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Author Topic: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk  (Read 1260 times)

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Offline SteveD

Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« on: June 03, 2014, 11:20:15 pm »
I came across this today on FB. Riaan van Niekerk encouraging a fellow South African to follow his dream of riding Dakar. I removed the names, because that's the prerogative of the riders themselves to reveal. But I salute Riaan's view on the "real" riders of the Dakar  :notworthy:

"Never say never..... it's people like you and ... that makes the Dakar what it is, a true adventure. The media just focus on the front guy's, but to me that's not what's it about. The highs and lows you go thru and a lifetime of memories and the people you meet along the way. Think you, ... and .... should team up and go to Dakar......"
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 02:12:22 am »
+1

Okay now for the important question: Whose dream is it? They mentioned it on facebook so its out there. Its my dream too, but as you know, each year now for 5 yrs I have had snags get in the way.  ::)
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Offline BiG DoM

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Re: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2014, 10:10:09 pm »
I must say I met Riaan for the first time at the Roof Bronze Qualifier prize giving and was impressed. An unassuming, friendly and humble guy. He had been helping on the final climb out of Mad Cow and really encouraged my youngster when on his second assent of the pass, he then rode with him some of the way back to the finish. Josh was obviously also in awe of one of his heroes and impressed by what a generous spirit he had. These golden boys can make a big difference to the sport especially when one is trying to attract and retain youngsters and newcomers.  :thumleft:
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Offline Rossdog

Re: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2014, 03:31:41 pm »
I must say I met Riaan for the first time at the Roof Bronze Qualifier prize giving and was impressed. An unassuming, friendly and humble guy. He had been helping on the final climb out of Mad Cow and really encouraged my youngster when on his second assent of the pass, he then rode with him some of the way back to the finish. Josh was obviously also in awe of one of his heroes and impressed by what a generous spirit he had. These golden boys can make a big difference to the sport especially when one is trying to attract and retain youngsters and newcomers.  :thumleft:
Spot on. Always friendly and humble at races. Most of the older generation enduro riders are cool guys: Daryl Curtis, William Gillett, Altus De Wet. All of them probably don't even know my name, but they are always happy to help, give advice or share a joke.
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Offline THROTTLE JOCKEY

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Re: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2014, 03:43:01 pm »
Yip all good and true but....

There are a lot of riders out there that want and are capable to take part in such a event but the costs make it almost imposable without some sort of assistance.
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Offline BiG DoM

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Re: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2014, 05:52:02 pm »
Yip all good and true but....

There are a lot of riders out there that want and are capable to take part in such a event but the costs make it almost imposable without some sort of assistance.

... and how does this relate to Mr van Niekerk? Not sure but certainly Riaan would not be there without sponsorship. He has also worked hard to get to where he is and his Dakar ride. He told us straight in Maseru though that he is hard pressed to improve his rally focus and results simply because of budget. He needs to enter more of the international rallies but cannot afford to on present budget - enduro alone cannot make you properly rally competitive.
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 10:54:21 pm »
This is true Big Dom. And now with the exchange rate, its getting harder and harder.
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Offline Malibu

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Re: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2014, 08:23:58 am »
Did a course with him... total Gentleman!  ;D
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Offline SteveD

Re: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2014, 01:17:32 pm »
+1
Okay now for the important question: Whose dream is it?

So the cat is out of the bag. I wasn't sure whether I could name names, but the whole story is in the July edition of Offroad and Adventure SA.
Riaan was talking to Wessel Bosman, the guy who rode all the way up Africa on a KTM 2450, unsupported, and then competed in the Pharoah''s rally. The plan all along was to use this to prove that he was deserving of a Dakar 2015 entry spot. Wessel just kept going north after the rally, and I believe he is on his way to Paris to hand in his entry to ASO personally.
Have a look at the article, and his letter to Etienne Lavigne. Inspiring stuff.
 

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2014, 02:08:58 pm »
Oh that's such great news! They HAVE to let him in!

Offline SteveD

Re: Cool guy, Mr Riaan van Niekerk
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2014, 08:03:28 pm »
Extracts from Wessel's letter to ASO.


