Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Racing Section => Topic started by: MaxThePanda on March 08, 2014, 06:19:26 pm

Title: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO about halfway.
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 08, 2014, 06:19:26 pm
I hiked down the Witels river last weekend with some friends, which involved a lot of swimming cold water canyons, sleeping out in sandy campsites, and marvelling at one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see in a lifetime. Camping mattresses are not the most comfortable things in the world, and I’m always a bit of a light sleeper in the wilderness. Collapsing, dog tired, with a full belly, shortly after dark, I would often awake in the middle of the night for a couple hours, look at the stars and take stock of life.

As much as I despise the label, I’ve come to accept I’m a bit of a petrolhead. As a boy I had a set of cards of the world’s famous cards, and I knew every detail of every one of them. I grew up surrounded by old cars, and still own a ’67 Spider of my own. There’s just something about beautiful machines and a winding road. In a fantasy life, I’d probably be a F1 racing driver in the 70’s.

My father was a doctor, so as kids we were banned from motorcycles of any shape or form. Instead of turning me into a champion kart racer at age 8, he took me sailing, and got me into racing yachts. Then life intervened.

When my brother returned from living abroad for many years, I taught him how to kitesurf, a long-time passion of mine. So, when he bought a shiny new KTM 640, he returned the favour by dragging me off to the Cederberg on his old Tenere. I was first terrified, and then hooked. And so it began.

I’ve always loved motorsports, but all of a sudden I was following the bikes. Especially the Dakar. The glamour and the glory, the dust and remote mountains, plains and deserts, the crazy people… the sheer insanity of it all. Like many of you, I’ve spent much more time than is healthy following, but never for a moment thought I’d actually do something like that myself. But then along came the Amageza. I saw it begin, got more interested the next year, and obsessed about it the next time round. Real people I knew were doing it. It was in the realm of the possible. Wait a minute, what was I thinking?

Which brings me back to that river bed in the Witels. A very wise man once talked to me about the importance of goals, and working towards big things. For some unknown reason the number 4 and the colour red have always held special importance to me. We are strange creatures! This year I turn 44, and I’ve long felt it will be an auspicious year for me.

Well, the bases are loaded. In November I proposed to my gorgeous girlfriend, and I will marry in July. Looking up at the stars on that inky night I thought a lot about how my life will change, and the challenging but magnificent journey that awaits.

And the Amageza? I am a bit of an impulsive person. And I knew that 2014 might be the sweet spot. Long enough to be a real challenge, open enough to get in without real rally credentials, and just, just vaguely within the realm of money possibility. So I rushed in where fools fear to tread, and signed up without really thinking about the consequences. What better way to do it?

I lay in the dark and thought about my impulsive decision to sign up for the Amageza. I realised that I was fulfilling a dream of my youth. I was going motor-racing… too old, too lacking in talent, and too reluctant to injure myself to do it in any particularly competitive way, but racing nevertheless. And it’s the spirit that counts.

The more I’ve looked at it, the more I’ve realised that the Amageza this year might be quite a serious undertaking. Almost twice as long as last year, more remote and probably more difficult. Perhaps not that far off Dakar standard after all. I’ve unwittingly found myself a big goal for the year… a very personal goal, something for me, that a lot of people around me don’t really understand or connect with, but something that I know will mean a lot to me.
I read Ned Suesse’s ‘Lessons from Dakar’ http://neduro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/guest-column.pdf (http://neduro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/guest-column.pdf) and the last paragraph really stood out:

Quote
“The last lesson of Dakar was maybe the hardest. When it was over—after finishing a dream that had been building for years and totally consuming for months—I felt adrift, like I had run my train off the end of the tracks. I was expecting an ecstatic feeling of satisfaction. Instead, I felt let down.
The lesson wasn’t clear for a while, but now I understand that it’s one I’ve learned over and over again: The goal is the journey, not the destination. The point of the race isn’t the finish line, but it’s all the fun (and the lessons learned) along the way.”

Perhaps that’s the important thing about any goal. Life is short, and as I dig in my heels and get dragged reluctantly towards 50, it just seems all the shorter. The things we achieve, the things we look forward to, the things we make sacrifices and strive so hard for, are often over in an instant, and we are left with only the memories, and sometimes the scars.

So, godammit, in this, my 44th year, I am going to enjoy the process! This is a really big year for me. And so, may it begin!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: markdiver on March 08, 2014, 06:50:03 pm
WELL DONE for taking that step, that is all it takes to make that dream a reality.  You are going to love it, you are going to love everything about it, from all your preparations, the camaraderie of everyone there, the beautiful ride and that sense of achievement.  Make no mistake, it is hard, but if you plan & prepare your bike, prepare physically to the best of your ability, you will be there at the end.  It is still the most spectacular event that I have ever competed in.  Enjoy it all, and see you there.  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 08, 2014, 06:50:09 pm
Enough philosophy for now... this thread is going to be a little blog of my journey to the Amageza. The ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and personal and bike preparations. It may get a little odd in here at times.

If it's not already clear, I have never undertaken any kind of proper motorsports in my life. No enduros, no MX, no rallies, nada! I have, however, spent a lot of time in the last few years buggering around doing this, though:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7171/6418553215_5c62577495_b.jpg)

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2808/12636560895_6ca03715c3_b.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3702/12045707823_9dd8b78a2e_b.jpg)

... in some pretty remote places like Angola, and on the roughest tracks, 4x4 trails, mountains and deserts we can find. I'm no Coma, but I can ride a bike a bit. So of course I did what every normal petrolhead does, and spent the first few weeks after I signed up obsessing about the bike. Should I keep my 690 - or trade down to a 450? How much fuel would I need? What other gear would I need? Dear god - look at the cost of all this shit!

I started reading racing threads here and on ADVrider obsessively. And I saw a couple of threads about people doing off road races - people who sound just like me. And I saw there are races near Cape Town, so I started wondering if I couldn't do a few to prepare. So I very foolishly phoned Dave Gouws, who I'd got to know a bit while preparing for Angola last year.

Dave Gouws, otherwise known as Beserker, aka Sly Bastard Who Will Get You To Do Things You REALLY Shouldn't Be Doing, immediately informed me that I probably could hack the 690 around the off road races, but it was going to cost me an arm and a leg, and I needed a new bike. Something small and cheeky. Preferably green. Like his. And suggested one he knew of and then immediately set about looking for more on Gumtree.

Like hell I need a new bike. For %^&* sake, Dave, I just spent a lot of money signing up for a big race I hadn't planned to do, and have a lot more expenses coming preparing the existing bike I do have!!! And did I mention I'm getting married this year and have a wedding to pay for?? Go buy yourself a new bike, if that's what you want!!!

So, what I really, really want to know, is how in hell's name is this little toy sitting at the Bloemfontein Time Freight depot awaiting a pallet so it can be shipped down to me next week?????

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7426/13011286543_dd2c9730fb_b.jpg)

In case I didn't mention, I've never in my life even sat on a two-stroke. (Wait - that's a lie, I did own a 1957 Vespa for a year or two.) I currently don't own any protective gear other than an adventure jacket and some MX boots, and I can't wheelie properly. There - I said it.

See you on the start line at Botrivier Saturday morning. For once in my life I REALLY don't know what to expect.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 08, 2014, 06:51:24 pm
WELL DONE for taking that step, that is all it takes to make that dream a reality.  You are going to love it, you are going to love everything about it, from all your preparations, the camaraderie of everyone there, the beautiful ride and that sense of achievement.  Make no mistake, it is hard, but if you plan & prepare your bike, prepare physically to the best of your ability, you will be there at the end.  It is still the most spectacular event that I have ever competed in.  Enjoy it all, and see you there.  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Thanks Mark! Yeah, for sure - I just KNOW that about it. Really looking forward to it... it's going to be hell of a ride!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 08, 2014, 07:04:09 pm
Wooohooo Ian. :hello2: :hello2: You and me bud. I think we are in the same place. Except for the getting married part. I did that some time back and I have never been happier. Congratulations!

That comment by Ned is very true. After finishing the Sertoes, I felt a little depressed. What helped a lot was writing about it, and my delight returned as I relived the rally experience. I think that's because rallies truely are a test of the mind, body and soul and coming off something that extreme the rest of our lives seem so bland. There is so much to look forward to, so much to do in prep and the race itself is so all consuming that when it is over you find yourself with a lot of time and nothing to do that seems like it has any real purpose.

Until the next rally that is. ;D Its a funny thing but you know when rally is in the blood. Its a little bit of fear of the challenge ahead, of mixed in with some excitement, the romantic appreciation of a bike in a power slide after a day in the saddle, and a healthy dose of masochism, just because. Reading some of your posts and threads I get the distinct impression its in yours.

I wish you all the best in your journey and will be cheering you on all the way. Enjoy it and keep the rubber side down! :thumleft: :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on March 08, 2014, 07:29:33 pm
Good on you! Shit where did you find that KDX? It is like out the box - almost a pity to go race it. (I have a race ready one for you if you change your mind.)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Crossed-up on March 08, 2014, 07:49:37 pm
Well done on this first big, public and emphatic step.  All the best!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 08, 2014, 09:29:52 pm
Good on you! Shit where did you find that KDX? It is like out the box - almost a pity to go race it. (I have a race ready one for you if you change your mind.)

Yeah - it's a pretty looking thing, and I'm sure you're right about the racing!  >:D Bought it off the photos - last of the KDX's, registered 2007 and one owner who's only done 30hrs since new, and only on dirt roads, no off road. Says it's a bit big for him. Apparently original tyres that still look new. Let's see when it gets here...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 08, 2014, 09:38:12 pm
Wooohooo Ian. :hello2: :hello2: You and me bud. I think we are in the same place. Except for the getting married part.

And the - I'm just doing the Amageza, you're doing the DAKAR - part! :)


I did that some time back and I have never been happier. Congratulations!

That comment by Ned is very true. After finishing the Sertoes, I felt a little depressed. What helped a lot was writing about it, and my delight returned as I relived the rally experience. I think that's because rallies truely are a test of the mind, body and soul and coming off something that extreme the rest of our lives seem so bland. There is so much to look forward to, so much to do in prep and the race itself is so all consuming that when it is over you find yourself with a lot of time and nothing to do that seems like it has any real purpose.

Until the next rally that is. ;D Its a funny thing but you know when rally is in the blood. Its a little bit of fear of the challenge ahead, of mixed in with some excitement, the romantic appreciation of a bike in a power slide after a day in the saddle, and a healthy dose of masochism, just because. Reading some of your posts and threads I get the distinct impression its in yours.

I wish you all the best in your journey and will be cheering you on all the way. Enjoy it and keep the rubber side down! :thumleft: :ricky:

Thanks for the well wishes. And so true about the writing... there is a real value in taking time out to reflect on anything big in our lives after the moment has passed. The moment is so quick - the re-living, the laughter, the wincing should be enjoyed for a long time. Pain is soon forgotten, but the warm glow lasts. Readers often express appreciation for ride reports and so on, but I always feel I've benefitted the most in the writing.

This is a lovely community of people. I was at Helderberg Yamaha in Somerset West buying knee guards this morning and had a long chat to this really sweet guy - I think his name was Andre - about racing and crashing bikes and quads and so on. At the checkout the sales guy casually mentioned that was the top quad racer in the province. Humble and down to earth...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: J-dog on March 09, 2014, 08:01:38 am
perhaps you could rope in the midget to bring you food, wash things and use as a step to get onto your 690?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 09, 2014, 04:07:50 pm
perhaps you could rope in the midget to bring you food, wash things and use as a step to get onto your 690?

Excellent idea! The little bastard needs to be put to some good use!!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Kamanya on March 09, 2014, 04:38:24 pm
Great start!

I really look forward to meeting, if not before, then definitely there.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scooterbike on March 10, 2014, 10:00:23 pm
Panda I am also new to the rally seen. i have entered the Namaqua, and thereafter will see about the Amageza. Busy kitting out my WR. Let me know if you want to hook up for prep and training  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 11, 2014, 10:02:42 am
Panda I am also new to the rally seen. i have entered the Namaqua, and thereafter will see about the Amageza. Busy kitting out my WR. Let me know if you want to hook up for prep and training  :thumleft:

For shizz!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 11, 2014, 10:03:23 am
Great start!

I really look forward to meeting, if not before, then definitely there.

Hey Andrew - definitely! Look forward to meeting you too... perhaps an Atlantis session some time. ciao >
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: monkeyboy on March 11, 2014, 12:11:58 pm
From blue, to orange, to green....I'm fascinated to see what comes next!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 11, 2014, 12:40:02 pm
From blue, to orange, to green....I'm fascinated to see what comes next!

Haha. It was the cheapest thing I could get hold of to avoid spending a lot of money fixing the main toy. I may be getting a bit carried away right now, but Amageza remains the main motorcycling priority this year. We still need to hook up a ride some time!!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Garfield on March 11, 2014, 12:43:29 pm
What class will you be riding in on Saturday?

That KDX looks pristine  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: 1ougat on March 11, 2014, 01:25:45 pm
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 11, 2014, 02:09:51 pm
What class will you be riding in on Saturday?

That KDX looks pristine  :thumleft:

Officialy, 'Seniors'. But in reality? 'Lady-boys' until I prove - at least to myself - I can survive a minimum of two laps of an off road race. Status available for upgrade during the race. Seriously - I've no idea what to expect. I've never ridden a two stroke and all my proper riding experience is on the 690-class of bikes.

The KDX does look and sound pretty much unused. Couldn't help myself - I've got a strong attraction to shiny toys. In actual fact I should probably have bought another one I saw advertised for the same price that already had all upgrades done and a few scratches. Gonna be a shame to trash such a perfect bike, but I was drawn to the prospect of a fresh bike that would potentially need less maintenance.

On the other hand - it's only getting delivered tomorrow, so who knows, perhaps the seller was having me on and taking pictures of his mate's bike  ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: N[]vA on March 11, 2014, 04:24:58 pm
Awesome going!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 11, 2014, 07:11:32 pm
Loving this thread. All the best with your first enduro. I hope you manage to finish but if you don't don't beat yourself up about it.

I went from self proclaimed riding God to crying little girl in the first 20 minutes riding with the enduro guys here in Peru when I started out. I nearly gave up completely, but its amazing how quickly one learns in the racing environment, and within 2 weeks I was able to keep up, albeit only just!

I expect this to happen again this year :P
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on March 12, 2014, 08:36:03 am
All the cliches.... :thumleft:   :ricky:   >:D  ...oh yes, and:   :imaposer:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on March 12, 2014, 08:46:24 am
Social Bikes  :lol8:  We do not have that pussy class in our neck of the woods.  :peepwall:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: SteveD on March 12, 2014, 09:37:24 am
I went from self proclaimed riding God to crying little girl in the first 20 minutes

 :laughing4: :imaposer:  :laughing4:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on March 12, 2014, 09:39:35 am
I went from self proclaimed riding God to crying little girl in the first 20 minutes

 :laughing4: :imaposer:  :laughing4:

The first twenty minutes is the worst ever...

And then they say woman are tougher and guys won't be able to give birth...   :P
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 12, 2014, 09:42:51 am
All the cliches.... :thumleft:   :ricky:   >:D  ...oh yes, and:   :imaposer:

SHIT! There goes me starting from the back.

In other news, Time Freight may finally have got their act together and got my bike to Cape Town, which means if they actually deliver it, and after redoing the jetting, changing oils etc., I may actually get my first ride on it before lining up at the start. There go my excuses...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 12, 2014, 05:19:12 pm
Look what arrived today. I thought it had 30 hours on it. Which is pretty amazing for a 2007.


It's got 30 miles! Ethical dilemma - can I really go race this thing??

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7366/13106196893_4806c4d6cf_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7320/13106083235_dd31ae0377_b.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3729/13106363684_71c23f108b_b.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7458/13106356744_c68675044e_b.jpg)

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2241/13106078475_f614deb9bd_b.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3685/13106071735_a9ea461fbd_b.jpg)

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2513/13106352634_42753c818f_b.jpg)

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7343/13106197373_32742bf4ba_b.jpg (https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7343/13106197373_32742bf4ba_b.jpg)

More pictures here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/27204682@N03/ (https://www.flickr.com/photos/27204682@N03/)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Cdp13 on March 12, 2014, 05:33:01 pm
Very very nice buy that!! Beautiful little bikes. Nou gaan ry nou die kak uit hom uit, dis waarvoor hulle gemaak is!! Good luck
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 12, 2014, 05:42:46 pm
Wow, that's in great condition!

