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Bikers to embark on epic journey


During the course of the tour the riders will rotate driving the back-up vehicle

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NINE Harley Davidson motorcyclists from Kimberley will this morning embark on a “once-in-a-lifetime” 6 200 kilometre journey across South Africa in a fund-raising attempt for the Yonder Centre for Adults with an Intellectual Disability.

Starting at the non-official centre of South Africa, about 35km north-west of Kimberley (on the Griquatown road), the riders will be circumnavigating South Africa, stretching to the four furthest land points in the western, southern, eastern and northern directions, before heading back to Kimberley.

During the course of the tour the riders will rotate driving the back-up vehicle.

Although this is not an official Steelwings tour, the nine riders are all members of the Kimberley Steelwings Chapter and will be visiting sister chapters including those in Cape Town, East London, Durban, Zululand, Nelspruit and Rustenburg.

The primary reason for the tour is to explore the beauty of South Africa and enjoy the open road on a Harley. However, the riders will also do fund-raising for Yonder, a centre for intellectually disabled adults in Kimberley.

The trip will be broken down into four stages. The group will be travelling from their hometown of Kimberley to the non-official centre of South Africa, 35 km north-west of Kimberley for the official start. (S 28 43 29.1 E 24 24 17.8)

From there they will embark on a 615km journey to the first stopover, which will be Pofadder. The next day they will be travelling 305km west to Port Nolloth on route to the most western point of South Africa. On day three they will travel to Melkbosstrand which will complete the first stage of 1 605km, from where the riders will be exploring the surrounding area of Cape Town.

Day five will be the start of the second stage of roughly 1 920km. They will depart from Melkbosstrand on a 285km stretch to Agulhas via Hermanus along the most scenic route in South Africa.

The following day the riders will travel north, enjoying the scenery along the well-known Garden Route to end the day at Storms River Mouth. From there they will travel to the small coastal town of Gonubie.

On day eight they will embark on their last and longest stretch of the second stage, ending stage two at Umhlanga. By the end of stage two they would have travelled approximately 3 500km in total.

At Umhlanga the group will take a rest day to explore Durban and surrounding areas.

Stage three is a short stage of only 1 027km, but still very challenging considering that by this stage of the journey they would have been on the road for nine days.

They will leave Umhlanga and travel north-east towards the small town of Kosi Bay, only a few kilometres from the Mozambique border.

Day 11 is goodbye to the coastline on the longest leg of stage three, namely a 623km stretch.

The day will see the riders travelling inland, along the borders of South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland until they reach the next sleepover in Hazyview. This will bring them to the end of the stage three. Here they will enjoy a day of rest in order to explore the south-eastern part of Mpumalanga.

The final stage starts as they leave Hazyview towards Messina, making their way home. Messina is the northern-most town in South Africa and is situated on the border with Zimbabwe. Once they reach Messina they will have completed approximately 5 000km.

The second last day they will travel along the Botswana border via Ellisras to the last night away from home at Rustenburg.

On the last day of the journey they will embark on the last stretch of 570km, finishing off with a whopping total of roughly 6 200km travelled over the course of 15 days.

One of the riders, Gerhard van Rooyen, said yesterday that the Yonder Centre for Adults with an Intellectual Disability received only 30 percent funding of their annual budget from the government.

“The balance of their income is derived solely from public donations and manufacturing of products at the centre. There is an urgent need for a new kitchen and dining hall at the centre. We are asking for pledges for our riders or a simple donation. Yonder has opened a separate bank account for all monies to be deposited directly to the centre. So please, pledge a few bucks for the riders per kilometre ridden, per town visited or per litre fuel used etc. Any pledge for any amount is welcome,” Van Rooyen said, adding that the riders hoped to raise in excess of R400 000 during the tour.

The riders’ progress can be followed online on www.fullcirclesa.co.za or on Facebook, @Full Circle SA and they can be contacted on [email protected]