled by Stevedores Johan- and Lynette Fourie (Silverton Bolt and Nut).
I sat in the Spur (the week before). It is a Thursday night, the place is packed to the rafters, they have some kind of special going on ...
In my peripheral vision, three TV sets run the cricket in ad nauseam. The MotoGP advertisement comes on, what a relief, and then the Red Square logo ... Talking heads as far as the eye can see. None of them pays any attention to the plasmas hanging from the roof. They eat, laugh, talk and drink (sounds just like a Friday afternoon with the Kawasaki Masters). Maybe outside this carnivore-environment, things are different at home.
How did we get here? Literally ... 'How ... did ... we ... get ... here?' I sit and watch the world from a stained couch, it smells of wet dog (which barks at an owl, that parks in the front yard tree, almost every night), flicking through channels on a remote that is covered in gunk, which only Grissom can truly appreciate. From the kitchen the smell of cooked-up cabbage fills the living room, the wife was never any good at cooking, it reminds me of 1984 .
I watch the world from Google Earth; I've developed a slouch postures trying to keep up with everything on Facebook, Twitter (and any other social media dreg), my smartphone is dragging me down—I fear the fear of losing out, and still I lose out on everything.
If I can’t dig superbike—motorcycle—racing in the REAL world, at the track, that we can’t fit completely into recycled plastic electronic squares that were Made in China—then I can't be a true motorsport Digger now, can I?
In the past five years that I’ve been doing motorsport photography and articles, I have met some of the most interesting people in the world. What makes them tick? In what vocation have they established themselves? Why do they race? Will they continue after a devastating accident? 'I'll be back,' said Teddy Brooke ... You learn to understand their way of thinking. You experience the bravery, and sometimes the insanity, and I have seen the tears; but mostly the laughter after every race meeting. All your senses are involved when it comes to the beautiful world of motorsport. Then, there are the people that make everything happen, those that don’t race: the supporters, photographers, technical personnel, mechanics ...
It is nice to watch the racing afterwards, with friends or family and being able to tell them: 'I was there!'
The N12 (East, towards eMalahleni), runs hurriedly, it has absolutely no effect whatsoever on this motorcycle racing day. Today is also the day that the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters make their first appearance of the year at RSR. They are thunderously flanked by the Thunderbikes, featuring top riders like: Daryn Upton #661, Greg Gildenhuys #34, Nicolas "the Joker" Grobler #22, Ivan van Niekerk #59, Ryan Van Aswegen #33, Anthony Shelley #74, Kyran De Lange #49; the Silverton Bolt & Nut Brunch Run Challenge also features on the motorcycle racing programme. And! I’m off to make the world believe in what I’ve seen today, not from a plastic box, that reads: Made in China. The real world is out there—come experience it!
In front of me is the most beautiful vista (turn 3/11). Red Star Raceway is surrounded by tranquillity, peacefulness, UNTIL, the superbikes start up. (How do we define a superbike? Loud, fast, and it doesn’t look like your parked version at home, with rear view mirrors, soft seat and blinkers, (and, there is definitely no place for the misses)) ... and of course it is SUPERFAST: 205 kph down the short RSR pit straight; 250 kph from turns 2 to 3; 210 kph between turns 8 and 9 . Now tell me, doesn’t this deserve a standing ovation and great respect? Of course these Masters are honed at their skill (so don’t try this on your nearest highway after a few) and Red Square Reload fuelled, not just 95 Octane. And, they have dedicated mechanics, true supporters, and leather guts.
The Red Square Masters were spectacular:
The smell of racing fuel that fills the warm air; mechanics that put on Kawasaki green gloves to prepare race-bikes; Mark (Weitz), handing out Red Square Reload (after having a miserable flatty on his way), the stuff that really keeps them going; Robbie Breakspear (Supersport Gearbox Centre), donating prize money in his absence to the best Master of the day, André Denoon #58; Pieter "the Terrier" De Vos, slamming the door BOTH times, in the face of Graeme Van Breda on his SB&N Kawasaki ZX10R. Pieter fought very hard for both wins, considering he has an injured left shoulder—Congratulations Pieter, you bagged it nicely! Later when Raymond Keel called out his name to collect the Championship Trophy, the roof nearly went.
