Brian Bontekoning, Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, Pro Tour Series

Pro Tour Series: Masters—Reload!

Have you ever wondered how many times motorcycle riders have to move their bodies from side to side at frightening speeds during a race? Steering the motorcycle as tight as possible around the track in a perceivable effortless motion. (Trivial information: when their knee patches hit the hot tarmac, it makes an awful scraping sound. The first time I heard it I nearly tipped backwards, initially thinking something was severely wrong with the race bike.) Now, imagine yourself doing this Friday and Saturday during warm-ups, practices and then of course two official races of 12 lapse each (approx. 640 times). I've tried to imagine myself doing it, but it fell short from the real strain these war dogs are experiencing. Arms, legs and hands must be absolutely knackered after every event—presumably the whole body. Sweat drenched faces after time spent on the track are self explanatory. To give the reader a rough idea: couch-potatoes have to do approximately *6400 push-ups or star jumps to get the same thrill.

Lets move on, I'm starting to build up a sweat just by typing this story. The Kawasaki race fraternity is divided into two classes, Masters and Veterans, hitting the scale at an average of 46 (years that is!). Geared-up and straddled on their race bikes, these men can fool any spectator. Hiding behind a visor you become your dare-devil alter-ego. This close-knitted-community is the load bearing pillar of the Pro Tour Series, hoping it will be so for many years to come.

Spectators stand next to the track cheering on these motorcycle men, awed by their bravery, wishing in some quiet desperate way that they too could be part of this fraternity. At the end of a gruelling 12 lap race we show our honest appreciation (or admiration) by lifting ourselves from the cold hard pavilions for a standing ovation.

After every gruelling race, riders extend a hand to each other, congratulating one another on their efforts, all in good spirit. Through my Sigma camera lens I've stood witness to their blissful but weary faces. In vibrant discussions they relive the race—I'm too far removed from their world to understand the words they utter, but I can only image.
Next to me stood Ike Bodigelo (#22), explaining in detail to animated fans how the race went down. Quick hand gestures and body language made his side of the story even more colourful. One thing noticeable about him, is that his followers grow rapidly with each subsequent event. By the end of the year he WILL most probably arrive at celebrity status. Or, by the looks of it, it might just be around turn four. Facebook is still struggling with the massive upload, after all the pictures fans took with Ike :-)

In the end we can all sit back and relive another day at the races; cooling off from the hot sun with a Red Square (non alcoholic) energy drink. As I tilt my head backwards to pour the cool stuff down my arid throat I can't help but notice a flocks of birds flying overhead, heading home. So I'll see you all again at the next race meeting, remember to—RELOAD! •

Words & Photos: Adriaan & Martine Venter (Pro Tour Series, Zwartkops Raceway, South African Motorsport, 2012/04/14, 143 images) Main Image: Brian Bontekoning #16, Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters. (*do not attempt this, I suck at calculations!)

Parc fermé images: Kawasaki ZX10R Masters Reloading