Amazing. If I may ask, what did it cost you?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on March 12, 2014, 05:54:15 pm
It's got 30 miles! Ethical dilemma - can I really go race this thing??

At one stage in the not distant past, an enduro could easily be mistaken for a KDX bash - it would be un-ethical to not race it.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on March 12, 2014, 07:01:26 pm
That is a museum piece and probably worth some cash from a collector.  :3some:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: snortjoppie on March 12, 2014, 07:11:06 pm
Dude, goodluck!

awesome opening thread man - the whole under the stars thing etc sounded awesome!
Good luck and take plenty of pic and report as often as possible.

Enjoy!

 :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 12, 2014, 07:21:10 pm
That is a museum piece and probably worth some cash from a collector.  :3some:

There are collectors of these kinds of things? Hmmmmm. I need a race bike! :)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: weskus on March 12, 2014, 07:43:35 pm
Ian, I also bought quite a neat one, just takes about 2 races then it's fine, just do it, or do-it on a R60 Ktm (which I actually reaallly wants) ..
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 12, 2014, 09:27:52 pm
Ian, I also bought quite a neat one, just takes about 2 races then it's fine, just do it, or do-it on a R60 Ktm (which I actually reaallly wants) ..

Yeah, I'd happily trade this for one of those, but unfortunately buying one is out of the question.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MissM on March 13, 2014, 12:32:00 pm
Awesome. I look forward to hearing about your antics.

Have you seen that N[]va's Amageza bike is for sale....  :pot: :pot:

 :peepwall:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: SteveD on March 13, 2014, 12:44:31 pm
Awesome. I look forward to hearing about your antics.

MissM, we havn't had a female rider at Amageza since 2012. There was a X Challenge last year, and he made it all the way to the finish.
So have you entered?  :pot:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MissM on March 13, 2014, 12:53:13 pm
I am absolutely desperate to do it. More than you can imagine! Plus the bike already has the LR tank...

My issue is money. I am a lowly English teacher, and I don't earn enough to enter, pay for petrol and tweak all of the things that need to be done on the bike.

Monkeyboy is sick of hearing about how much I want to do the Amageza. It is a dream, though, until I can figure out how to get the money!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: SteveD on March 13, 2014, 01:01:15 pm
I am absolutely desperate to do it. More than you can imagine! Plus the bike already has the LR tank...
My issue is money. I am a lowly English teacher, and I don't earn enough to enter, pay for petrol and tweak all of the things that need to be done on the bike.
Monkeyboy is sick of hearing about how much I want to do the Amageza. It is a dream, though, until I can figure out how to get the money!

I was just stirring. I understand completely, except for the bit about "lowly teacher". Teachers may be lowly in the salary scale, but I reckon they are up near the top in the social impact scale.
 :notworthy:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MissM on March 13, 2014, 01:03:55 pm
Wait to you hear how I teach underprivileged township kids....  :pot:

Isn't that worth a free entry?  :peepwall:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 13, 2014, 03:00:35 pm
Wait to you hear how I teach underprivileged township kids....  :pot:

Isn't that worth a free entry?  :peepwall:

Get creative: 130 friends/wildogs/sponsors?

OR even better: R250 per ticket - run a fundraising drive for LEAP - kids do it all the time for sponsored runs etc. - and get your entry paid. You're a girl in a 'boy' sport - you've got a good story... :)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 13, 2014, 03:04:52 pm
Wait to you hear how I teach underprivileged township kids....  :pot:

Isn't that worth a free entry?  :peepwall:

MissM Don't give up on the dream. Anything is possible :thumleft:

Assuming you had the entry fee, would you be able get the bike ready for it?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MissM on March 13, 2014, 05:20:01 pm
Max - how does one go about doing something like that? Do I approach the fundraising team at LEAP? Why would LEAP go for it? What do they get out of it?

BB - hypothetically. I need someone to look it over and tell me what I need. I really have no idea how to go about this, but I'd love to do it!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: weskus on March 13, 2014, 05:34:23 pm
Ian, I also bought quite a neat one, just takes about 2 races then it's fine, just do it, or do-it on a R60 Ktm (which I actually reaallly wants) ..

Yeah, I'd happily trade this for one of those, but unfortunately buying one is out of the question.
Jip, same problem here, see you @ the next off-road race, see there's a funride 12th of April in Koringberg  :3some:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 15, 2014, 06:22:47 pm
I sat on the start line with the din of howling racing engines battering my ears, and a fog of two-stroke smoke hanging in the air, thinking: "What the hell have I done? I don't belong here! I am a soulful adventure rider who casts off from society and rides long and far to escape, to cut loose, in search of open vistas and starry skies. What am I doing with this bunch of mad petrol heads???"

But I looked down and I was wrapped in protective plastic, sitting on a tiny angry wasp of a plastic motorcycle - and I was actually adding to the cacophony.  Am I one of them?

There wasn't much time to think about what I was doing, or what was going to happen, because we were off. My game plan was simple - stay out of everyone's way, drift to the back of the field and coast around checking out this crazy scene.

I sort of did that, but then we got to this first really steep hill, and I was cruising up it serenely and then some fool (haha) crashed half way up and fell right in front of me and knocked me over. And it was so loose there was no getting going again on the hill, and by the time I was back on track I was bringing up the rear or just about. So, the next fifteen kays or so passed in relative solitude, which suited me - I was getting the hang of the bike, which I'd only ridden briefly once, and finding out how to deal with a two-stroke power band and the almost complete absence of torque.

Eventually I came across this huge hill (it had a name, but I can't for the life of me remember it), and saw about twenty bikes littered across its slopes. It looked like a mini-Erzberg scene, and I joined the two guys waiting at the bottom for the carnage to clear so we could have a run at it. Eventually one of them said he's going, and somehow he found a line through the chaos and made it up. The other guy had already had a crack and failed, so it was my turn and I took a deep breath.

That little KDX - vintage off road race bike though she may be - is a mountain goat. We blasted up the hill no problem, and got a bunch of places back into the bargain. The rest of the lap passed without incident (apart from a tiny sideways somersault in the riverbed ravine) - Lap 1: done!

This is quite easy, I thought. I can do this. So I passed my pits - well, actually I hadn't managed to find them before the race - ate a quick energy bar and cruised on. Oh, I forgot to mention - I somewhat shamefully got lapped before the end of lap 1!

Lap 2 passed pretty much without incident. Cruised easily up the steep hills, and had picked up a bit of pace over the first lap, but then had a wipeout from a pure lack of concentration going down the steep hill to the ravine section. Scooterbike/Dirk from this forum was marshalling and he was behind me at this point. I was battling a bit at the beginning of the ravine section and he yelled at me that I needed to put my kickstand up. I kicked. It fell down. I kicked. It fell down. Damn spring had disappeared - probably in my last off. I yelled for cable ties (note to self for next race) but he had none - ever the helpful marshall, however, he returned with some red and white barrier tape and threw it down to me in the gorge. I tied up and finished lap 2, luckily bumping into my pit as I did. I ran to the car for petrol and cable ties, and gave my ride a bit of TLC.

Somewhat ominously, as I started Lap 3 I felt the twinges of cramp setting in. I was a bit surprised, as I wasn't feeling that tired. But apparently my body felt differently. About five kays in I stopped to re-attach a strap on my chest protector - a lovely bit of fancy new Leatt kit that makes you feel invincible - and got lapped by a few more bikes. Cruising on it became clear I was about to start a cramp fest of note. I started riding like a granny, mostly because just about every muscle in my body that was needed to control the bike was going into revolt. But I was having fun anyway, in a slow motion kind of way.

A newbie should always get a bit of a slap when having the cheek to do something they are completely unqualified for. At the bottom of the riverbed ravine was a huge bundle of old barbed wire that I'd passed twice already. This time, I somehow managed to pick it up with my fat knobblies, and wrap the entire thing around my wheel, chain and swingarm. I lent the bike down against the sand and pondered my predicament. I was going nowhere! Like an uneducated idiot I'd brought no tools of any description. But luckily some kind samaritan stopped and gave me a leatherman. I took about twenty minutes to cut the damn stuff off - alternately jumping out of the track and getting roosted by the fast guys coming past, but eventually my bike was free. Honestly, I'd probably been glad for the break.

I got back on and limped to the finish, delighted to see the chequered flag, as there was no way I'd have made another lap. I'd discovered that one can cramp in one's shoulder, under one's ribs, and even in one's appendix. And I don't have an appendix. I've just had a recovery nap at home, and I'm still cramping!

So, summary of the day? It's a strange world out there in the off-road motorsports fraternity. But I'm going to be an imposter for a little while. I'm coming back for sure - I'm guessing in two or three days I'll already be scheming about the next one. And this is definitely going to get my fitness and riding up to scratch for the Amageza - which was the master plan anyway. Three laps done - not too bad for a first attempt, but I'm going faster next time! The little bike was brilliant, but the suspension needs some serious attention. It's six years old - an oil change and re-gas is a good start, and maybe some new front springs because I was bottoming out a lot. It's a strong little goat - I definitely have enough power, for now anyway!

Clearly I have work to do on the old body!! I do quite a bit of long distance cycling, and unfortunately I suffer a lot from cramps in endurance events, but this was one of the worst ever. I probably need to work out some kind of proper rehydrate/electrolyte system, and I may not have drunk enough. Bailey/Richard from the forum was kind enough to swing over this shot - a helmet cam for sure next time! Bring it!

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3820/13169270733_f1c2dd46a0_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: SteveD on March 15, 2014, 06:48:06 pm
Well done  :thumleft: You write beautifully, I look forward to the next installment.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 15, 2014, 07:57:54 pm
Success!! Well done Ian!! :hello2: :hello2: You did really well!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on March 15, 2014, 08:30:20 pm
Well done - nothing ventured, nothing gained. Those KDX's can still do the job, my lightie won his Junior U21 race today on his  :ricky:
I am sure I probably do not have to tell you about Magnesium tablets for cramp prevention - regular dosing and pre-race. 32GI has a great drink and recovery shake  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Cracker on March 15, 2014, 08:55:02 pm
I sat on the start line with the din of howling racing engines battering my ears, and a fog of two-stroke smoke hanging in the air, thinking: "What the hell have I done? I don't belong here! I am a soulful adventure rider who casts off from society and rides long and far to escape, to cut loose, in search of open vistas and starry skies. What am I doing with this bunch of mad petrol heads???"

But I looked down and I was wrapped in protective plastic, sitting on a tiny angry wasp of a plastic motorcycle - and I was actually adding to the cacophony.  Am I one of them?

There wasn't much time to think about what I was doing, or what was going to happen, because we were off. My game plan was simple - stay out of everyone's way, drift to the back of the field and coast around checking out this crazy scene.

I sort of did that, but then we got to this first really steep hill, and I was cruising up it serenely and then some fool (haha) crashed half way up and fell right in front of me and knocked me over. And it was so loose there was no getting going again on the hill, and by the time I was back on track I was bringing up the rear or just about. So, the next fifteen kays or so passed in relative solitude, which suited me - I was getting the hang of the bike, which I'd only ridden briefly once, and finding out how to deal with a two-stroke power band and the almost complete absence of torque.

Eventually I came across this huge hill (it had a name, but I can't for the life of me remember it), and saw about twenty bikes littered across its slopes. It looked like a mini-Erzberg scene, and I joined the two guys waiting at the bottom for the carnage to clear so we could have a run at it. Eventually one of them said he's going, and somehow he found a line through the chaos and made it up. The other guy had already had a crack and failed, so it was my turn and I took a deep breath.

That little KDX - vintage off road race bike though she may be - is a mountain goat. We blasted up the hill no problem, and got a bunch of places back into the bargain. The rest of the lap passed without incident (apart from a tiny sideways somersault in the riverbed ravine) - Lap 1: done!

This is quite easy, I thought. I can do this. So I passed my pits - well, actually I hadn't managed to find them before the race - ate a quick energy bar and cruised on. Oh, I forgot to mention - I somewhat shamefully got lapped before the end of lap 1!

Lap 2 passed pretty much without incident. Cruised easily up the steep hills, and had picked up a bit of pace over the first lap, but then had a wipeout from a pure lack of concentration going down the steep hill to the ravine section. Scooterbike/Dirk from this forum was marshalling and he was behind me at this point. I was battling a bit at the beginning of the ravine section and he yelled at me that I needed to put my kickstand up. I kicked. It fell down. I kicked. It fell down. Damn spring had disappeared - probably in my last off. I yelled for cable ties (note to self for next race) but he had none - ever the helpful marshall, however, he returned with some red and white barrier tape and threw it down to me in the gorge. I tied up and finished lap 2, luckily bumping into my pit as I did. I ran to the car for petrol and cable ties, and gave my ride a bit of TLC.

Somewhat ominously, as I started Lap 3 I felt the twinges of cramp setting in. I was a bit surprised, as I wasn't feeling that tired. But apparently my body felt differently. About five kays in I stopped to re-attach a strap on my chest protector - a lovely bit of fancy new Leatt kit that makes you feel invincible - and got lapped by a few more bikes. Cruising on it became clear I was about to start a cramp fest of note. I started riding like a granny, mostly because just about every muscle in my body that was needed to control the bike was going into revolt. But I was having fun anyway, in a slow motion kind of way.

A newbie should always get a bit of a slap when having the cheek to do something they are completely unqualified for. At the bottom of the riverbed ravine was a huge bundle of old barbed wire that I'd passed twice already. This time, I somehow managed to pick it up with my fat knobblies, and wrap the entire thing around my wheel, chain and swingarm. I lent the bike down against the sand and pondered my predicament. I was going nowhere! Like an uneducated idiot I'd brought no tools of any description. But luckily some kind samaritan stopped and gave me a leatherman. I took about twenty minutes to cut the damn stuff off - alternately jumping out of the track and getting roosted by the fast guys coming past, but eventually my bike was free. Honestly, I'd probably been glad for the break.

I got back on and limped to the finish, delighted to see the chequered flag, as there was no way I'd have made another lap. I'd discovered that one can cramp in one's shoulder, under one's ribs, and even in one's appendix. And I don't have an appendix. I've just had a recovery nap at home, and I'm still cramping!

So, summary of the day? It's a strange world out there in the off-road motorsports fraternity. But I'm going to be an imposter for a little while. I'm coming back for sure - I'm guessing in two or three days I'll already be scheming about the next one. And this is definitely going to get my fitness and riding up to scratch for the Amageza - which was the master plan anyway. Three laps done - not too bad for a first attempt, but I'm going faster next time! The little bike was brilliant, but the suspension needs some serious attention. It's six years old - an oil change and re-gas is a good start, and maybe some new front springs because I was bottoming out a lot. It's a strong little goat - I definitely have enough power, for now anyway!

Clearly I have work to do on the old body!! I do quite a bit of long distance cycling, and unfortunately I suffer a lot from cramps in endurance events, but this was one of the worst ever. I probably need to work out some kind of proper rehydrate/electrolyte system, and I may not have drunk enough. Bailey/Richard from the forum was kind enough to swing over this shot - a helmet cam for sure next time! Bring it!

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3820/13169270733_f1c2dd46a0_b.jpg)

Cool write-up  :thumleft: :thumleft:

Brings me out in a cold sweat, reading this - I remember those same feelings from just a few weeks ago.

Dreading the next race but can't wait for it to hurry up and get here  :peepwall:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on March 15, 2014, 09:21:41 pm
Well done Ian, you did really well for your first attempt at this  :thumleft: The force is strong in you, you will be back for plenty more  ;)

I only just got home now, feeling decidedly buggered  :-\

Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on March 15, 2014, 09:59:11 pm
You are such a closet petrol head...


I am a soulful adventure rider who casts off from society and rides long and far to escape, to cut loose, in search of open vistas and starry skies. What am I doing with this bunch of mad petrol heads???"
 

 ;D
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 15, 2014, 10:56:44 pm
Well done - nothing ventured, nothing gained. Those KDX's can still do the job, my lightie won his Junior U21 race today on his  :ricky:
I am sure I probably do not have to tell you about Magnesium tablets for cramp prevention - regular dosing and pre-race. 32GI has a great drink and recovery shake  :thumleft:

Bought some USM cramp block yesterday - had two last night, four before the race and a couple during when I pitted. Did nothing for me. I guess it's fitness, fitness, fitness. I'm just super predisposed to cramping unfortunately...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 15, 2014, 10:59:33 pm
You are such a closet petrol head...


