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Old 09-09-2010, 07:31 AM   #76
Red King
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Fantastic... subscribed to the thread. This is book material mate!!
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:05 AM   #77
DaveRMS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebull2007
Thanks Dave! BTW, I hope you dont mind me linking some of your photos on Smugmug!!

BTW 2: Do you know where our bikes are at the moment?
I don't mind at all.

Not sure where they are, but last update was that they won't be here until Oct 7th or so (one week late).

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Old 09-09-2010, 08:53 AM   #78
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Hi Neil,

Great report, thanks so much for taking the time to post. I work with plenty of Aussie and S.African mining engineers, I'll be sure to forward them the link and ask why they aren't living up to your standards...!

Looking forward to the next bit.

MD
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:51 AM   #79
johnBOYhenson
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Neil,

you're ride report is an inspiration to us all! I know I'm planning on doing some desert racing in the future and your story is a big help! thanks for bringing it to us.

also, did you find that you could have done without the HID light and just run the stock light? how much of your race was night conditions?
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:10 PM   #80
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Great Stuff!



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Old 09-09-2010, 06:44 PM   #81
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Thank you Neil to bring us the rally race history from another view , I mean, the real one.
I followed the all rally stages by Webventure site and I can say that the pics and stages updates were really great (like years before) but having a participant telling us the details stage by stage is much better.
Please don't stop, keep it coming.

F5......F5....F5....
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:58 PM   #82
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Goed om te sien die SPRINGBOK in die verte .

[QUOTE=Bluebull2007]
I realize experience does have something to do with it, so I take a deep breath, decide pull myself together, ignore that pang in my stomach and do my best to patiently wait for DD to finish with the camera so I can get on to the start, something I really want to do with a sense of urgency. While he finishes his shots I put on a brave face even though I'm not feeling brave at all. Actually, I feel a bit guilty for being so impatient with him.

The scenery in this area is really spectacular. Itís an area of bushveldt overshadowed by the towering cliffs set of a karst landscape. The cliffs form little mountains and the road leads into and between these mountains. Astonishingly beautiful. But there is no time to admire the scenery we have a race to run.

I start, determined to make up for yesterdayís poor performance. We are riding straight into the rising sun and itís very dusty so visibility is low. The road is very rocky and covered by a thick fine dust called fesh-fesh. Itís tricky riding through this stuff because you slam into rocks and things hidden in it, and itís so thick it really plays around with bike, almost toying with it as one rides through it. It requires concentration and effort to keep the bike upright and in the right direction. Iím hammering along, and in my eagerness and poor visibility, I notice too late that Iíve sped through a radar or speed controlled zone. Damn! Iím going to pick a penalty for this lack Iím sure. Nothing I can do about it now. I have time to think about it and I conclude that this is a result of not marking the speed zones well enough in my road book, as well as plain inexperience. I really need to learn to read these road books better. Itís just so hard, while you are flying along at 120km/hr on a narrow, dangerously winding course. I need to get the balance between sacrificing speed for accuracy. Slower is faster, sometimes.







We cross a few small creeks, here is Dave doing what he does best. He loves the technical riding and gains on all of us in these areas. I prefer the faster sections with sweeping curves and the odd really dodgy bit, while Phil is the easy going consistent rider in our group. I love his attitude. Itís calm and relaxed and it rubs off on me.





After twenty minutes or so, Iím again back into my groove and lapping up the kilometers, here I am checking my road book on an open stretch. Itís very cool.


We get to another speed control zone and I catch this one in time, stopping shortly after that to receive a stamp at a road crossing. We follow the bitumen road for a couple of hundred meters before breaking off again onto another broad fast road, being encouraged on vigorously by an excited official. This is my cue and I give it gas, wheel spinning my way up to 140km/hr. I take a curve and realize then that actually we never got to the end of the speed control zone yet. Braking hard while scrolling back I confirm this to be the case and scold myself for being such a bloody idiot. NEVER EVER take cues from the numb nuts on the side of the road! I should know better than that. Oh well, my philosophical side of the brain takes over for a while and calms my inner rage.

The speed control end passes not long after that and I push on, the road remains fairly wide and straight but is interspersed with a lot more mataburros and bridges. Its fast, my favorite. We stop to refuel, and one of the lead pilots in the Brazilian championship, Marcos Finato comes up to me looking somewhat haggard and asks if I can let him pass, he has been eating my dust for the past 30km and cannot get past. Naturally, I agree, and he is really happy about that. Iím happy too because it means I have been too fast for him to get past!