Kyle Robinson never came close to put the throttle down on the Terrier. First race he ended up in 16th place (even though he recorded a third & third in qualifying and Superpole), sixteen, was also his grid position for the second race. A momentary lapse of whatever made him slip to that silly position (Masters never quit, they just leave the track momentarily). Second heat he ended up in third, that was much better. I’m no horse breeder, but, maybe Kyle was too eager, or too anxious in the first heat. He is one of the best the Red Army has. In the words of David Lee Roth: "That's life, that's life/ That's what all the people say/ You're riding high on Monday/ Shot down in May/ But I, I ain't never gonna change my tune/ When I'm back on top in the month of June (that would be May) ..."
Tony Klem #13 had a weedy first heat; In the second heat, he laid it all down for a few laps in second position, this was also the most exciting/frightening part of the day: In the pit straight (from my perched position on the bridge), Graeme rapidly caught up with him, just as Van Breda was next to Klem, out of nowhere, like lightening, Van Breda aggressively (in my opinion) swerved to his right and nearly closed the gate too early on Klem. This could have been a devastating accident. 'WTF? DID YOU SEE THAT?' Was my voiced reaction to the people next to me. Only Graeme will know how he played this one; luckily Tony’s stability control (his strong forearms) kept him upright. A bent clutch-lever is worth more than a devastating crash at 200 kph plus. The Front13r Diamonds man ended up in third place overall for the day, and collected his Trophy with extra pride. Is there something to grill the next time they meet?
To my Dear Readers, I would just like to mention that Graeme Van Breda #41 was/is one of South Africa’s best, in motorcycle racing. He stood brave when he accepted his second place trophy.
In my previous motorcycle feature, I mentioned: Pieter in first, Kyle second, and Graeme on the third rung. I was only right about one. I’m not Clairvoyant, sounds like a nice girl to have, blond hair and all. But, Pieter knows the track by heart, and he is a true fighter. 'Ball is in your court Graeme.' Phakisa here we come, this should be very exciting. The next Red Square Kawasaki/Extreme Festival happens the second of May, at Phakisa Freeway, Free State.
Johan (Fourie) runs up and down with his Kawasaki green shirt and Red Square Fedora hat, managing the Masters to a fine art of Swiss watchmaking. He is the Masters’ keeper, the man that makes things possible. Every now and then he would light up a cigarette; things at THIS office are much tougher than you think. If anyone is interested in becoming a dedicated Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Master, or Sponsor, you may give him a call on: +27 (0) 12 804 1974.
Red Star, you voluptuous lady in black lace, you have lost. Your gravitational voice had no effect on them, they have left you cold. The only Master that fell victim to your call was a Robin in the noon sky, and he came back. Even though they are called Masters (a point in life of no return to any younger appearance), they have defiantly disobeyed your voice.
There is a bright star hanging in the evening skyline (at about seven, to the west), by nine it is almost gone; our Stars follow every track in the country, they race till every octane of 95 is used up.
Today, I’ve seen the true fibre of these Masters: tenacity, perseverance, hyper-focus, sweat, aches and pains ... and to be human beings. They are the true Stars—forever.
I sit back and watch the stars; opening an ice cold Crabbies, there is an elephant on the bottle, ginger flavour; lighting a Ritmeester Tubo , having a long drag, wondering why would we want to fit all this, real life, into a television set, when everything we yearn for is out there—Stars. —Godspeed!•
André Denoon #58
—Rider of the Day.
Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, Extreme Festival, Red Star Raceway, South African Motorsport, 2015/03/28.  George Orwell, 1984 (?).  Source: Pieter De Vos.  SMOKING IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH.