A n00b goes Rallye Racing - Dos Sertões Aug 2010
I'm prepping for the Rallye Dos Sertões this August. Read about the bike, and my South American adventures in preparation for this event.
If you want to skip the build and learning curve, click HERE to jump to the final prep and the racing (Page 24) :deal
Ive now set this thread with links in each of my posts up so you can click on the links to skip comments and read the meat. You can also jump to parts of interest using this index below (Click on the links or go to the relevant page):
A bit of background............Page 1
The Bike & Rallye Build........Page 1
A hard practice.................Page 2
Enduro Peru.....................Page 2
More on the Build..............Page 2
Pics of the Build................Page 3
Build & Riding gear.............Page 3
Pics of Bike after build........Page 4
Rally school coments & pics.Page 5
Rally School Report ...........Page 6-12
Decision Time...................Page 12
Painting & Design..............Page 13
Dos Sertões 85 days to go..Page 15
Training Fail......................Page 16
Final preparations and Dos Sertões Rally
A n00b goes Rallye Racing
Watching the Dakar every year always makes me want to get on my bike and ride off-piste until it hurts. http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smil...t/rolleyes.gif And when I do it, I get an amazing satisfaction from it: You know, the kind where you find you can hardly move for two days afterwards from being tired and sore. Now I want to do this now more often with other similar minded masochists. http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smil...ault/whip2.gif
The obvious answer is to start rally racing. Not enduros or MX, but long days and big distances of hard, technical, off piste riding. http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smil...ault/ricky.gif
So this will be my n00b´s rally update thread where I will plot my progress as I venture into this rather daunting world of "Camel-man" riders for those of you who want to follow my journey. http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smil...ault/komet.gif
I wasnt going to do a thread like this (you guys intimidate the heck out of me), but Eatpasta conned me into starting a similar thread to his one: "A N00b goes Racing". Eatpasta mate, Ive got a lot to learn from you, your thread is awesome! :clap
I´ll be including lots of details on the bike, the preparation, the licencing, the problems encoutered etc. so hopefully someone can learn from my mistakes and discoveries!
I would be most grateful for any wise words of advice, encouragement or warning http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smil...ault/patch.gif you may have. Ive already read a lot, spoken to a number of inmates who have done things like Dakar and other rallye raid compo´s :bow and its daunting to say the least!
My plan is finish at least one rally this year, probably the Dos Sertoes in August, check it out HERE. This rally is 10 days of ±300km technical riding per day. Its pretty daunting for me I must say! But I know if I put my mind to it and prepare properly I can finish. Thats the only target I am setting myself for now. To just finish.
A bit about me:
I´m a budding 25 yr old South African trapped in a 38yr old body. Its tough, but what can you do - You have to work with what you have. Im reasonably riding fit, can do a long, difficult dirt sessions on my 800GS no problem. But I can only do a few hours of hard, off-piste, enduro style rallying on my wife´s KTM 450 EXC before I am totally shagged. So I´need to build up my fitness. Im not a gym kind of guy, looking gay in tights and flexing my muscles in the mirror is really not my thing. I guess Im going to have to learn to get over my dislike of gyms at some stage in the near future. Well worry about the tights later http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smil...fault/grin.gif In the meantime Ive started a basic fitness improvement program.
Some more background:
I started motorbiking only in 2004 thanks to D, my wife, it was always one of her dreams to go dirt biking. We both got 1985 Honda XR250´s and charged around on dirt all over Potgietersrust/Mokopane (Northern South Africa). I had a couple of mates who showed me the ropes. I quickly maxed out on the 250 chasing Theun´s WR 450 and came off badly on the railway line road to Polokwane one day. I was in his dust and simply never saw the turn at all. It was a miracle I never hit a rail stuck in the ground. I think I wouldnt be here today had I taken it out. I nevertheless had a month long (mild) concussion, some broken ribs, holes in my legs, it wasnt pretty. But I became less windgat after that. Not for long though. I jumped the bike through a barbed wire fence at 90km/hr in a township on the way to the mine one morning and survived somehow. I enjoyed that bike, but it was too small for me. We did a couple of holidays with them on a trailer, hitting dirt roads all over Limpopo, Mpumalanga & Swaziland. Those were good days, with some riding off piste too. I thought I got quite good at riding after a while.
