From September 29 to October 2, QASA hosted its annual Quads4Quads Journey to raise funds. As always, the trip was filled with mud, dust, drama and good company. QASA CEO Ari Seirlis shares some of the highlights of the event.
On Saturday, September 29, the 250 participants of the 2018 Quads4Quads journey gathered at Carnival City, Johannesburg, with their motorbikes and backups in preparation for the epic four-day 900-km off-road journey to Richards Bay.
At the start of the event, we had the opportunity to thank everyone on behalf of QASA and to receive 14 wheelchairs from the Cotton Road and Chinese Club. Certificates of thanks were handed over to some generous participants, including Phil Nixon for his R60 000 donation.
The QASA team received generous sponsorships from a number of companies, including Avis, Sir Juice and Simon Smith (Q20). From the QASA team, eight people participated including myself, Happy, Paul, Dave, Alan, Louise, Clinton and Crawford.
At 09h30, the sound of off-road motorbikes sparked adrenaline in the participants and we were off. The morning saw much excitement amid lots of mine dust. We stopped at the Fortuna Resort for lunch. Another four hours lay ahead until we reached Standerton, where we were hosted by Toz and Andre of Tozandre’s Guest Lodge.
A big thank you goes to Heinrich, who supplied one-kilogram T-bone steaks for us. While our meat was sizzling, we watched the Springboks dominate the Aussies. The refreshment station was pumping and everybody seemed to put their bill on the account for Kamer 11 (room 11).
After a huge breakfast of everything that Toz could throw at us and settling the refreshment accounts, we were back on the road heading towards Wakkerstroom. Drama was to follow. Just before Perdekop, Louise misjudged a crossing, losing control of her motorbike and crashing. Luckily, the paramedics were close by and we managed to stabilise her.
Paul rushed her in one of the buses to the Newcastle hospital where she had X-rays, which showed a broken shoulder and fractured wrist. Our spirits were dampened by this injury of a QASA team member, but at least we had the opportunity to meet up with her again that evening at our accommodation on a farm in Wakkerstroom.
We had a braai, a beautiful sunset and the company of three Jack Russells for the evening. We called for backup to get Louise back to Durban, and Shaun from the QASA office came up with the QASA bus and took her home. Luckily, she is on the mend.
Day three was a long haul to Vryheid, which included some very technical sections. It was very hot and there was plenty of dust. The afternoon technical section was scary for most, but Clinton and David were up for the challenge. We had a great lunch at the Lutheran Church halfway to Vryheid. They certainly know how to cater for hungry off-road bikers. Thank you for that!
That evening at the resort in Vryheid, the QASA flag was flown at the auction where R50 000 was raised. Before the event started, QASA had already received R150 000 from generous donors and participants. Team Awesome were in a generous mood at the auction over and above their initial contribution of R20 000 through Cybicom.
We were also visited by Damien, Nicole and Ronel Delport. What a lovely surprise. Lots of droë wors was consumed around the motorbikes and we enjoyed the socialising. Surprisingly, we got in earlier than expected and had some well-deserved rest.
On Tuesday morning, breakfast was served at 06h00 and by 07h00, we were ready for the longest leg of the journey – the remaining 260 km to Richards Bay. Temperatures exceeded 32°C. The cases of water sponsored by Avis and the cold-pressed fruit juice from Sir Juice came in handy!
Avis also sponsored two buses for the QASA team, 30 soccer balls and beanies. There was ample Q20 for the participants, courtesy of Simon Smith, to ensure the participants were all well oiled.
On arriving at Ulundi, the participants met the Mayor and QASA handed over ten wheelchairs for his community. By 15h00 on Tuesday afternoon, we celebrated the end of the Quads4Quads Journey with a cold beer. Over those four days we rode 1 000 km, saw some incredible landscape, and we identified pockets of poverty and lots of opportunity. We will be back.
We had made lots of friends along the way. Everyone thanked QASA for the incredible experience. All thanks must go to the Adventure Company and their staff for putting on an excellent event. The Quads4Quads Journey is 15 years old and has raised more than R7 million for QASA.
Most importantly, the event provides a wonderful off-road experience through the mountains and valleys of South Africa. We hope this event continues for many more years. Thank you to everyone in the QASA team for all the roles they played. You made a difference and you helped us fly the flag.
Ari Seirlis is the CEO of the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) and managing editor of Rolling Inspiration. email: firstname.lastname@example.org