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Quads 4 Quads - JHB to Cane Cutters resort near Ballito to JHB in the Dirt: 2 October 2011

More than 700 people took the plunge and entered the Quads 4 Quads charity event for 2007 _ a ride on ATV's and off-road bikes from Thunder Valley in JHB all the way to Cane Cutters resort near Ballito and back to raise funds for the Quad Para association of SA...

The enormous response proves that off road riders, both of the two wheel and four wheel variety are not just a bunch of hooligans. They have a heart - and they have found a cause worthy of their support...

More than a million Rand was raised for the association.

Ari Serilis, Director of QASA did the ride. He shares his thoughts:

QUADS 4 QUADS 2007 – dust, sweat and tears for a great cause.

To describe this event in the true sense and to make a reality of it, one would have to write your words on a piece of paper covered in dust, a PC terminal to write this does not do justice to the 4 days I have just experienced.
"THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU" were the first words I used when asked to address the 300 quad and two wheeler bike riders before we departed from Thunder Valley in Brakpan on the 1st day of the 1000km off road ride to Ballito. The same words I used to end my talk when we completed the event at Cane Cutters Resort 4 days later. Cane Cutters Resort supplied the riders with food, refreshment, accommodation and entertainment.

These special words mean a lot to QASA and the quadriplegics & paraplegics in South Africa as QUADS 4 QUADS 2007, raised R1 100 000.00 for the Association whose strategic plan is to "develop the full potential of quadriplegics & paraplegics" through our projects, products and services we deliver. Our members are challenged on a rocky road, 365 days a year, for thousands of kilometres in our own four wheelers.

Although it did not seem so for Jakkie Pieters, a quadriplegic and our Chairperson who rode the "up run" along with half a dozen paraplegics and I, who braved the course. This event was easier than the event of continuing life as it is for most of our fellow members who don’t have luxuries of quad bikes.


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This event allows us the resources to make a difference for them. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

And so we set off on the 1st day from Thunder Valley to Standerton, 200km away. It was awesome, but scary too, to wave goodbye to the quadriplegics who came out to wish us well, the support personnel and family and friends.
Within the first kilometre we were introduced to our long lost friend not seen in the cities, DUST, who accompanied us all the way!!

I could write a page for each kilometre of experience we had. I saw so many things either side of the road and experienced so many thoughts.

I am fortunate to ride a wonderful Yamaha 700 Grizzly, with power steering and fuel injection and with the necessary adaptations to seat me in a stable position and control the steering, acceleration and braking, and this bit of machinery allowed me adequate power to keep up with most and all I could have wish for was air-conditioning, but this does not come as part of the package.

Add HEAT just to test me further.

I suffer from not having temperature control which comes with quadriplegia and this must be managed by lots of liquid intake via a camel back and a support vehicle in the form of a Polaris Ranger carrying a cooler box of ice in my wake for when we stop.
After 7 hours of riding, we reached Standerton, relieved to have completed the 1st day. This part of South Africa needed rain. Every tree in sight along the way has animal below in it’s shade and trees are sparse.
I smile as I remember huddling around the braai facilities with 500 other comrades, trying to thaw the frozen chicken pieces. I am sure there are still some pieces on those braai’s right now.

WOW, Standerton folk are hospitable and leave a lasting impression.

The mass ride through the town early the next morning on our way to Newcastle 250km away was memorable.
The river crossing in knee deep water surprisingly offered some relief even though it was scary. The lunch stop offered some relief for my aching shoulders and sore hands and after a tasty burger and some fuel, we made it to Newcastle having ridden for some 8 hours. I can never forget the beautiful mountain passes we navigated and the forest areas we rode through.
Majuba Lodge hosted us for dinner and the Family Adventures team did us proud with their unique auction style, extracting R40 000.00 from some generous bidders.

The riders from Team Moby who nurtured me through the event must be applauded for their planning and patience and this made a huge difference to my support team and I. They kept an eye out for us, refueled us, maintained our bikes and kept our personalised goblets full in the evenings.

A sore body was lifted back onto my bike for day 3, 250km away from Weenen. 50km out of Newcastle saw a hectic section of rocks and dongas. I did a lot of praying to survive that stretch. A long stretch of riding alongside the railway lines was testing and then we wound up and down some awesome roads into Weenen, breaking the back on the journey.
This day was really hot and long and seemed endless, 8 hours in the saddle again.

Doug Anderson a Paraplegic who also rode the event gave us a huge amount of airtime on Radio 2000 and the sunset was quite incredible to take away the attention from the pain of my aching body.

Another braai together with my team saw us energised before bed time at Imbalala Lodge.

One day and 275km to go before the end. Once or twice I did wish that this could go one forever as it is quite an experience spending more time on a quad than in a wheelchair for a change and it revives the soul and you wish it would never end.
I remember when they brought my wheelchair to my bike at the end of each day, I would think "is that really mine?" and the reality sets in. But still, for that chance to ride a bike all day through our countryside, I have to thank Family Adventures and their vision and the opportunity they have offered to participate. For those 8 hours on my bike, with all that power, experiencing the camaraderie and being able to "be one of the boys", I shall never forget!

On the 4th and last day of the ride from Weenen to Cane Cutters Resort near Ballito, it is difficult not to have a few tears flowing, for a number of reasons; for having got so far, For seeing a lot of poverty in the rural areas. For seeing smiling, waving and hungry kids lining the sides of the roads in the valleys. For knowing it is the last day of an experience you might never have again, some tears from pain, but most from the reflections. The last four days I was not a quadriplegic, I was an off road rider with many others.

THANK YOU for that - Ari Seirlis: National Director of QASA


 
Enquire NOW for Q4Q 2011!
(011) 396-1682
 

1000km and 4 days after we left Thunder Valley, I was honoured by riding through a channel of riders made especially for me to come to the front to lead them all in to Cane Cutters in Ballito.

My family and loved ones stood out in front of me on my last twist of the throttle and it was over.

The pain seemed to have gone away. I had made it again. I did not quite believe it. I did not really want to see my wheelchair, but I needed it.

QUADS 4 QUADS is over and I am a new person. Inspired by all who took part. Inspired by the support of my team and their dedication and encouragement, Inspired by the purpose of the event and journey.

And now I am inspired to perform my job, a task far more challenging, over greater distances and with far more obstacles. But with a lot less physical pain and with no DUST, and that is to ensure that we deliver to our members, quadriplegics & paraplegics, the dream that they so dearly deserve, with the resources so generously donated and raised through QUADS 4 QUADS.

I will be back and I hope all of you who were there and who have read this will be too.

Thank you to all the sponsors, donors, riders, supporters and the communities along the way.

Ari Seirlis: National Director of QASA

For more info on this social initiative:
www.familyadventures.co.za, or call
(011) 396-1682

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