I get to this one bridge, itís a triple caution and I soon see why. It consists of only four large, irregular logs about 10m long arranges in twos, with a gap of a meter between them exposing a six meter abyss into the stream below. Holy moly! How can they expect us all to get across!? The only option for a bike is to pick the top of a log and ride across. Choosing to ride between the logs would mean jamming a wheel in the gaps between them. I float across, preferring to keep my speed up and my head up as well at about 60-70km/hr. It works and Iím relieved but also worried, because I know we still have another 6 or seven of these to negotiate today. Iím just sorry I am unable to capture this on camera, so youíll just have to believe me, it was hairy as hell. Normally I would probably not consider something like this, but there is a huge pushing force (the race) that just willed me through.

At least in between these horrors lie some really awesome high-speed sweeping tracks with the odd jump and mataburro. In the end it turns out to be not too bad.




Here is Phil looking good on one of the many creek crossings.





Dave cruising.






Phil





The scenery was very beautiful but we missed a lot of it, we had other things on our minds. I finish the stage without mishap, in other words very well, and apart from the penalties, Iím sure I will have a reasonable result.


The liaison turns out to be quite a ride as well. There are quite few of us who set out together, riding in twoís to stay out of the red dust. I end up with Pierluigi Clini, who turns out to be a very nice guy and prefers to ride a bit faster with me to get the liaison finished sooner.

We end up behind two quads and itís really hard to get past them in all the dust. Being a liaison we need to be careful as well because the roads are open to normal traffic. Eventually I see my gap and go for it, with Pierluigi close on my tail. As I pass the quad inadvertently moves over cutting off my line. I gas it to make the gap and slip though, unsure whether my new team mate made it. I slow down and look back and donít see much, so I stop. Still nothing. Fearing the worst I turn back and there is the guy getting up from the road and dusting himself off. It seems there was a collision incident with the quad, because they had both stopped. Lucky Piereluigi is okay albeit a bit sore and press on.

We have to split up as the road narrows after 30 km and goes up an incredible pass perhaps 400m high. The road is narrow and steep, and actually very technical, it feels like we are riding another special. Its really beautiful though and I get tremendous views. The countryside looks like the Highveld again and there is a nice cool breeze to blow away the thick fesh-fesh near the top.

At last I reach a tarred road again and I finish the last 60km on it, passing our support team on their way to the next bivouac. Itís nice to see DDís face behind the wheel and we share a few kilometers in companionable tandem. He gets the opportunity to snap away some of my less imaginative riding positions.




Avoiding monkey-butt at all costs becomes important in the long run on these liaisons.









Arriving at Alto Pariaso (High Paridise), the spiritual capital of Brazil really is a very pleasant experience. Itís a beautiful city, surrounded by rolling hills with deep valleys at an altitude of around 2,000m, high for Brazil. We learn itís a bit of a hippy hangout, and automatically I start looking around for fellow wild-dog member Ganjora.

The box area is set in an open area within the suburbs of the place, and once again there are crowds milling about everywhere.




Iím the first bike in the camp and it is still being setup, the guys literally arriving minutes before I get there.





We are settling into a bit of a routine: Randall normally sorts out a rehydration drink for me, a one-liter cocktail of powdered Cytomax, water and ice or something similar and I wolf down about 10 bananas, which are available everywhere.




Eight tents are erected in minutes by DD and he also sorts out the mattresses and personal gear of each rider, ready and available outside each tent.





Randall, DD and Des complete the erection of the ďeasy upĒ, tables & chairs and are basically done as the other guys come in. They then of course go through the whole rehydration and banana eating routine as well.





All our gear is wet from the river crossings, blood, sweat and tears, so it normally goes up to dry.



The bikes normally end up outside the mechanics ďeasy upĒ for servicing and Des makes notes of the problems of each bike as discussed with the riders as they come in. I normally double check with the mechanics in Spanish that they understand what needs to be done on my bike. They start working on the bikes immediately and on a good day are finished at about 3 or 4 am. Then we shower when we can, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. Theyíre always cold and pretty unpleasant, but afterwards we feel semi human again. Donít mention the ablution facilities, they are very character building. Actually theyíre mostly non-existent or in such poor condition that they cannot be used. ThisÖis problematic.





Normally we have our road books for the next day with us, having been given to us at the finish, and we get started on them as soon as we can.





Laurent and I discussing the dayís ride. It takes a couple of hours to go through marking the road books with interruptions, well for me anyway.





Finally the generator comes out and lights are setup.



By the time we are finished with these we are normally famished and look around for some kind of pasta or rice based food. Sometimes the food for sale is not great or too far away. Sometimes there is no food and then Randall makes us some. We eat a lot. By that time its normally time for the briefing so we go to that. Half an hour after later it is done and we return to our camp to finish our road book, make preparations for the next day, maybe make a phone call if there is a signal, and then sleep. There is no time for anything else really.





My bike is looking a little bit used.









