Impi Hard Enduro – Dale Namnick breaks the stereotype
From 15 – 17 July, the fourth annual Impi Hard Enduro was hosted from the Tugela Ferry Raceway in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal. And, in true Impi style, it was even bigger and better than before! Adventure lovers from all over the world flocked to this remote, gloriously scenic location to take their iron horses on a joyride through thrilling terrain; ranging from technical single track and river beds to forest trails and passes. Reflective of the race’s popularity, this year, when online entries opened on the event website, all 600 spots were sold out in only six and a half hours.
On grit, planning and courage
The race saw riders from South Africa, Germany, England, Swaziland, Namibia, Austria, Lesotho and Botswana. Carrick is honoured to have one such rider in our midst: no other than Dale Namnick, Associate in our Johannesburg Office.
To participate in a race of this magnitude requires a motivated individual with a strong mindset. It’s not just anyone who can stick to a rigorous training schedule, keeping it up while at the same time maintaining a strenuous full-time career as Associate in the fast-pace financial services industry. It takes a combination of dogged determination, impeccable planning and true courage, paired with an unwavering belief in the cause. The details in planning for this race had to be immaculate as every possible obstacle had to be anticipated and prepared for in advance, with backup plans in place to ensure a safe arrival at the finish line. Although we are delighted by Dale’s achievement, we are not surprised at all! As an ambitious and goal-driven individual, he has what it takes.
Congratulations, Dale, on finishing in the Silver category, as you set out to do!
Trading his corporate suit during the weekdays for motorcycle gear over weekends, Dale Namnick shares the inside wrap with us.
Dale recounts the experience: An unforgettable sense of camaraderie
The race tested us physically and mentally more than we could ever imagine. I have the battle scars to prove it – while going up a step, I fell sideward and onto a rock face. Still, my bumps and bruises are minimal compared to some of the other riders’ injuries, with many riders not being able to finish due to their falls.
One thing that stood out for me was the unbelievable sense of camaraderie, in stark contrast to the city life in Johannesburg where people tend to go through their days head down. Everyone was willing to jump in and help; whether we knew one another or not, we could count on fellow riders to help one another, up tough hills, replacing batteries, wherever needed.It was an amazing experience. I’ll be first in line for a ticket for next year’s race!
Pre-race: From Dale’s perspective
- When did your passion for this extreme sport start? Who were your role models / inspiration when you were young?
Roughly 5 years ago. I’ve always enjoyed off-road motorbikes but my passion was sparked when I began riding with a friend of mine who had been doing it for a while. I never had particular role models but always appreciated and “looked up to” the guys that are best in their field – from Cricket to Motorbikes and Formula 1.
- You are breaking the stereotype of a Financial Associate. Would you describe yourself as an adrenaline junkie?
Yes, I consider myself an adrenaline junkie and very seldom turn down an opportunity to get the heart pumping. I’ve done the highest bridge bungee jumping, shark diving, fast cars and motorbikes.
- Tell us a more about the planning and preparation that went into this race?
The planning and preparation before the race comes down to fitness and equipment as a malfunction or injury would put you out the race. As we are completely reliant on GPS, knowing how to navigate and ride at the side time is something that takes practice. Fitness/training is hard to maintain as it is not simply going to the gym. Bum in the seat is the best form of training but can only be done on weekends. Our team is not utilizing the planned meals and are rather taking specific meals to prepare at our accommodation.
- How do you balance your ‘day job’ with training and prep?
It does get tiring as we train six to eight hours on a Sunday, waking up at 04:30 to be on the bikes at 07:00 all the way out at Dewildt. Which leaves Mondays being a struggle to get up. As its majority a weekend sport, I am able to focus on work Monday to Friday.
- How are you mentally preparing for this race? Do you have any techniques to keep your head right and focused during the race?
Throughout training you learn to deal with certain obstacles and techniques which need to be maintained throughout the race: for example, thinking of previous rides, what worked and what didn’t work. It’s tough to predict conditions and type of rock and climbs we will encounter but as long as we take what we’ve trained mentally and physically into the ride we will be okay.
- On the Hard Enduro’s FB page, we got a small glimpse into what “drives” / motivates riders to participate in this event. For example, this one: “Yoh we can’t wait. Hard is what we want. I hope there will be rocks to scratch my bike and put my heartrate at 190 all day.” What drives you to do it?
The challenge and passion for getting on my bike and overcoming the challenge of riding up some crazy mountains which most people wouldn’t want to walk/hike up. The drive of not wanting to fail or disappoint keeps me at it.
- The routes are beautiful and scenic – it must be one of the drawing points of this race (being in nature). In a heart-racing sport such as this, do you get a chance to fully appreciate the scenery though?
It really is one of the drawing points – getting out of the concrete jungle (Sandton) and into nature is a big reason why we do what we do. From riverbeds to the peaks of mountains, there’s always time to take the helmet off and get a couple pictures in. Building memories with the team is well worth the sweat and pain.
- We see an awesome prize is up for grabs. Giving away a new BETA 250 2T to one lucky IMPI 2017 entrant in prize draw. What bike will you be competing with? Does a bike make significant difference – can start-out riders get along with an entry level bike in your opinion?
I am riding a KTM 300 XCW. If you have the basic techniques you can get into it, you just need to pace yourself on the technical climbs – so yes they can. You will find bikes that you either have a preference to or budget for to start out. The more your budget, the better bike you can get.
- What keeps you going when the going gets tough? Anything you do to motivate yourself if something unplanned happens or you need an extra push?
Not wanting to let the team down, we motivate each other when the times get tough. We will help pull and push where we can to achieve what we set out to achieve as a team. When I need the extra push I’ll generally take 5 minutes at the bottom or top of a climb – drink some water and eat a race bar for nutrition which would generally get me back on track.