Bridgestone Podium Moment
—LTR (2016/08/09): Kyle Robinson (3), Sven Grüne (1), Johan Le Roux (2).
—Rider of the Day: Henk Schuiling.
Kyle Robinson #18
—Chequered flags: 4 + 2.
Russ Page #46
—Chequered flags: 10 + 10.
Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters: family.
CHAPTER SEVEN: “What counts in the end is, not how many times we fall, but how many times we get up again.” —Awake! Magazine, no. 4 2016.
Tuesday morning: It’s 3H12 (AM). The neon green-numbers of the alarm clock hurt my eyes. I must get a new one. I can’t sleep any more. Maybe I’m too excited about the thunderous day ahead, maybe also concerned. I haven’t touched a Nikon camera in almost two months. I believe, once I’m acclimatised, things will go much better. They say, it’s like riding a bicycle. Everything under the sun, has some sort of rhythm, a beat so to speak. Once you’ve picked up the rhythm, most things turn out to be extraordinary.
In the winter darkness, I think back at what Gerald Van Heerden shared with me yesterday after the practices, and I paraphrase: "I can’t seem to find the damn rhythm of this track. It’s like a constant battle in my head, fighting every turn, every straight. It drains every bit of my energy, physically and mentally. You have to be Minora sharp, to survive 12 laps." I will offer him a Red Square Reload later. "CARBONATED ENERGY DRINK WITH CAFFEINE, TAURINE, VITAMINS AND GINSENG." I can surely do with one now.
Zwartkops is a bustle this morning. Hordes of spectators are flooding the main gate. The grand-stands and eastern banks are rapidly filling up with avid motorsport fans. And, it's good to be home again.
The bulk of the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R superbike riders are present. The Red Square flags flirt quickly in the cool morning air. Coolers are filled to brim with all you can drink: Red Square, Red Square Reload, Crabbie’s, Carlsberg, Caribbean Twist (JLR’s favourite) ... The day is ready to start.
The Kawasaki Masters normally pit together, but not today. They're scattered in all four directions over the noisy pit-complex, breaking the strong unity, that makes them such a great family. Russ Page and Sven Grüne, share the same demarcated area in front of the Red Square garage. Their Kawasaki ZX10R superbikes, bake slothfully in the morning sun. His (Sven) Bridgestone Battlax R10 tyres are covered in Dalmatian fleece blankets, totally destroying the burly look of his red and white Kawasaki ZX10R superbike. Some passers-by, rather appreciate the feminine look. Even "colourful" Russ (Page Property Developers), enjoys the spotted moment; but not as much as the two goddesses he brought along. I gaze at them for a moment. They seem to like the attention, the photos, the selfies. I pray softly: "Please let them not taint JLR’s brain. He has a hard day ahead. He needs at least one second place." Little did I know that my spoken words will eventually come true.
Peter Clark, André Van Vollenstee, Johan Le Roux (JLR), Stuart Russel, Gerald Van Heerden and Brain Bontekoning, are sardine together, on the south side.
In the next superbike garage: Graeme Van Breda, Mike McSkimming, Etienne Louw. North: Jaco Gous, Ian Harwood. East: Pieter De Vos and JB Schoeman. The unity of the Red Army is temporary destroyed. They might feel vulnerable today.
Graeme walks with a slight limp. Two days ago he was still out of contention. His left ankle is wrapped in blue sticky plaster. Reminisce of a failed race day. Other than that, he’s in tip-top shape. He has already missed two official race meetings due to serious incidents. In his quiet manner, he looks optimistic. He’s a born superbike rider. Wholly understanding the consequences that goes with this adrenalin fuelled sport. It takes more than few crashes, and a fifth spot on the points rosters, to cower him. He still resides in the shadow of nemesis, Sven Grüne, who still crows number one. With only three race dates left, he’s gonna need more than a blue plaster and rabbit out of a hat, to roast Sven, out of his elevated position. I’m very glad to see him in the house.
—Current points standings (combined): 1. Sven 250; 2. Kyle 212 (38 shy of the leader); 3. JLR 177 (73); 4. Pieter 168 (82); 5. Graeme 155 (95); 6. Teddy 147 (103).
Kyle is still one of the best contenders for the 2017, #1 plate. To my dear Readers, just be patient. Please circle these important dates: 24 September, Killarney; 22 October, Kyalami; 26 November, Zwartkops. The end is nigh.
