Busi­ness­man part of Honda Quest 2017

Grocott's Mail - - MOTORING - STAFF REPORTER

Gra­ham­stown’s Glenn Koch, owner of Wes­son's, is one of 20 par­tic­i­pants of the Honda Quest 2017 which set off from the Namib­ian cap­i­tal of Wind­hoek on 5 Septem­ber, head­ing for the ma­jes­tic Spitzkoppe, along a scenic 350km route of mostly gravel roads that gives ev­ery­one the op­por­tu­nity to fa­mil­iar­ize them­selves with the Honda CRF 1000L Africa Twins for over 11 days and 2500km.

While the ex­cite­ment was pal­pa­ble be­fore the start, there was also a sense of unease among the com­peti­tors, as no-one knew who their team mate would be. For some this could be a make or break sit­u­a­tion, as the per­son­al­ity types in each of the ten twop­er­son teams could play a huge role, de­ter­min­ing the out­come of Honda Quest.

Koch was teamed up with Grant Pen­telow.

This week’s Day Eight was a wel­come rest day at the Puros camp­site, with ev­ery­one be­ing able to do var­i­ous ve­hi­cle main­te­nance tasks, their wash­ing and take the op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­view the com­peti­tors.

When they started their en­gines on Day Nine, the ex­cite­ment was pal­pa­ble. For this day meant a trip down the Puros river canyon - and the pos­si­bil­ity of en­coun­ter­ing ele­phants.

Af­ter a thor­ough safety brief­ing the con­voy of com­peti­tors set off led by a guide ve­hi­cle who scouted for a par­tic­u­lar fe­male ele­phant and her calf who were spot­ted head­ing down the canyon a day ear­lier. Ele­phants are pro­tec­tive of their young, cre­at­ing a se­ri­ous safety risk for those who in­ad­ver­tently stum­ble into these mag­nif­i­cent an­i­mals.

Af­ter eight kilo­me­tres of hard sand rid­ing and nu­mer­ous river cross­ings the con­voy stopped when a fe­male ele­phant and her calf was spot­ted in the com­pany of an ag­gres­sive male. In the in­ter­est of safety, the de­ci­sion was made to turn back to Puros, from where the teams would ride south to­wards Palmwag. But first they had to re­trace their steps back up the riverbed, now a churned up mass of deep, soft sand.

The off-road sec­tion of 107km caused havoc with tires, with the rid­ers suf­fer­ing no less than six punc­tures.

Fi­nally, just be­fore sun­set, the Honda Quest group rode into the camp­site at Palmwag, to be in­formed that an ele­phant had just walked through their camp­site. The foot­prints were clearly vis­i­ble and if that wasn't enough, the group also no­ticed large lion foot­prints in and around the camp­site.

Photo: Quick­pic

Glenn Koch, at the back with no cap, is one of 20 mo­tor­cy­clists tak­ing part in the Honda Quest 2017.

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