I am a soulful adventure rider who casts off from society and rides long and far to escape, to cut loose, in search of open vistas and starry skies. What am I doing with this bunch of mad petrol heads???"
 

 ;D

Well YOU should know!

Thanks for the help today and in the last weeks! Dave has been alternately the devil on my shoulder and the wise old man of the woods dispensing advice, trailers and impromptu dinners. Appreciated!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 15, 2014, 11:01:21 pm
Well done Ian, you did really well for your first attempt at this  :thumleft: The force is strong in you, you will be back for plenty more  ;)

I only just got home now, feeling decidedly buggered  :-\


Thanks Brett - really cool to meet you. I skulked out of there straight away and went home for some shuteye. Seeya at the next one! ciao >
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Garfield on March 16, 2014, 09:35:11 am
Well done  :thumleft:

Still wanted to see the almost new little KDX yesterday but you were too fast  :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: DikZol on March 16, 2014, 12:33:34 pm
Well done!!!  I will be following this thread with interest.  I pray that my time will come too for Amageza somehow.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: weskus on March 17, 2014, 10:50:00 am
Well done.. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scooterbike on March 17, 2014, 01:42:33 pm
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 25, 2014, 04:52:55 pm
Why am I not attracted to trail running, professional frisbee or judo... i.e. a sport that can be done with less than 3 pieces of equipment, and for which it's impossible for obsessive magazines to exist, simply because there's absolutely nothing to write about? I mean, let's be honest, comparing this Nike trail shoe against that New Balance one, and debating the features of heart rate monitors until the cows come home is all a bit anorak. They need to man up and get involved in a proper gear-oriented sport! [Cough] I hope my girlfriend isn't reading this. And to think I considered kite-surfing expensive when I was addicted to that a few years back??

Haring through the desert at high speed is fundamentally unsafe, let's be honest. [God, I really hope she isn't reading this!] But one can kit up to offset the risk. Highsiding my 690 in Angola last year cost me R10k in hospital and plastic surgeon bills - and that was just the medical aid excess - so I now think safety gear is cheap at the price. Buy some decent shit and wear it all the time!

Somewhat disappointingly, I've discovered that adventure gear and race gear has very little overlap. OK, the boots can stay:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3830/13404555435_dca11e49a4_o.jpg)

BMW make some reasonable enduro-style boots at a cheap price. They ain't no SIDI Crossfires, and the toe caps have fallen off, but nothing Cape Town's wonderful Rocksole crowd can't put back together. Been running them the last couple years on my adventure bike and I'm pretty happy.

But that's as far as I'd come with protective gear, except for some adventure pants and a DriRider Rally jacket. So it was time to melt the card. Leatt, being a SA company, offer pretty good pricing for their stuff in SA, and seem to be the class of the field in protection. So I ponied up for one of their latest 5.5 neck braces and chest protector.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7127/13404912134_26afe95f5c_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7346/13404557555_76e83ac638_o.jpg)

The HD Pro is their top-of-the-line protector, and it's a fantastic piece of kit. Fits under the jersey or over it. and has slots that the neck brace fits into. Despite looking super chunky, it's actually quite slim and light and I don't notice it while riding. It also has rib protection, which I don't think any of the other protectors on the market have, and softish 3DF foam under the plastic to make it more comfortable. High marks!

The neck brace is also super awesome. I'd held off getting one for years cause it was another irritating piece of gear to cart around, but that's silly logic. I really don't notice it when it's on. It 'locks in' to the chest protector with slots and straps, and you feel like you've got a shell around you - a bit like a funky tortoise.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3818/13405037043_46bda05972_o.png)

They may have a slight QC issue though - the little pads keep falling off - but Amanda from Dirtriders is trying to get them to sort that out. Let's see...

I went for the separate chest protector cause the adventure-style pressure suits seemed very big and clunky, didn't fit all that well, and the elbow guards are very loose on my body. So I picked up a pair of separate hard shell elbow and knee guards. I think I may have screwed up on the elbow guards - Leatt's 3DF elbow guards look like a more comfortable product and the key issue is that they don't budge when you come off the bike. These ones may still swivel around a bit too easily. May have to investigate more.

One tough choice was knee braces... they're fookin' expensive. Leatt have a pretty revolutionary product coming in soon called the C-Brace or something like that.

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2860/13404912254_46b3b904c9_o.jpg)

About half the price of the other premium stuff - so I've just got some guards for now and I'm going to wait and see what they look like. R5k or so is another tough pill to swallow, but ligament damage would cost a lot more, fo' shiz!

(http://i580.photobucket.com/albums/ss245/robs_dad/stormtroopers-in-the-pool.jpg)

I like my new gear so much I just kit up and sit around the house all day.

After the very tentative Botrivier race, which was my first real ride on the KDX a couple weeks back, and where I came just about last, I got out at Zone 7 for an afternoon's training this weekend. Lifted the bars a bit more - I'm 6'3" - and although it seemed a bit odd at first after half an hour I could feel my confidence improve dramatically, and my speed increase. The body's going to need some long hours going round and round that track and the MX track to get the muscles used to that kind of position and activity. But a jol it was and will be...!

I can already see the little bike is going to develop skills much quicker than the big bike. It's much more up for being chucked around and if I bin it I can laugh, sit up, dust off and get back on. Much less fear of expensive repairs. It's also about much more exciting things happening at much slower speeds. At the moment I'm wondering if enduro doesn't sound like a lot more fun than rally racing.... but let's see what the year brings. I've been perving the Tuareg rally write-ups on ADVRider today. This is a sickness!

I leave you with this:

(http://i492.photobucket.com/albums/rr289/JMoandpiglet/Tuareg%20Rallye%202014/TR14%20other%20rider%20retouches/160d85fd-97d3-4529-835f-03d7966f73d8_zps1a957c13.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on March 25, 2014, 09:06:52 pm
Melting the card - lol.

The delicious business of kitting up, and no one can accuse you of mindless blinging - everything has a purpose.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MickeyT on March 25, 2014, 10:16:46 pm
After flying through your Angola RR, I'm NOT going to miss this one!  Good luck on your prep, and know that you've got quite a number of guys (and gals) sprinting along on your Green Mamba!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: N[]vA on March 25, 2014, 10:20:31 pm
I can tell you from first hand experience that spending on great quality kit is worth every bloody cent!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 25, 2014, 11:51:19 pm
I can tell you from first hand experience that spending on great quality kit is worth every bloody cent!

+1000

I have the same boots as you, and personally, I prefer the older GS boots (I see you also have a set of those blue and white guys). The sole already came off my new ones as have the toecaps, but hey.

I'm curious about those leatt knee braces, would be keen to see more pics of those.

Finally enduro totally rocks, but its only one day and three hours long to boot. Rally all day every day for like a week or more! A no brainer, and enduros are great training for rallies.

Cheers :paw:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 26, 2014, 08:23:22 am
Had the older GS boots for about a year or 18 months and both soles fell off in a river crossing! BMW replaced them with these ones and generally speaking I'm happier, but they're still some way off something like a Crossfire - there's a reason they're cheaper, I guess.

The Leatt C-brace only has a hinge on one side, so you can still grip the bike. Sounds very nice, and if they work as well as the PR says I'll probably buy some. Would better gear have helped with your leg injury, do you think?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 26, 2014, 08:48:39 am
To 'top' it off - haha - I picked up these on a closeout sale in the US:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3715/13420384573_71ea91b196.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7378/13420384653_042a8ee2f4_o.jpg)

Been running a Shoei Hornet last few years, and while it's by no means a perfect helmet, it fits my horse head.

(http://icdn3.digitaltrends.com/image/1-duck-sized-horse-vs-100-horse-sized-ducks-650x0.jpg)

Would you rather be attacked by one horse-size duck, or twelve duck-size horses?

I was a little dismayed to find the 'no visors' rule in the Amageza regulations. Shit, more cash??! What's wrong with visors?? But to be honest it's a different world. The Hornet is designed to insulate, and I can assure that those little pin size vents do almost zip to expel the four litres an hour that seem to spew out of my scalp in the desert. It's a great DS helmet, but not a great hard-riding/rally helmet. Duh.

The fit of this new Shoei is absolutely perfect, which is a relief after shipping it here, paying a R500 fine for thinking 'country of origin' on the customs clearance form meant that it was coming from the US, and dealing with an utterly inept TNT. School fees. By the way, http://www.shipito.com (http://www.shipito.com) provide a great service if you need multiple boxes packed together and shipped over, or if you're buying from a shop that won't ship to SA. The helmet is cool, light and very good quality. Tried the Airohs, but they're a terrible match to my pip.

And the new glass is a huge improvement over the shitty ski goggles I've been wearing up to now:
(http://theflyingone.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/steampunk_goggles_by_brassgoblin-d3fc9tm.png)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: N[]vA on March 26, 2014, 08:53:14 am
great lid that
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: lamo on March 26, 2014, 11:18:22 am
look forward to seeing you all there
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Sardine on March 26, 2014, 01:18:17 pm
Sub  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Kamanya on March 26, 2014, 01:57:15 pm

I was a little dismayed to find the 'no visors' rule in the Amageza regulations.

? where in the rules did I miss this?

I prefer riding with a visor and good glasses. I have my goggles for hectic dust around the back of the helmet. My helmet can accommodate all three.

Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Cracker on March 26, 2014, 02:03:47 pm
Off-road style helmet with goggles was written somewhere in the regulations - page 1564, I think  ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on March 26, 2014, 04:58:00 pm

I was a little dismayed to find the 'no visors' rule in the Amageza regulations.

? where in the rules did I miss this?

I prefer riding with a visor and good glasses. I have my goggles for hectic dust around the back of the helmet. My helmet can accommodate all three.



Unfortunately those who do not wear glasses appear unsympathetic - despite the dangers involved with wearing goggles and specs.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 26, 2014, 05:22:27 pm
I've been happy with a mix of sunnies and visor for years, but avoid dust like the plague. Guess there's a reason every Dakar rider uses goggles...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 26, 2014, 06:23:36 pm
Haha, I love your posts.

About the knee braces. I don't like the idea of not having a hinge on the inside. If you crash and you leg is under the bike its going to get sore. I have a set of asterisk knee braces and they have saved my legs many, many times. I need to get another set because after 5 years mine are pretty beaten up: Shots from the front and sides. on my Sertoes rally the one day my leg would have over extended the wrong way and it would have been game over.

When I crashed and crushed my tibia in 2012, I was wearing the braces but they were not on properly. I was riding with my daughter (on separate bikes)  and I nearly did not put them on that day given the riding was to be easy. Despite this they contained my fracture from opening up like poor Geriatrix's leg did.

I reckon if they had been on properly I could have walked away from the incident, because it would have been impossible for me to straighten my leg completely with them on, and it was my leg out straight that shattered it.

Maybe I'm being overkill here.. I don't know, but I will never ride without knee braces properly put on again.

About gripping the tank with knee, I have no real problem with this, despite the knee braces being the part that grips the tank. The trick is to ensure you have grippy material there I think.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 26, 2014, 08:44:15 pm
Interesting feedback, thanks. I was told to be careful of braces cause they increase the risk of breaking a femur & severing the femoral artery but it seems the risk of catastrophic ligament damage is much higher. This is a dangerous game - one can't remove all risk.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: N[]vA on March 26, 2014, 11:37:49 pm
Interesting feedback, thanks. I was told to be careful of braces cause they increase the risk of breaking a femur & severing the femoral artery but it seems the risk of catastrophic ligament damage is much higher. This is a dangerous game - one can't remove all risk.
Will show you my braces next time we are both on a ride, I am a big fan of braces with hidges too.

Using the podMX ones myself
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 26, 2014, 11:52:56 pm
Yeah breaking a femur takes 18 months according to my ortho. But its also the strongest bone on our bodies so...if we break one of these we will likely have other bigger problems to worry about too!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 27, 2014, 08:01:12 am
Yeah breaking a femur takes 18 months according to my ortho. But its also the strongest bone on our bodies so...if we break one of these we will likely have other bigger problems to worry about too!

Sort of what I was thinking...Knee braces high on the agenda, as the knee guards I bought only really help with patella impact. The... damn.... shopping.... list!!!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Kamanya on March 27, 2014, 09:15:08 am
At the risk of hijacking this thread and another vote for PODMX's, I wrote this a while ago;

Knee braces... You won't be sorry....

I have a pair of PODMX's and without doubt they have saved my knees. Two were certain ligament destroyers - leg trapped and falling at right angles to the normal bending movement, one with a pillion falling on me. Both crashes were in 1st gear.

They take a bit of fiddling to initially set up - working out the pads and strap tension. I ride with wicking material long-johns under them.

But once set, I have ridden multi-day all dayers without any discomfort or chafing.

They are cheap if you price a new knee. And... knee operations never give you back 100% of your knee function.

Why knee braces vs guards (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9730906&postcount=5)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 27, 2014, 10:04:56 am
Thanks Andrew... ya, safety gear does seem expensive, but last year I high sided the 690 at about 80kph and came down hard on my left thigh. Second last day in Angola. The stuffing was knocked out of me, but it didn't seem much worse than a bad roastie. It was the end of the day, and I was in a bit of shock, so I took some industrial-strength painkillers and collapsed in my sleeping bag. Next day was a slightly delirious, painful 16hr ride, and by that night infection set in. I self-medicated with antibiotics and lay in the back of the car for 3 days till we got home then took myself off to hospital. A night in hospital and a plastic surgeon to clean out a bad absyss/haematoma and put 20 stitches and a drain in my leg left me more than R10k out of pocket, just on the surgeon's excess that wasn't covered by medical aid!

Moral of the story: Chicks may dig scars, but prevention is both better and cheaper than cure. And the problem with the riding better is the riding faster part.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Dwerg on March 27, 2014, 10:45:00 am
Lekker thread  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scooterbike on March 27, 2014, 09:26:56 pm
Now its knee braces on the shopping list also!!!

Then again I have already been through this. In 2008 I had an off road crash at 120km/h involving 2 quads. Amongst other injuries, got the ligaments at the back of my knee torn off the bone because the leg over extended....

case made, I need to borough money somewhere...  :deal:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: weskus on March 28, 2014, 08:50:57 am
Now its knee braces on the shopping list also!!!

Then again I have already been through this. In 2008 I had an off road crash at 120km/h involving 2 quads. Amongst other injuries, got the ligaments at the back of my knee torn off the bone because the leg over extended....

case made, I need to borough money somewhere...  :deal:
Einaaa...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Offroad2 on April 03, 2014, 09:00:59 am
I sat on the start line with the din of howling racing engines battering my ears, and a fog of two-stroke smoke hanging in the air, thinking: "What the hell have I done? I don't belong here! I am a soulful adventure rider who casts off from society and rides long and far to escape, to cut loose, in search of open vistas and starry skies. What am I doing with this bunch of mad petrol heads???"

But I looked down and I was wrapped in protective plastic, sitting on a tiny angry wasp of a plastic motorcycle - and I was actually adding to the cacophony.  Am I one of them?

There wasn't much time to think about what I was doing, or what was going to happen, because we were off. My game plan was simple - stay out of everyone's way, drift to the back of the field and coast around checking out this crazy scene.

I sort of did that, but then we got to this first really steep hill, and I was cruising up it serenely and then some fool (haha) crashed half way up and fell right in front of me and knocked me over. And it was so loose there was no getting going again on the hill, and by the time I was back on track I was bringing up the rear or just about. So, the next fifteen kays or so passed in relative solitude, which suited me - I was getting the hang of the bike, which I'd only ridden briefly once, and finding out how to deal with a two-stroke power band and the almost complete absence of torque.

Eventually I came across this huge hill (it had a name, but I can't for the life of me remember it), and saw about twenty bikes littered across its slopes. It looked like a mini-Erzberg scene, and I joined the two guys waiting at the bottom for the carnage to clear so we could have a run at it. Eventually one of them said he's going, and somehow he found a line through the chaos and made it up. The other guy had already had a crack and failed, so it was my turn and I took a deep breath.

That little KDX - vintage off road race bike though she may be - is a mountain goat. We blasted up the hill no problem, and got a bunch of places back into the bargain. The rest of the lap passed without incident (apart from a tiny sideways somersault in the riverbed ravine) - Lap 1: done!

