“We promise that you will double your skills, and half your fears in one weekend”
Me being the most fearful, this was a very attractive promise…and at the end of July 2014 we joined a crew of enthusiastic motorcyclists at Jan (Staal) Du Toit’s Country Trax Offroad Training Academy in Amersfoort outside of Johannesburg.
We were kindly asked to leave our ego’s in a dish, and then we set off to do the ‘cool things you see on TV’. This consisted of the famed riding with both your legs on the luggage rack (effectively kneeling on the seat), side saddle riding and a slow race (that I won by repeated stalling). Most of our fellow riders were sporting BMW’s but everyone is welcome and from the start we all socialize, eat and ride together.
The communal table
The best kind of classroom
Matthew masters the ‘form’
Aldo teaching me the ‘Form’
On the morning of day 2 I could feel every muscle, and realized that even a few gym sessions would probably have been to my benefit, but those pains quickly dissipated with the appearance of Pap and milk for breakfast (for non-South Africans this is a maize staple porridge that many of us ate as kids). We spend a glorious day on the farm playing on our bikes, and trying to make the connection between Jan’s Instructions, brain instructions and muscle actions.
I did some things where fear of being the only girl in the group who was too scared, made me ride over cattle grids, through the forest, through the sand and numerous other crazy exercises, that were actually not that bad when you stop thinking and just do them.
Matthew looking spectacular
Jan makes it look easy
Sand riding lecture
I got the wheel off the ground!
Matthew turns on the cameraman (Leonard)
This dog’s favorite toy
I did have one hard fall where as my friends know, I got my leg between the F800 and a wooden pole, after hoping that giving throttle might save me from the situation. After a quick medical self check, I established that although the pain was severe, that thankfully my bones were intact. By the size of the bruise shown below, you can see why wearing motocross boots is vital! Though this was not the greatest when you have packed a short dress for a wedding after the course.
Matthew also came off in spectacular fashion after accelerating down the steepest hill on the farm and entered the ‘bowl’ below like a stunt rider from Nitro Circus. He lost traction on the bowl lip and gave us all a huge fright, however after the initial scare, he left with just a twisted ankle.
My fantastic bruise day 1
I was humbled that Country Trax were willing to offer us the course, and that we participated in the entire weekend including the fantastic accommodation (built by Jan himself) and marvelous food. Jan Du Toit and Aldo Van Der Walt (Touratech) were extremely patient and as the “big names’ in adventure riding South Africa, they were a pleasure to get to know.
Thank you again for this fantastic experience, which I will recommend far-and-wide. I have certainly doubled my skills and halved my fears!
Megan washes her toes
Matthew washes his bike
riding the oval
We all passed!
Thank you to Leonard van Greunen for the fanstastic Country Trax pictures