When we went to Ghana I found an old 650 Dakar and rode some awesome jungle roads with it. So when we came to Peru, we decided to gift ourselves with a new 800GS and for D a 650GS, just like Puddles bike. It took about a year before we finally bought the bikes in South Africa (I got one of the 1st 800´s), and so after no riding for more than a year we arranged to fly in pick up the bikes do them up and then go and do the Country Trax course. We ran them in for 600km on tar, serviced them, blinged them with freaking expensive stuff from a guy called Ray (what a fool I was!), and setoff for the Country trax course. It was excellent, but we had forgotten how to ride and we were unused to the new bikes. Anyway after a good but tough course on the new bikes we setout on a tour of Swaziland by dirt which turned out to be a bit of an epic.
Later on our holiday we returned to Serala in the Limpopo Drakensburg on our bikes, one of our old 250 routes. Happy the bikes were running fine, we then we shipped the bikes to Peru, and scince then we have done only about 20,000km on them, 6,000km on tar the rest on dirt. I service the bikes myself as there is no BMW dealer in Peru. The roads here are tight and windy, its mostly steep mountains here so we don´t have too much pen dirt highways like you get in SA. However in the desert you can get off-piste easily and really rocket along if you want. You just have to be careful because there are hidden holes and crests and things which can take you out big time.
Last year in July (I think?) we got a new Katoom 450EXC for D to practice on, and the idea was I would get one too, but in the meantime I would just use my 800. So Im very confident on my 800, and I have no problem taking it into technical riding. Im not brave enough to do dunes on it yet, I think I might if D came with, but she hates sand after two bad falls in the sand at the Country Trax course. The KTM really helped with D´s confidence though. I started doing solo trips out on the KTM in October, and it reminded me of the XR250 days back in SA.
I love it and have written a report can be found HERE describing the type of riding I had been doing with it. That was actually my first serious attempt at riding the dunes of the northern Atacama. Since then Ive come a long way, and ride dunes with much more confidence. I still have a lot to learn, but more Time In The Saddle (TITS) will hopefully address it.
I really like fast tracks and off piste riding. For me its about covering distance, and I have done some pretty hard 12-14 hour dirt only trips on my BMW. Ive only done up to 150km trips on the Katoom.
So thats about the sum of my experience. Not much at all really, perhaps in total 25-30,000km in dirt, no more. Hopefully with some hard training over the next couple of months I will be able to tackle a rally and prove that anyone can do it if they put their minds to it.
The Short term Plan:
Im lined up to go to Rally PanAm´s rally school next month. :evil I can´t wait, but suspect Im going to see my ass :lol3 among the 15 or so super-experienced guys going as well. Hopefully I´ll learn a lot from them and come back in one piece. :kurt
Now there is no turning back
About three weeks ago I spent an obscene amount of money towards getting a new rally-ready WR450F http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smil...ault/ricky.gif
Actually its not rally ready yet. Its just a normal, brand new, blue Yamaha dirt bike, 2009 model, California plates. It needs plates because I will be testing it in the US and the government is anal about stuff like this (apparently). This bike is very lucky, because it´s going to be transformed into something every dirt bike wants to be. :D
Its the farkles used to make the bike race ready which is what really hurt my bank balance. Theyre made on very limited production lines run by a couple of small companies (mostly in Europe), which is why rally parts are so expensive: The market is simply not big enough to support mass production. I went for a JVO light kit as apposed to a full Dakar rally kit. There are few differences, apart from the USD 5,800 difference in price! http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smil...lt/shocked.gif
I won´t have the two rear fuel tanks (total of 10l), nor will I have a lifted air box and re-molded seat. I´ll only be running off a narrow, front mounted tank, which should give me a max range of around 230-240km if there is not too much sand. You only need the long range tanks (total of at least 30l) for the Heroes and Dakar rallies. All I need for the Dos Sertoes is a max range of around 220km. Perhaps, if things go well I can upgrade the bike later.
The kit will include a full racing fairing, with built-in instruments. This is important, because it means the roadbook and ICO (odo) are higher up than it would be if they were mounted off the handlebars. It means I dont have to look down as far from the road when scanning the roadbook navigating while I ride. It doesnt seem like much but it is a huge safety feature, and could mean the difference between a bad crash and perhaps no crash.