This is quite easy, I thought. I can do this. So I passed my pits - well, actually I hadn't managed to find them before the race - ate a quick energy bar and cruised on. Oh, I forgot to mention - I somewhat shamefully got lapped before the end of lap 1!

Lap 2 passed pretty much without incident. Cruised easily up the steep hills, and had picked up a bit of pace over the first lap, but then had a wipeout from a pure lack of concentration going down the steep hill to the ravine section. Scooterbike/Dirk from this forum was marshalling and he was behind me at this point. I was battling a bit at the beginning of the ravine section and he yelled at me that I needed to put my kickstand up. I kicked. It fell down. I kicked. It fell down. Damn spring had disappeared - probably in my last off. I yelled for cable ties (note to self for next race) but he had none - ever the helpful marshall, however, he returned with some red and white barrier tape and threw it down to me in the gorge. I tied up and finished lap 2, luckily bumping into my pit as I did. I ran to the car for petrol and cable ties, and gave my ride a bit of TLC.

Somewhat ominously, as I started Lap 3 I felt the twinges of cramp setting in. I was a bit surprised, as I wasn't feeling that tired. But apparently my body felt differently. About five kays in I stopped to re-attach a strap on my chest protector - a lovely bit of fancy new Leatt kit that makes you feel invincible - and got lapped by a few more bikes. Cruising on it became clear I was about to start a cramp fest of note. I started riding like a granny, mostly because just about every muscle in my body that was needed to control the bike was going into revolt. But I was having fun anyway, in a slow motion kind of way.

A newbie should always get a bit of a slap when having the cheek to do something they are completely unqualified for. At the bottom of the riverbed ravine was a huge bundle of old barbed wire that I'd passed twice already. This time, I somehow managed to pick it up with my fat knobblies, and wrap the entire thing around my wheel, chain and swingarm. I lent the bike down against the sand and pondered my predicament. I was going nowhere! Like an uneducated idiot I'd brought no tools of any description. But luckily some kind samaritan stopped and gave me a leatherman. I took about twenty minutes to cut the damn stuff off - alternately jumping out of the track and getting roosted by the fast guys coming past, but eventually my bike was free. Honestly, I'd probably been glad for the break.

I got back on and limped to the finish, delighted to see the chequered flag, as there was no way I'd have made another lap. I'd discovered that one can cramp in one's shoulder, under one's ribs, and even in one's appendix. And I don't have an appendix. I've just had a recovery nap at home, and I'm still cramping!

So, summary of the day? It's a strange world out there in the off-road motorsports fraternity. But I'm going to be an imposter for a little while. I'm coming back for sure - I'm guessing in two or three days I'll already be scheming about the next one. And this is definitely going to get my fitness and riding up to scratch for the Amageza - which was the master plan anyway. Three laps done - not too bad for a first attempt, but I'm going faster next time! The little bike was brilliant, but the suspension needs some serious attention. It's six years old - an oil change and re-gas is a good start, and maybe some new front springs because I was bottoming out a lot. It's a strong little goat - I definitely have enough power, for now anyway!

Clearly I have work to do on the old body!! I do quite a bit of long distance cycling, and unfortunately I suffer a lot from cramps in endurance events, but this was one of the worst ever. I probably need to work out some kind of proper rehydrate/electrolyte system, and I may not have drunk enough. Bailey/Richard from the forum was kind enough to swing over this shot - a helmet cam for sure next time! Bring it!

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3820/13169270733_f1c2dd46a0_b.jpg)
Hey Max nice write up , very WELL DONE - sorry i only got to read it now lol
Reading your comments, it inspires Ocket & myself to continue setting tracks, to find the right balance for social & competitive riders makes things interesting.
We decided to put Snake bite hill in knowing that there would be several who would have a couple of runs at it but we also knew it would not become a bottle neck
The problem is to find venues as good as Bot River & Koue Bokkeveld (My Favourite)

Riding a plastic in off-roads has to be good training for dual purpose riding and encourage anyone who has access to dirt bikes to try it . You dont need a fancy 2014 model to go and have fun at Off-Roads.

Look forward to seeing you at the next one
Cheers
Clive
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 03, 2014, 12:10:57 pm
Cheers Clive!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 03, 2014, 12:45:51 pm
It's been a very interesting experience picking up my first plastic. Honestly, I don't have much interest in riding the big bike at the moment! Yeah, it pulls like a freight train and eats up miles and all that, but it is nowhere near as much fun!

The plastic is a schlep - I've borrowed a trailer, which I'm storing at a friend's garage half way across town - such are the sacrifices of living in a city apartment - but when you're on it and riding in the dirt, then biking has a whole new meaning. It's just so light and responsive - it jumps and twists and turns, and you can do all kinds of things you'd really think twice about on the big bike and then pass on for fear of damaging the thing. If the plastic falls over, well just pick it up, dust it off and carry on. Really, really good fun!

But it's damn slow on the open road, and no two-stroke is going to do the job on the Amageza, so.... I be having a lot of bike prep to be doing.

I currently own this:

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2866/12045808874_d4a7344a30_o.jpg)

It's a 690 with a fairing and a 5litre rear tank. Riding reasonably hard it will do maybe 300km on dirt, but that goes down to 200-220km in deep sand... and that's not enough! And the fairing is the Omega tubular mount, which has been known to give issues on the Amageza.

So modding it will need:


or.... flog it and buy one of these:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3799/13599639335_12281c13fc_b.jpg)

and do this to it:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3770/13599671483_ffd5654a70_b.jpg)

Well ok - probably the budget Safari-tanks version, but you know...

Rough sums probably point to the CRF version being about R30k cheaper in the end, but that is offset by higher engine maintenance and I'll definitely lose a bunch of that when selling it on, so it's a bit of a zero sum game in the end.

The 450-class bike (Honda, Yammie, KTM) is probably going to be quicker, lighter and less tiring on the specials, but the 690 will definitely be a much nicer mount on the liaisons. And, ironically, probably 20% lighter on juice when pushing on than the carb-fed bikes, which is around 5kg less fuel to lug around. And then there's the thought that this isn't purely a race bike - also a weekend trip bike, so it needs to be up to that to.

Common sense is pushing me towards keeping the 690, and to be honest I really can't be arsed with the schlep of buying and selling bikes. But the aftermarket 690 stuff is so bloody expensive! A pair of RR front-side tanks (10 litres) is about the same price as a pair of Safari front & rear tanks for the CRF450X (30 litres) and if one went Acerbis on the front you could save another R5k. And the 450s have better suspension, and are much less complex.

Decisions, decisions, decisions....
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on April 03, 2014, 03:55:06 pm
You have hit the nail on the head when it comes to explaining the dilemma. Here are my thoughts (for what they may be worth): Rally bikes these days are smaller:

1) The Dakar dis-allowed the use of anything over 450 since 2012

2) The lighter bikes are a lot easier to manage than the big bore bikes in technical terrain, but unless you have a new factory bike, they are slower.

The ease of use is counterbalanced by an increase in the number of mechanical DNF's in rallies like the Dakar. We have to compare to the Dakar because Alexander's vision is to create a Dakar length rally in Africa again, with stages that are twice as long as the those of most other rallies. So even though the Dakar is nearly 4 times longer, the days are the same.

Now look at the stages of the Amageza themselves: Yes it was technically difficult, but not in very sustained way. Last years Amageza had a lot of two track and some riverbed riding. Very little single track and off-piste relative to the overall length of the thing to date. I don't know what the route looks like, but expect there to be bit more of it this year. So what bike is best?

You have highlighted the benefits of both bikes, and at the end of the day both bikes have certain advantages and disadvantages. Both would be capable of finishing the Amageza as well, so I don't really know if there is a wrong decision here either way.

Some final comments that may help you (Or not!) with your decision:

-I think the resale value of the 450 will be higher than you think - rally bling tends to hold its value.
-The 690 bike was specifically built for this type of rally. It won the Dakar for a decade.
-A fast and comfortable bike is a huge advantage on long stages. The downside is that speed can really hurt you too!

The question is will you be comfortable riding the beast ? I think the answer is yes - given the training you have been doing already. Perhaps what you need to do is take the 690 on an off road (not an enduro) and decide if you still like it. If not then the decision is easy, but you may find that with your new skills you ride that bike better than you ever have before.

I went for a 450 in 2010 because I realized my skills were not that hot and I wanted to be sure of a finish. I also had to consider buying a 690,, so the decision was easier to make. But you have a bike that can finish it so maybe that decision is not as easy.

Ah, but what great choice to be having to make! All the best with it. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 03, 2014, 09:48:17 pm
Nice thoughts, thanks Neil :)

To be honest, I've done a lot of off-piste riding on the 690 already, and it handles very well in deep sand, even loaded with panniers. I mean, look at the design of the new KTM rally bike - same trellis frame as my bike, and far away from a simple enduro bike even in underpinnings. Also, the underseat tank on the 690 centralises the weight really well - my old BMW X-Challenge with the Touratech big tank and rally tower was a complete pig when full. On my 690 with extra rear tank (and admittedly 9liters less than the X) I don't even notice full tanks. It's also quite economical, has a very strong engine that won't even need oil changes on the Amageza. There's a lot of reasons to keep it.

On the other hand, I reckon I've got to spend another R30-40k on it to get it ready. That's on top of the entry fees, and thanks to Bloody Beserker (how we love him) I had an unexpected extra expense in buying the KDX so money is extremely tight. Of course I could sell the little toy before the race to free up some funds, but I'm unfortunately becoming quite attached to it. In fact I've only used the 690 around town since I got the little bike.

The bonus of the 450 is a fairly substantial saving up front on cost, and then the fact that the kind of riding I do has been gravitating more and more towards very rough touring - 4x4 tracks, up and down mountains etc. - and I'm constantly craving a smaller touring bike. This is my kind of picnic:

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2849/13608724585_9664d3622c_b.jpg)

But looking beyond the Amageza, my 690 with more fuel and a water tank in the bash plate will make it pretty much the holy grail of long distance rough touring bikes, and we have been talking about a Western Zambia trip. It does this so well:

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2808/12636560895_6ca03715c3_b.jpg)

(and that was loaded with an extra 15litres of fuel in soft bags plus food and camping equipment for a remote trip of a week.)

If I was rich enough, or serious enough about rallying, I'd have a dedicated race bike. But that is very far from ever happening, and I'm already stretching the limits of reason having two bikes, so I've got to keep an eye on practical realities for multi purpose use. But then a 450 with good range and nav gear could also make a great rough touring bike.

(http://www.doglistener.co.uk/sites/default/files/Dog-catches-own-tail_1.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on April 03, 2014, 10:01:08 pm
sounds like you are

(https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ7V9Kxm4cvMjKgyHukIt1lF9VH653x4Gmy6Pp5UWa3d5iXYUOWHZb_MZm2)            over to             (https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQG_fqccvL12kRAThXsYKbOLSnDp6B4NptMP80-I6FYmpS5JYIgCA)




:thumleft:

Why does rally always have to be so damn painful!? :ricky:  :'(  :'( :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 03, 2014, 10:15:36 pm
Haha. I speak picture.

Noticed pretty much all the bikes on the Tuareg - with few exceptions - were 450-class rally-lite setups. But their days were half the Amageza distance and the routes looked almost enduro-technical in places. That does look like a really fun event, by the way.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Rynet on April 04, 2014, 06:15:41 am
Excellent . :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: tour on April 04, 2014, 07:28:47 am
Max
2 950's finished last year. 2 x more big bikes (950 and @) would of finished if they did not both get flat rears. very hard to change the eo9 tyres. so imo the 690 is the best balanced bike for the amageza, don't get swept up in the 450 class vibes. also this big rally fairing is a waste of money. the lite version is perfect.
personally i ride an SE and will again this year. 30 lt safari tank. and handle bar mounted roadbook holder and no ico. you have and odo. that is enough. Too many people want to build bikes that the top runners in the Dakar or other factory riders in big rallyes have. for the last 20 years most riders went with nothing and had a great time and even did well. so think before you spend.
also safari makes a tank that fits the 690 perfectly. when not in use remove it when in use it take 15 mins to mount.
you really do not have o go overboard pimping your bike. KISS. the amageza is only expensive if you want to build a super pimped out rallye bike. most of us that have done more than 1 Amageza have come back saying go lite. all the arm chair jockeys will tell you that the only way to do it is to do a full on build costing thousands and that is why they cant do it...

good luck with your decision
be fit, be prepared, take loads of pills for cramps and go lite. use it or don't use it.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Dwerg on April 04, 2014, 07:46:38 am
Check out Bender's post on the 450X. You can pick one up for a very good price if you are patient. I probably paid less for that one than you did for the KDX

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=146498.msg2810564#msg2810564 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=146498.msg2810564#msg2810564)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: weskus on April 04, 2014, 07:51:58 am
Max
2 950's finished last year. 2 x more big bikes (950 and @) would of finished if they did not both get flat rears. very hard to change the eo9 tyres. so imo the 690 is the best balanced bike for the amageza, don't get swept up in the 450 class vibes. also this big rally fairing is a waste of money. the lite version is perfect.
personally i ride an SE and will again this year. 30 lt safari tank. and handle bar mounted roadbook holder and no ico. you have and odo. that is enough. Too many people want to build bikes that the top runners in the Dakar or other factory riders in big rallyes have. for the last 20 years most riders went with nothing and had a great time and even did well. so think before you spend.
also safari makes a tank that fits the 690 perfectly. when not in use remove it when in use it take 15 mins to mount.
you really do not have o go overboard pimping your bike. KISS. the amageza is only expensive if you want to build a super pimped out rallye bike. most of us that have done more than 1 Amageza have come back saying go lite. all the arm chair jockeys will tell you that the only way to do it is to do a full on build costing thousands and that is why they cant do it...

good luck with your decision
be fit, be prepared, take loads of pills for cramps and go lite. use it or don't use it.
Ditto..
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Bram on April 04, 2014, 08:03:02 am
Just out of interest sake. What were the issues they had in the Amageza with the omega tubular fairing mounts?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scrat on April 04, 2014, 08:12:27 am
Max
2 950's finished last year. 2 x more big bikes (950 and @) would of finished if they did not both get flat rears. very hard to change the eo9 tyres. so imo the 690 is the best balanced bike for the amageza, don't get swept up in the 450 class vibes. also this big rally fairing is a waste of money. the lite version is perfect.
personally i ride an SE and will again this year. 30 lt safari tank. and handle bar mounted roadbook holder and no ico. you have and odo. that is enough. Too many people want to build bikes that the top runners in the Dakar or other factory riders in big rallyes have. for the last 20 years most riders went with nothing and had a great time and even did well. so think before you spend.
also safari makes a tank that fits the 690 perfectly. when not in use remove it when in use it take 15 mins to mount.
you really do not have o go overboard pimping your bike. KISS. the amageza is only expensive if you want to build a super pimped out rallye bike. most of us that have done more than 1 Amageza have come back saying go lite. all the arm chair jockeys will tell you that the only way to do it is to do a full on build costing thousands and that is why they cant do it...

good luck with your decision
be fit, be prepared, take loads of pills for cramps and go lite. use it or don't use it.
Ditto..

Hoor hoor!! Spot on Tour!  :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 04, 2014, 08:27:00 am
Max
2 950's finished last year. 2 x more big bikes (950 and @) would of finished if they did not both get flat rears. very hard to change the eo9 tyres. so imo the 690 is the best balanced bike for the amageza, don't get swept up in the 450 class vibes. also this big rally fairing is a waste of money. the lite version is perfect.
personally i ride an SE and will again this year. 30 lt safari tank. and handle bar mounted roadbook holder and no ico. you have and odo. that is enough. Too many people want to build bikes that the top runners in the Dakar or other factory riders in big rallyes have. for the last 20 years most riders went with nothing and had a great time and even did well. so think before you spend.
also safari makes a tank that fits the 690 perfectly. when not in use remove it when in use it take 15 mins to mount.
you really do not have o go overboard pimping your bike. KISS. the amageza is only expensive if you want to build a super pimped out rallye bike. most of us that have done more than 1 Amageza have come back saying go lite. all the arm chair jockeys will tell you that the only way to do it is to do a full on build costing thousands and that is why they cant do it...

good luck with your decision
be fit, be prepared, take loads of pills for cramps and go lite. use it or don't use it.

