"Have a lekker day", says Celia le Roux, the only female Trophy guide, to the others before she opens the throttle. "Lekker" is an Afrikaans word for everything gorgeous: riding a motorbike, food, scenery, people.
Ponta de Oro at the Indian Ocean disappears in the rear mirror: simple flat mud huts with roofs made of corrugated iron, colourful stalls, banana plants, papayas and mango trees; at the roadside exotic fruits piled up to pyramids are being sold, laughing children are waving and women are balancing heavy loads on top of their heads.
Every raindrop during the night has hardened the sand and made the red track leading over the barren hills easier to ride on. Heading towards the South African border the first challenge of the day is to tackle the same 10 kilometers of deep sand we came through yesterday.
Mozambique is a poor country. It is hard to believe that many of these people survive on less than a Rand a day. But what do they actually live from? They grow everything for their own needs, keep a few goats and those who hit the jackpot sell charcoal packed in bags.
We leave Mozambique, where slowness is the way of life, towards South Africa. After the border there is a special test called "Elephant Turn". Imagine the following scenario: You suddenly meet an angry looking elephant and have to get away on your bike as fast as possible. The team doing the quickest U-turn is the winner.
Because yesterday was a hard day and "Mission Ponta" has worn out many riders, the recurring fields of deep sand take their toll: a Japanese and a German rider crash, get slightly injured and continue today’s journey in the support vehicle.
At Lake Sibaya a helicopter is waiting for journalists and photographers, thus they can take pictures from a bird’s eye view. The ride continues on narrow single track roads overgrown by lush vegetation – not more than two sandy lanes – through deep sand until arriving at Phuda Game Resort. But this place has nothing to do with playing games. Instead, you can spot wild animals there, the so called "Big Five", if you are lucky: elephants, lions, rhinos, buffalos and leopards – a typical African experience the Trophy riders make right after they put up their tents.
UK – 82 points
ZA – 80 points
SK – 80 points
CA – 77 points
ES – 70 points
DE – 69 points
USA – 57 points
AT/CH – 52 points
IT – 44 points
JP – 32 points
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Text: Ramona Schwarz
Pictures: Herbert and Ramona Schwarz