(5 August 2017)
On any Saturday…
…but more specifically on the 5th of August, a bunch of flat track hooligans gathered together around a flat piece of dirt oval. They brung two wheeled engines of every size & flavour imaginable to test their bravery against each other.
It was the annual StofSkop event held at Walkerville Speedway Oval.
This never-serious, always-hilarious, funstrocity of an event compels novices and professionals alike to compete on whatever motorcycle they could get running that morning. The event is split into a few different classes, to give each beast a fair ride.
Except for the basic rules of:
Try not to run over a fellow contender
Try not to bounce off the tire walls
No hand-held weapons allowed on the track
THERE ARE NO RULES!
We gathered around for the riders’ briefing, all geared up and race faces applied. In the left corner we had a cat, in a hat, that you didn’t want to pat…
In the right corner, you had a Fries cow, a KOL band member, and a hula-hula dancer. We were getting ready for some mooooves!
The bikes were off loaded (I don’t think a lot of these buckets would have made it out to the track on own steam). The idea of StofSkop is to ruffle through the clutter in your garage until you find something resembling a bike; get the motor to turn over; pack a cooler bag; and head over to the track.
We started with a few warm-up exercises and best way to do this was to push a bike or two around the pits. Oh… you thought I meant warm-ups for the humans!?! Wahaha!
“What does this tap thingy do???”
Inappropriate Road Bike class
Skinny and Chikita were both entered in this class. Chikita on her BMX and Skinny on Dapple – the horse that won the race in 2016. But Dapple has had a roskam from Phil at Paint-a-Bike, and a new saddle from Dion Korkie. Biker’s Warehouse also sorted out the gears – there’s three, they all work, they are just not where you think they should be! He’s also done some practice laps around the farm and was neighing to get out in the field.
The Cat, “Here she is, the Super Luxurious Omnidirectional Whatchamajigger… or S-L-O-W for short. It's better than the last thing we had: Super Hydraulic Instantaneous Transporter.”
This be Noddy. Noddy needed all the help he could get. Be like Noddy!
Ponch was ready to catch a criminal!
I sneakily took some magic muti behind the rafters…
“Muti! Muti! Muti voor my inry nie!”
Fu$%king-Conrad tried to explain to me that the little tank below the seat is actually where you gooi the two-stroke-oil in, but we already had some in the petrol! This is what you call a superduperDOUBLEStofStroke!
Travelling hours to entertain people I don’t know while wasting money I don’t have in order to spend the next four days fixing something that wasn’t my fault so I can do it all again the following weekend.
The time had come…
We lined up on the starting grid.
“Comrade – you Gupta the one on the right and I’ll tender the one on the left, OK?”
The race started like all races – with a BANG!
This year the contenders were SERIOUS! Some of them actually had kneeguards on…
Even though I had three FULL WORKING gears this year to play with, I was still flanking the rear.
Dewald took the inside line and Oom-66 decided to burm on the dry outside. Everybody else just tried not to fall over.
…and then there was Skinny
Noddy was flying!!!
He came down on the second corner. Calm down – calm down!!! That is NOD-his head!
Chikita showed us some of her pole-dancing skills, sliding and slithering with a kick in the air for entertainment.
I was starting to get wrist cramps as I wedged myself between Leroy & Lloyd. Two down, six to go!
No wait… make that FOUR to go! Hehehehehehe!!!
Head down – knees in – arms tucked – shower on FULL BLAST!
But the power of this 120cc beast was just too much for Dapple to handle. My back wheel went into full lock and I skidded to a dust cloud infused halt.
The reigns (aka chains) came off and koeked around the sprocket.
The work of the sangomas, I tell you!
The blue-light-brigade pulled in and escorted me off the track to safety.
TO THE TJOP SHOP!!!
Kyle Harvey from Kyle’s Customs & Classics had all the good spanners and twisty thingies to pop the chain back on.
“She calls this a spanner…”
It’s as bent as our politics… yet, it still runs!
All stitched up and ready for more speed. The racing continued, the dust kept swirling and the next engine capacity was waiting ongeduldig in the pits.
Plastic Pigs class
Anything MX, anything pantsered in plastic, anything with gnarling-gnobbly tyres.
Savannah#77 was gonna show the boys a thing or two.
(Keep an eye on this chicken – she’s still gonna go big in the universe of racing)
This was the serious class.
They were very somber…
And on the 8th day, God looked down on the rich, dark, dirt oval and said, “This track needs a grandstand full of clapping, cheering fans, watching in awe as fearless contenders fly down the straightaways, slinging mud as they slide through the corners while battling on the thin line between triumph and disaster, all in the quest for victory.” So, God made a racer.
Their race got delayed…
…cause Zoé first had to hang out some laundry.
The spectators could only see a haze of movement as the dust hung thick over the oval.
The raging savage Hulk was feeling particularly emotional that day.
…and detonated a HULK SMASH on an unsuspecting sprinter.
Iron Man’s skill at quantum mechanics made his death defying moves invisible to the human eye.
Captain America (being the only mortal) decided to hang back and save his potential for the social activities at the end of day.
…nobody even noticed the Wasp
The suited lawyer decided to put in a land claim…
Not being able to avenge her defeat, Savannah still crossed the line with a beaming grin on her face.
“Well then skip the spinning rims, we're on the clock!”
Moped Mash class
This was the class for anything – ANYTHING! There was stuff with three wheels, stuff with really-really small wheels, and I’m sure I saw something with a solar panel.
A running-start was non-optional in this class. There were more legs, bene and tekkies flailing at the start of this race than in a rugby scrum.
