WATCH | This SA father and son enduro riders built a racetrack in their back yard during lockdown
• Father and son build their own racetrack
• Tristan credits his dad's 'cool ideas'
• Father Graham is a seasoned rider
Lockdown has not been easy, with many of us becoming frustrated by the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. For the majority of people, it meant not being able to do what we usually would, like going to work, visiting friends and family and participating in sport.
But where there's a will there's a way, as father-and-son enduro riders Graham and Tristan Hedgcock illustrated - being temporarily unable to participate in events, the Hedgcock duo decided that the next best thing was to have a race in their backyard.
Asked whose idea it was to create a backyard enduro track, 14-year-old Tristan responds: "It was most certainly my Dad. He is more often the one with cool ideas."
Tristan Hedgcock (Motul)
Dad Graham weighs in: "Tristan and I designed and built the track for two days. Then we waited until about 11:00 one morning, started the bikes and raced. We were worried that if we practised the neighbours would stop us. So we went straight into the race and did five laps, four normal laps and one' joker lap' around the pool.
"We were not given much space as we only have a narrow walkway on one side of the house and astroturf on the other. We are lucky our garage opens on both ends, which allowed us the chance to do a full circuit of the house."
Both started riding at a young age. Graham grew up on farms, which allowed him the opportunity to ride plenty of old farm bikes. "It wasn't until 2004 that I started racing in the Western Cape," says Hedgcock senior. "Since then, I have completed finished nine out of the 10 Gold Roof of Africa races which I entered, but my highlights must be finishing 16th overall both years I competed at Red Bull Romaniacs."
Graham Heghcock (Motul)
Making a splash
Tristan, who started racing at the age of eight, seems well on his way to make a big splash in the endure world: "My first year of racing 85's was definitely one of the many highlights; I won the T-Bone racing championship, as well as the CSMX regional championship. My journey with KTM through my whole career, and partnering with Motul, have been among my favourite times."
Tristan says that racing success at such a young age taught him other life skills as well. "When I wake up, I immediately see all my trophies that I have on shelves in my room, and that alone inspires me to go and tinker on my bike and make sure my kit is packed and clean, just in case we are going to have a photo-shoot.
"It has taught me to plan ahead, stay healthy and to deal with problems when things don't go your way. When I went to America, I had to fit my whole school term's work into three weeks – that has taught me how to manage my time very well."
He also recognises the vital role his family plays: "My Dad and mom have helped me so much through my riding. My Dad helps a lot more with the physical side of things, and my mom has helped me with interviews, choices and general decisions in life and riding."
Graham (left) and Tristan Hedgcock (Motul)
Part of the family
Mercia Jansen, Motul Area Manager for Southern and Eastern Africa, agrees. "We see all our Powersport Ambassadors as part of the Motul family, so we're always delighted when their own families become involved, too. One of the secrets of Tristan's success has been his very close bond with his father, Graham. The relationship between father and son is extraordinary," she says.
Despite the difficulties and uncertainties of the current situation, both have positive parting messages for their friends and supporters. Tristan takes a long-term view: "Set goals for yourself and when you go down a sticky path in life and in riding, take one step back, then plan the next ten steps forward."
Graham says: "I would want everyone who is a part of Enduro worldwide to focus on the safety of riding, and to grow and support the sport wherever you can. And most of all, have fun doing so."
So who won the backyard race? Although the competition between the two was tight, father and son agreed afterwards that both deserved the top spot on the podium – although the real winners might well have been their neighbours, who got their peace and quiet back when this unusual once-off event was over.