The main Red Square garage is not sufficiently lit. Kyle Robinson looks peeved in the dim light. The left side of his Fantech red and silver Kawasaki ZX10R bares serious score marks. I can only assume that oil on the tarmac had caused the damage. Up in turn- five and six the "refined" smell of spilled oil hangs thick in the morning air. A toxic grey cement cloud rises from the tarmac. Ominous cloud masses like these are despised by so many sincere riders. It instils some kind of hesitation, a cautious factor in their subtle minds. If you look at the lap times, you will notice it immediately. It has a stern influence on the throttle hand. This has always been a very sensitive subject up for discussion, and it might have reached the final boiling point. (We're all well aware that calamity can strike at any time. Maybe, it's the way things are handled, that causes this great distress.)
(Trivial information for the masses: My ticket-stub reads (No. 1452): "BY ENTERING THE PROPERTY I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT MOTORSPORT IS DANGEROUS AND THAT I AM PRESENT AT MY OWN RISK."
The front-page (of the programme) reads: "MOTORSPORT IS DANGEROUS. REPORT SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOUR." Zwartkops even included a mobile number. Suspicious behaviour?
The last page: "WARNING! MOTORSPORT CAN BE DANGEROUS.")
Next to Kyle pits Teddy (Brooke Refrigeration). He emits a cool and calm composure. His ZX10R sports a well-balanced red and blue livery design. Between him, Russ and Peter Clark, the Club's gonna find it hard to select a year-end livery winner ...
As time rolls closer to their first heat, the Masters get quieter. They reach samadhi (so to speak), a state of meditative consciousness. Then it's all quiet. Visors are down. The 30 second board makes them even more alert. Adrenalin and Red Square pump trough their veins at an alarming rate. The red lights drop. The thunder hits the ribbon of black with an incredible force. On track, they forget their family values. At three o'clock, the same phenomena will repeat itself. Sven took the first heat, with a best lap of 01:06.298. The chequered flag recorded JLR in 2nd, Graeme in 3rd. Heat two, totally went the opposite direction. This left most off guard, and Gerald capitalised on this great opportunity, if you can call it a great opportunity. He even recorded a much better time than Sven: 01:04.663. Most was taken aback with this result. This excellent result stands as proof that if you correctly pick up on the rhythm of Zwartkops, it could be extraordinary. Sometimes, the smallest things, can make a big difference. Kyle raced absolutely fantastic, there's no doubt about it. Somewhere during the passing of laps, he lost his rhythm. Raking in a well-deserved second place. Sven slotted in at 3rd.
It is almost 5 o'clock, the podium results are still not published. Impatiently I pace up and down. The podium moments will be held in front of the Jongingozi and the Lani Industrial pits. In the meantime I take my own unofficial podium shots. These are the photos, when we are old and worn, to remind us of the other family we once had ...
Kyle, Sven and JLR, finally pose for the official Bridgestone podium moment. Kyle pulls a funny face, overjoyed about his third overall. JLR opens a Caribbean Twist. Celebrating his second place in his own distorted manner. The cold fluid goes down faster, than him down the pit-straight.
Rider of the Day, goes to Henk Schuiling—CONGRATULATIONS!
I page slowly through the motorsport photos. Initially not seeing the golden tread. What triggered this whole great idea of writing about "family", was a valued photo of André Van Vollenstee and his daughter, and one of Terry and Simon Moss. I also have one of Terry and me nailed to the wall. What a great—Rothmans Racing—moment. Never quit Terry, never quit. I have already written something for the Kawasaki Masters, it did not exert the right kind of energy, so I binned it. The answer to my writers block, was right in front of me—family.
I pour myself another ice cold Carlsberg. The rays of the late afternoon sun enhances the little droplets on the side of the green bottle. In this quiet moment, I enjoy the rich golden colour ...
I have learned two important things today: family is most important, value them dearly; and if you don't have one, the Red Square Kawasaki Masters will be the perfect surrogate, on motorsport weekends. They might not be the greatest, but they will always make you feel most welcomed. —Godspeed! •
Teddy Brooke #93
—Chequered flags: 7 + 7.
Sanjiv Singh #12
—Chequered flags: 8 + 9.
Russ Page #46
André Van Vollenstee + Daughter + Carlsberg.
—Terry Moss + Simon Moss + Audi.
Extreme Festival, Zwartkops Raceway, Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, South African Motorsport, 2016/08/09.