This class had no definite structure. I don’t think even the marshals kept track of who was in the lead. There were bikes all around the track, standing on the inside and maybe even one going the wrong direction.
This class was not so hard on the tyres. BUT ON THE SOLES… AWE!!!
“Move over lawnmower, take that carburettor and shove it!”
“I’m sure I ordered a double, hic?!?”
Social Sim was uncatchable in this class, but the fight was on for second place.
I hooked a third and nearly lost my grip due to the G-force.
Tsek bru, I’s got this!!!
Scramblers and Trackers class
These okes could jaag! The bikes were old, fast and loud. The riders fell into that same classification…
Kyle’s moer old AJS
Engines warmed, glass taped up, bubbles down…
Other sports might have lost their appeal, changed their rules, or disappeared of the scene completely; but oval racing will never die while it keeps hearts beating furiously and happiness abundant.
There was no holding back in this class. The guys went all out to win!
Speed is one of the oldest human traditions. We've sectioned off areas of land, tilled them as flat as possible, tied a rope around an oval, and then turned out a faction of speed-hungry young men to see who can go around it the fastest. Flat track racing has been around for nearly a century in an organized format, and I dare to say that it has been around since the very first time a land owner's buddy brought his motorcycle out to the property. Flat track racing is possibly the oldest form of motorcycle racing still in existence.
Justin had the spectators on the edge of their seats. If he was a cat, his nine lives wouldn’t have been enough.
He was throwing great showers of dirt into the air at each turn. Sometimes nicking the tyre wall and bouncing back into the racing line. Everybody was holding their breath…
Justin – LORD OF THE BOARD!
StofSkop is an event to showcase Speedway racing and some of SA’s best ‘performers’. They do not race at this event, but only complete a few heated laps.
You might have heard of Neil Pettit?!?
He’s faster than a speeding ticket.
The view from the top is much better, and you don’t eat as much dust from up here.
Meet Shaft… Crank Shaft!
DID YOU KNOW?
These bikes have no brakes – SERIOUSLY!
These days they have a cut-off switch, but before this they would stop the engine by pulling the plug lead from the spark plug. When they needed to do an emergency stop in a race, they just put the bike down…
Sounds a lot like me in my beginning years.
Neil’s mom found me having a soda and cake lunchbreak at the food stalls. She told me Neil was waiting for me on the track…
“Hier Tannie – hou my koek!”
I grabbed my shower cap and pushed through the crowds onto the track.
Neil still politely asked me if he could slide… such a gentleman!
Stories come from ordinary, everyday life.
And from imagination.
And from feelings.
And from memories.
Memories of dust between my teeth and humming engines on a bike called Maverick.
We are all dust passing through the air. Some of it just densely clumped together.
The leather jacket cladded, tattooed, bearded, rough-and-tough-looking guys from the Vesparados scooter-gang was fashionably late, so they got their own class.
Charley Cooper offered to do some custom mods on their bikes… they declined and pulled another brown beer from under a seat. Charley accepted
Dwayne did a few warm-up stretches. It’s always a good idea to be pliable when you try to kick the other guy’s wheels from under him.
These boys do their darnedest not to grow up.
Dice ya to the pub!
Social Sim dived straight into the tight racing line with Dwayne inches behind him. This was gonna be a 4-lap nail-biter!
Dwayne was playing a very strategic game. For four laps, he hid in the dust haze of the Sim, not losing sight of its glowing exhaust, not attempting to overtake either.
Meanwhile… on the other side of the track, Gerard was still enjoying the cool breeze on his… on his… bearings.
The crowd was going mad!!!
Dwayne! Dwayne! Dwayne!
One last stretch and he forced every puff of horsepower out of that little machine, hurtling past the Sim and taking the crown.
A long day of fighting off aliens, rescuing maidens in distress and saving the day, took its toll on the invincible superheroes.
One of my biggest fans, Howie Zowie, offered me some replenishment.
SuperSport TV did a quick interview with me and like most politicians I played the ‘race’ card.
I handed my award over to the new owner and winner of StofSkop 2017 – LANCE CURTIS!
Well done Lance, for the entertainment, the costume and for being a fast rider!
The ambulances left, the sun was setting and the track fell empty…
It was time to give Argo a spin around the oval.
DUCATI SCRAMBLER DESERT SLED
As it has kept twirling through centuries, we have come to realize that dust is immortal.
Life is unclean …birth, s3x, the intestinal tract. It’s all one big unsanitary mess. So, grab every dusty moment and find joy in each tainted second.
Racing isn’t about how long it takes you to get from the start to the finish, it’s the adventure you have along the way, the people you meet, & the unique moments you share.
CHIKITA PRODUCTIONS PRESENT:
Sit closer to your screen – you might smell the stof…
It doesn’t matter if we are racing, riding or travelling – the hearts of our motorcycles still need juice.
If you're familiar with the rural concept of the honesty bar, this honesty newsletter ain't much different... I'm a completely un-paid journalist, relying instead on readers using the honour system. You read the newsletter and then leave an amount you see fit for the entertainment you've received.
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To the Stof Skop partners:
Bonafide Moto Co. (https://www.facebook.com/BonafideMotoCo/)
ZA Bikers (https://www.facebook.com/zabiker/)
To the guys that helped poets Dapple into his shining new armour:
Dion Korkie (https://www.facebook.com/dion.korkie)
Biker’s Warehouse (https://www.facebook.com/BikersWarehouse/)
To the photographers, videographers and cartoonists:
Louré van Schalkwyk
Joe Flemming (https://www.facebook.com/BonafideMotoCo/)
…and all the guys I stole kiekies from on FB
Keep on broadsiding!