RASA – Winter is here – Season 9 “The Hunger Games”

Being a self-diagnosed Freedom Challenge junky, I wait for this time of the year like a 5 year old for Santa Claus. Can’t remember if I was ever disappointed at what “Kersvader” left for me. But boy oh boy, did this year’s RASA not disappoint. If this was a Series on WHO it would have scored very high on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s been non-stop thrilling action.


With the long awaited start of the Racing Batch, the final series of The 2022 Winter RASA has started. We had 9 batches leave the PMB City Hall at 0600 in the morning riding into dawn with the aim of doing the best they can over the next 10 to 25 days for the RASA players, and 3 to 7 days for the RTR players.


In front, if you like, we have Paul Moxley and Mark Basel heading into Romansfontein to be spoiled by Will and Stephanie. Avidon’s Angels are taking shelter in Brosterlea’s Silos with Jeremy Steere. They had a quiet day on the trail after yesterday’s whoopsie on Kapok kraal. Kranskop is jam packed with some floor sleepers for sure. Looks like Bells, Dennys, Rutherfords, David Ackermann, Adriaan Giessing, Marco Pulvirenti and Grant Hill will have to fight it out on who gets the beds…


Moordenaars will host Grant Cowen and the Payne Brothers, the latter taking a wide line up from Slaapkrans to avoid the muddy scar. André and Joyce (Slaapkrans) will host the newlyweds (Brad and Nicky), Nicola Oates, Anton Wood, Janine Oosthuizen and the Kapok Kraal wanderers Andreas and Nienke.


Mienkie (Chesneywold) will have Graeme Green, Gary “Wolraad Woltemade”Scoular and Single Speed Gawie from Downunder to entertain.


Rhodes Hotel is a hive of activity this evening, as the winner of the 2022 Winter Race to Rhodes and the runner up rode into town… more later. Also resting at the Hotel is Jason (happy birthday) Wesson, Andrew Setzkom, Paul Arnott, Mike Potgieter, John Barrow, Gerald Holland and Michael Patchitt.


Vuvu School will have Justin Bank, Chris Mortimer and Francis Bradford to spoil all of them. They pushed from Malekgolonyane, who will have no one to drink Zamalek on their stoep this evening.

Ms Kibi will have Andrew Blackburn (virtually 3rd in RTR) and Rowan Matthews as visitors. It’s been a busy year for this interim support station.


Masakala had Peter Roux, Beth McLeod and Nigel Basel to treat. Peter is recovering from a problem with his eyes and taking on the traditional touring route and rode from Ntsikeni with Beth and Nigel today.


If tenacity had a surname it would be Greyling… these two have shown what it takes to be tough and not scared of the dark. With experience and better navigation (or even just looking at the maps) they would be finished by now. But what entertainment they provided! On my bucket list to meet these two. They enjoy some Skaaptjops at Two Springs after a circle or five from Ntsikeni.

At 16:26 Carlo Gonzaga rolled into Rhodes to win the 2022 Winter Race to Rhodes. A respectable time for a gentleman that puts a lot of effort and planning into this event. Well done Gonzo, well deserved. Multiple Blanket wearer Jacques Tattersall finished second, also today. John Shepard finished in a time of 5 days 7 hours and 14 minutes.


The top three finishers are: 1. Gonzo – 3 days 10 hours and 26 minutes 2. JT – 4 days 6 hours and 27 minutes 3. Arn de Haas – 4 days 14 hours and 14 minutes


Arn will be third if Andrew Blackburn finishes after 20:14:35 tomorrow evening


The Hunger Games


Much like this 5 year old, I fell asleep never to see Rudolf or the Red Suite “Oom” so I will try to stay awake until 00:00 to see where the 5 racing pigeons are at that point, But just in case, this is how things look at 22:00…


Alex *Harris (current *record holder), Gavin (Coach) Horton, Mike (Umdala) Woolnough, Enslin Uys and Brice Biccard left Pieter Maritzburg City Hall at 0600. Alex most wants to get rid of the asteris next to his record and proof once and for all that he can set the record for the Winter RASA. His strategy looks slower from the previous attempt. But knowing the man, with his focus and determination it’s planned. He will most probably aim for Two Springs to join the Greylings for Breakfast. He just strolled into Ntsikeni at 22:00 far off record pace but most probably planned.

Umdala Woolnough will ride until he falls over, then get up and ride some more. He has the ability to just keep going when folk 3 times younger, 5 times fitter and 20 times faster have stopped. He will be a hard man to beat once sleep deprivation sets in. I will guess he is going to aim for a cat nap at Two Springs to annoy Alex… He is a mere 10km behind Alex but will stop a tad bit longer at Mr Ngcobo.


Coach will settle for Mr Ngcobo’s Fried Chicken and have a 4 – 6 hour stop at Ntsikeni I would think. His strength is the road from Rhodes on and won’t burn too many matches in the early parts. Taking it very easy he should be in after midnight 30km behind Alex.


Bruce and Enslin will most probably stick together all the way to Diemersfontein, And although they seem to think they are in the wrong batch will be hard to keep off the virtual podium come race finish. Their original plan of sleeping at Centocow I think would have been a good one, as this is a long race… they got pulled into the hype and will also aim for Ntsikeni it seems. They should be in by just before midnight.

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