Yes there are always people in all walks of life that have their woes and hard luck stories that are down- trodden, sadly life deals evil blows to some. But then there are those that bitch for trivial reasons like they got klapped at the traffic light by a 257Kg Adventure bike when all they were trying to do was peddle dustbin bags! Or the cat at Que Sera (don’t you love how nobody who goes there can pronounce the name) Anyway the Okie was bitching because he dropped his Kavasakki Volcan at the entrance because there was blerry grevvel on va tar adda entrance……the stupid roads department man, they dirrent fix anyfink ennymore man! Nothing at all to do wif the 7 Klippies en Coke you dopped, hey Dawie?
I am not talking about those manne, I am saying us Saffa’s generally used to be a happy bunch. We were full of positive stuff to say about our Rainbow Nation. You could buy a Suzuki GSX for R 2999.00; a packet of Camels was R 3.50 and you could buy a whole bunch of US Dorra for one Souff Effrecan Rond. That meant when Vol Sakkie went on an incentive trip to Thailand he could get what hopefully wasn’t a lady boy, without having to swipe his card (don’t ask where) and his vrou Min Sannie wouldn’t find out when she checked his bank statement!
But, the happiest of all these peeps were, wait for it……yes the Baaikers! It didn’t matter who else was moaning and bitching, the bikers always had a smile and a happy face because they knew that at any stage of the week there would be a jorl wif udda baaikers no more than 5 days away. Be it a Rally or a day jorl, or even just a breakfast run, there was a jorl. I can see the noobies speech bubbles asking, “Jorl on a breakfast run?????”
Yessiree Bob, a Sunday Breakfast Run to Harties was a party. It consisted of a race, not a ride. Then a chance to chow greasy brekkie from Stywelyne at Cosmos, usually washed down with at least half a dozen dops.
*Okay this is where da Bling King pulls out his disclaimer card for obvious reasons! The writer of this article in no way associates himself with consuming of alcohol or drugs whilst operating any powered vehicle*
But back then we were bulletproof, we had guardian angels that had turbos and anhedral wings. In fact my guardian angel moered Lucifer so hard at a Black Sabbath concert that it made Ozzy Osborne start smoking zorl!
So Sunday’s Breakfast Run meant that you had to be at Fourways at 08h00, you needed a Doctors certificate to miss the Breakfast Race. It didn’t matter if you had broken ribs from the fight at Boobs Disco the night before – that didn’t qualify for an excuse, it just made you soft! Now our breakfast run pack was led by an Okie called Mike ‘The Poison Dwarf’ Pavier. Him being an ex-Rhodie military man meant 08h00 was 08h00, not 08h22 or even 08h02.
Now remember in them halcyon days you had probably only gotten out of Bella’s or Boobs around three a.m. Then, come the first sparrow fart you scrambled out of whatever skags apartment you had found yourself in, before she woke up and bit you. Then you still had to dash home, get into your race leathers (seriously) and take your filthy hung-over self on a four day hike to Fourways. Of course this was a time we stayed in Yeoville or Hillbrow (yes there were honkies there before it became Lagos Ext 26.) In short Fourways was a moersa long way from home, or the skanks place for that matter!
Now naturally you woke up Sunday morning singing that Kris Kristofferson song because you had a bugger of a babelaas. So you did your best to sprint to Fourways before muster parade at 08h00 (keeping an eye out for the Polisie in their Nissan Skylines.) This sprint was to squeeze in a regmaker while you’re waiting for the rest of the rabble to arrive. A beer before eight in the morning, oh my helmet!
Let me paint the picture of the meeting spot at Fourways for the younger folk reading this. It wasn’t a mega mall with a Mugg & Bean and Primi Piatti. Nope; Fourways was a four way stop, yup no flyover, not even a traffic light. There was a skanky café (I think it was called Georges Café) and there was a garage that wasn’t very upmarket. But that was pit lane, so that is where the motley crew gathered in parc ferme, ready to race…….Is that where Butch Hirsch got the saying from?
