Life is real fun in the fast lane

RIDING a bike on the track is a different ball game to riding on the road. Both can be dangerous but the track is more fun.

A weekend of camping, learning, racing and hopefully being spotted by racing officials, could help pave the way to becoming one of South Africa's racing champions.

On arrival, after a three-hour journey from Johannesburg in the early hours of the morning, we were greeted by a clean, windy and quiet race track.

The Phakisa race track in Welkom, Free State, boasts a 4,24km surface.

My first track experience was fulfilling.

I was taking part in a motorbike training weekend with a group of friends. Luck was on our side as we encountered more experienced and professional racers.

Phakisa is also the first raceway in South Africa to host a Grand Prix of the World Motorcycle Championships, which took place in 1999.

How honoured I was to be there. By midday I had seen at least 30 different kinds of motorbike.

Each lap was just as fascinating as the next, with the vibrating sound of 20 super bikes racing past my eyes at a speed not less than 180kmh in 15 seconds, leaving goose bumps all over my body.

This goes on for 30 minutes. The most experienced riders clocked a speed of more than 200kmh, with each 4km lap taking less than two minutes to complete.

For all the amateurs, knee scraping was the order of the day. Each curve becomes a risky occasion and one has to make the most of it.

"The lower you go, the closer your knee is to the ground and the feeling of success climaxes in your head when you feel the bumpy slicing of your knee slider," states an amateur who took part on the track for the first time.

For the unfortunate few, a curve got the upper hand, leaving them grounded with a damaged bike.

For R700 each training weekend, the injuries and damages are just another step closer to perfection.