Its all a little surreal, the reality has not sunk in yet because I have not even seen my new beast in the flesh yet. http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/Smil.../undecided.gif Here is a photo of her:
Im going for the kit done by mostly the same manufacturer (JVO), so it makes ordering the bulk of what I need a piece of cake. You can check the kit & prices out HERE in more detail (Spanish).
Basically it has the following:
1.- Plastic fuel tanks (2 front)Fuel capacity 20 liters total
2.- Vacuum-operated fuel pump
3.- Fuel filter
4.- Fuel petcock –
5.- Quick tank connectors
6.- Bracket for “ICO” odometer
7.- Bracket for Trip repeater
8.- Brackets for “GPS” “IRI-TRACK” and “CAP REPEATER”
9.- Electric fans – Manual and automatic switch
10.- Road book MD bracket
11.- Road Book and Ico control bracket
12.- Carbon/Kevlar front fenders (two levels)
13.- Carbon/Kevlar fairing
14.- Carbon/Kevlar engine guard with water tanks
15.- Carburettor kit
16.- Handlebar raisers – stand driving
17.- Front subframe (attached to the bike’s frame)
18.- Two part independent wiring harness kit (frame/top, with eight element fuse box, with fuse and navigation system connection)
Then on top of it (so far) I will be looking at
- Wider footpegs
- Remoulded seat
- HID Light (perhaps later)
- Scotts steering damper
- Redo the suspension (Trail Tricks in Calif.)
- Michelin desert tyres (with mousse)
- MD Road book (this is the best and most reliable in the market)
- ICO VRL Rally computer
- Foam rally grips
- Rear chain guide
- Engine case saver
- 15T front sprocket
- Air filter dust cover
- Exhaust muffler insert
This is what it is going to look like (apart from the final color and stickers probably):
Kinda reminds me of some other guy's stories here :lol3
Are you ready for your race? You must be feeling the butterflies right now! I´ll be shouting for you and watching your progress with great interest! :clap :freaky
Trail Tricks :thumb
I guess ill have to start racing BAJA or something to save face.
did you say your bike is a California bike??
when you come to the USA, let me buy you a pint!! That would be great!
then we can start a thread called, "Two n00bs go to the bar"
As for advice, definitely get yourself some quality protective gear. Ballistic jersey, knee armor, good boots, even a neck brace if you can afford it. Im working on getting one of my own.
as for fitness the two major trouble spots of me are; my hands (grip) and my legs (quads).
After only a few miles my hands are so wear I can barely hang onto the handlebars - this is something Im still trying to improve.
And after two hours or so of hard riding my quads are completely trashed and at the end of my first race, I couldnt even stand on the pegs anymore.
The best thing to do, I believe, is to ride as much as possible. Because of my schedule and proximity to dirt - its simply impossible for me to be able to go ride even every weekend. If you can, ride several times a week!
im going to be watching with lots of curiosity!!
Best of luck!
I'll be following your thread with great interest as I also dream of one day trying a multi day rally.
If you don't mind (and no worries if you do) would you mention costs along the way? Much appreciated.
Best of luck!!
Thanks for all your support!
But if you can get your ass onto a plane and come to Lima, I´ll put you up for a few nights, take you desert riding on the spare bike and get you a pint :evil
Its also hairy because I have to do most of my riding solo except on Saturdays. Not many riding types out here want to get out during the week. :bluduh
I find this helps my arms the most. What I have found helps is to take a 15 lbs weight and in the sitting position rest my lower arm along the length of my thigh with wrist overhanging my knee, palm facing upwards. Lift the weight vertically up using only your wrist. You can turn your wrist around and do it the other way. The trick is to keep your elbow down on your thigh at all times. Also practice on a climbing wall will really help your forearms.
I dont have any ideas on the quads, Ive been taking it easy because I popped a exterior knee ligament about two weeks ago trying to do a hillclimb. I have to slowly start again from scratch.
No news on the bike build yet, theres sure to be something in the next week or so...At least I hope so.
Last night we went out to a dinner birthday party. What a disaster. Put it this way:
As a result, no gym this morning! So Im blogging it so I can´t go back on my word: No more booze until after the Sertões!
Tomorrow Im going to "work from home" which means I can do a 5 hour ride in the morning :ricky: Im going to focus on dunes and fesh-fesh. Maybe I´ll take my camera so you can share the ride.
the way to becoming an amazing motorcycle rider; giving everything else up!
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