In its 12th year, the Quads 4 Quads adventure ride was bigger and better than ever. CLAIRE RENCKEN and THATO TINTE report
Four days of off-road riding all the way from Johannesburg to Durban, for approximately 250 km a day, and then another four days on the return leg from Durban to Johannesburg. That’s what the men and women who took part in the Quads 4 Quads event in October were in for.
This year, about 600 quad-bike and motorcycle riders, including several quadriplegic and paraplegic riders on adapted quad bikes, participated in the event. Quads 4 Quads has made a remarkable difference in the lives of quadriplegics and paraplegics in South Africa.
QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) CEO, Ari Seirlis, explains: “The event is not a race – it’s rather a family ride, which encourages everyone to get involved, whether they’re helping at the daily rest stops or joining the riders off-road. The race represents the spirit of QASA and quadriplegics everywhere through its firm belief that having a physical disability does not affect a person’s ability to endure and to be the best that they can be. To date, the event has raised more than R6 million for QASA.”
The Quads 4 Quads event was launched 12 years ago by Family Adventures, run by Glenn Foley and Corinne Andrews, who chose QASA as the beneficiary of the fundraising ride.
Seirlis and Phil Case, the financial director of Dial-a-Nerd, were among the well-known quadriplegics who participated this year. This was the 11th time Seirlis took part (on his adapted Polaris RZR) and the fifth time for Case, on his Can-Am Maverick with hand-controls.
The down run from Johannesburg to Durban took place from October 1-4, starting at Carnival City and ending at Cane Cutters in Ballito.
The mood at Carnival City was electrifying on the morning of October 1. The parking lot, filled with an assortment of off-road bikes, quads and go-karts, caught the attention of many fascinated, camera-wielding passers-by.
Before the official send-off by Seirlis and Foley, the riders were treated to an entertaining motorbike stunt show.
With the event taking place during a heat wave, Foley cautioned riders to ensure that they kept themselves well hydrated.Together with a team of qualified paramedics, the riders then headed off for the start of their exhilarating ride.
The up run back to Johannesburg began on October 8 and ended at Carnival City on October 11. The mood was festive yet again as the dusty-faced riders enjoyed ice-cold refreshments (mostly beers!) after their last gruelling stint on their bikes. Once Case had arrived back, the riders made their way across the road into the Carnival City parking lot.
Foley addressed the crowds, thanking everyone who had made the event possible and – perhaps more importantly – successful and safe. Case said that this year’s event had been the most challenging to date in terms of weather conditions: “The heat and the wind made it pretty tough, but it was still a great experience,” he said.
There was huge applause when Foley wrapped up the proceedings with the handover of a cheque for R500 000 to QASA.
We can’t wait for Quads 4 Quads 2016, which promises to be equally thrilling!