24 April 2014
Etienne Lavigne
Director Dakar Management, Amuary Sport Organisation, Paris

Participation in the 2015 Dakar - Special request by Wessel  Bosman,  Afriski Ski & Mountain Resort, Kingdom of Lesotho

A 'Few Days in my Life'and the next 250 days 'till Dakar 2015


Dear Etienne
Life is about challenges, belief, passion and choices. I follow the Dakar every year with much interest and a lot of respect. Did I ever think I would compete in the Dakar when I was younger? No, I never thought it could be possible. I competed in athletics when I was younger, and held the South African record in hurdles for 17 years. I was also the South African 100m champion and captain of the National Springbok team. I qualified 75 times for four Olympic Games in times when it was not possible for us to compete internationally. I started the Afriski resort (www.afriski.net) in 1998 after my return from Japan and my visit to the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano - where I experienced Winter sport for the first time in my life. Many people laughed at my idea to build a ski resort in Africa, but in the 2013 ski season more than 30 000 people visited the resort...and now also the first big summer sport event...This past Easter weekend we hosted a super successful International UCI Class 1 Mountain Bike XCO and Downhill race in Lesotho on a track that I started to build only 3 months ago!
I always rode motorbikes on the farms, mountains and in the remote areas of Mozambique, Namibia and Botswana. In 2005, to promote winter sport in Africa, my son and I travelled 12000km from Cairo to Cape in a ... time of 19 days, without support, all the spares with us on the two bikes. It was an amazing trip and very special. My son, Johan, was seriously injured in an accident when a drunken guy drove through a red robot only six months after our trip, 1km from our home in Pretoria. He died a few months later.
Dear Etienne, does the above give me any advantage or right to try to enter Dakar 2015? No, not at all. I respect the challenges of the Dakar too much to ask for any special treatment if I can't prove to the Dakar Organisation that I am fully prepared and able to do the Dakar in a safe and responsible manner.
During December and January I stayed and rode in the Namibian desert. Brett Cummings and Glen Grundy, Dakar participants, gave me navigation equipment and helped me with navigation and roadbook training in the desert. I gave my commitment to help the Lesotho Cycling Association to build the UCO accredited MTB XCO and Downhill course and now the cyclists of Africa asked us to bid for the African Championship of 2015 and we received our International accreditation for our track. It is only now that I can give 100% to prepare for 2015 Dakar entry, training and to compete in my first Dakar. I just paid my deposit to enter for the Pharaohs rally to ride my first FIM rally! I know that I must do everything to finish and gain experience. I also know that you have 1000's of riders in the world that can do that, so how will I gain more respect from the Dakar Organisation?
I plan to ride from Southern Africa through Africa to Egypt with my bike, in 21 days, and then compete in the Pharaohs rally, starting 26 April 2014. Am I a little crazy to do that, or even to think that I will not destroy the bike? I just know it is the only way I have a chance with my Dakar application. I built everything myself on the bike, a KTM 450EXC Six Days, to be ready for scrutineering at the Pharaohs, from the frames for navigation to the sump guard with two litres of water and 10 litre extra fuel tank at the back of the bike. I also know that in this journey through Africa, with 9000km and a lot of borders in only 21 days, with even only a small delay could mean that I miss the start of the rally.
To prepare myself and prove that I can ride for 10 to 14 hours a day, still service the bike and manage to deal with all of the logistics, I want to ride from Lesotho through Africa to Egypt in less than 21 days and compete in the Pharaohs rally...I understand the risk of Africa and the unknown, but I feel that this is maybe the only way to prove to you that although I have not competed in an international rally before, I will be capable of competing in the Dakar, and  still have 8 more months to improve my skills, fitness and navigation.....
After Egypt...I must visit KTM Head Offices in Austria to reserve one of the new KTM 450RRs, because we all know that my KTM Six Days will have had its days after this effort...
My effort or plan is so small in the light of the brilliant champions competing in the Dakar and Tour de France or any of your other special events... but when I am in Europe, may I visit the offices of ASO in Paris and promote the efforts of the first rider under the Lesotho flag?
I will prepare my CV to be ready on 15 May 2015 when your entries open for 2015 Dakar…..I will be somewhere in Sudan on my way to Egypt on that day...so may I rather bring it personally to the offices of ASO with my 4000 Euro deposit?
Thank you for a brilliant event that has inspired millions.
Kind regards
Wessel Bosman
Director
Afriski Atitude Sport (Pty)Ltd 

and I just got this from Wessel
"I meet Xavier (Etienne's right-hand man) Monday at around one o'clock before I fly Monday night to Europe to collect my bike and do my Europe trip... I paid my Dakar deposit two days ago and I think there is no turning back.. I am not sure if they will accept me but if, then the hard training will begin!"

Come on Etienne, give him a shot!