Johan Fourie, Kawasaki ZX10R, Kawasaki ZX10R Masters

Kawasaki ZX10R Masters: THK+

Firstly I would like to thank stevedore and team captain, Johan Fourie #19, for his diligent and successful labours on the maiden Kawasaki ZX10 Masters Club event, at Red Star Raceway. And to Lynette Fourie, his right hand, who also gave her best in making this race weekend a great success.

So who controls the weather (rain or shine); who commands the wind; who races the sun around the earth, to greet us every morning with new hope and energy; who gently plugs the leaves from the trees, to effortlessly let them glide down in autumn?

FRIDAY: Monday to Friday the weather is (almost) always a delight: Sunny skies with a 30% chance of afternoon showers ... Formulated to get people chained to the oars, sounding the capitalist cash register more often—caching! Weekend weather is mostly the opposite, rehearsed, to keeping you glued to the sofa, feeding you regurgitated electronic entertainment, depriving you from a world full of real entertainment—the Kawasaki ZX10R Masters.
If you want the real weather, then stick your head out the window, what you see is what you get—then, make the most of it. I followed my own advice and stuck my head out the window on my way to Red Star Raceway—invigorating. Leaden skies was looking back at me, turning around was out of the question; to capitalise on this bleak outlook, remained my only and best option. After all, what did I have to lose?

The Kawasaki ZX10R Masters had four practice sessions scheduled for the day. With the already heavy burden they carry on their minds—racing anti-clockwise, as well as the exacerbating weather system overhead—I could only imagine what they were thinking. Most stood at the RSR pit wall, peering out onto the ribbon of black, contemplating ... ‘WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A GREAT ONE!’ And with that positive thought rising from the tarmac, the rain delayed itself until the last Master was home (pit complex).

As I stood there next to the abandoned, cold, and lethargic racetrack, also contemplating the day (between the thunder and lightning), a thought crossed my mind: With the way Gavin Lightfoot #32 moved, contorted and accelerated around squiggly RSR, he is sure to take both heats tomorrow.
From my par-view (next to the racetrack), I could sense that Stewart Macleod #46 was also working hard in getting the right footing for his Kawasaki ZX10R race-bike, his Bridgestone R10 tyres clawing aggresively in discovering the precise race line. Secretly I hoped that Stewart would prove me wrong.

At 12:30 Friday afternoon the rain came down heavily (to the ever friendly Peet de Lange #26, thanks for offering me a lift back to the pits); all the negative energy and thoughts were washed away, relegated to a place beyond our world. TOMORROW THERE WILL BE A BATTLE! There is no time to be discouraged now, I thought to myself.

Later, during my drive back to Pretoria, I was trying to have an animated conversation about the motorcycle race day with my bubble-head figurine (stuck to the dashboard for eternity, or until I sell my car). This monotonous conversation only led him to nod YES to everything I said. Maybe the tarnished and pot-holed road surface was responsible for the involuntary YES nodding, or maybe, he was really agreeing to everything I said ...

SATURDAY: Another cold and rainy day greeted everyone. Just after the allotted practice session the Masters were greeted with a heavy down pour; definitely not a morale booster. I could sense some discontent, all the way down to turn three. In the end WE never lost hope for a second; an hour and half later and the beautiful blue sky re-emerged—unexpectedly. Our collective thoughts might have punched a hole through obscurity. Let the races begin!

HEAT ONE: Gavin Lightfoot took top podium spot, with a best time of 01:57.610, followed by Stewart Macleod #46, throttling an even better (best) time of 01:57.606. Close, but no cigar. Third place was taken by foreigner (not a native to the Kawasaki ZX10R Master Club) Justin Gillesen #84, who surely ruffled a few feathers with his best time of 01:57.623.
Places four, five and six, were taken by Pieter de Vos #17, Brain Bontekoning #16 and Raymond Keel #33, respectively.
The back-order battle also delivered some deadly punches between Frans Saunders #27, JB Schoeman #23, Rodney McLachlan #42, Johan Fourie #19, Chris Marais #30 and Steven Smit #85.

HEAT TWO: Again, Gavin Lightfoot #32 took top podium spot with an even better time than his first race attempt, 01:57.097 (this could be due to a warmer racetrack, and/or the fact that they have mastered the anti-clockwise track). Stewart MacLeod #46 took up the second spot (as predicted), also with a much better time of, 01:57.268. Third place was taken by Brian Bontekoning #16, followed by Pieter de Vos #17, Paul Jacobs #37 and Bez Bezuidenhout #25.
The back-order battle saw Rodney McLachlan #42 moving up two places, followed by Johan Fourie #19, who also moved up two places. With the rest following in their wake: Hannes de Vos #15 and JB Schoeman #23. Finally, Steven Smit #85 reeled in Chris Marais #30, after a fierce eight round battle.
(Afterwards I had a few words with Chris, who was in great spirits about the whole race day, even when the down pour surprised us all.)

Taking an early morning stroll through my neighbourhood, a while back, I saw faded red letters spray-painted on the sidewalk: THK+
As ONE HEART the Masters arrived at Red Star Raceway, in their maiden attempt, to conquer the Pororoca (?) of their own minds.

So who controls the weather (rain or shine); who commands the wind; who races the sun around the earth, to greet us every morning with new hope and energy; and who gently plugs the leaves from the trees, to effortlessly let them glide down in autumn? (For more answers to this niggling question, watch Discovery Channel). BUT, once in a while, 29 Kawasaki ZX10R Masters (and their great following) will point their positive thoughts to the leaden sky, and blast a hole right through it, allowing the warm sun to reappear, letting the blue sky back in, so that all of us can feel inspired and to staying enthralled with their fast paced action.

To everyone that contributed, watched and took part in this wonderful and successful race weekend (and to the bubble-head, that said yes to every word I uttered), until I see you again, THK+ and —Godspeed!

Words & Photos: Adriaan & Martine Venter (Extreme Festival, Kawasaki ZX10R Masters Cup, Zwartkops Raceway, South African Motorsport, 2013/04/13, 96 images) Main Image: Johan Fourie #19, Kawasaki ZX10R, Kawasaki ZX10R Masters Team Captain.

Extreme Festival, Kawasaki ZX10R Masters Cup, images: 63/96