A recent trip to Australia and an interaction with a family member of friends, of whom I had heard so much, and so many glowing reports, that I felt I knew her well enough to hug her when we first met, after which she pulled away giving me a strange look that read: “How dare you!” gave name to this posting.
1 “Do I want a hug from you?” “In your Dreams!” (Scarlett Johansson giving John Travolta the cold shoulder)
This story has been told before, but with different detail and reflections.
After this rather naïve Kiwi had ridden a Kawasaki 750 triple to a race meeting at Welkom, Free State, RSA in a freezing cold mid-July, way back in the mid Seventies, and had, in my frozen stupor, forgotten to refill the Kawa’s engine oil tank, had seized the engine during the second race, had been taken pity on by a certain Simon Fourie, (who went on to become Mr Bike SA), who, before the preceding accolade, had dismantled his race bike and my Kawasaki, squeezed them into the rear of his Toyota Corona bakkie, (LDV) and had driven the heavy load, along with unexpected hitch hiker back to Durban, I was left with a feeling of indebtedness that always lingered.
2 I was left with feelings of indebtedness.
The bike racing scene in South Africa did ensure our paths crossed again, but once the naïve one had moved off shore, once more, to the that great place of learning The World, this mamparra (see footnote) never met up with and nor managed to effect a formal face to face thank you! We spoke via phone a couple of times, and exchanged an email or two. During the interceding years Simon Fourie went on to become a household name in the South African motorcycling scene, on track, between the pages of the magazine, Bike SA, and there was even talk of setting an unofficial record, on a superbike, riding from Durban’s GPO to it’s counterpart in Joburg, running out of fuel near Alberton, removing the fuel tank, running to a back up vehicle for fuel and still making the journey in under three hours!
3 An age old tradition: I wonder if that Schlesinger Vase is still around?
After decades of abstaining from two wheels except to rebuild a Suzuki 250 with the very capable assistance of Mike Boon, a few years of eventually realising that the absence of motorbikes in my life, having succumbed to the common sense attitudes that seem to accompany many of us fellas as we commit to our gorgeous halves and attempt to instil clever life values into the minds of our offspring, then the arrival of an epiphany that such passions should never be allowed to rest, but should be encouraged and nurtured. Regrets always hurt!
4 They may hurt, but don’t dwell on them!
Recently my skoonseun, Sarel bought us tickets to a Motorbike Show at Kyalami, and after arriving there mid morning, doing a quick mouth watering tour of the exhibits, noticing gorgeous props holding the motorbikes in place ensuring interest hovered between prop and motorbike, one of our group made the call that we’d seen enough and it was time to visit Castle Corner!
5 Gorgeous Yamaha adventure bike!
Which we did, sampling first a Castle or two, then a craft beer that ripped R200 out of my pocket for 4 beers and then squeezing ourselves on to a table that had space, but was commandeered by two biker babes who looked like they might eat us for breakfast! (One had Kawasaki green finger nails adorned with Ninja logos) We talked bikes, lost loved ones and the subject came around to my Welkom story and how The Fourie had saved the day. “I know Simon well!” stated our table host and it seemed me that almost everyone in the SA Bike scene had the same thing to say! “I’ve known Simon for 20 years!”, or “We’re the best of friends!” etc, etc!
6 Simon, camera ever ready asks: “What’s that bugger doing on the ground?” “Plat gesuip!” She answered. Note the clever use of the fence to hold the beer mug in place!
After a beery burp, methinks: Simon should be here at this show and I may just have his number on my phone! Out of the corner of my eye I had taken partial interest in the prize giving for the various classes of bikes on display, and walked over to the edge of Castle Corner, next to the race track with all types of bikes and bikers cranking it up around Kyalami and behind the even noisier speakers, hauled out my cell phone and scrolled through my contacts finding The Fourie under S for Simon. I called wondering whether the elusive one would answer, and surprise, surprise Simon answered!
“Hey Simon, how are ya? It’s Dan Varoy. Are you here at Kyalami?” I asked into the noisy din coming through from his phone.
“Yes, Dan Varoy? I’m here! Where are you?”
“I’m behind the stage, next to the track!”
“Well I’m on the stage, busy with the prize giving!”
7 Hidden behind the stage pillars was none other than the one that everybody knows!
One glance up, and focusing, saw The Fourie partially obscured by the stage roof’s pillars! We arranged to meet next to the stage and fighting off the many who knew Simon and just wanted a picture with him, I finally got to greet and thank the Legend and introduced him to Sarel, who also wanted a keepsake picture taken. We chatted quickly and off Simon went, stopping groups of bikers, families, any likely suspect for a photograph, then after taking the shot, handing over his notebook giving instructions to fill in the names of the people in the photo from left to right. Those prized shots often making it, in between the pages of Bike SA.
8 The usual pose. Then the notebook comes out: “Write the names from left to right…..!”
9 Sarel and Simon, a keepsake photo!
South Africa’s Mr Motorbike and the reason that Bike SA is the people’s magazine, whether on paper or online!
I know you well, yet not at all!
The Kinks were a rock band from that 60s – 70s era and their music was poetry, Days probably summing up this tribute:
Footnotes: 1 Mamparra (Afr) – One who should know better but just doesn’t seem to! 2 Skoonseun (Afr)- Son in law, the gentleman married to your daughter, ….or your son! 3 Plat gesuip (Afr) – Flat drunk…, unable to stand! 4 Tetelestai (Gr) – It is done!
St Vincent School For The Deaf helping the hard of hearing to listen:
Down Durban way The Fulton School for The Deaf:
Abraham Kriel Childcare group, caring while we work:
The Avril Elizabeth Home for the Mentally Handicapped was opened in 1970, and for the amazing work they do for the less fortunate they deserve great accolades: