Proud stockists of Ural sidecars & spares

Yearly Sidecar Convention
7 - 10 March 2013
Parys - Vredefort Dome

On 7 March 2013 Ryno, Zeta, Richard and Paul set out from Skyview Garage on the R511 for the annual Sidecar Convention. The 4 of them snaked through Kyalami to get onto the highway. An hour later they stopped at the N1 South Engen One Stop where they were met by Jude and Sheilagh, Grant, Ray and Bron, Jannie and Tracy and Elize – all with big excited smiles.
Soon the cavalcade was on its way to Parys. Once we turned off the highway we rode on a wonderful scenic windy road and this is where the rain caught us. We had a quick stop to worm ourselves into our rain suites. It was decided to have lunch in Parys before we carried on to Sunwa River Lodge where we would stay for the weekend. Shortly after we stopped at Hoi Polloi we were joined by Bets and George from Tzaneen who found Kobus and Tes along the way. Koos and Rika joined and then Coenie and Lientjie pulled in. And it is right there that the catching up and kuiering started, very unexpected and unplanned, we almost had all the conveners together in one spot.
After a good meal we headed towards Sunwa where we found Isaac and Jonathan, quite confused as they couldn’t understand why nobody was checking in. The whole group descended on them at once and enjoyed shopping at their fantastically displayed sidecar shop. Des and Huibre joined from Bloemfontein, Mark, Steph and Aiden arrived, then came Oom Ken (84) all the way from Durban. There were a lot of catching up to do and after dinner tales from trips gone by were shared around the bonfire. The last to arrive for the day was Vic and Madelein from Nelspruit.
Friday morning started with an early breakfast and a happy crowd setting out to the Bon-Af Landgoed Berry Farm. We were met by Hannes Coetzee who had lots of interesting things to tell us. He took us for a walk through the berry orchard. He also told us that he has remedies for personal well being, special water and the likes, you could go and stand in the pyramid for 5 minutes and be revitalised. Everybody ran for the shop to buy his powder remedy for gout ... whether it works? We will have to wait and see....
After loads of berry juice we set off to the Motorbike Museum in Deneysville where Eugene was waiting for us. We spent a good two hours browsing all the old motorbikes and photographs, what a magnificent place. Once again we had a scrumptious meal and then trotted on to the Vaaldam wall for our guided tour. We had an amazing experience, walking on ... and inside the wall. After being inside the wall we lacked oxygen and quickly got onto our Russian steeds to feel fresh air in our faces. Back at Sunwa Alpha, Emma and Klara were waiting for us, now our numbers were complete. The evening was spent around the bonfire again.

On Saturday morning 19 Urals followed Jaco, our own personal police escort, for our ride through the Vredefort Dome. Isaac jumped in with Vic and Ray treated Jonathan to a dusty sandy sidecar ride for the day.
Saturday morning we filled up in Parys and I met a dog who told me he’d rather be in a sidecar – this after he’d been watching us carefully from the back of a Mercedes Benz nogal! You can ask Raymond, I saw him speak to the dog as well.
Jacquie and Jenna joined us along the route and after Jaco had to go and look for some lost souls he returned with Frikkie and Neva whom he found as well. First stop was at Oom Louwtjie’s house.
In a million years left to my own devices I would never have thought to collect spark plugs! Well at Oom Louwtjie and Tannie Susan’s we were treated to the biggest spark plug collection in the world – this is official, it is in the Guinness World Book of records!
Spark plugs weren’t the only objects Oom Louwtjie liked collecting. It was obvious that collecting was not so much a choice as an expression and he had found the ultimate partner in Tannie Susan who loved displaying and showing off everything. It really touched my heart when she said that instead of all the stuff driving her crazy it was just fine because it made him happy.
After a happy photo session we said our goodbyes and were on our way to the next stop. Jaco led us along some stunning little winding roads and it’s an interesting part of the world for many different reasons.
Soon we were all parked in a long line on the low water bridge at Schoemansdrift. This is where the Voortrekkers first crossed the Vaal River with their oxen and wagons when the river was low enough. In later years a pont was also used to ferry people and vehicles across if the water level was high enough. It’s a very beautiful spot and there were some fisherman catching and releasing in the fast running white water just off the bridge.
Once the entire compliment of sidecars were rounded or should I say lined up, we followed Jaco to Venterskroon for a well deserved drink at the Imperial Inn no less!
Venterskroon is one of those unexpected little jewels - the North West’s version of Pilgrim’s Rest. The little town was proclaimed in 1887 after gold had been found there. I just love the sequence the development of these little gold mining towns follow – first comes the Inn, then the police station and jail! Must add that a school and church were also built as well as the house of the Mining Commissioner which can still be seen.

The Magistrate’s, next to the Police Station now houses the Museum for the Vredefort Dome. This turned out to be well worth the visit. It is an interesting display attempting to illustrate what the Vredefort Dome is and what the geological and other implications of the meteor impact so many millions of years ago were. As always these kind of facts literally boggles my mind and I found great comfort in the quote by Sir Isaac Newton – ‘I do not know what I seem to the world, but to myself I appear to have been like a boy playing upon the seashore and diverting myself by now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay before me all undiscovered.’
If he admitted to not quite comprehending all of it all the time, I felt absolved.
Having been absolved of my stupidity and not thirsty anymore we then headed to The Pickled Pig in Parys for the best chicken pie I have eaten in years! The oxtail was excellent, but we were literally queuing for the chicken pie.
It turned out we all ate too much and instead of having our customary games everyone opted for a long good afternoon chatting and kuiering with sidecar friends under the trees on the cool green lawn. How I love our little sidecar community – we do what works best for everyone at the time!
Saturday night Sunwa pulled out all the stops and we had a beautiful fire and the circle of chairs packed out for us to enjoy the magnificent sunset over the Vaal River – finally Kobus’ soul could now rest. After this we had a sit down dinner and almost everyone joined around the fire ‘vir oulaas’ after dinner. It never ceases to amaze me that the conversation is always easy and unending when the sidecars and their riders and monkeys convene!
Thank you to Zeta and Ryno and Isaac at Sidecar Africa you spoil us rotten with all the effort and thought that goes into making our Conventions so interesting and unique!
Written by: The Sidecar Sisters.

Richard, Ken & Paisley

Kobus, Tes & G'nBanggat

Grant & Nerine

Coenie, Lientjie & Kurka

Elize & Griet

Madelein & Olga

Zeta & Sputnik

Alpha, Klara & Narki
Jude, Sheilagh & Layla

Jannie, Tracy & Anzella

Mark, Aidan & Boris

Koos van Rensburg

Des & Huibre

Ray, Bron & Verushka

Vic, Isaac & Igor

Kobus Barkhuizen