21 July 2014

Veni, Vedi, and Vici

Camp fire stories abound about some Vespas resting amongst the rocks in the Fish River Canyon. Above is a Vespa called Vidi standing proudly today, a stark reminder of Julius Caesar’s words “Veni, vidi, vici” translated from Latin “Ï came, I saw, I conquered”. This is a story about 3 Vespas who became an inspiration to all Vespas!

Way before the Posers started making epic Vespa journeys, the Cape Town Vespa Club took on the 2nd largest canyon in the world and the biggest in the southern hemishere, the Fish River Canyon in 1968. I was only an ankle biter when 3 proud Vespas, Veni, Vedi, and Vici, did the Fish River Canyon Expedition. This is the story of 3 legends which although ended in tragedy, their names remain forever engraved in all little Vespas with big hearts that are setting out on their own adventure.

To read the full story, click here 1968 Cape Town Vespa ClubFish River Canyon Expedition. Six friends Tony Beckley, Terry Davidson, Peter Derichs, Aubrey Jackson, Johnnie Johnson, and Graham Nell began with a dream of being the first to put down tyre tracks inside the second largest canyon in the world.

Three Vespas, painted in the colours of a leopard (Vici a 125cc Vespa), giraffe (Vidi a 125cc Vespa), and a zebra (Veni a 150cc Vespa), set off from Cape Town, north to what was then South West Africa or now Namibia.

Once there they lowered the scooters down into the canyon via a winch. Sadly one Vespa Veni was lost when she fell about 30m and was too badly damaged. Never losing hope the expedition continued. It was a struggle at the bottom, with the 2 remaining Vespas making slow progress.

While crossing the river on an inflatable raft, the raft got a puncture and sunk, Vici was lost. The expedition continued slowly with Vidi, the sole remaining Vespa until it too was abandoned due to mechanical problems which the team could not repair.

Although the 3 Vespas did not return from the Fish River Canyon, they did succeed in their task of becoming the first and most likely only vehicles to lay tracks inside the canyon. And changed the hearts of many aspiring adventurers.


Post a Comment