AFTER months of relentless training the time is almost here for North East biker Kate McAuley to tackle the toughest challenge of her life.
Next Tuesday, the mother-of-two will jet off for Johannesburg in South Africa to embark on a 1,000-mile journey across some of the world’s most extreme terrain as part of motorcycle ride Enduro Africa.
But Kate, who is believed to be the only woman taking part in the race this year, said she is undaunted by the huge challenge and can’t wait to get started.
“I can not wait, I am really so excited about it,” said the 38-year-old, from Birtley in Gateshead.
“The only part I am anxious about is at night sleeping alone, even though we will be in hotels. That’s the scariest thing, sleeping on my own in a different country, but I can’t wait for the bike ride,” she said.
Kate, a mother to Jade, 21, and Amber, 17, has been out on the motocross track in between her shifts as a children’s nurse at South Tyneside Hospital and has been training hard for the two-week challenge which will see her cover between 200 and 300 miles a day over eight to 12 hours.
Kate began motocross racing at the age of 13. She then became Britain’s first female Speedway professional, riding for the Hackney Hawks in the 1990s.
“My mum actually hates it and wishes I was a ballet dancer and my daughters will not sit on the bike but they enjoy coming to watch,” said Kate, who lives with partner Andy Brennan.
As part of the Enduro Africa challenge, Kate is riding across the challenging terrain of South Africa’s Eastern Cape to raise money to help improve the lives of underprivileged children.
Kate has to raise £5,000 for the challenge which will go between four charities, UNICEF, Sentebale – The Princes’ Fund for Lesotho, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Touch Africa.
But as well as raising money for good causes, Kate will be pushing herself to the limit as the ride will see her negotiate vast river crossings and tackle steep ascents.
“I know in recent years there have been some accidents but I am putting that to the back of my mind,” she said.
“I do not feel daunted at all by the ride, I just can’t wait.”
The group will set off from Port Elizabeth and journey through South Africa crossing the Kei River by ferry and navigating Qora Gorge towards their final destination in Port Edward.
Kate is following in the footsteps of Prince William and Prince Harry on her journey as they took on the same endurance test in 2008.
Fox Racing in Team Valley have given Kate full kit sponsorship and she also received donations from Dickinson Dees solicitors in Newcastle.
To support Kate on her Enduro Africa challenge, email email@example.com