South Africa’s leading enduro lady Kirsten Landman is the name that every female rider mentions with heart-felt admiration at her successes in blazing her way through the world’s toughest and most technical terrains.
The 27-year old Brother Leader Tread KTM star is the first woman to have ever completed the gold class of Red Bull Sea to Sky, the silver class of Red Bull Romaniacs, and the expert class of King of the Hill.
In 2016 she added a special title to her list of ‘firsts’ when she signed up for gold at the ‘Mother of Hard Enduro’ – the Roof of Africa. Landman crossed the finish line as a history maker, becoming the first woman to have ever finished the treacherous route.
Some might find it surprising then, to discover that the Queen of the Mountains has been haunted by the fear of speed for years. In 2013 Landman suffered a horrific accident at the Toyota Botswana Desert Race – an event that not only put her riding career on hold, but almost took her life.
For five years she has avoided any form of flat and fast style racing, and has moved away from cross country events entirely.
“Until now, anything over fourth gear has terrified me. I make up time on the technical sections, but completely fall behind on any terrain that demands a little bit of speed,” said Landman.
Frustrated by this illusive barrier that has kept her from reaching her full potential, Landman decided that something needed to change this season.
In an attempt to face her fears she signed up for the 2018 National Cross Country Championship – fully aware that the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race was one of the events on the calendar.
The iconic race kicks off from the 22-24 June, and Landman is about to take one of the most significant steps in her career.
“It’s time to put this whole ordeal behind me, it’s been five years and I need to move on. Finishing this race is going to make me feel a whole lot lighter – I really don’t want to carry this fear of crashing anymore,” she said.
Comparing her form to five years ago, Landman confidently mentions being the fittest and strongest that she has ever been. She believes that the event will be more of a mental challenge for her, however, rather than a physical one.
When asked about the greatest thing that her accident taught her, Landman explained: “I learnt that I’m not invincible, and that nothing in life is guaranteed. I’ve become more of a cautious rider since then, but I think that’s a good thing.
“If I can’t see what’s in front of me I completely back off, and if there’s dust I slow down. I’m a lot wiser now, and my goal for the past few years has been to finish every race safely. That’s exactly what I’m going to do in Botswana – be consistent, give it my all, and get to the end in one piece.”
One final parting shot from Landman, as she looks to reach new heights in her motorsport career: “I hope my journey will encourage other people to overcome the things that hold them back in life. We are often our own worst enemy, and can’t reach for the bigger and better things that life has to offer unless we first overcome ourselves.”
Photo 1 caption: South Africa’s leading enduro lady Kirsten Landman will look to crash through personal barriers at the 2018 National Cross Country Championship. Landman is pictured at the opening race of the 2018 National Enduro season. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za
Photo 2 caption: “I learnt that I’m not invincible,” says SA’s enduro champ, that she was going to: “… be consistent, give it my all, and get to the end in one piece.” Photo: www.zcmc.co.za
Photo 3 caption: Landman takes on the rugged Koue Bokkeveld at the second round of the National Cross Country series. Photo: www.zcmc.co.za