Yeah, these are valid points. At the moment, no matter which way I go on the bike, it is likely that I'll go with one of these Highway Dirt Bikes setups:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3814/13617551493_0c1fbafb17_b.jpg)

The are apparently really rock solid, reasonably priced if you don't go for the Baja Designs Lights. That Safari tank on the 690 is really great - indestructible, holds lots of fuel, easy on - but WHY did they have to go and make them so goddamn ugly!??!!! I'm an artist for f$%^& sake! :)

And yes, cramp blocks! I have major issues with cramps in all endurance sports. Wish I could find something that works... nothing I've tried makes any difference on me.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 04, 2014, 08:29:57 am
Check out Bender's post on the 450X.

Yeah - there are excellent deals on CRFs and by all reports they are rock solid if you sort the valves out.

I probably paid less for that one than you did for the KDX


REALLY? Like less than R19k?  ::)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 04, 2014, 08:34:12 am
Just out of interest sake. What were the issues they had in the Amageza with the omega tubular fairing mounts?

As I understand it a couple of them have broken on the Amageza. It's not the tubular frame itself, but the way it is mounted, with a lot of the weight carried on the side bolts on the bike frame. Apparently the bolts shear. Some of the other designs put all the weight on the head-tube clamp. The best option is probably a weld-on tab on the front of the steerer tube.

Don't take my word for it - I'm only going on what I was told. The Alfie Cox frame I've got on my bike - which I believe is the same design or manufacturer as the earlier Omega ones - has been solid so far... but then I haven't rallied it.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Dwerg on April 04, 2014, 08:35:26 am
Check out Bender's post on the 450X.

Yeah - there are excellent deals on CRFs and by all reports they are rock solid if you sort the valves out.

I probably paid less for that one than you did for the KDX


REALLY? Like less than R19k?  ::)

Not bad. I thought one in that condition would go for slightly more. Ok so let me rephrase, I paid the same for the X  ;D
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 04, 2014, 08:41:31 am
2 950's finished last year. 2 x more big bikes (950 and @) would of finished if they did not both get flat rears. very hard to change the eo9 tyres. so imo the 690 is the best balanced bike for the amageza, don't get swept up in the 450 class vibes. also this big rally fairing is a waste of money. the lite version is perfect.

By the way - I flatted a E09 rear on my Richtersveld/Pela trip earlier this year and was carrying a pair of these:

https://www.youtube.com/v/yMkvKVd1zkU

I'd heard horror stories about the E09, and was only carrying two of these. The levers aren't long, but the bead breaker function actually helped to lever the last bit of the tyre back on the rim, and it wasn't nearly as hard as expected. Great little tools. Farking expensive though!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scooterbike on April 04, 2014, 08:44:52 am
Where can I get these levers?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scooterbike on April 04, 2014, 08:46:44 am
I had the same dilemma. wanted to get a 690 for rally purposes. But since I already had a WR450, I decided to pimp it instead. Just got it back yesterday and will test it this weekend  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on April 04, 2014, 08:54:02 am
Where can I get these levers?

Desert Lizard - vendor here is a MP agent.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 04, 2014, 08:54:27 am
I had the same dilemma. wanted to get a 690 for rally purposes. But since I already had a WR450, I decided to pimp it instead. Just got it back yesterday and will test it this weekend  :thumleft:

We want photos!

The levers are from any Motion Pro dealer. Talk to Piston Pete @ Outriders.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 04, 2014, 08:58:29 am
Check out Bender's post on the 450X.

Yeah - there are excellent deals on CRFs and by all reports they are rock solid if you sort the valves out.

I probably paid less for that one than you did for the KDX


REALLY? Like less than R19k?  ::)

Not bad. I thought one in that condition would go for slightly more. Ok so let me rephrase, I paid the same for the X  ;D

I know! I bought it off a couple of bad cell phone pix and knew it looked good, but couldn't believe my eyes when it arrived. Of course I've set about riding it hard already so it's not staying like that! :)

That's a really great price for a CRF! And it wasn't hammered beyond belief?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Bram on April 04, 2014, 10:18:44 am
Just out of interest sake. What were the issues they had in the Amageza with the omega tubular fairing mounts?

As I understand it a couple of them have broken on the Amageza. It's not the tubular frame itself, but the way it is mounted, with a lot of the weight carried on the side bolts on the bike frame. Apparently the bolts shear. Some of the other designs put all the weight on the head-tube clamp. The best option is probably a weld-on tab on the front of the steerer tube.

Don't take my word for it - I'm only going on what I was told. The Alfie Cox frame I've got on my bike - which I believe is the same design or manufacturer as the earlier Omega ones - has been solid so far... but then I haven't rallied it.
Thanks for that. Have the omega kit on mine and i have always wondered why it is such an over complicated design. Will have to keep a close eye on those bolts. On the other hand the way the bash plate gets mounted to the bike is ridiculous. It has two nice big solid round bars at the back that slot into the frame, but at the fron its mounted with two M6 bolts. Have sheared mine of twice already and other times they just rattle out. Need to find a war to mound the bash plate better at the front
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Dwerg on April 04, 2014, 11:46:11 am
Check out Bender's post on the 450X.

Yeah - there are excellent deals on CRFs and by all reports they are rock solid if you sort the valves out.

I probably paid less for that one than you did for the KDX


REALLY? Like less than R19k?  ::)

Not bad. I thought one in that condition would go for slightly more. Ok so let me rephrase, I paid the same for the X  ;D

I know! I bought it off a couple of bad cell phone pix and knew it looked good, but couldn't believe my eyes when it arrived. Of course I've set about riding it hard already so it's not staying like that! :)

That's a really great price for a CRF! And it wasn't hammered beyond belief?

Nope it is still in great condition. A friend bought it for 28 or 30k, rode it twice in something like a year and wanted a quick sale
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 04, 2014, 11:57:47 am
Thanks for that. Have the omega kit on mine and i have always wondered why it is such an over complicated design. Will have to keep a close eye on those bolts. On the other hand the way the bash plate gets mounted to the bike is ridiculous. It has two nice big solid round bars at the back that slot into the frame, but at the fron its mounted with two M6 bolts. Have sheared mine of twice already and other times they just rattle out. Need to find a war to mound the bash plate better at the front

Ya - this is the bolt supporting the fairing (pic from above)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5309/13620096085_6c687b54b8_b.jpg)

... there's a lot riding on it. And when they shear you're left with the broken piece of bolt in the frame you've got to tap out and possibly recut threads etc. Not genius.

I know KTM Cape Town's version has given up on this bolt completely and designed a very strong clamp around the steerer tube. Rally Raid too - they attach to this bolt, but only to adjust the position of the fairing frame, and not to carry the weight.

And you're talking about these bolts mounting the bash plate, right?

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7398/13620096335_e84f337a16_b.jpg)

I believe someone on the ADVRider forum was looking into trying to mount the bash plate on that big engine-mount bolt just above it. Would need a special bracket and longer bolt, but should be possible...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Bram on April 04, 2014, 12:18:42 pm
Yep thats the little bolt. Who ever thought it was a good idea to use an M6 bolt there must be shot. To try and drill a hole in a bolt that size and then use a reverse tapping tool to extract it is no joke. Either way i will have something to keep me busy this weekend. Im going to try and figure something out myself to mount it better.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 04, 2014, 02:52:49 pm
Yep thats the little bolt. Who ever thought it was a good idea to use an M6 bolt there must be shot. To try and drill a hole in a bolt that size and then use a reverse tapping tool to extract it is no joke. Either way i will have something to keep me busy this weekend. Im going to try and figure something out myself to mount it better.

Haven't looked carefully - can't you just drill right through and fit a high tensile bolt right through the frame? I seem to remember someone going on about improving the mounting for a rally raid bash plate. Have done a quick search on advrider but can't find anything right now, but do a bit of a search...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 08, 2014, 09:03:12 pm
At the risk of hijacking this thread and another vote for PODMX's, I wrote this a while ago;

Knee braces... You won't be sorry....

I have a pair of PODMX's and without doubt they have saved my knees. Two were certain ligament destroyers - leg trapped and falling at right angles to the normal bending movement, one with a pillion falling on me. Both crashes were in 1st gear.

They take a bit of fiddling to initially set up - working out the pads and strap tension. I ride with wicking material long-johns under them.

But once set, I have ridden multi-day all dayers without any discomfort or chafing.

They are cheap if you price a new knee. And... knee operations never give you back 100% of your knee function.

Why knee braces vs guards (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9730906&postcount=5)

Ok. Advice taken - dear god it's been an expensive month, but protective gear isn't the kind of thing where you want to be thinking - damn, should have spent that extra R2k!

A pair do POD K700 arrived today from BTOSports in the US. What a great company - really good prices and super cheap, quick shipping. I ordered medium according to the size chart and they fit well, if a bit snug.  Are the pads on the inside of the hinge supposed to rub against that bone on the side of your knees?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 14, 2014, 11:03:24 am
On Saturday there was a 'Funduro' in Koringberg up the N7, so I thought I'd check it out. Plan at the moment is to get at least one solid proper off road ride in a week, and much better at an event than just thrashing around Zone 7 on my lonesome. I'd received the K700 knee braces last week, so I spent two hours at Zone 7 late Thursday anyway just to see how they felt. Definitely a little less comfortable than the Leatt knee guards I had been wearing, but that makes sense. Actually on Saturday I didn't even feel them, so that's a result!

I thought a 9.30 briefing, followed by a start at 10, would leave plenty of time to walk back to the car park and fetch my bike. Wrong! Even through it was a fun ride, my plan was to give it a bit of a whack to up the training intensity. But by the time I got back to the KDX I already heard bikes racing off... bugger! There were three classes: fast, medium and social. Plan was to go off in medium and see how it went. So much for that - by the time I got to the start I was right at the back ... and to make matters worse all the haai-speed-kwads had already left.

Unlike my last event - the Botrivier race - I've now had a bit of time on the bike - and am feeling much more comfortable. So I gave it a bit of welly, and overtook about 10 quads before the first hill climb. But then I was stuck behind another three of them and the track was narrow so there was no passing room. Quads go slowly in technical terrain, and make a shitload of dust! A bit disappointing, but I can now attest that the Dragon Vendetta goggles I bought are awesome at filtering out dust - I could see, even if I was choking!

Managed to zip past a few at the summit but there was more slow following all the way down the other side, and then onto a few km of open dirt road. Now a kwad loves open dirt, and they immediately gassed it and set off in a huge cloud of dust. Nothing to do but sit up and keep my distance - passing in that would have been suicide.

After a few more km we hit some more tight track and then the bikes and quads in front slowed to a crawl and I saw a queue of about 20 quads and bikes at a huge mud pool a hippo would have been happy to call home. Everyone was looking a bit tentative and I decided I was riding a lot quicker than everyone in front of me, so zipped around to the front and plunged in. By now the water was a huge, stinking mud hole, where several bikes had already drowned themselves, but the little KDX held her head high, coughed a few times and then charged through like a filthy little warthog. I saw one quad rider arrive at the finish much later covered in mud head-to-toe, front and back, so obviously some didn't get off so lightly! :)

Then a bunch more open riding, a technical mini-river-canyon section and some open fields with drainage drifts. The upside of starting at the back was that I got to pass bikes all lap, which does the ego good, even if you're really pretty average. I think I'd passed all the quads by now, which was a relief from a dust perspective. The lap was a good 50% longer than at Botrivier and there was a lot more fast, open riding. For the first time on the KDX I was gagging for a more open pipe, as I was spending a lot of time with the throttle pinned, gee-ing the bike for more. I think it might be time for some Boyesen's reeds and a Platinum 2 or FMF. Damn. And I thought I was going to get away without spending money on this bike!?

Before I knew it, we were up the last hill, down the other side and at the start/finish. I joined about 20 other bikes waiting half an hour to start another lap, cause there'd been an accident on the course and the ambulance had to clear out first. Dewald/Weskus popped over and said hi - cool to meet another Wilddogs rider, as to be honest I knew nobody else there - and another KDX rider to boot! Nice one, mate!

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3693/13865891763_d1c4a0c9b5_o.jpg)
Thanks to Dewald's mate Bob for the pic.

Then we were free to go and I headed off again. The break had taken the edge off a bit, and I took it a bit slower this time. Also my hands were starting to bite. I'd fitted some new Pro Taper grips the day before, and this was the result:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3790/13842481693_d0937158c1_b.jpg)

Pretty nasty. Either I must go back to the Pro Grips I was using before or get busy with sticking plaster. Or I could always just harden the f&@% up!

I'm pretty tall, at 6'3", and I must say I still feel that the bike fit is a little small on me. I've got some tall Renthals on, and some Rox Raiser adapters which move the bars a bit forward, but I might look into some pegs that are located half an inch further back. Doesn't really make sense that one size of bike fits everyone from 5'3" to 6'3". And it's not so much the bar height as the horizontal distance from peg to bar where I'd like a bit more. Older bike designs like the KDX seem more afflicted with this bar-in-lap setup than more modern designs, but there's no fancy new bike on my horizon so I got to get this one to fit properly.

The rest of the lap passed without incident, but I did notice that both brakes started to need an awful lot of travel at the lever before biting, and the gear change started to feel quite slow and rubbery - so I think a gearbox oil change is probably way overdue. Some proper maintenance need this week. Both hands were killing me by the end of the lap, so I decided bike and I had had enough, and called it a day.

A tyre on my borrowed trailer blew out on the way home and buckled the mudguard into the bargain, but even that didn't ruin an awesome day out. My plan is to do every funduro and race I can fit in between now and the Amageza - it's definitely the best training on offer. It's also time to get onto the MX track. I've been focusing on the enduro loop at Zone 7 up to now, but I need to get more comfortable in the air, after jumping most of the drainage drifts on the open sections on Saturday, and nearly losing the front end on one of them.

All according to plan, so far, though. The KDX is doing just what I wanted - pushing the technical skills, making me more adventurous and aggressive, and upping my speed in the tighter sections. And it's just a hell of a lot of fun. Seriously, I've had amazing days out on the big bike, but this just takes it to another level without fear of expensive damage - I mean, these things were designed to be tossed down rocky slopes after all!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on April 14, 2014, 12:10:26 pm

Pretty nasty. Either I must go back to the Pro Grips I was using before or get busy with sticking plaster. Or I could always just harden the f&@% up!


Renthal Kevlar is the bees knees as far as I'm concerned.
Super sticky and soft, you don't have to hold on for dear live, it saves you on arm pump as well as blisters.

The whitish kevlar one:

http://www.renthal.com/shop/mx-products/grips/mx-enduro-grips/tapered-series-mx (http://www.renthal.com/shop/mx-products/grips/mx-enduro-grips/tapered-series-mx)



 And it's not so much the bar height as the horizontal distance from peg to bar where I'd like a bit more. Older bike designs like the KDX seem more afflicted with this bar-in-lap setup than more modern designs, but there's no fancy new bike on my horizon so I got to get this one to fit properly.

At 6'5" multiple world enduro champion David Knight rides with a low bar...he reckons if you need any more space your core strength is lacking.


Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 14, 2014, 12:31:38 pm

Pretty nasty. Either I must go back to the Pro Grips I was using before or get busy with sticking plaster. Or I could always just harden the f&@% up!


Renthal Kevlar is the bees knees as far as I'm concerned.
Super sticky and soft, you don't have to hold on for dear live, it saves you on arm pump as well as blisters.

The whitish kevlar one:

http://www.renthal.com/shop/mx-products/grips/mx-enduro-grips/tapered-series-mx (http://www.renthal.com/shop/mx-products/grips/mx-enduro-grips/tapered-series-mx)



 And it's not so much the bar height as the horizontal distance from peg to bar where I'd like a bit more. Older bike designs like the KDX seem more afflicted with this bar-in-lap setup than more modern designs, but there's no fancy new bike on my horizon so I got to get this one to fit properly.

At 6'5" multiple world enduro champion David Knight rides with a low bar...he reckons if you need any more space your core strength is lacking.


Well, my core strength is clearly lacking right now, whether my bars are right or not! I did notice my bars felt much better positioned on the first lap! haha

That wasn't you careering around on the red tank'd 650R was it?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: weskus on April 14, 2014, 03:08:05 pm
Nice meeting you Max, got my 3 laps in and what an awesome track, actually quite fast and not too many suspension-testers for the KDX.. see you on the next one, send your e-mail, Bob took some photos and I saw you where between them..
cheers
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on April 14, 2014, 06:05:55 pm
Nice one Ian.

