15th annual IRON HORSE Bikefest

in Long Tom Pass

on the road to Hazyview from Sabie

Friday the 13th - some people won't even get outta bed on 'Friday the 13th' - but not our intrepid Iron Horse riders.

On Friday the 13th of November 2009 we rode to Middelburg Ultra City, meeting our fellow riders for breakfast and coffee, then we bulleted on the N4 to Belfast and Dullstroom where we stopped for fuel and something to drink, then we rode to Lydenburg, over Long Tom Pass to Sabie, where we pulled into the Woodsman restaurant for lunch. After we were all fed up, we mounted our steeds and hit the road to a very hot and humid Hazyview. Jason's 1300 GT outside-temp-gauge read a scorching 45 degrees in the shade, the ice-cold lagers didn't touch sides. Then we rode up the fast, sweeping, Kowyn’s Pass to Graskop and the Summit Lodge, which is where we slept for the next two nights.

Hazyview - Sabie road

There were sixteen of us on our 15th annual Iron Horse, namely; Dewald and Warnia Day all the way from Sasolburg on their clean BMW K1200GT, Johan and Fransien Dryer (also from Sasolburg) on their new Kawasaki 1400 GTR, Jason and Teresa Meyer from Standerton on their shinning, new BMW K1300GT, Billy Willemse from Pietersburg on his big old V-Max Yamaha, Gerrit Dokter (also from Pietersburg) and also on a big 20-year-old Yamaha V-Max, Basil Carolis and our friend Lennox Lathan both from Pretoria and both on quick BMW 1200Ss (actually Len hails from Scotland, spending summer in South Africa and summer in Scotland), Dennis Shultz from Joburg on his stunning Yamaha-R1, Lohan Potgieter from Germiston on his (come-fetch-me) BMW K1200S, Wiehan Strydom from Joburg on his (needs-a-new-battery) BMW R1200GS, Robin Dawson from Nigel with Shirley from Sabie on Robin's Honda 1100 super Blackbird and me (from Joburg) on an absolutely gorgeous, very fast, Honda CBR1000RR Repsol-painted Fireblade (one of my all-time favourite motorcycles), on-test from Honda South Africa and also Redline's Bike Of The Year in 2008.

Len, Basil, Billy, Dewald, Warnia, Wiehan, Teresa, Jason, Johan, Fransien, Lohan, Dennis (wishing he had the Fireblade) and Gerrit

Len, Basil, Jason, Teresa, Warnia, Dewald, Johan, Fransien, Billy, Wiehan, Lohan, Dennis & Gerrit

After we'd booked in and dropped our kit off, a few of us, who hadn't had enough riding, rode up to Wonder View for a butcher's-hook and I took the opportunity of taking a few sunset photos with the fabulous Fireblade.

nice view hey?

sunset in Eastern Transvaal

like a good cowboy I rode into the sunset each day

Saturday morning after breakfast we drew our first cards at the Summit and then left on our 15th Iron Horse Poker Run.

Our Poker Run took us down Kowyn's Pass to Hazyview, up to Sabie, over Long Tom Pass to Lydenburg, down Robber's Pass to Pilgrim's Rest and back to Graskop, with Dewald taking the prize-money with three Queens. Thanks to Warnia for helping with the card-drawing thingy.

elephant crossing - only in Africa (Zebra crossings are for sissies)

bike-park at the Woodsman

at the Wimpy in Lydenburg

Lohan and Wiehan

Jason and Teresa (nice T-shirts)

Robin and Shirley (love that Joburg to Durban shirt)

Gerrit and Billy

Basil and Lennox

at Johnny's Pub in Pilgrim's Rest

Dennis showing off his Jorge Lorenzo shirt

Dewald and Johan

Fransien and Warnia

Again, some of us had not had enough riding and decided to ride to the Blyde River Canon to check out the Three Rondavels and the views from on top of the Blydepoort mountains.

Saturday evening we walked into town for a very lekker Chinese dinner ^ ^.

Jason and Teresa at Three Rondavels

Kenn with Blade at Three Rondavels


Sunday morning we arose to dense mist blowing through Graskop. But no worries, after a hearty breakfast we donned our helmets, mounted our Iron Horses and headed for home.

Overall we had a fantastic Iron Horse weekend - no incidents, no injuries, just loads of pure, riding fun. Everyone SMSed me to say they got home safely and enjoyed their Iron Horse.

We salute everyone on the Iron Horse for riding so well and making the 2009 Iron Horse such a great event. I did a total of 1240kms on the Iron Horse - of which 260kms was on our Poker Run.

Wishing everyone a Blessed Christmass and a wonderful 2010. Ride like there IS a tomorrow.

If anyone has a spare R137,000 and want to spoil me, I'll have a Honda 'Redline' Fireblade please.


Words and photos by Kenn Slater.