Now let me take you through said motley crew: Of course the leader of the pack was Short Sh!t Pavier who knew his way around a bike and always had the latest and fastest machinery. Dave Swire-Griffiths, who used to amaze everyone he overtook, because it didn’t matter how fast you were going, he DID overtake you. That wasn’t the unnerving thing though, it was more his ATTGAT – it consisted of atypical Rhodie step-out kit. Vellies, black boxer shorts, T shirt, and an army cammo jacket cut into a waistcoat. I jest you not, that was his summer and winter kit. He rode in this ensemble at warp speed, he was not well our man Dave. There was also Dodge, otherwise known as Roger Payne. If you watch the Comrades or the Argus and see a bearded bugger piloting a BMW LT with a mad cameraman hanging of the back of his bike, that’s him. Dodge and a long stretch of Teutonic humour called Manfred, dealt me my first lesson about not under-estimating old men’s BMW Touring machines. It didn’t matter how fast you pedaled those superbikes, the Beemers weren’t far behind.
One of the other luminaries was the ‘Colonel.’ The Colonel was a biking legend in S.A. and Rhodesia. What a lot didn’t know was that he had raced against the likes of Hocking and Redman, so in short, no clown on a bike. He really was a Colonel in the Rhodesian Army as well, when you weren’t calling him Sir; he was Brian Pierce-Fleming.
Another one of the ‘Boy Racers’ was Simon Ottens, who some will know from Northside Motorcycles and tasked with keeping Marnie Gildenhuys and Noddy Van Greunen out of prison when on Adventure rides.
Other nutters included Tony ‘The Fox’, Ken Potties Potgieter and Gary Farrell, who though they weren’t at the sharp end of the Peloton, they sure made up for it on the bar!
When said motley crew had assembled and pleasantries were exchanged and bikes filled up (except for clever ones like me who ran with half-tank so I was faster) the flag dropped and the mad dash began. As mentioned before it was a race not a ride. It was flat-taps-pappie! All along Cedar Rd (with not one traffic light) maxed out through the corner where Drainfern is now and keep it tapped out pretty much all the way past Lanseria, through Santa Barbara down to the T junction at Pelindaba.
A lot of Gauteng baaikers still do that same route every Sunday, but there is a helluva difference between now and then. You try and hold a 750cc bike flat out along that route like we used to do and you will be buying a piece of farm and a white cross to join the others along the route! It has become so built up and the traffic is way too hectic!
So back to the tales of yore we go……
As you turned left at the Pelindaba T Junction there is a small stretch of wide tar (it is still there!) and it was custom for whoever was first at the T to park in pole position. It really was a funky place to be, because all the manne going past knew the significance. They knew you had blitzed the other manne!
It is time for a public admission that I have kept secret. Because I raced National 750’s I had a small advantage, so I often got to be in that number one spot at the T. As I came to a stop, I was off the bike in record time, and off with my helmet and gloves. Then came my secret trick – I used to smoke in those days, so I’d break off a third of the Camel filter and light it. The looks on the others faces when they stopped and saw I was that far though my smoke was way awesome!
Of course, since we had ridden so hard, we had built up a thirst. So it was into Dodge’s panniers and out with the beer. We would quickly sink one there, ready for Stage Two, which was the final sprint to Stywelyne at Harties.
Stywelyne was a restaurant in the Cosmos area of Hartebeespoort Dam. It had a moersa big parking lot. In those days if you weren’t there by nine you parked in the street coz it was choccas. Packed with what I can guess were around 400 bikes of every shape and size. Tourers, Cruisers, always the latest superbikes being shown off and of course a ragged collection of race bikes like my FZ750 with their number boards crossed out and baffles screwed back in place!
This was the Mecca of biking. The place was a buzz of leathers and Core-Tex, brands like Nava, Bell, Hein Gericke and Simpson. You hugged fellow bikers, spoke of how fast you were and of course, sunk more beer!
