Buck: cyclist game to ride wild again

2011-10-13 00:00

EVAN van der Spuy’s encounter with a red hartebeest at Albert Falls Dam has become one of the most searched topics on YouTube, with the video clip clocking almost six million hits by yesterday.

The 17-year-old from the South Coast says he is overwhelmed by all the attention he is receiving.

“It’s still taking a while to sink in, really, and I’m trying to get to grips with it. Our phones ring non-stop for interviews and stuff. At school initially not many people knew about it, but by the end of yesterday it was chaos!”

The young biker is feeling great, although he has a slightly stiff neck, and says he would participate in a ride through a nature reserve again any day.

“It’s an exciting and adventurous ride and I will definitely do it again. This has not scared me at all.”

Trish Wilson of Howick, who also took part in the race at the Albert Falls Dam game park on Sunday, contacted The Witness to express her dismay at the portrayal of a defenceless animal.

Wilson said she believes the race is intrusive to the animals. “We have so little wildlife left and what there is has so little space left to them. I believe they should be left in peace to enjoy their home.”

She said the animals seem to be agitated by the presence of humans.

“The park was full of human beings … I also became alarmed for my five-year-old son’s safety,” she said.

The event was organised by Max Cluer Sports Marketing, which plans major events around the world.

Responding to Wilson, Cluer said: “I respect and understand where she is coming from. I am also a ‘green’ person at heart, but this was a freak accident and thankfully both the biker and the animal escaped unharmed.”

The animal got back up, joined its herd and continued grazing.

Cluer said the incident was a first and a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He said he has planned events in the Kruger National Park and the Tanzania’s Serengeti park, which harbour much bigger and more dangerous game.

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