Ivan van Niekerk, BMW S1000RR, Unlimited Superbikes

Ivan van Niekerk: it happened

'Everything that happens will happen today.' —David Byrne and Brian Eno(?)
'Life is a short straight journey; in our minds it is a roller-coaster ride.' —Me. How it plays out, is up to us.

It is still very early, 5 o'clock to be precise. Out in the big wide world I can hear the morning traffic shuffling faster than usual (because it’s Saturday); in my warm bed I’m still indecisive about going to the Full Throttle Red Star motorcycle race day. But I don’t want to kill Saturday with boredom; I want to add some action to it.

I can still smell the Extreme Festival and Kawasaki Masters on my skin. Thursday and Friday I made my hang out next to the Zwartkops racetrack, capturing the essence of what makes the X-Fest such a huge success. (What a great fest it was indeed.) And without any further motivation, I was off to Red Star Raceway. To my readers who have never been to Red Star, the place is like a holiday, especially where I sit and take pictures, and on dank days it reminds me of the English countryside. This motorcycle weekend was one of those weekends—INVIGORATING!

With my arrival the scoot jockeys were already making the most of the day, utilising the racetrack to the fullest, even though the clouds hang low and cold. All I needed was one good picture, to make this Northern Regions motorcycle race day worth the drive. Actually I got a few: Ivan van Niekerk, bundu bashing on his BMW S1000RR and Keagan Bontekoning #16, Moto3 contender.

A cacophony of revving race bikes and elated spirits filled the Red Star pit complex. Trapped between dark clouds and the cold ribbon of black, it added even more tenacity to this fantastic race day. As usual I do my rounds and say hi to all the familiar (and sometimes unfamiliar) faces. This is what I like most about the Northern Regions regional race contenders: they stand true to themselves, live to race, and always have time to share a vibrant moment, even when their worlds get spun upside down.

Ivan and I had a chat about his race career, the distractions in his mind that was influencing his throttle hand (smile), and his future in the Unlimited Superbike Series. He is a confident young man (with a very supportive father, Kiwit van Niekerk), and embraces a very positive outlook on life. Always smiling, even "off-track".

It happened at 12h25, in turn 11 (clockwise racing).
In a calm and collective manner I placed my camera down next to me, and then moved rapidly to assist Ivan. He was laying there on the arid earth, gasping for air, mumbling about the pain is his left leg and the state of his race bike ...—it happened.

As the silence of the countryside befell me, it suddenly dawned on me what really happened. My camera bag, clean shirt, hammered apple and burst Schweppes Soda Water bottle (when the tail piece of the BMW impaled my drink for the day) was scattered over a small area. Never could I have ever imagined that Ivan van Niekerk on his red and white ornate BMW S1000RR superbike would come to say hi to me on a fly-by.

We can tread safely everyday of over lives; but somewhere in the near unknown, waits our fate, unexpectedly. If I had not moved to the right that morning (sitting a few centimetres from my gear), I would not have been able to tell my eloquent story.

Afterwards we had a few drinks, laughed about the accident (dad Kiwit, didn’t think it was a laughing matter at all) and we went our separate ways. We will meet again, Ivan and me, but not like this—it HAPPENED! —Godspeed!

Ivan van Niekerk used to be a Honda scoot jockey in his previous "life". And most of my readers will appreciate this old/great Honda commercial—click here (YouTube)

—To dream the impossible dream/ To fight the unbeatable foe/ To bear with unbearable sorrow/ To run where the brave dare not go/ To right the unrightable wrong/ To love pure and chaste from afar/ To try when your arms are too weary/ To reach the unreachable star/ This is my quest/ To follow that star/ No matter how hopeless/ No matter how far/ To fight for the right/ Without question or pause/ To be willing to march/ Into hell for a heavenly cause/ And I know if I'll only be true/ To this glorious quest .../ To reach the unreachable star—

The Impossible Dream (The Quest): Composed by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics written by Joe Darion.

Words & Photos: Adriaan & Martine Venter (Northern Regions Racing, Unlimited Superbikes, 600cc Supersport, Red Star Raceway, South African Motorsport, 2013/08/10, 115 images)

Northern Regions Racing, Unlimited Superbikes + 600cc Supersport, images: 63/115

LIKE: Our/your photos on Facebook (1-115)—click here