the amandzing way

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Found some old stuff, it’s boring, don’t read it

It’s 5.30 on a summer Sunday afternoon and the highway is characteristically deserted.

I’m on a Yamaha FJ1200 and my brother on his Yamaha 650 Turbo; we’re going to settle, once and for all, whose bike is faster.

We pull out of town and open up our bikes. The hill is twisty; my brother on the nimbler 650 is ahead of me by two bike lengths. I can’t get out of fourth gear before I have to tap down to third, I’m bouncing the rev needle off the redline at 9000 revs but the bike is just too damn big to wrestle through the corners, through the left hander up to the Hilton flyover and now a straight lies before my front wheel.

Andrew is now four bike lengths ahead of me, third sees 140, fourth 200. By the time I get to the bridge I’ve reeled him in and I’ve a gear left. We crest the hill and a kilometre of downhill waits for me to eat it up. The big 1200 motor is screaming underneath me and I hear the shriek of the turbo next to me.

I change gears and time shifts I’m flat on the tank, the wind trying to tear my hand off the bars, I can barely hear the motor it’s only a vibration now. If I blink I’ll die.

At 250kph you are covering a lot of ground very quickly. Seconds pass and I’ve run out road, the right-hander before the straight is just in front of me I needtostopstopstopnow!!!

Somehow, with the bike bending and creaking underneath me and by hanging off the side I wrestle it through the corner sweatingblacksidewaystripes and my brother blitzes me on the inside fuckslamdowntwoandgomoremoremore but something doesn’t feel right.

At about 230kph on the straight my bike is weaving. We make a decision to not be stupid anymore and go home.

A nervous beer later and I pull off the plastics because the tyres are ok, right temp, no punctures, and alignment (to the naked eye) is ok. Then, I find the problem.

In pushing the bike past its limits, the frame cracked across two top sections. We sit and drink another beer in silence staring at the exposed steel where the paint has flaked off.

I don’t know what Andrew is thinking. All I can wonder is how is it that I am there, drinking a beer, and not being strawberry jam across the fields.

I had the frame welded, but I never trusted the bike again, and sold it shortly thereafter.

My hero dog Zak

Zak was a rusty red Olderhill German Shepherd. We met at the Police Dog Unit. He was five years old at the time, and angry with everyone.

He was donated to the Police because he used to jump of the farmer’s bakkie and savage the labourers. He was given to me because I had just joined the unit, and needed a dog before I could go on course. He was 52kgs of attitude that did not like anyone.

It took me a week to get into his kennel, and cost me about three hundred Rand in biltong trying to make friends. By this time he was so frustrated at being caged he was quite happy to get company. So was I, because sitting for five hours a day on concrete is no fun with a snarling dog wanting to rip your face off every time you moved, breathed or spoke.

When I tried to leave his kennel after first gaining entry, was the first of many bites. In the three years we spent together, we went through Dog School, (he lost 6kg’s, I lost 20kg’s, it was a nightmare for both of us), and Explosives course (he never really stopped wanting to bring me the bomb, he was so happy when he found it). I was at Dog school when 9/11 happened. We knew then the world was going to change…

We walked hundreds of kilometers of spoor, recovered much stolen property, we caught rapists, murderers and housebreakers. I was closer to him and understood him better than my own children. If we were alone in the vehicle he would sit in front with me, with his butt on the chair and his paws on the floor, he was that big.

He saved my life three times.

Leaving Zak behind when I left the force was possibly the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. He has semi-retired now, and will be working as a personal protection dog. He loves working, lives working, and I hope when its time for him to cross the rainbow bridge, he is still at work, when he is happiest.

 

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It’s 5.30 on a summer Sunday afternoon and the N3 between Howick and Pietermaritzburg is characteristically deserted.

 

I’m on a Yamaha FJ1200 and my brother on his Yamaha 650 Turbo; we’re going to settle, once and for all, whose bike is faster.

 

We pull out of Pmb and open up our bikes, the hill up to Hilton is twisty; my brother on the nimbler 650 is ahead of me by two bike lengths. I cant get out of fourth gear before I have to tap down to third, Im bouncing the rev needle off the redline at 9000 revs but the bike is just too damn big to wrestle through the corners, through the left hander up to the Hilton flyover and now a straight lies before my front wheel.

 

Andrew is now four bike lengths ahead of me, third sees 140, fourth 200. By the time I get to the bridge Ive reeled him in and I’ve a gear left. We crest the hill and a kilometre of downhill waits for me to eat it up. The big 1200 motor is screaming underneath me and I hear the shriek of the turbo next to me.

 

I change gears and time shiftsI’m flat on the tank, the wind trying to tear my hand off the bars, I can barely hear the motor it’s only a vibration now. If I blink I’ll die.

 

At 250kph you are covering a lot of ground very quickly. Seconds pass and Ive run out road, the right-hander before the Cedara straight is just in front of me I needtostopstopstopnow!!!

 

Somehow, with the bike bending and creaking underneath me and by hanging off the side I wrestle it through the corner sweatingblacksidewaystripes and my brother blitzes me on the inside fuckslamdowntwoandgomoremoremore but something doesnt feel right.

 

At about 230kph on the straight the bike is weaving. We make a decision not to be stupid anymore and go home.

 

A nervous beer later and pull off the plastics because the tyres are ok, right temp, no punctures, and alignment (to the naked eye) is ok. Then, I find the problem.

 

In pushing the bike past its limits, the frame cracked across two top sections. We sit and drink another beer in silence staring at the exposed steel where the paint has flaked off.

 

 I dont know what he’s thinking. All I can wonder is how is it that I am there, drinking a beer, and not being strawberry jam across the fields of Cedara.

 

I had the frame welded, but I never trusted the bike again, and sold it shortly thereafter.

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2 Comments

  1. ZQ says:

    Always a great site to read.
    “The Fastest Indian” an old motorcycle movie came to mind… after smiling at the end of your story.

    thank you ZQ 🙂

  2. Garry Ruiz says:

    One of the most versible bikes I’ve ridden was the V-Strom 650, easy on fuel, decent both on and off road and inexpensive to get into, did nearly 5,000 miles on a leased one down in New Zealand a few years ago, had a great time. For Europe I’d consider using its bigger brother, the V-Strom 1,000, but only because there are more mountains and more highways. Another bike that I’ve ridden, but not for as long a period, was the Triumph Tiger 800 and would love to try it out for a long haul, but it was a great bike on my one short ride.

    hi garry, thanks for popping in. both great bikes you’ve mentioned there. another recent ride i undertook was on the bmw f800 st, great machine, handles like a dream. a day slinging it around the back roads and on track left me wanting one with a sore heart 🙂

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