Photo: Victor Eleuterio Costa
As the dawn breaks on this Women’s Day, I sit and quietly contemplate our role in this world. And I realise that it is those who have gone out and achieved hugely that inspire me. They quietly lead by example, and I think they have done more to pave the way for other women than debate about gender ever could.
There is an incredible quote by Theodore Roosevelt – please feel free to insert “woman” in place of “man”. Or simply use the word ‘human’. This quote reminds me of one of South Africa’s superstars – the woman who inspired today’s newsletter… “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
Photo: Duda Bairros
Some time ago, I went to a presentation “It’s the year of twenty-twenty-SHE” with Cross Country Insurance. It was held by Gauteng Women in Insurance and featured Kirsten Landman as the speaker. She had previously crossed my radar whilst watching Dakar earlier this year – as she was a woman blazing a trail in a male world, and because of her authenticity and raw vulnerability which she wasn’t afraid to share on camera. Awhile later, I interviewed her for a magazine profile I was writing. When thinking about this newsletter’s Women’s Day edition, Kirsten sprung to mind. What Serena Williams is to tennis, so Kirsten is to the off-road world of motorbikes.
Photo: Duda Bairros
At the tender age of eight, she was the only little girl racing in Gauteng. She went on to compete head-to-head in a field dominated by men, simply because this is the sport that she loves with a passion. She NEEDS to ride – it is in her DNA. And she went on to earn phenomenal successes. In this year’s Dakar, Kirsten rode in the “Original by Motul” class. Previously known as the “Malle Moto” Class, it refers to bike and quad riders competing without any kind of assistance. In other words, they repair and maintain their motorcycles themselves. When reaching the bivouac after a hard day’s racing, there are no teams of mechanics waiting. After sorting their bikes, they grab some grub, erect their own tents and, if they’re lucky, catch a few hours of sleep before heading to the start of the next day. Kirsten did all of this to finish 12th (without a single penalty) in the 2023 Original by Motul Class on her KTM 450 Rally Replica. She was the only female in this year’s Malle Moto – and she did it all whilst reeling with the effects of Covid!
Photo: Victor Eleuterio Costa
SOME OF KIRSTEN’S HIGHLIGHTS:
Dakar Rally 2023, Saudi Arabia – 12th in Original by Motul Class, 2nd Women’s Trophy Class, 71st Overall.
3rd Woman in Dakar history to finish the Original by Motul Class.
Sea To Sky, Turkey – Silver Class Finish, 1st place female.
Roof of Africa, Lesotho – 16th overall Silver Class, 1st place female.
Rally Du Maroc, Marocco – 24th overall.
Dakar Rally, Saudi Arabia – 55th overall, 3rd place female Moto Pilot, 1st African Woman to finish Dakar Rally.
Merzouga Rally, Morocco – 29th overall, 1st place female.
X-Race, Namibia – 3rd place overall Gold Class, 1st place female.
IMPI Hard Enduro, South Africa – 22nd overall Gold Class.
Sea to Sky, Turkey – 30th 24th overall Gold Class, 1st place female.
Roof of Africa, Lesotho – 27th overall Gold Class, 1st place female.
X-Race, Namibia – Expert Class, 2nd overall & 1st female.
Redbull Romaniacs, Romania – Bronze Class, 1st Female and 15th overall.
Sea to Sky, Turkey – Only female to complete Gold Class, 1st female and 31st overall.
Wildwood Rock, Australia – 1st female and 6th overall.
Roof of Africa, Lesotho – Gold Class Finisher, 25th overall and 1st place female.
IMPI, South Africa – Gold Class finisher in 25th overall & highest placed female.
Redbull Romaniacs, Romania – Silver Class finisher in 45th position overall & first female.
South African Overall Silver Class National Champion in a male dominated Class.
Roof of Africa, Lesotho – Gold Class finisher placed 33rd overall.
King Of The Hill Hard Enduro, South Africa – Placed 28th overall in Expert Class. Made history by being the first female to ever finish Expert Class.
FIM Super Enduro World Series, Prague – Placed 4th in World Championship.
Alfie Cox Redbull Invitational Extreme Enduro – Kirsten was the only female to compete, making it into the semi- final and ranked 15th amongst the best male extreme enduro riders in South Africa.
Redbull Romaniacs, Romania – First female in history to finish the race in Silver Class & placed 48th overall.
Redbull Braveman, Namibia – Placed 2nd in Silver Class and only female to finish.
Redbull 111 Megawatt, Poland – 30th overall (out of 1000+ entries). Only female to qualify and finish.
Redbull Sea to Sky, Turkey – Finished an incredible 24th position overall in Gold Class, reaching the top of Mount Olympus, bettering her previous year’s position by over 30 positions.
South African National Enduro Championship – Kirsten raced a consistent season finishing on the podium at all rounds, and 2nd overall.
Roof Of Africa, Lesotho – First ever woman in the 49-year history of the race to finish the Gold Class, completely unassisted.
Redbull Sea to Sky, Turkey – Placed 56th overall, becoming the only woman in history to ever finish a gold Class at any extreme hard enduro event.
Redbull Braveman, Namibia – Placed first overall in Silver Class in an all-male field.
Roof of Africa, Lesotho – Placed 32nd overall in the Silver Class and 1st female.
National Enduro Series – Placed 3rd overall in the men’s Silver Class.
Redbull Romaniacs, Romania – 47th place in bronze Class out of 160 bronze riders and first female home.
Roof of Africa, Lesotho – 23rd in Silver Class and first placed female finisher unassisted.
National Enduro Championship – 4th place in Silver Class.
Photo: Vinicius Juan Branca
“Here’s to strong women.
May we know them.
May we be them.
May we raise them.”
Jacqui Ikin & The Cross Country Team
Dakar Portraits: Landman
Onboard with Dakar Heroes – Stage 4
Malle Moto – The Forgotten Dakar Story