Monday, March 30, 2009

February Update ...

We now have a very short two and a half months to go before we head off on the adventure of a lifetime. The Durban 2 Dublin express (3 BMW`s and 3 adventure riders) depart from Auto Umhlanga, Durban for Dublin, Ireland. 60 Days on the road and approx. 18,500 kms to travel!

These past few months have been a blur of arranging fundraising functions and so far we have had a function at the Heritage Theatre in Hillcrest plus a motivational speaker in Bloemfontein. For this event Jaco spent every day for three weeks before the show travelling to Bloemfontein and back from his farm in Bultfontein, a distance of 170 km`s one way. He set up stands at shopping malls to promote the show and to get people to book for the event. That is what I call commitment for the trip. Upcoming events are the BMW Track Day Swartkops and the SCMSC Dirtfest at Imbabala near Weenen in KZN.
Now comes the time for visa applications, return flight bookings, arranging for the bikes to be shipped back to South Africa and so much more. The route has been plotted and is currently sitting patiently on my PC waiting for the command to send to the device then the main command on 1st May when I enter the where to function and finally press GO !!!!
Two months ago my heart stopped and for a minute I saw the whole trip flashing before my eyes and becoming a non-event.

This is the reason:
I had arranged a fun enduro at the off-road academy at Imbabala KZN. On Saturday 14th December 2008, 50 off-road riders headed off to challenge the hills and rocky river beds around Imbabala in the Weenen area - 140 kms of pure adrenalin and great fun. That evening sitting around the open fire at the Imbabala Lodge listening to all the war stories from the day`s ride I smiled to myself and once again thought what a great bunch of guys the off-road fraternity has.
The next morning on Sunday, after a hearty Imbabala breakfast we once again kitted up to head out for a shorter loop of 70kms. The first section of the ride was on the game farm before we headed out of the park and off for the hills surrounding Imbabala.
During this section of the ride we negotiated a dry riverbed of approximately 5kms. Towards the end of the riverbed section there is a small waterfall of about 1m in height. The top of the fall has a small kicker on it so the trick is to hit the lip with a bit of momentum and as you go over the edge give a bit of gas to help clear the front wheel.
I negotiated this drop-off without any mishap on my trusty BMW 450X. Some of the following riders battled a bit with the timing and there were a few spills and lots of laughs. One intrepid rider, giving a bit too much gas, overshot the landing and promptly went full steam into a nearby waterhole, completely drowning his bike.
Whilst the guys were helping this last rider, a youngster amongst the group decided that he was not up to doing the drop-off on his KTM 80cc. He approached me and asked me to take the bike over for him. Of course I agreed (big mistake!). I kicked started this midget of a bike and aimed for the drop-off. As I went over I knew I had a problem, not realizing how big a problem lay in a split second ahead yet.
As I landed my feet slipped off the small foot pegs and I landed with my full weight on my legs. The soft sand under my feet caused my left leg to lock up and with nowhere to go the force was exerted down and out. I felt this shockwave shoot up my leg and I collapsed to the ground. As I tried to stand up my leg once again gave way. I knew I had a BIG problem, and at this point I saw the Durban 2 Dublin trip saying bye-bye.
The guys then sent Rory, my ever helpful son, back to the lodge on my bike and he returned with a 4×4 Rhino to recover me.

I was taken to the lodge and then transferred to a pick-up to be taken through to Medi Clinic in Pietermaritzburg. This was now Sunday afternoon. When I arrived at the Medi Clinic, Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr Peter Thompson was called and I was summarily sent off for X-rays.
When the X-rays returned they were examined by Dr Thompson I watched his face very closely and when I saw him shake his head I feared the worst. It turned out I had a tibia plateau fracture, (for the layman this is a very bad break just below the knee). Dr Thompson booked me into hospital and made arrangements for surgery the following day. Surgery consisted of inserting a plate and seven very large looking screws into the bone to hold the whole lot in place.

The next morning when Dr Thompson made his rounds and stopped in to check on me I told him about my planned trip to Dublin scheduled for 1st May, which was four and a half months away. He was not very enthusiastic and told me this sort of injury could take three months to heal. I think he saw the determination in my eyes and gave me a bit of advice on how to look after the injury post operation, and instead of putting me in a full leg cast he put on a leg brace. This allowed me to carry on with physio and was treated by Dr Donna Dippenaar, an excellent Chiropractor in Pietermaritzburg.
Well, it is now 8 weeks since the op and I feel great! I still have a slight limp but this is improving every day. On my last visit to Dr Thompson he was amazed at my recovery. To Dr Thompson, Dr Dippenaar and all the staff at Medi Clinic I thank you and salute all of you.

On Friday the 6th February I flew down to Cape Town to visit a few of the Children`s crèches which are being managed by the Pebbles Project, and this was a very touching and rewarding visit. (Pebbles is the charity that we are raising funds for). The children at these crèches are looked after by a team of voluntary care givers and the enthusiasm and care shown by these care givers and teachers is a wonder to behold. I am convinced that we have made the correct choice in choosing Pebbles as our charity. If these children can be given a chance of receiving a decent education and one day entering the work place as well rounded and responsible adults I am sure we can look forward to a better and crime free South Africa.

On Saturday, 14th February the BMW Road Rider Academy at Swartkops arranged an open track day for us and to all the guys who took the time to get away from your partners on Valentine`s Day I thank you for your support. To your partners I also thank you for giving the guys the time to attend.
At this track day it was also the first time I got back onto a bike since the accident, and I must say after a few hesitant and slow laps around the track, I was really getting back into my stride and feeling at one with the bike again. I must also mention here a big thank you to EVS Gear for the recent sponsorship of the web knee braces that they have so kindly sent up to me. The braces really give one a sense of confidence knowing that your legs are properly protected. My only regret is I did not have a pair before my accident as I am sure they would have minimized the damage.

I am now looking forward to putting in some off-road riding and really getting back into the groove of handling the big 1200 Adventure bike that is going to be carrying me to Dublin.
In between the rider training there is still the question of a few more fund raisers to arrange as well as the never ending paper work to complete.

Sponsors and support received so far:
· Metal mule Rider Equipment,
· Pannar Seed,
· BMW Midrand,
· BMW Road Training Academy,
· Ryder Motorrad,
· BMW Auto Umhlanga,
· Gear Up,
· Alfie Cox Racing,
· Mac`s Shipping,
· Barts Computers,
· Marius Vorster, Expanda-sign,
· South Coast Motorsport Club,
· EVS Rider Gear
All the individual people that have made a donation to the trip and, of course, to Pebbles we thank you all. You know who you are.


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