Be careful with the air time and overconfidence. Don't ruin a good thing! :ricky: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 14, 2014, 07:48:15 pm
Nice one Ian.

Be careful with the air time and overconfidence. Don't ruin a good thing! :ricky: :thumleft:

Man with scars speaks wise words!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 16, 2014, 09:27:05 am
By the way - Saturday's race was my first decent length ride with the POD K700 braces on, and I didn't even notice them. Not once. I have pretty skinny legs - I've been called chicken legs on a bicycle more than once - and my measurements according to the POD chart were on the small size of medium. I thought I couldn't possibly order the small - I'm 6'3" forfucksakes - so I went with medium. When they arrived I was a bit disappointed to find that the sides of my knees seem to rub against the brace and I thought I'd got the wrong size. Well, after Saturday, apparently not.

All of this to say that the place I bought them - BTOsports - is having a sale at $549, which is pretty cheap, and what I got them at: http://www.btosports.com/p/FOX08068 (http://www.btosports.com/p/FOX08068) - but if you buy before 44/2 you can try this code 'SPRING4CASH' and it might get you an extra 10% off. They gave me a discount at the till which basically meant the shipping was for free, and they came in about a week with only VAT to pay.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Kamanya on April 16, 2014, 10:12:02 am
Do you wear anything under them?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on April 16, 2014, 12:00:43 pm
Some thin brace liner sock type things by EVS. Pretty comfortable so far & seem to wick sweat decently.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: onderbroek on April 17, 2014, 01:42:56 pm
sub
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: LoopSoosStroop on April 17, 2014, 02:10:24 pm
Thread is full of win, subscribe.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on May 19, 2014, 03:52:49 pm
OK. This thread has been a bit quiet lately... mostly because I haven't done much biking. Well... unless you call this biking:

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/t1.0-9/10274188_10154097432555137_6995186055612969872_n.jpg)

Flouted the laws of the land, the entire Western Cape police force, and common sense and dignity and rode 400km up into the Tankwa in a swan.

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/t1.0-9/10313028_10152016772145685_1487225306722536664_n.jpg)

And, I ask you: ain't she beautiful?

(https://scontent-a-ams.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/t1.0-9/q80/s720x720/10256454_234823413384788_5513855381879228949_n.jpg)

Actually, the police force thing isn't quite true. I was riding her to my mate Tom's house the night before departure, lit up like a glorious flying spacecraft, when I got stopped on Greenpoint main road by a young, unamused and over righteous motorcycle spiedkop. I mean didn't he have ANYTHING better to do???

He waved me over and proceeded to announce that I'd broken every road law known to man and was in a LOT of trouble. At this point someone from the garage opposite engaged him in a debate of the merits of interfering with the flight of such a beautiful bird, while the 20 assembled onlookers in front of the Cape Quarter started laughing and taking photos. A spectacle was in the offing.

This wasn't helping my cause, and he proceeded to announce that I had no front light, no rear light, no numberplate, no clearly displayed license disk, and.... wait for it... my blue lights were impersonating a police car!!!

All of which could get me arrested.

I may have been a little stoned, and somehow decided discretion was the better part of valour and tried to charm him rather than argue my way out of it. I soothed, and sweet talked, and agreed with everything he said. Then I took a photo of him writing me a ticket, figuring I owed it to my fellow Camp High T members from the Burn to capture this momentous occasion. After all, I've now ridden about 1600km in a shark, a cowshark, and now the Swan in the last few years with narry a caution from the polizio, not to mention a fine.

He was not amused, and threatened me once again with incarceration, insisting I deleted the photo. I claimed complete innocence and was told I couldn't take a picture without his permission. So I asked his permission, of course. Denied!

Anyway, he came round a bit eventually, and only fined me for the missing headlight. As I prepared to board once again for takeoff, a carload of gorgeous 19-year old girls on their way to Jade bar screeched to a halt in front of the bird, and they jumped out and proceeded to drape themselves over it for photos. Sigh. I then got to ride the last 1km to Tom's house with a police motorcade of flashing blue lights for company. In a sweet taste of victory, he even let me leave mine on! It was probably worth R400.

The Swan is actually a very fancy fairing for a humble little TW200 I borrow from a kind friend every year to wreak havoc at Afrika Burn. Did you know the little bike was capable of carrying four adults and said fairing across the desert without breaking a sweat? Take that pig fat 1200GS's!

But this is about racing, is it not?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: LoopSoosStroop on May 19, 2014, 04:04:01 pm
 ;D    Dis vrek snaaks...!

What is that made out of? Galvanized sheet?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Garfield on May 19, 2014, 04:05:50 pm
Brilliant  :imaposer:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on May 19, 2014, 04:11:16 pm
 :lol8: :spitcoffee: :imaposer:

You're brilliantly insane Ian.

Love it!   :ricky:  :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on May 19, 2014, 04:14:13 pm
So... thanks to said hippie event I've done no exercise in a couple of weeks. But the mainstay of my Amageza prep seems to have become riding the off-road races on the WP circuit on my humble little KDX200, and there was one scheduled for this Saturday, so I shook off my hangover and made plans to be there.

The problem was that in the mayhem of post-Burn carnage I haven't had time to do any prep on the bike or myself. So I set a 6am alarm, and rushed to my garage to bleed brakes, fit bash plates and change air filters. Predictably I was late once again, and utterly disorganised: not enough money for the entry fees, no MSA license number on hand, and no arrangements for a pit. Oh well.

I screeched into Zone 7 at about 9.15, which was nowhere near enough time to navigate the above, and I ended up tearing off the line about five minutes after the last bike had left. I HAVE to stop doing this! I swear I will be the first person at scrutineering for the Amageza! Mark my words.

They were laughing at me as I went by the start marshals, who were all having a smoke, having packed up their kit. And I got lost three times in the first km, having missed the rider briefing... but after that I was my way. I've ridden Zone 7 about ten times now, so know the route, and do like sand. The good part about starting last is that you get to pass people, which is always uplifting for the ego, even if it's false flattery.

Caught a few of the super slow bikes on the section through the trees, and then we branched off into the farmlands. Other than bars and guards my little Kawa is still stock standard, but she goes. I really need to stiffen the front end up a little, but just haven't had time, and the softness is actually quite nice in the very technical stuff. Let's be honest, I'm still a piss poor rider, but got through the first lap without incident, and even managed to pass another five riders at the muddy stream crossing where at least one bike had drowned itself in the mud.

The KDX is a great hill climber - torquey motor, soft suspension - and just seems to find traction anywhere. I think the Tubliss system I'm running has something to do with that, as I've got the tyres down at 0.8 bar without worry of pinch flats.

I guess the front runners had a 15minute head start on me, and I was wondering how soon they'd be lapping me. Well, I was only half way around my second lap before the first guy came past. Sweet Mother Mary and the Flying Circus he was flying! And miles ahead of the second guy. There's something impressive watching someone in the zone like that. Bike doing exactly what he wants, obstacles to the rest of us just a blip in his course.

I figured three laps before fuel, which seemed about right. Passed another KDX abandoned half way round a little later, so he may have got it wrong... :) Around the 4th lap I started to realised my fitness was still well far off any kind of lofty standard, when the first twinges of cramps started to make themselves felt. I really do suffer from cramps worse than just about anyone I know. I was riding this race without any kind of cramp block, but to be honest they just don't seem to make any difference for me at all. I guess it's all just down to the fitness. I've done my fair share of endurance exercise over the years - long distance cycling, kitesurfing, canoeing - and it's always the same. Gonna need some very focused training before the end of the year.

I've also been battling blisters on my hands - and a change of grips helped, but not enough - clearly a strong need to HTFU! Half way around lap 5 I knew my race was run. I was slow and all over the place over the second half of the course, and arrived at the control with 15 minutes to spare before the flag. This should have been plenty for another lap, because I was running just on 30 minutes a lap - albeit a poorly 50% slower than the leader. But I knew that it was going to be a fight to control the bike, with my hands on fire and my control muscles all in spasm, so I threw in the towel and sat it out with a few of the other jokers just outside the pit.

Still, a fair day out, one more step in the training, and a really fun ride. The course was excellent, even if half of it was familiar to me, and I'm amped for the next one. There's going to be some seri-ass training going on, too, cause there's now less than 6 months to D-day.

Excitement builds.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on May 19, 2014, 04:16:14 pm
;D    Dis vrek snaaks...!

What is that made out of? Galvanized sheet?

I've got this brilliant welder called Michael down on Lansdown road. I just rock up with the TW and a ridiculous picture of what ever creature flights my fancy printed off the internet, and he and his welders knock up a frame from steel bar. The 'galvanised sheet' is actually a shiny fabric sewn and glue-gunned onto the frame. The Swan was such a success she's now been to 2 Burns.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on May 19, 2014, 04:16:47 pm
:lol8: :spitcoffee: :imaposer:

You're brilliantly insane Ian.

Love it!   :ricky:  :ricky:

Haha. I doubt my own sanity even more than those around me.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on May 19, 2014, 04:17:56 pm
In other news.... I've sold this! http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=150383.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=150383.0)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on May 19, 2014, 04:25:05 pm
That's a great result in my books! :thumleft:

About the cramps: I suggest you look at something to replenish the salts on the fly like an energy gel or mixing in some cytomax or something into your camelback. I prefer water myself but I find that if I don't supplement it, I end up in a world of listlessness after about 3 hours of desert racing. I'm sure that time would be a lot less down in an enduro but I have done one yet.

About the blisters, HTFU is about right ;D + Plus more riding. Build those callouses boet ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: SteveD on May 19, 2014, 04:27:47 pm
I swear I will be the first person at scrutineering for the Amageza! Mark my words.

You are going to have to be there pretty early to get that swan through scrutineering. :ricky:
We await news of your Amageza bike....... :sip:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on May 19, 2014, 04:40:18 pm
I love reading your work Ian, it always brightens my day.

Well done for pitching and at least giving it a bash. So many guys were full of shit about "we don't pay x amount to race at zone 7" and yet the feedback we've received so far has be the most positive of the whole season. Besides it being a course that demands fitness it was great for friends and families to be able to take a jaunt out that way and watch their buds having a jol. Based on this I recon it's going to become a regular ride on the calendar  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on May 19, 2014, 07:43:15 pm
Delighted, Brett - you're a man whose day needs lifting right now! I know you wish you were there... I'm sure you'll be back before you know it!

Look, this off-road racing thing is an expensive day out for sure, but it is a real jol, and I do like the track. My thanks go out to those who make it all happen!

Been very circumspect so far, as I only have 2 months on a dirt bike behind me. It's so easy to hurt yourself badly on a bike - my hospital trip after Angola last year slowed me down a lot, and I'm sure yours will have an effect. We do this for fun after all.

But having said that, the next race I'll be working a bit harder. Fitness programme starts this week, and I'll be 20% faster just by concentrating and working the bike rather than taking it easier and cruising. Plenty of time yet... But I must say I am loving the little bike - perhaps I'll end up more into this than the long Amageza style events...

Pity I like rally bikes so much!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: washer6 on May 20, 2014, 02:33:18 pm
Max
Any idea what U going to build yet for Amageza??
Have a 525 which i might put out for sale?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on May 20, 2014, 03:52:10 pm
 :patch:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Uge690 on May 20, 2014, 04:25:58 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on May 20, 2014, 06:08:40 pm
Max
Any idea what U going to build yet for Amageza??
Have a 525 which i might put out for sale?

Hmmm... What's the details on your bike?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: adventure hunter1 on May 20, 2014, 06:17:09 pm
Where can I get these levers?

contact Andy 660. He makes them.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: bmad on May 21, 2014, 02:17:04 pm
I hiked down the Witels river last weekend with some friends, which involved a lot of swimming cold water canyons, sleeping out in sandy campsites, and marvelling at one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see in a lifetime. Camping mattresses are not the most comfortable things in the world, and I’m always a bit of a light sleeper in the wilderness. Collapsing, dog tired, with a full belly, shortly after dark, I would often awake in the middle of the night for a couple hours, look at the stars and take stock of life.

As much as I despise the label, I’ve come to accept I’m a bit of a petrolhead. As a boy I had a set of cards of the world’s famous cards, and I knew every detail of every one of them. I grew up surrounded by old cars, and still own a ’67 Spider of my own. There’s just something about beautiful machines and a winding road. In a fantasy life, I’d probably be a F1 racing driver in the 70’s.

My father was a doctor, so as kids we were banned from motorcycles of any shape or form. Instead of turning me into a champion kart racer at age 8, he took me sailing, and got me into racing yachts. Then life intervened.

When my brother returned from living abroad for many years, I taught him how to kitesurf, a long-time passion of mine. So, when he bought a shiny new KTM 640, he returned the favour by dragging me off to the Cederberg on his old Tenere. I was first terrified, and then hooked. And so it began.

I’ve always loved motorsports, but all of a sudden I was following the bikes. Especially the Dakar. The glamour and the glory, the dust and remote mountains, plains and deserts, the crazy people… the sheer insanity of it all. Like many of you, I’ve spent much more time than is healthy following, but never for a moment thought I’d actually do something like that myself. But then along came the Amageza. I saw it begin, got more interested the next year, and obsessed about it the next time round. Real people I knew were doing it. It was in the realm of the possible. Wait a minute, what was I thinking?

Which brings me back to that river bed in the Witels. A very wise man once talked to me about the importance of goals, and working towards big things. For some unknown reason the number 4 and the colour red have always held special importance to me. We are strange creatures! This year I turn 44, and I’ve long felt it will be an auspicious year for me.

Well, the bases are loaded. In November I proposed to my gorgeous girlfriend, and I will marry in July. Looking up at the stars on that inky night I thought a lot about how my life will change, and the challenging but magnificent journey that awaits.

And the Amageza? I am a bit of an impulsive person. And I knew that 2014 might be the sweet spot. Long enough to be a real challenge, open enough to get in without real rally credentials, and just, just vaguely within the realm of money possibility. So I rushed in where fools fear to tread, and signed up without really thinking about the consequences. What better way to do it?

I lay in the dark and thought about my impulsive decision to sign up for the Amageza. I realised that I was fulfilling a dream of my youth. I was going motor-racing… too old, too lacking in talent, and too reluctant to injure myself to do it in any particularly competitive way, but racing nevertheless. And it’s the spirit that counts.

The more I’ve looked at it, the more I’ve realised that the Amageza this year might be quite a serious undertaking. Almost twice as long as last year, more remote and probably more difficult. Perhaps not that far off Dakar standard after all. I’ve unwittingly found myself a big goal for the year… a very personal goal, something for me, that a lot of people around me don’t really understand or connect with, but something that I know will mean a lot to me.
I read Ned Suesse’s ‘Lessons from Dakar’ http://neduro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/guest-column.pdf (http://neduro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/guest-column.pdf) and the last paragraph really stood out:

Quote
“The last lesson of Dakar was maybe the hardest. When it was over—after finishing a dream that had been building for years and totally consuming for months—I felt adrift, like I had run my train off the end of the tracks. I was expecting an ecstatic feeling of satisfaction. Instead, I felt let down.
The lesson wasn’t clear for a while, but now I understand that it’s one I’ve learned over and over again: The goal is the journey, not the destination. The point of the race isn’t the finish line, but it’s all the fun (and the lessons learned) along the way.”

Perhaps that’s the important thing about any goal. Life is short, and as I dig in my heels and get dragged reluctantly towards 50, it just seems all the shorter. The things we achieve, the things we look forward to, the things we make sacrifices and strive so hard for, are often over in an instant, and we are left with only the memories, and sometimes the scars.

So, godammit, in this, my 44th year, I am going to enjoy the process! This is a really big year for me. And so, may it begin!

I only came across this thread now ::)
Love the intro... now to read the rest of the thread

I too am looking forward to the Amegeza, not as a rider, but as a support crew  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: bmad on May 21, 2014, 02:40:10 pm
Great read Max  :thumleft:

Sub
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on May 22, 2014, 05:58:17 am
I too am looking forward to the Amegeza, not as a rider, but as a support crew  :thumleft:

Thats great man!

You know they have an easier DS version of the event as well now with viewing on the way etc. right? :deal:
Title: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on May 24, 2014, 08:22:13 pm
Ok, deal done on a new (to me) bike but I'm going to stay tight lipped till the thing is in my sticky little paws.

