Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Enduros Get together 5th April

Last Saturday night I attended an event hosted by Enduro Africa to welcome the 2008 team and give us the low down on the 2008 event (the third EA event in as many years). In short it's the toughest yet because its more technical than before. Feedback from 2006 and 2007 events have meant that the 2008 Enduros will benefit from having a route which is focused on the hugely challenging "Wild Coast" which was the highlight of those previous events. Its all very doable (apparently) and more of a mental challenge than a physical one so I dont need to worry too much about not having any offroad experience worth the name. Editors Note: when they say mental they mean scary!

We also heard from representatives from the main EA charities i.e. UNICEF, NMFC and Sentebale. Believe me when I say when you hear these guys talk about the work they do and their gratitude for what we are doing ...well just lets say I felt humbled. I dont exagerate but I had tears in my eyes particularly when hearing about the number of households in South Africa and Lesotho that are headed by an 11 year old child. Also worthy of note is the work of NMCF and in particular the projects they run for disabled children and UNICEF's project to make sure that mothers with HIV do not pass on the infection to their children. I bet you didn't know that Nelson Mandela donated 1/3 of his presidential salary to establish the Nelson Mandela Fund for Children back in 1994 (unless you've read his autobiography)?

I also learnt that (thankfully) EA are putting on some off-road training courses in Doncaster and Basingstoke. The Wild Coast is going to be so wild EA are insisting we all get some training before we go and they have drafted in seven times Dakar rider Mick Extance (www.mickexstance.com) to provide it for us.

The EA team have also been riding to destruction 3 test bikes - a Honda CRF230 Honda, a Yamaha TTR250 and a C-XR230 CCM. The pointers all look as if it will be the Honda (for a start Mick Exstance is a Honda rider ) that we will be riding but confirmation is due within the next week or so. All three bikes are proper Enduro machines and not the farm bikes the other guys have ridden in the 06 and 07 adventures. Again this reflects the fact that 2008 is going to be the best yet and they needed a machine capable of handling the challenges the Wild Coast can throw up.

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