The ride of a lifetime has begun for the two British royals. Princes William and Harry began their 1,000 mile motorcycle ride across southern Africa’s wilderness. It will be a gruelling trek, but the two brothers are up for the challenge.
“It’s going to be very challenging and we’re expecting to fall off many a time,” said Harry, 24, before more than 80 riders set off from the holiday resort of Port Edward on South Africa’s southeast coast.
This is the first time that the William and Harry – who aren’t even allowed to travel on the same plane for security reasons – have undertaken a challenge of this magnitude together before.
“We never really spend any time together as we have both got separate jobs going on at the moment. So it is going to be great fun,” added Harry.
“I don’t know how we are going to get on yet, we will have to tell you later. We might argue, we might have a bit of fun – we will have to see how it goes – but we are really looking forward it.”
Both brothers ride high performance motorbikes when in the UK, but William said they had not trained for the event.
“We both ride bikes at the moment but on-road biking is completely different. All the off-road stuff is up hills, down slopes, across rivers and is all rocky and hilly,” William said.
Questioned about which royal was the better rider, William said, diplomatically, that “we’re both quite good actually,” while his brother quipped: “We’ll have to wait and see in a couple of days time.”
Harry added: “We’ve got a secret bet with everybody else about who is going to fall off the most.
“Obviously it is going to be great fun but the most important thing for us all is that we are doing it for some wonderful charities.”
The charities that will benefit from this include Harry’s Sentebale, which helps needy children in Lesotho. The charities involved in this are UNICEF and Nelson Mandela’s Children Fund.
Both princes are one of 80 motorcyclists doing this trek. The princes will travel in a small group of 10 riders – which includes their bodyguards and a couple of close friends – including Shaun Davy, the brother of Harry ‘s girlfriend Chelsy, and schoolmate Tom Inskip – meeting up with their fellow competitors to compare bruises and exchange stories each night. Everyone is wearing heavy padding underneath their riding clothes.
While everyone travels through rough terrain, they will be meeting up with tribal people along the way.
Simon Smith, organiser of the event, said: “This is not a race it’s an endurance test, it’s all about finishing the route.
“Most days will be spent on goat tracks with wonderful tribal people who see the world in a very different way to us.
“It’s going to be one of the hardest and most demanding thing they will ever have done in their lives and at night they are going to struggle to get off their bikes as the pain will be so bad.
“The terrain is extremely rough and dangerous.At times they will be sitting on their bikes looking up at a 60 degree slope wondering how the hell they are going to get up it – not even realising there is a deep river crossing to get through on the other side.
“Much of it will be down to mental fitness. But the Princes have bags of personality and are big characters – they are both in the forces and it shows.”