7th Annual Durban Dash - 18 October 2014
Saturday 18th October, I waited from 4:00am at the Total Petroport outside Alberton for the other guys who said they would ride, but to no avail.
Riding a mighty Kawasaki ZZR1400 SE out at 4:30am sharp, I hit the road at warp-speed to Villiers, covering the dark 110 kilometers, I arrived at the Engen One-Stop 30 minutes later, with the fast ZZR's fuel-gauge still showing "full" I didn't bother pulling up to the pumps.
Allie, always bok for a good ride
Albert is learning from his Dad
Allie on his big BMW 1200 Adventure and his son Albert on his BMW 800 Adventure joined me a few minutes later. We had some coffee, mounted our steeds and jumped onto the N3 to Monte Vista Star Stop, I was blissfully cruising steadily at the arranged 160kph, when about halfway to Warden I looked down at the fuel-gauge and... it showed past half empty, so waved Allie and Albert on, indicating I was running low on juice and was gonna slow down in order make Harrismith.
Given that I was handed the bike late on Friday afternoon and a few hours later was on my Durban Dash, I didn't know what the range of the bike was, or rather what the fuel consumption would be at 160 plus, the ZZR's fuel gauge reads full for a long time - 130kms before it moves from Full, but then it moves fast (at speed). But by restraining myself to a legal 120kph was able to cruise into Monte Vista with a litre or two to spare. All the while being able to work the on-board computer out; for Range, Consumption, Battery Charging Rate etc (see, going slow has it's benefits).
At 120kph or slower, the big Kawasaki is actually very economical, but obviously the faster you go the more juice she uses. I found the best speed on the open road to be around 140kph, when the wind blast is just enough to keep you neutrally balanced off your wrists, still giving you time to respond to speed traps, Fuzz or anything else that may present a hazard on the road.
The sky was clear, the air was crisp and I was aboard of one of the world most powerful production motorcycles ever built, but the speed limit through Harrismith and down Van Reenen's is only 100 and then 80 respectfully, which is painfully slow on a beast like this. Only once I'd slipped through the Tugela Plaza (I don't pay Tolls) did I push the needle up to 140 again.
After topping-up at Estcourt Ultra City I rode on to Mooi River, and there I had a small but painful experience with a Toll Boom (as if the cold with my Summer gloves wasn't enough). After Mooi River I pushed the ZZR to 160 for a while, slowing down again from Maritzburg all the way into Durban (lots of cameras and Fuzz and traffic).
the reason for the cold... a dusting of snow on the Berg
I arrived on Durban beachfront at 9:30am. Allie, Albert and I had a lekker Wimpy breakfast while the heavens opened up for about fifteen minutes.
As the rain abated and it began to dry out, we took some photos, said our farewells and began our homeward bound journey.
one of my favourite bikes, in one of my favourite spots :-)
Albert and Allie on their BMs on Durban beach front
me on the Big, very fast and comfortable ZZR1400 SE
You won't believe, but who did I pull-in behind to "run" the Marianhill Toll Plaza? The fu*king Metro Police, so I had to pay the R9.00 toll fee and be on my merry way, a small but unavoidable price to pay (I hate paying Tolls).
The rest of my 2014 Dash was great, albeit uneventful.
I stopped at Harrismith for fuel, had a toasted Cheese and Tomato sandwich and coffee, before hitting the road home.
Pulled up at my front gate at 5 bells, with still half a tank of petrol and a very satisfied smile on my dial. I love riding to Durban and back in a day.
For me this Durban Dash was 1189.2 kilometres long, cost R80.00 for food, R1077.90 for fuel and R9.00 for one Toll, bringing the grand total to R1166.90.
Not bad for a full day in the saddle of the great machine, getting to have a lekker breakfast in Durban and with good friends enol.
Thanks to DNA Motorcycles and KMSA for the ride - What a bike!
Words and photos by Kenn "The Boom Slayer" Slater
REDLINE RUNS: THE STUFF GREAT WEEKENDS ARE MADE OF!