Done and Dusty: The 2020 Honda Quest adventure challenge

Photo credit: Will Venter

The Honda Quest is a nine day-long South Africa adventure riding challenge with a pretty sweet twist. Contestants compete teams of two—and the team that wins gets to ride away on the Honda Africa Twins they competed on.

Photo credit: Will Venter

But the third edition of the Honda Quest nearly didn’t happen. Just as Honda South Africa wrapped up the preliminary ‘Quest Bootcamp’ selection event, COVID slammed the brakes on. Luckily South Africa’s lockdown regulations eased up, and the event went ahead from the 4th to the 13th of November.

Photo credit: Will Venter

On the first night of the event, Honda SA grouped the 14 finalists into seven two-person teams. Armed with 2020 Honda Africa Twins, they prepared to do battle with Springbok, Namaqua, Bushmanland, Kamieskroon, the Cederberg and the Richtersveld as their backdrop.

Photo credit: Will Venter

The Honda Quest challenges are designed to start slow and build up rider confidence as the event progresses. The first day’s biggest challenge was the deep sand along the Namaqua Eco Trail that traces the Orange River—but thankfully it was a short day. Short, but tough—one competitor came off hard, and later discovered that he had fractured his ankle, taking out of the running.

Photo credit: Will Venter

On day two, riders tackled 136 km of the Namaqua Eco Trail, including ‘Hell’s Cradle’—a deep section of sand, surrounded by steep canyons that box in the heat.

Photo credit: Will Venter

Day three started with a chilled out ride that eventually morphed into rocky climbs through the harsh Western Richtersveld. Day four’s main event was a navigation challenge, followed by a climb up ‘Peter’s Scramble.’ It’s a mega-technical 500 m 4×4 track, that took the group a whopping three hours to complete.

Photo credit: Will Venter

The fifth and sixth days were slightly more relaxed, as teams meandered through the vast spaces of Bushmanland and the Knersvlakte, and onto the unparalleled vistas of the Tankwa Karoo. After six days of hard work, the seventh day was a day of rest—giving riders and the support team time to recharge. Even though teams were technically competing against each other, the Quest is marked by an overarching sense of camaraderie.

Photo credit: Will Venter

Teams were back at it on day eight, heading straight into the famed Postal Route that crosses from the Tankwa into the Cederberg. Sadly, the Postal Route will now be closed to the public—so this group was the last privileged few to ride it.

Photo credit: Will Venter

Day eight was long and challenging. From the sand, rocks and river crossings of the Postal Route, to Karretjies Pass and the tricky Eselbank 4×4 trail, there was plenty to challenge riders and their Honda Africa Twins. To add insult to injury, a couple of punctures were picked up along the way—and the evening ended with a written test, too.

Photo credit: Will Venter

The final day consisted of a short farewell leg back to where the selection event had happened nine months prior; Kaleo. Contestants were addressed by Honda Motor South Africa’s president, Yuishi Fukuda, and head of Honda Motorcycles Southern Africa, Riaan Fourie. Then Hardy de Kock, owner of Specialised Adventures, called out the winners: Neil Naudé and Brian Harmse.

Photo credit: Will Venter

Neil and Brian had come out on top against some pretty stiff competition, and are now each one 2020 Honda Africa Twin richer. If sweating it out for nine days and winning a motorcycle sounds appealing, the Honda Quest will be back in 2021.

For more information visit: www.quest-trueadventure.com