Stewart MacLeod, Kwasaki ZX10R, Kawasaki ZX10R Masters

Kawasaki ZX10R Masters: who took the mickey out of MacLeod?

"All things arise, cease, change, and become different; they are illusionary, not real, and cannot be controlled."[1]

After today Stewart "Mac Attack" MacLeod is well aware that there is another tiger in his motorcycle racing domain. Maybe a few red tigers but, one in particular caught his attention. It is not as if he has only found out today about the ripples in his pond. I believe he is keeping a vigilant eye on his backyard. He is well aware that you can only stay at the top for so long, before it becomes lonely; before the weight wears you down; before your invaluable concentration fails you, or that somebody else will take the lead. He has reached the top rung of the ladder, and everybody (well, almost everybody) is gunning for that top spot: Kyle Robinson #18, Graeme van Breda #41, Gavin Lightfoot #32, Pieter de Vos #17, Brian Bontekoning #16, Tony "Diamonds" Klem #13 ...
You can only run for so long, before the mickey is taken out of you.

I leave the normal world behind. I will not look back. I will cross the Red Star and wonder into an arid landscape surrounded by a ribbon of black. As I cross the bridge, I move further and further away from the ordinary world. As I reach the bottom of the Mentis (Grid) steps, I cannot help to think of Neil Armstrong: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."[2] My left boot plods into the loose dust. One after the other I step to the far end of a domain not known to many: Turn Three (anti-clock wise).
The sound of thundering (Red Square) Kawasaki ZX10R superbikes create a halo around the circuit; a dome that can only be seen with the heart, shielding us from an unforgiving world, creating an inner circle of pure bliss. Out there in the "real world" the daily bump-and-grind (on the N4) is taking its toll on every despondent soul. They are oblivious to this place; a place of dreams and aspirations. A place beyond an ordinary green bridge, called: Red Star Raceway.

The main event of the day is the Red Square Army, aka the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters. These Masters have reached a point in their lives, where their visible youthfulness has disappeared: wrinkles around the eyes, grey beard stubble, and in some cases receding hairlines, gold teeth, fillings and porcelain crowns. After a few decades in this abrasive world, the outward vessel might look a bit knackered, but their HEARTS are younger than most people I know, more than half their age.
Put yourself, just for a moment, in their race-boots. Firstly, you have to be super fit, then there are the catlike reflexes, and be able to bend like warm liquorices around every turn. Red Star has 13 turns and five straights. These Masters have a concentration span so intense that they can burn a hole right through a tinted visor. (That’s why when they remove their helmets after a race the sweat comes pouring down. Serious concentration—that is how intense things get out here.)
Now, multiply this with two heats of 8/10 laps each. This is no easy feat. Definitely not intended for the soft cocks of the ordinary world, according to Sarel van der Merwe, in his book: SuperVan and I.

Stewart (MacLeod) turns the palms of his hands upward, showing them to me. It resembles a bricklayer’s hands ... It is not just the racing that blistered and callused his hands, but also the extra 21kg weight/ballast restriction he has to carry for every single race to curd his winning streak, or to give other Masters a "fair" chance.

In front of me stood a man that is an unlikely podium contender: Kyle Robinson. That was at the start of the Twenty-thirteen Red Square motorcycle racing season, when I took their headshots. His whole persona seemed to be misplaced. I’m very well aware that some Masters are only here to defy the normal gravity of life, but Kyle, appeared totally out of character, and almost lost. Then something happened ... Kyle turned into this super-scoot-jockey, reeling in the top podiums in the SuperM/SuperGP race events, and of course this weekend, when he took top podium away for Stewart MacLeod in heat one. His race style is immaculate: neat, tight, fast, calculated, as if he was born to be a Master, born to be racer.
Perhaps he is from Roswell (or escaped a bodged NASA experiment), looking for his real Red Star, a trillion light-years to the east. With such rapid progress in the motorcycle racing world, Kyle might have a different DNA strand compared to ours. What I’ve seen over the past race weekend was out of this world, gobsmacked will be the right word. Did HE take the mickey out of MacLeod?
(We all have certain latent abilities, which we refuse to air or give any sunlight. Why? I don’t know. Maybe fear of success? Some like the limelight; others the dusk corners of life.)

Stewart "Mac Attack" MacLeod and Graeme van Breda, were born to be scoot jockeys. Their physical appearance tells you that they are home, right here, and on every other racetrack. Their motorcycle racing careers stretches over more than 20 years, and with great success.
Definitely one of my favourites must be the contortionist, Gavin Lightfoot. Without a doubt his blood is Kawasaki green, a true racer by heart and a very strong podium contender. Nothing can take the lustre from his vibrant personality.
Then, not to forget the Terrier, Pieter de Vos. On a good day he will rip fellow Masters to shreds. His bite is lethal, but, not today.

Sadly, Kyle registered a DNF during his second race meeting. Others Karma felt should also be horizontal during the races were Gavin Lightfoot and Pieter de Vos and, down at the far end of Red Star, Graeme van Breda, also met with Mother Earth, unexpectedly. Great news however: everybody escaped unscathed.

In the cold and windy Red Star pit complex I exchanged a few words with Kyle. He has a kind, friendly and humble appearance. Dressed in a well pressed Isle of Man TT shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. Did he over calculate his second race? Did he suffer from a lapse of concentration? Or, was the hot breath of Mac Attack too much for him to handle?

On the flip side of the thunderous coin was the battle between Tony Klem and Brian Bontekoning. I can still hear Tony laugh, like a teenager who has just gotten away with some mischievous act. He has this loud abrasive laugh, coming out of his stomach, out of his heart—enjoying a victorious moment over Brian. Enjoying a great moment, when he took the mickey out of Brian. Tony ended second overall for the day—Congratulations!

I have learned a great lesson here today: Life happens; people crash. Some might take the mickey out of you ... but that’s life.
I have also learned that it is how you stand up from a crash that makes you different from the rest. And, it remains our responsibility, to put the mickey back in ourselves.

So, in retrospect, nobody took the mickey from MacLeod. He is too great a motorcycle racing contender to get affected by such little matters: like losing his first battle with Kyle. He has lost many over the years, and learned how to lose and except it. He is an old hand of the racetrack. A man with a well-balanced mind, who can take the hard pounds to the chin without losing control, or blinking an eye. "To win a race, you have to finish first" paraphrasing Stewart. I say goodbye to him and his Dad (Sir Norman MacLeod), turn around, step towards the Red Square cooler box, lift the lid, raise a cold one from the ice, crack the neck and let the cold stuff run down my throat, flushing down the dust of a long and arduous day ... —Godspeed!

Kyle Robinson, Kawasaki ZX10R, Kawasaki ZX10R Masters

RSR Club Motorcycle Racing: Kawasaki ZX10R Masters

—Kyle Robinson.

Gavin Lightfoot, Kawasaki ZX10R, Kawasaki ZX10R Masters

RSR Club Motorcycle Racing: Kawasaki ZX10R Masters

—Gavin Lightfoot.

Robbie Breakspear, Kawasaki ZX10R, Kawasaki ZX10R Masters

RSR Club Motorcycle Racing: Kawasaki ZX10R Masters

—Robbie Breakspear.

Words & Photos: Adriaan & Martine Venter (Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, ZX10 Cup, Red Star Raceway, South African Motorsport, 2014/06/28, 120 images) Main Images: Stewart MacLeod, Kyle Robinson, Gavin Lightfoot, Robbie Breakspear. [1] Excerpt from: The Great Realizations, by Venerable Master Hsing Yun(?). [2] Wikipedia

Red Square Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, images: 63/120

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