And so the 3rd edition of The Honda Quest starts exactly where it’ll end, the gorgeous Kaleo Guest Farm nestled up against the Cederberg in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
The contestants are busy making their way through to this little oasis. Tomorrow it starts and in 10 days’ time, if the gods of Adventure are willing, we, a merry little band of 14 contestants and the Specialised Adventure crew will have travelled 2123km over some of the finest adventure tracks and gravel roads in Southern Africa aboard the 2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin, to be back here again.
So just what is this Honda Quest?
Well, Honda believe that the Africa Twin is the finest large dual sport adventure motorcycle available today. It’s a bold claim! The 2020 version is the current edition of a hard earned heritage that includes being a 4 time winner of the Paris – Dakar Rally in the late 80’s, a legendary status as a highly capable large adventure bike that has taken many from home to furthest remote adventures and, the first dual sport adventure bike to sport the highly acclaimed dual clutch automatic transmission. With such a fine pedigree, how best could one showcase all the promise that this bike can deliver? Enter Honda Quest.
The ingredients are; firstly a stretch of the planet that is both rugged, remote and beautiful that has ample reminders of those harsh desert rally roots to test man and machine, a place where utter reliability and versatility is crucial. Next, find 14 adventurers plucked from their everyday lives. Then, pair them up into teams and put them each aboard a bike. Make the prize for the winning pair, the very bike they are sitting aboard and then set off into the unknown. And lastly, let the unrehearsed and unscripted story unfold.
However the competition is not a race. It’s going to take a very well-oiled team who espouse the qualities that would make them a fine addition to any group of adventurers. It is an adventure expedition, designed to test human endurance, teamwork and adaptability. There will be tough days for both the bikes and riders where the trails are technical and difficult and the whole group will have to work together to make it through.
Maybe what’s needed could be best described by Kobus Myberg’s message to the current contestants on the eve of their departure. Kobus was a contestant on the very first Quest and instructor on the last version who sadly couldn’t be with us on this one. Kobus is the very embodiment of the Honda Quest adventurer.
To all the contestants:
Some of you will be already packed, some will have repacked a couple of times trying to fit everything in and some are still working flat out and wondering when they will find the time to pack everything. For a few this will be the longest expedition they have ever ventured on and are really nervous of the unexpected. A few of you will still jump on the treadmill for the last time, wondering if you’ve done enough physical preparation. Some are vigorously working on last minute preparations for their presentations. And then there will be the Class Captain that is already packed, presentation aced and you’ve got your whole strategy sorted. Yes, you know who you are.
From my own experience, I recommend the following essential tools to pack with:
– Sense of humour
– Your true personality
– Team Spirit
There will be some long days, some difficult days, hot days, windy days and some days where you have doubt that you’re cut out for this. If I can quote one of Gené’s favourite sayings – “Toughen up cupcake!” – you are absolutely capable of doing this, that’s why you were selected. There will be days where your team mate and even other teams will need your support and days where you need theirs. Look out for the signs and don’t be shy when you need the support of others.
Always remember that this is not a race. Pace yourself in everything that you do, hydrate often and look after yourself and everyone else. To complete this event you need to look after your body and your mind. Don’t lose sight of the fact that it is a competition with a huge prize at stake. Competition can bring out the best and the worst in people, you need to decide which side of the scale you want to be.
Lastly, listen to what the Specialised Adventure crew advise. Everything that is said, even if you disagree, is for very good reasons. Your safety is of primary concern to Honda and the Specialised Adventures team and their decisions always take that into consideration.
I want to close by wishing each and every one of you the best of luck. May you make many friends, grow as a human being and come back enriched by the experience. Enjoy every moment.
This, is Honda Quest; there’s adventure, there’s a bike and there’s soul. All the best ingredients for a life changing journey.
“Unless a man undertakes more than he can possibly do, he will never do all that he can” – Henry Drummond