Victorious on second try

2014-10-04 00:00

A CHANGE of heart paid off for a Pietermaritzburg biker who recently returned from the United States having conquered a 6 400 km endurance rally.

Hans Coertse, a bike enthusiast and the managing member of Anderson Engineering, took the top prize in the bi-annual Cannonball Motorcycle Rally, a 17-day coast-to-coast endurance event for vintage motorcycles.

According to the rally website, 100 motorcyclists started this year’s event at Daytona Beach, Florida, and finished in Puget Sound, Washington, covering a distance of about 6 400 km.

The winner is not determined by who finishes first, said Coertse, but by a combination of whose bike is the smallest and oldest, and the rider’s age. Most importantly, bike and rider must have ridden every kilometre of the course.

Coertse clinched the victory with his Indian Scout, which was the smallest and oldest bike in the race.

This was the second time he had participated in the rally; he came 27th in 2012 after experiencing problems with the bike he used then.

He had then decided that he would not return to the event. However, he was convinced by a friend to return for this year’s rally.

“I told myself if I returned, I would finish with top honours.

“In 2012 I was in third position when I had a problem with the bike and I finished 27th. For every mile you ride, it’s a point and if you have to load your bike for repairs for 100 miles, you have lost 100 points.

“I learned from that experience and prepared well for this year’s race. I took the Indian Scout which was a great bike … it rode beautifully.”

He said he was delighted with the win because the rally was no child’s play.

Coertse, who has been riding bikes since he was nine years old, is a collector and has eight vintage bikes and few modern ones.

Asked whether he would return to defend his title in 2016, he said, “I am not sure; it is very expensive. My wife doesn’t even know how much [this year’s rally] cost.”

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