Was a miserable experience passing over my 690 - I really did love that bike. And my last couple days riding it around town were a joy. It's such a great combo of headrush power, light, flickable handling and all round fun. I console myself I can always buy another one if I've made a terrible mistake.

The new owner is offshore but beside himself with excitement so at least it's going to a good home!

Time will tell, but I think the new thing will be even better in the rough stuff, and that's my goal anyway....
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on May 24, 2014, 11:57:36 pm
Ian, I am sure you will prove yourself right with the new machine, but you will miss the top end of the 690 for sure.

Congratulations! :thumleft:
Looking forward to the pics.

Offshore you lucky dog!!! :hello2: Well done boet, that is a great bike.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 22, 2014, 08:57:33 pm
What an irritating weekend!

I've been hectically busy lately, so have barely ridden, but been doing a fair bit of fitness work, so not all going to pot. Put in a last minute entry for the Robertson WPATV off road race, and rushed my forks in to Martin Paetzold for some work. The little KDX is super soft on the front end, so we decided to bump up the spring rate a bit and give it some new oil and seals. That last part was probably a waste because my bike has hardly done any mileage from new - but it's seven years old now, and I'm pretty sure it's still untouched in there, so perhaps a good idea.

Anyway, got the forks back Friday afternoon, and rushed to my garage to get them back in. I'd stripped the back end of the bike when I took them out, intending to get the shock re-gassed and put some new oil in, but Martin was too busy so we had to leave that for another day. Of course, since I was half way there I decided to finish the stripping job and pulled off the swing arm for bearing greasing and re-greased the shock linkages since they were off the bike anyway.

My garage is rented from a friend in another block (typical Cape Town ridiculous inner city arrangement) and the real problem with it in winter is that there are no lights or power in the garage. So the last hour of assembly was done with the car idling and the lights shining into the open garage door. Ridiculous!

That's when the real trouble started. I had also pulled the brake pads and replaced those while the wheels were off, and it was an overdue job. But a quick test around the block in the dark confirmed what I'd remembered from my last ride: the front brake was a long way from working properly. The lever is hitting the stop with only a gentle retarding of the bike... not what you want for descending steep, rutted mountain-sides.

Either through standing, or an over-zealous mechanic, the little screws holding the reservoir lid on were overtightened, and the head of one stripped while I was trying to get it out. Bugger. A quick trip to a friend for a dremmel proved a waste because it didn't have small enough cutting wheels. To cut a long story short... by 10pm I had to face the disappointment that I would not be leaving at 5am to go do the race. Gutted! Even put my race numbers on for this one! My disorganised approach to racing seems to be getting worse - and I was so planning to be there early this time!

Note to self: DO NOT leave Amageza prep for the last week, let alone the last night!!

So no racing for me this weekend. What a waste of time, money and energy! Got these shots from the last race to remind me what I missed. Really gutted...

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5113/14482573345_3771f9ad22_h.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3881/14459478266_c15118622d_h.jpg)

600 mandela on a set of Easy-Out on Saturday morning, and I had the screw out in about 5 minutes... but two hours or farking around with the brake bleeding and I'm still no closer to a firm lever. At this stage I've no idea what I'm doing wrong... any ideas??
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: bmad on June 22, 2014, 09:23:52 pm
Sorry about your troubles Max. 

Hope you get your prep and planning discipline sorted, we wanna see some racing progress :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 22, 2014, 11:56:56 pm
Sorry about your troubles Max. 

Hope you get your prep and planning discipline sorted, we wanna see some racing progress :thumleft:

Ain't that the truth! You're not the only one...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on June 23, 2014, 12:11:32 am
Well youre doing more than me. Im still settling into a new job in Europe, miles from my race bike and my practice bikes. I have found a KTM shop though :ricky:


600 mandela on a set of Easy-Out on Saturday morning, and I had the screw out in about 5 minutes... but two hours or farking around with the brake bleeding and I'm still no closer to a firm lever. At this stage I've no idea what I'm doing wrong... any ideas??

Hmmm youre using a siringe right? I reckon you still have air in your system - hence no pressure. New pads on as well or the old ones still good?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 23, 2014, 12:16:19 am
Well youre doing more than me. Im still settling into a new job in Europe, miles from my race bike and my practice bikes. I have found a KTM shop though :ricky:

You moved to.... Europe???!

Where you living?

Yeah, there's air in there for sure, but all the bleeding in the world has been achieving nothing. A syringe probably a good idea - I was looking for one today without success - only those little jobbies from Clicks. Pump it in from the lower bleed valve and suck some out the reservoir at the top, right?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on June 23, 2014, 12:35:09 am
Yes thats the only way to do it. Dont get the small siringe, get the bigger one, much easier.

Yes Im in northern Spain now. need to update my profile and tell people about it I suppose. Got to flog the house and all the bikes ::) Buying new ones will work out cheaper vs. import duties into Europe.

It feels so weird to be in RSA time zone again...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on June 23, 2014, 06:03:32 am
Personally I do not think you have to reverse bleed the KDX front brake - should be a bit of piss to top up at the top reservoir, pump, open bleed nipple, hold, close, repeat etc ... extra pair of hands helps but front is doable on own. If you want large syringe to reverse bleed go to chemist - they keep all sizes. Also often if a bit spongy a cable tie holding brake lever in on handlebar over night will self bleed a little air and firm up.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on June 23, 2014, 06:48:12 am
Thats a good tip Dom. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 23, 2014, 07:08:28 am
Personally I do not think you have to reverse bleed the KDX front brake - should be a bit of piss to top up at the top pump, open, hold, close. repeat etc ... extra pair of hands helps but front is doable on own. If you want large syringe to reverse bleed go to chemist - they keep all sizes. Also often if a bit spongy a cable tie holding brake lever in on handlebar over night will self bleed a little air and firm up.  :thumleft:

Thanks - yeah I'd read about the overnight trick. Will try that. I'd been doing the standard bleed for quite a long time with little impact...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on June 23, 2014, 07:45:04 am
I wondered what happened to you, I had your spot in our pits all organized but no MtP in sight. Hobbled around the pit lane on crutches seeing if I could spot you but alas, realized something must have gone pear shaped.

I'm not going to tell you all about the diabolically awesome race you missed out on because that would just be wrong  ;) If it makes you feel any better, I was also crying in my sleeve being unable to ride  :'(

Good luck sorting those brakes out, you made the right decision not riding with them, you wouldn't have survived too long. The route was demanding and a single loop took the leaders over an hour to complete.

See you at the Sandveld event?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Crossed-up on June 23, 2014, 07:54:39 am
Sometimes, when the bars are turned this way or that,  the bleed screw on the caliper is not at the absolute top when bleeding.  Then no amount of bleeding helps.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 23, 2014, 09:41:13 am
I wondered what happened to you, I had your spot in our pits all organized but no MtP in sight. Hobbled around the pit lane on crutches seeing if I could spot you but alas, realized something must have gone pear shaped.

I'm not going to tell you all about the diabolically awesome race you missed out on because that would just be wrong  ;) If it makes you feel any better, I was also crying in my sleeve being unable to ride  :'(

Good luck sorting those brakes out, you made the right decision not riding with them, you wouldn't have survived too long. The route was demanding and a single loop took the leaders over an hour to complete.

See you at the Sandveld event?

Thanks mate! Yeah, was pretty disappointed - and those entry fees aren't cheap! Will be at Sandveld for shiz...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 23, 2014, 09:43:07 am
Sometimes, when the bars are turned this way or that,  the bleed screw on the caliper is not at the absolute top when bleeding.  Then no amount of bleeding helps.

Thanks John - yeah, had it on a stand and absolutely central... a bit of Google suggests that lots of people battle. I'm thinking of getting a vacuum pump, sucking all the fluid out and starting again....
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 23, 2014, 07:53:55 pm
Weekend's disappointment was made up for by the arrival of the Time Freight guy this afternoon:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3867/14490568585_8887bd18df_b.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3843/14490569945_ea0eb062c0_b.jpg)

And here languishing next to the glowering, sulking KDX - her brake troubles probably just a hissy fit at the new arrival, all new and shiny and big-engined... and orange!

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2935/14510695603_205ca2d646_b.jpg)

This thing has been blinged to the nines. Orange hubs, spoke nipples and levers. For crying out loud! I'm never going to hear the end of the rim tape either!! Not to mention the hubs look like they've been painted or powder coated or something - not even anodised. Sigh. In a first, I now have two bikes and not one of them road legal. Glorious! I'd worked most of the weekend, so decided to take a couple hours off and have a closer look at the new ride.

Nonsense, I changed her filter (filthy... I don't think her old owner was particularly mechanically minded) and saddled her up for a quick (illegal) blast around the neighbourhood to get the oil hot enough to change.

Lordy, lordy this thing goes! And that's coming off a 690! So little weight on the front wheel you get the feeling a little twist is all it would take to get it skywards. Jeans and a t-shirt on a road-illegal, unregistered bike meant today was not the time to test that theory. Clearly I'm getting old!

So back to the garage to change the oil by head-torch. My favourite part of the manual is: "lay the bike down on its side to half fill the filter cavity." That just sounds wrong!

The bike is less than a year old and only has 17 hours, so this is the first oil change since the post break-in service. I know the motors are supposed to churn out a bit of filth early on... but isn't this a bit over the top?

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3906/14304131637_ff3968414a_b.jpg)

(https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2913/14510698763_7ed0dd29a0_b.jpg)

Shitty iphone flash photos, unfortunately. There wasn't anywhere near this much junk in the screen of my 690 after 5000km! Tell me it's normal?? Anyway... filled up with 10W60 and I'll probably do another change after a couple hundred km and see what's up.

Not much going to be going down in the next month because I'm away... but I'll start a build thread soon. Already have a box of rally nav bits and a tank sitting in my garage that I picked up after the Namaqua. The rationale behind this approach was small, light and super simple... less expensive and crashable! So no big fairings or frame-mounts. I'm almost certainly going the Highway Dirtbikes route. Something like this:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3848/14489459204_014bab6caa_b.jpg)

(See - they also have rim tape! What is wrong with these people!?)

The plan is to keep it light and robust enough for rough touring and maybe even some off road racing. I'm certainly not keeping this as a dedicated rally bike for a once-yearly flight of fancy so versatility is the name of the game. So far so good...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on June 23, 2014, 11:35:29 pm
On the brakes:

Once you have bled them through with correct dot brake oil:

Take it easy, get some tunes going.

Take the front brake lever assembly off (ie at the clamps), and from a hook on the ceiling and a piece of string, suspend the whole thing with the brake line as straight as possible, and making sure the bottom nipple is at its highest point.

With a wooden handle (like reverse a hammer and hold it by its head, lightly tap out the bottom caliber so that all the bubbles rise, whether up the brake line or to the nipple.

Pull in your brake lever in , tap up the the brakeline with the wooden handle.
Make sure there is still enough fluid, let it rest with the lever pulled in.

If this does not work, get a new return valve, it might be perished.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on June 24, 2014, 12:36:41 am
That filter does not look too hot, but like you say its only got 17hours.
The sump plug is fine. Change the oil often for peace of mind.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on June 24, 2014, 07:56:44 am
That filter does not look too hot, but like you say its only got 17hours.
The sump plug is fine. Change the oil often for peace of mind.

Also check the gunge in the wire screen filter - often with a new bike the stuff is actually soft gasket maker used in assembly and not metal.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: LoopSoosStroop on June 24, 2014, 09:39:42 am
I don't think that's a lot of metal for a KTM. You can sleep peacefully. 


Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: sidetrack on June 24, 2014, 12:47:16 pm
I don't think that's a lot of metal for a KTM. You can sleep peacefully. 



Yep also the motor is quite new and maybe this is the first service ? Lots of parts that needs to bed in.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: LoopSoosStroop on June 24, 2014, 12:54:32 pm
Even my TTR (which uses superior Japanese machining and manufacturing tolerances) spat out some metal on the first oil changes. Starting to get less now with every change.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 24, 2014, 11:23:23 pm
Even my TTR (which uses superior Japanese machining and manufacturing tolerances)

Haaaahahahaha. :)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Dwerg on June 25, 2014, 06:41:04 am
Nice! You seem to have a knack for finding hardly used bikes  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 25, 2014, 05:02:26 pm
This thing = animal:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3835/14368058036_54abfb560a_b.jpg)

Under 100kph it makes my ex-690 feel slow. I guess that's what a 30kg diet will get you.

Panda = delighted!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: sidetrack on June 25, 2014, 07:27:17 pm
Those orange hubs stock ? I'm not convinced  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 25, 2014, 07:34:54 pm
Those orange hubs stock ? I'm not convinced  :biggrin:

Nope. They're dreadful (I put them in the same poor-taste class as rim tape!). I bought it over the inter web and thought they were anodised, but it turns out that they're powder coated (from the looks of things) - so I think just the original hubs stripped and coated with black rims. And I haven't looked at what rims they are yet - but my guess isn't Takasago's.

Safe to say I didn't buy the bike for the hubs!

I dunno... I'm thinking about running a cush hub - opinion seems mixed about whether the damped clutch on these bikes necessitates it or not - in which case I may just flog them off to another bling-sucker.

What say you?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: whitedelight on June 25, 2014, 11:22:26 pm
Those orange hubs stock ? I'm not convinced  :biggrin:

Nope. They're dreadful (I put them in the same poor-taste class as rim tape!). I bought it over the inter web and thought they were anodised, but it turns out that they're powder coated (from the looks of things) - so I think just the original hubs stripped and coated with black rims. And I haven't looked at what rims they are yet - but my guess isn't Takasago's.

Safe to say I didn't buy the bike for the hubs!

I dunno... I'm thinking about running a cush hub - opinion seems mixed about whether the damped clutch on these bikes necessitates it or not - in which case I may just flog them off to another bling-sucker.

What say you?

Like you I suffer from cramping,usually in my hip area,and that is just normal riding. I started doing Pilates a while back to try and strengthen core muscles. Must say with all the stretching exercises it seems to have helped with the the cramps too.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: sidetrack on June 26, 2014, 09:29:57 pm
Those orange hubs stock ? I'm not convinced  :biggrin:

Nope. They're dreadful (I put them in the same poor-taste class as rim tape!). I bought it over the inter web and thought they were anodised, but it turns out that they're powder coated (from the looks of things) - so I think just the original hubs stripped and coated with black rims. And I haven't looked at what rims they are yet - but my guess isn't Takasago's.

Safe to say I didn't buy the bike for the hubs!

I dunno... I'm thinking about running a cush hub - opinion seems mixed about whether the damped clutch on these bikes necessitates it or not - in which case I may just flog them off to another bling-sucker.

What say you?
Most likely the stock silver rims powder coated or annodized, they should be Excel. As long as you do mostly dirt don't worry about a cush hub.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on June 27, 2014, 07:01:24 am
Judging from the wheels, you bought this boney from a fella in Brakpan  :o It looks like a bit of a street brawler as well  ;) I smaak it stukkend my bru  ;D

I'm stuck between a new Katoom FI 500 or 690 at the moment as well. Problem is I enjoy the odd trip to the Cederberg and I'm not sure how the 500 will handle the tar transition... and how my backside will handle the saddle  ???
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on June 27, 2014, 07:05:19 am
Dont worry Buff, all the sitting around waiting for the leg to heal will tough that ass up :evil6:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on June 27, 2014, 07:10:36 am
Dont worry Buff, all the sitting around waiting for the leg to heal will tough that ass up :evil6:

 :laughing4: If I don't get back to training soon I might not have an ass at all  :-\ Gees, I'm losing a ton of muscle mass on my backside and legs  :'( Fortunately I had adequate to start with  ;D
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on June 27, 2014, 07:51:50 am
Judging from the wheels, you bought this boney from a fella in Brakpan  :o It looks like a bit of a street brawler as well  ;) I smaak it stukkend my bru  ;D

I'm stuck between a new Katoom FI 500 or 690 at the moment as well. Problem is I enjoy the odd trip to the Cederberg and I'm not sure how the 500 will handle the tar transition... and how my backside will handle the saddle  ???

Haha. Klerksdorp, my friend! I'll be in a better position to talk in a month or two, but my guess is 500. The 690 does it all - it's an amazing bike - but it doesn't really feel like a dirt bike off road, for want of a better way of describing it. You have to decide which is your priority - long distance cruising or tough, challenging rough bits. And do you want to load it? I reckon a Giant Loop (the small one - Coyote) is your luggage limit on a 500.

