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The first Princess Charlene Of Monaco Foundation Water Bike Challenge took place in 2017 on the French Riviera (Picture: 


The legendary Piere “Striker” Strydom will represent horseracing in the “Water Bike Challenge” put on by the Princess Charlene Of Monaco Foundation South Africa.
The event takes place at Sun City on Saturday 16 September and involves riding a floating bicycle on a lake.
Former winners of the event Ryk Neethling and Percy Montgomery are two other contestants in what will be a field of celebrities.

To date the foundation’s Water Bike Challenge events have been staged on the French Riviera, with the inaugural event being a 21 km race from Nice to Monaco.

2017 : Nice – Monaco
2018 : Port of Monaco
2020 : The Crossing : Calvi – Monaco
2022 : Port of Monaco

The Water Bike Challenge regularly attracts VIPs and sporting stars.

Ryk Neethling is the CEO of the foundation.
The cause is to raise awareness of the dangers of water and to raise funds for the foundation’s water safety and drowning prevention programmes.
Under the leadership of HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco, the Foundation is dedicated to transforming lives through swimming and water safety education.
Piere is currently down in Cape Town putting some finishing touches to the Air B&B he and his wife Chrisna bought in Constantia. He said the amount of bookings had taken them by surprise so they were ensuring everything would be in pristine condition before the plentitude of guests arrived. 
Piere will continue race riding when he returns to the Highveld shortly. 
“Striker” had some time to reminisce during the interview.
He said his nickname was given in the 1980s by a racing journalist in the East Cape called “Rob Roy” and it was due to his habit of coming from last and winning by short-head margins.
Piere recalled invariably getting uo in the close finishes and hence Rob Roy accorded him the nickname “Striker”.
Piere recalled the number of winners he rode after arriving in the Highveld were so plentiful he finished second in the Transvaal championship in his first season despite not having been there for a full season.
He mentioned the old adage “any publicity is good publicity”, because he actually first hit the headlines on the Highveld through a ride that got him in to hot water.
In a feature race he came from last on the Robert Maroun-trained Westridge to cross the line first, but the horse had hung from the outside to the inside and taken out half the field. Westridge was disqualified and placed last.
However, by the beginning of the 1990s Piere was so popular with punters that when he became the first and only ever rider to ride the Pick 6 on July 14, 1990, the dividend was a paltry R89. He recalled arriving that day and not being overly confident of a good meeting as there were one or two of his mounts who were initially fairly long prices. He recalled a winner oo two of that Pick 6 being trained by Spike Lerena.  
That day was one of two occasions he has ridden seven winners at a meeting and he said he always reminded Frankie Dettori of that fact whenever he saw him (because of course the latter attained legendary status when riding the perfect seven at Ascot one day (“The Magnificent Seven”)).
A good trick question for racing trivia would be, “Has any jockey in SA ever ridden the winner of six successive carded races in South Africa?”
Most who knew about Piere’s Pick 6 feat would automatically answer “Yes”, but in fact the answer is “No” because the famous match race between Divine Act and Brainteaser took place that same day in between the Pick 6 races and Piere was on the defeated Brainteaser.
He recalled Brainteaser to be a horse who was quick out of the gates and had plenty of pace. Nevertheless Divine Act, who had won his debut by 15,25 lengths when showing blistering pace throughout, was expected to lead in the match race. So when Piere heard Divine Act’s jockey Charles van Booma cursing as they jumped because the saddle had slipped backwards he felt he might have a chance of keeping the latter at bay by taking the lead over the quick Gosforth Park 1000m. However, Divine Act made up the ground steadily despite the saddle slip and entering the final stages clearly still had plenty in hand. Divine Act then drew away effortlessly to win by 5,25 lengths. The winner was the outsider of the pair, not surprisingly with “Striker” aboard the other one.
Piere could not recall his first feature winner but believed his first Gr 1 win was on Yardmaster on December 31, 1988.
Yardmaster became the first Highveld raider to win the Queen’s Plate in decades and did it for Owners David & Martha Makins and Joe Gore, Trainer Tobie Spies, Assistant Danny Gonzalves, Jockey Pierre Strydom and Groom Johannes Dlamini.