Some of the paint on my tanks is bubbling off, helped by the occasional drop.




I also have a problem wringing the neck of the bike: Oil comes out of the breather pipe and filter from the overpressure in the engine and leaks out over everything, making gear changes a bit of a drama. The maintenance boys are going to see what they can do about that. I also have problems starting the bike again. I think the battery may be flat. There is a power problem on the bike, and I have had to turn off everything again. The boys will be rewiring cables tonight Ė looks like there may have been some short. Also the fuel line running near my header & exhaust is melting. The mechanics look horrified at the positioning and tell me I have been riding on a bomb. Then they start joking about the ghost rider. I learn that they have also decided to call me Pastrani!





By the way,this is what my nav. Setup looks like. On the top left is my ICO, top right is my GPS, this will need to be replaced with the ASO GPS and CAP repeater if/when I do the Dakar in 2012. I plan to install the CAP repeater (which has your heading or bearing) in above the ICO. Then there is the MD road book, with key refueling and control points written in on the side. Those two little wheels on the left are what you turn if you need to operate the roadbook when there is no power. Over the road book motor (on the right), I have spare duct tape so I can stick pages together if I have to tear some out for clearance purposes/ease of use.

I also have the spare gear lever, brake levers (front & back), and clutch lever attached to the tower, along with a spare front tube, medical kit & liquid metal. Bigger spanners go in behind the bash plate along with tyre levers, and all the smaller spanners, allens & and sockets go in my camelback. Dave and Phil carry most of this on their backs, but I am not a fan of carrying a large backpack.




The results are good for all three of us, with Dave going up 11 places, myself 6 and and I think Phil 6 place as well. I realize that maybe the route was a little more technical than I thought, because I actually thought I did better than I ended up. But there you go, thats rally. Dave still holds 3rd in his class!

I have a lot of work to do to climb in the rankings. But the rally has just begun. There are still seven steps to go. This step also marks the end of those riding the Sertűes Series, the guys on the big KTM's.

From here on we are told the really rally begins, and things are going to get more difficult and challenging. Tomorrows stage is described like this: "This special has all sortsof terrain. it begins downhill with some erosion, followed by slow roads and log bridges and lots of rocks. The final part is more beautiful with tight stretches on farms and river crossings with rocks and sand. The technical level is high.

Little did we know it would also prove to be a day of carnage.

[/Q

Thanks for the cool update BOET . It looks like you guys have LEKKA fun and a vet jol .

Hou die blink kant bo . Julle maak my trots .
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:34 AM   #83
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je hoeft niet de hele post te quoten

You don't have to quote the whole post
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:50 AM   #84
C120
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I was really stuck by how some of the photo shots look exactly like areas of the Transvaal. I am getting home sick.... :)

Can't wait for the rest.... thank you for sharing your experience.

BTW, what line of work are you in? - you mentioned it teaching you that things usually work out in uncertainty - unless I read more into your statement than I should have.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:02 AM   #85
Gaston Gagne
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Wow, cool report.
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:42 AM   #86
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Thumb

Amazing writing and tension-building... You should make this a book, or a long magazine article at least!!!

I really want to see a picture of one of those log bridges... I canīt imagine myself riding one of those at walking speed, let alone at 70 km/h!

Subscribed, and waiting for next post...

Gerd
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:45 PM   #87
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Thanks for all the ecnouragement guys! Its very cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by C120
I was really stuck by how some of the photo shots look exactly like areas of the Transvaal. I am getting home sick.... :)

Can't wait for the rest.... thank you for sharing your experience.

BTW, what line of work are you in? - you mentioned it teaching you that things usually work out in uncertainty - unless I read more into your statement than I should have.
Im in mining, well I was in mining until today, because I just got my letter of termination, we sold the company to someone else. Now I need to find another way to make money for perhaps the Pharoahs or DC and later maybe the Dakar in 2012....

Im without work right now and all I can think about is the Dakar.

Seriously, I plan to try and stay in Peru (awesome riding!! ) and see what I can scrounge up running some or other base or precious metals mine.
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:01 PM   #88
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Oh that sucks!! Now I just feel plain bad for asking.

Well I guess that teaching remains true for your situation right now. I truly hope you get all sorted out. Write a book! You clearly have been doing a really excellent job here.

We WANT you to do the Dakar - it nothing else to get the ride report

Here's wishing you all the best - and I am sure I speak for many, many folks here.
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:08 PM   #89
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No problem, boeta. I'm actually quite marketable so I am sure I will be fine.

The book think I might take seriously though. I'll let you know.
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Old 09-11-2010, 12:42 AM   #90
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Sorry to hear that, Neil. Maybe you'd want to work at the Erzberg mine, they hold a little race there too?
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