President’s Chat – 31 August 2018

I should perhaps start by apologising for the deafening silence over the past five months or so. Work pressures have just been enormous, and even my bike has got about a month’s worth of dust on it. Terrible, I know.

Anyway, welcome again to all Wing Riders from this corner of the National Council. As I write this, we are in the home stretch for Wing Fling 2018 with about a month and a half to go. All indications are that it’s going to be great, and so far about fifty members have confirmed their attendance. You should all by now have received the final programme, and a dedicated WhatsApp group has been set up for all those who have confirmed that they will be attending the Wing Fling. We will use this group to provide you with final arrangements, changes, riding plans, etc, so please keep your eyes on the group.

Many, many thanks are due to Krish and his team from the Western Cape Chapter for their work in putting the Wing Fling together, work which I know is often unappreciated. I think I can say with confidence and with all due respect, that the average member doesn’t realise exactly how much planning goes into an event like this. But it also serves to highlight the fact that without input from the members, we as Committee members can only guess as to what you want at a Wing Fling.

So what have we, as National Council, been doing over the past six months or so? Well, aside from the Wing Fling, we have reviewed and updated our Constitution, which was fairly out of date. We have completed, reviewed, updated and finalised the Member Manual, and this has been circulated to all our members. This project was started by a previous President nearly seven years ago, and the depth and coverage of the document is a testament to the amount of work that went in. I must thank publicly, all those who contributed and put in the hours of work to get this task done.

A month or so ago, we heard that Ceraj and Nazli Ismail of WC Chapter had been in an accident with their trike during a ride, resulting in serious damage to the bike, but fortunately only relatively minor injuries suffered by them. Last weekend, Henry Schoeman and Louise Engelbrecht from Central Chapter were in a more serious accident with their trike during a chapter ride to the Drakensberg. Both suffered moderate to serious injuries and ended up in hospital in Newcastle, more than 300 km from home, with both suffering from broken ribs and Henry with both lungs punctured. It appears as if he swerved to avoid a serious pothole, and as a result, lost control of his trike which then overturned. I am sure you’ll all join me in wishing all of these friends of ours, a very speedy and complete recovery.

The point I want to make is, accidents can and do happen, and I’m not at all pointing fingers in anyone’s direction. Given the conditions of our roads, potholes and all, and the general carelessness of other road users, we all need to give that little bit of extra attention to what is going on around us. Take the view that only you know how to ride or drive, and the rest of the road-using public is absolutely incompetent when it comes to driving/riding. Personally, I think many drivers and even some riders are totally incompetent. Think on their behalf, and try to predict what they are doing or about to do. Make sure that your bike or trike is in perfect mechanical and roadworthy condition. We should serve as an example to all road users, and specifically to other motorcyclists. We all bought our bikes and trikes for the lifestyle that they offer us, and we all enjoy it. People that haven’t done it, simply don’t know what they’re missing. But that doesn’t make us immune.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of the Wing Riders of South Africa. There are very few motorcycle clubs around that can boast along these lines, and from us at National Council, many thanks for the all the members who made us into what we are today. We are considering having some medallions designed and struck to commemorate this event, and obviously, there will be costs involved. Members will be kept informed of progress.

That’s all I have for now. I’ll see you at the Wing Fling in October and as your National Council, we will provide full annual reports of our activities at that time.

Keep well, and God bless.

Luke Hartog
National President