You also got to savor the gastronomic wonders that constituted brekkas at Cosmos……nah, rubbish I am talking kak. Breakfast was a greasy mass, served on a mess tin. If you’re too young or skipped the army, google what a mess tin is. I always remember as they handed you your “plate” you kept your thumbs hooked over the edge to stop the eggs sliding off onto your precious Dainese race suit.
Thinking about that suit, it was one of the originals that had ‘built in’ plastic studs for knee sliders and of course all the rookies would part ways for you when you strutted through to the outside, on account of the fact that they had looked down and seen the ground-down knee sliders! They of course thought you did that on the way to Harties! Well at least you couldn’t cheat then, I still see peeps at the Woodsman in Sabie, who have clearly taken an angle grinder to their knee sliders and not done enough homework to check which way the scrape marks are supposed to run!
Another piece of rider gear I invested in for the breakfast race, was a natty carry bag in the form of a tube with a sling. By some strange coincidence used to hold six cans of Castle and kept them fairly cold. I literally used to strap that around my waist when I got onto the bike on a Sunday morning, it was usually empty by ten. Scary thought hey?
Because a lot of the peeps in our crew were a bunch older than me and had more refined palates than what Stywe could offer, we started skipping munchies at Stywelyne and discovered a new magic kingdom called Syringa Spa.
Now Syringa was epic, run by the Barale family, in fact Ted Barale owns Picolinos in Fourways, which most bikers know. They welcomed us with open arms. Although it was right next to the famous MotoX track, they didn’t get many bikers on account of the kilometer of dirt road you had to traverse to get there. But we were bulletproof remember and with a six pack of beer under the belt we could do that no sweat on superbikes shod with Pirelli Phantoms!
The problem with Syringa was they also used to have a whole jorl in the afternoon with a disco run by Mike Ashurst (who still plays with a band called Rhapsody!) You can imagine by late arvy we were all in showroom condition. Somehow (about those angels) we used to all get home and live to fight another day.
As I have typed this bit of drivel, I keep thinking the same thought……..how the hell am I still trotting on this land mass? Thinking it was a great idea to not only mix bottle and throttle, but actually finishing the bottle before getting on your boney because (hang on for this piece of reasoning) you didn’t want to fall off your baby with a half empty bottle in your bum-bag. You might injure yourself……really?
Dave Griff (who is no longer with us) and Ken Potties (who no longer drinks) used to finish a bottle of Red Heart each at Syringa before hitting the long wobble home. Often Jimmy Wessels, Dion ‘Twoplusthree’ and I used to do the same with a bottle of J&B and tackle the very dark run back to Yeoville. For those that don’t know where Syringa was, it was down the road from where Avianto is now in Muldersdrift. It was only after a very close encounter with a donkey in Honeydew (as in I literally came home with some of his ear stuck to my bike,) did I finally wake up and ask my very understanding g/f, the ever patient Sharon Borrill, to come and fetch us with the car and trailer from then on.
Those that know me, know I was one of the early founders and sponsors of Think Bike and they are probably reading this and emitting a lot of expletives ending in ck? Thinking how can this dude have done this, more so, why is he writing about it?
Simple really, let me take you to that disclaimer that they have to tell Yanks in every start of a Max Channel program, “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!” I am still alive, but a lot of the bike heroes that used to do the same are reading this in the bar upstairs. My angels are made of metal mulisha, but I think they are also getting on in their years and I have no desire to test their tenacity any further. So if you still doing the same crap that you have read in the epistle above, stop it. Bottle and throttle actually don’t go together, we were not skilled, or clever, just very, very lucky that our “number” hadn’t come up……like if that donkey hadn’t suddenly swung around!
I hope that some that are still here that were doing the breakfast run in the halcyon days, can look back after reading this with a smile and thank whoever they worship that we are still alive and kicking and have wizened enough to try and coach others that are trying to pull the same tricks……..
Go join a track day and try your skills there, not on the road like we used to. Get some instruction, get some coaching and you will see just how much fun biking really is with the right skills.
Please do not do what we used to, practice what I now realize is the correct answer, bottle and throttle do not mix.
This little blog goes out to all that didn’t get this far………