Four days of off-road riding from Johannesburg to Durban, approximately 250 km a day, and then another four days back again. The Quads 4 Quads ride is not for the faint-hearted. CLAIRE RENCKEN reports
Thirteen years ago, the Quads 4 Quads event was launched by Glenn Foley and Corinne Andrews of the Family Adventures social off-road club. They chose the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) as the beneficiary of the fundraising ride.
As in previous years, about 600 quad-bike and motorcycle riders, including some quadriplegic and paraplegic riders on adapted quad bikes, participated in the event again this year. Quads 4 Quads has made a remarkable difference in the lives of quadriplegics and paraplegics in South Africa. To date, the event has raised almost R7 million for QASA.
The down-run from Johannesburg to Durban took place from September 29 to October 2, starting at Carnival City and ending at Cane Cutters in Ballito. QASA CEO Ari Seirlis participated again this year on his adapted Polaris RZR. This is what he had to say about the experience: “I don’t know whether to express sadness or happiness that I have just arrived home after the most amazing four days of off-road adventure. We had experiences of immense heat and dust, and then today cold, cold wind and drizzle. I guess it’s all part of the adventure of doing this event to raise money for QASA. But as a quadriplegic, it is even more difficult – having to deal with adaptations of my bike performing well, the elements and the terrain.
“I have just completed my 12th Quads 4 Quads and each one seems to get harder and harder. I say at the end of each event ‘this will be my last’… But I guess I could always prove myself wrong … again. Thank you to the Family Adventures, the support team that I had, the volunteers, the marshals, the people waving us on from the side of the road, the farmers who let us through their properties, the generosity of the corporate donors, the generosity of individual riders, the gifts from sponsors, the broad smiles of the fellow participants when we passed each other, and the evenings of laughter and storytelling about the day’s adventures.
“This is a superb event and if you own an off-road bike and have not done Quads 4 Quads yet, you just have to do this. It’s absolutely contagious and it’s for an organisation that is developing the lives of quadriplegics and paraplegics in South Africa.”
The up-run back to Johannesburg began on October 6 and ended at Carnival City on October 9. There was a huge welcoming committee waiting to greet the riders as they arrived – dusty and exhausted, but also exhilarated.
In keeping with tradition, Glenn and Ari addressed the crowd, thanking everyone who had made the event possible, successful and safe. Glenn wrapped things up by handing over a cheque for R500 000 to Ari for QASA.
What will Quads 4 Quads 2017 have in store for us? Shall we start placing bets now – will or won’t we see Ari and his Polaris again next year?