I think one of the key issues is how much mileage you'll do. If you put 10,000km per year on a 500 it'll be clapped (and worth nothing) in 3 years but the 690 will still be going strong.

On the other hand it's much cheaper to set up a 500 with tank and basic, rally-lite nav and do the Amageza, for instance. The 690 is begging for full fairings, suspension upgrades and much pricier fuel solutions. R150k before you blink. I've got to the stage where I'd much rather trailer up to Springbok and then rampage around the wildest parts of Richtersveld than cruise up there on the dirt roads and highways, and I think for that the 500-class is a better bike for me. Here's your seat solution: http://seatconcepts.com (http://seatconcepts.com)  ::)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: sidetrack on June 27, 2014, 09:10:42 am
Judging from the wheels, you bought this boney from a fella in Brakpan  :o It looks like a bit of a street brawler as well  ;) I smaak it stukkend my bru  ;D

I'm stuck between a new Katoom FI 500 or 690 at the moment as well. Problem is I enjoy the odd trip to the Cederberg and I'm not sure how the 500 will handle the tar transition... and how my backside will handle the saddle  ???
Buff the smaller bikes rock. I only do about three or so trips a year and shorter rides in between. One RFS motor on ADVrider has gone to 900hrs, that is alot of trips !
All you need  :thumleft:

Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on June 27, 2014, 09:27:46 am
Thanks for the input guys, that might just work for me as I don't do much more than 3 or 4 longer rides per year either due to all the off-road racing & training.

Just one or two questions Sidetrack:
What's a tank that size set you back?
Is a Cush hub necessary?
What speed can you maintain comfortably on the open road? I'm guessing a spare rear sprocket & chain is all that's required to give it longer legs.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: sidetrack on June 27, 2014, 10:02:58 am
Thanks for the input guys, that might just work for me as I don't do much more than 3 or 4 longer rides per year either due to all the off-road racing & training.

Just one or two questions Sidetrack:
What's a tank that size set you back?
Is a Cush hub necessary?
What speed can you maintain comfortably on the open road? I'm guessing a spare rear sprocket & chain is all that's required to give it longer legs.
Those Acerbis tanks goes for around R4500-00, my last one I got second hand for R3000
Cush hub not needed if you mostly do gravel
120km/h the bike does not break a sweat but it's not very enjoyable for the rider, 100km/h much better .......... enjoy the scenery - what's the rush !
You don't need extra sprockets, with 15/48 my bike can run same speeds as a XR650R
All based on the KTM 525 however but I reckon the 530 and 500 will be much the same, I had the 2005 first then bough a 2007. Sorry for hijack Max !

*Edit - seems the 500 is geared shorter than the RFS motors
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on June 27, 2014, 10:17:11 am
Thx  :thumleft:

Sorry for the hijack MtP  ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on July 25, 2014, 12:18:24 pm
So... first awesomeness of 2014 complete: I'm just back from getting married to my sweetheart in Istanbul. Which in itself was a bit of a mindfuck. Her mother is Turkish, so they knew the city well, but I'd never been there... what an incredible place! I'm well impressed - the scale of everything is just massive. And such sophisticated, warm, generous and kind people. Loved it!

And a month getting fat and lying in the sun drinking ouzo on a Greek island afterwards... which means tomorrow's race at Sandveld is going to be a BIT OF A SHOCK! Haven't been on a bike in about eight weeks. And I still have to get my bloody front brake bled properly.

Anyway. On to the second big awesomeness of the year... I've got a nice little bundle of rally parts sitting at a shipping agent in Oregon. So the question is... shall I cover the build here, or in a separate thread? Makes sense to keep it all together, no?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scooterbike on July 25, 2014, 12:22:54 pm
Seems I will beat you to it. Mine just left Shipito!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on July 25, 2014, 12:30:25 pm
Hey hey, I believe congratulations are in order then. Wishing you all the best on a long & happy marriage  :thumleft:

Good luck for tomorrow... start sorting those brakes out now, not 9pm this evening  ;) I'll be there supporting my wife in the Ladies Intro Class.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: SteveD on July 25, 2014, 12:46:09 pm
Congratulation Sir, and to Mrs Panda

So the question is... shall I cover the build here, or in a separate thread? Makes sense to keep it all together, no?

I would vote for a separate thread in the Build Section, with a link posted here. Or it can stay here, either way....
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on July 25, 2014, 12:49:16 pm
Seems I will beat you to it. Mine just left Shipito!


Heh! Mine's got more toys in it! ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on July 25, 2014, 01:01:16 pm
Hey hey, I believe congratulations are in order then. Wishing you all the best on a long & happy marriage  :thumleft:

Good luck for tomorrow... start sorting those brakes out now, not 9pm this evening  ;) I'll be there supporting my wife in the Ladies Intro Class.

Thanks Brett! I hunted long and far and wide for her :)

Yeah, well I've only had one day in CT since the last race f-up so I'm scrambling a bit here. Chatted to Dave last night and re-bled this morning, and hung the lever up in the hope of getting rid of those recalcitrant bubbles. I'll go check on it again just now (when re-fitting my car battery that had also gone flat, and in between doing some work!) but I'm not holding out hope. It might need some new seals. Bugger.

If I can't sort it I think I'll just take the KTM 450 and ride that. Of course nothing like racing a new bike you've only ridden around the block on!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on July 25, 2014, 01:38:59 pm
Awesome bro! Congratulations, good blessings to you both, and I wish you years and year and years of happiness & joy together.


All the best for tomorrows race!

Cheers

Neil
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on July 25, 2014, 04:10:45 pm
Nothing like a bit of pre-race panic to get the adrenaline flowing  ;) To be honest, that 450 might just be a better bike for tomorrows route, there'll be plenty of sand  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: adv on July 25, 2014, 04:43:00 pm
Thanks for the input guys, that might just work for me as I don't do much more than 3 or 4 longer rides per year either due to all the off-road racing & training.

Just one or two questions Sidetrack:
What's a tank that size set you back?
Is a Cush hub necessary?
What speed can you maintain comfortably on the open road? I'm guessing a spare rear sprocket & chain is all that's required to give it longer legs.
Those Acerbis tanks goes for around R4500-00, my last one I got second hand for R3000
Cush hub not needed if you mostly do gravel
120km/h the bike does not break a sweat but it's not very enjoyable for the rider, 100km/h much better .......... enjoy the scenery - what's the rush !
You don't need extra sprockets, with 15/48 my bike can run same speeds as a XR650R
All based on the KTM 525 however but I reckon the 530 and 500 will be much the same, I had the 2005 first then bough a 2007. Sorry for hijack Max !

*Edit - seems the 500 is geared shorter than the RFS motors


But then again you can ride this too, which is not much heavier.

(https://scontent-b-lhr.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/t1.0-9/10410280_782201441830420_7810434223266790208_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: dirtWarp on July 25, 2014, 05:57:41 pm

But then again you can ride this too, which is not much heavier.

(https://scontent-b-lhr.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/t1.0-9/10410280_782201441830420_7810434223266790208_n.jpg)

That "much" is a lot actually.
20kg less + 6th gear =  ;D
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: adv on July 25, 2014, 07:52:21 pm
Remember the XRR will torque the crap out of a 450/525/530.  Was it not the Aus model they clocked at like 200kph?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: adv on July 25, 2014, 07:52:45 pm
Not gonna lie, a 6th would be nice  :imaposer:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Dwerg on August 01, 2014, 07:55:58 am
When is your kit expected to arrive? Quite keen to see your build!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 01, 2014, 11:57:56 am
When is your kit expected to arrive? Quite keen to see your build!

Stuff is leaving US as we speak and electrical stuff left Japan a day ago, so sometime next week, I guess. Will def run a build thread here...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 01, 2014, 01:56:51 pm
Today is 1 August 2014. Which means exactly 3 months, to the day, until we leave Cape Town for the trek up to Upington for the start of Amageza 2014. That's 90 whistle-stop days of prep, training, organisation and piss-and-panic!

Just having got back from a month in Europe, it's time to start proper fitness work. The rough plan per week is: two rides, two bootcamp fitness classes, one bicycle ride and two yoga classes. Best laid plans and all, but one needs some kind of intention...

I raced the Sandveld off road race on Saturday in the mud. Raced is a misnomer, because I made it about half way around my first loop before giving up in utter exhaustion, barely able to stand up on the pegs. I'd been fighting a bad ear infection my last week away, and was still on antibiotics which had left me a lot weaker than I expected, but the lesson was pretty clear. Look after your health!

This is something I'm doing for fun, satisfaction and the sheer joy of the possible. My plan is to enjoy all of it - not just the Amageza itself, which could be over in the blink of an eye if something goes wrong, and at most will only last 5 days - but the training, the prep, the bike farkling, the dreaming. Already it has resulted in my buying a cheap dirt bike and hacking around some enduro tracks and trying my hand at off road racing. It's been a jol and deeply rewarding. And that's the point of all this, really.

We won't be young [um... cough... middle aged] for long. So in the immortal words of my fine mate Tom: "Let's 'av at it!"

I've kicked off a build thread on the bike here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.0)

Over and out.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: N[]vA on August 01, 2014, 02:12:11 pm
I raced the Sandveld off road race on Saturday in the mud. Raced is a misnomer, because I made it about half way around my first loop before giving up in utter exhaustion, barely able to stand up on the pegs. I'd been fighting a bad ear infection my last week away, and was still on antibiotics which had left me a lot weaker than I expected, but the lesson was pretty clear. Look after your health!

Hope you heal up well bro!

In the state you were in (on antibiotics like that) you wont finish the first day of Amageza, I think guys need to be aware how demanding it really is.

If you are on heavy antibiotics at the time DO NO attempt it.

Have some video of you on that mental climb, well done for getting up there dude!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Dwerg on August 01, 2014, 02:20:59 pm
Well that kinda freaked me out. Just 3 months  :o

And last weekend I'm allowed to drink too. Well excessively anyway  >:D
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 01, 2014, 02:28:34 pm
I raced the Sandveld off road race on Saturday in the mud. Raced is a misnomer, because I made it about half way around my first loop before giving up in utter exhaustion, barely able to stand up on the pegs. I'd been fighting a bad ear infection my last week away, and was still on antibiotics which had left me a lot weaker than I expected, but the lesson was pretty clear. Look after your health!

Hope you heal up well bro!

In the state you were in (on antibiotics like that) you wont finish the first day of Amageza, I think guys need to be aware how demanding it really is.

If you are on heavy antibiotics at the time DO NO attempt it.

Have some video of you on that mental climb, well done for getting up there dude!

Yeah I couldn't believe how weak I felt. Got badly stuck in the hippo-mud hole 400m from the start, and by the time I got the bike out I was completely knackered and basically limped around till I saw you. Felt like I was on my 10th lap - could barely lift the bike up!

Glad it happened now, though - good to know limits and the impact of illness on riding. I had been feeling mostly better, but virus/illness/antibiotics don't really show themselves under normal activity. However, as soon as you push the body into the red zone it's all fall down.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: N[]vA on August 02, 2014, 12:09:13 am
I raced the Sandveld off road race on Saturday in the mud. Raced is a misnomer, because I made it about half way around my first loop before giving up in utter exhaustion, barely able to stand up on the pegs. I'd been fighting a bad ear infection my last week away, and was still on antibiotics which had left me a lot weaker than I expected, but the lesson was pretty clear. Look after your health!

Hope you heal up well bro!

In the state you were in (on antibiotics like that) you wont finish the first day of Amageza, I think guys need to be aware how demanding it really is.

If you are on heavy antibiotics at the time DO NO attempt it.

Have some video of you on that mental climb, well done for getting up there dude!

Yeah I couldn't believe how weak I felt. Got badly stuck in the hippo-mud hole 400m from the start, and by the time I got the bike out I was completely knackered and basically limped around till I saw you. Felt like I was on my 10th lap - could barely lift the bike up!

Glad it happened now, though - good to know limits and the impact of illness on riding. I had been feeling mostly better, but virus/illness/antibiotics don't really show themselves under normal activity. However, as soon as you push the body into the red zone it's all fall down.
Huge value in knowing where your breaking point is. For last years I did an all nighter and went and did mx from sunrise till I was broken, helped massively with learning to mentally cope with riding smooth while fucked up tired.

I was also bored and in Vietnam  ::)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 04, 2014, 08:42:15 am
Took 450 off for it's first dirt trials yesterday at Atlantis...

Bit of a shock. It's basically just like my KDX, but with real suspension, a better riding position and a f*ck load more power. The 690 feels light years away from this thing. Honestly, it should be a hell of a lot quicker over the rough stuff, and it's so easy to ride on sand it's a bit of a joke. I felt like an orderly taking an accident victim for a walk around the hospital grounds with a DRZ for company. And it felt reasonably happy on tar too, surprisingly, although I didn't push it past 120. Call me neurotic but the R27 on a completely non-road legal bike gives moment for a bit of caution.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3864/14638371129_113115a21d_o.jpg)

Hopefully the box of toys arrives this week and I can then get the road license sorted, amongst other things.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 15, 2014, 02:25:23 pm
1x eye-wateringly expensive morning and I have tyres for Amageza:

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5586/14738764530_6cc7b1f460_o.jpg)

One set for pre-event training and bike setup, and two sets for the race. It better be enough! If my debacle of an off-road racing career this year has taught me anything, it's the value of timeous preparation. Forseeing an entirely likely situation of "Sorry Meneer, next shipment of those tyres is in December." I decided to strike early. Great prices and service from Pete at Outriders, as always.

Meanwhile, bike preparation http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.0) continues at pace. Which means I've spent precisely four hours on it in two weeks. Sat on the plane last night studying wiring diagrams (Greek), reading an amusing instruction manual on bike wiring and messing around with McCad's 'Scematics_Lite'. I now have my connectors library sorted and can start drawing a wiring diagram tomorrow. I'm still not entirely sure how I'm wiring the headlight relays and dimmer box, but I'm assuming the soup will clear eventually.

My fitness plan got done from behind by a nasty bout of the flu. The blue-rinse lady at the chemist told me it would last three weeks and I nearly choked. Well, it's been two, and despite regular bouts of coughing I'm going to do some exercise this weekend, dammit. There's a conveniently packed off-road racing calendar over the next two months, so I hope to fit a few of the races in.

Oh, and I notice Alex has canned the water-on-bike requirement. Well, keeps it simpler - there wasn't going to be any easy and properly robust solution on the 450, so happy days. If I crash and die of thirst, sobeit.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Dwerg on August 15, 2014, 02:34:26 pm
What are those fronts?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scooterbike on August 15, 2014, 02:51:53 pm
Looks like Deserts, and E09 rear. I will run the same.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 15, 2014, 03:57:43 pm
Yup. 6 tyres cost less than 4 for my car and will bring a lot more enjoyment, so perhaps I should consider them a bargain.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 15, 2014, 04:00:08 pm
Looks like Deserts, and E09 rear. I will run the same.

Team regulations. Now we just need branded kit and cheerleaders. Actually, forget the branded kit.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: LoopSoosStroop on August 15, 2014, 06:31:01 pm
Yup. 6 tyres cost less than 4 for my car and will bring a lot more enjoyment, so perhaps I should consider them a bargain.

Until you consider the difference in km that you'll get from them  :P
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Pistonpete on August 15, 2014, 06:53:12 pm
1x eye-wateringly expensive morning and I have tyres for Amageza:

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5586/14738764530_6cc7b1f460_o.jpg)

One set for pre-event training and bike setup, and two sets for the race. It better be enough! If my debacle of an off-road racing career this year has taught me anything, it's the value of timeous preparation. Forseeing an entirely likely situation of "Sorry Meneer, next shipment of those tyres is in December." I decided to strike early. Great prices and service from Pete at Outriders, as always.

Meanwhile, bike preparation http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.0) continues at pace. Which means I've spent precisely four hours on it in two weeks. Sat on the plane last night studying wiring diagrams (Greek), reading an amusing instruction manual on bike wiring and messing around with McCad's 'Scematics_Lite'. I now have my connectors library sorted and can start drawing a wiring diagram tomorrow. I'm still not entirely sure how I'm wiring the headlight relays and dimmer box, but I'm assuming the soup will clear eventually.

My fitness plan got done from behind by a nasty bout of the flu. The blue-rinse lady at the chemist told me it would last three weeks and I nearly choked. Well, it's been two, and despite regular bouts of coughing I'm going to do some exercise this weekend, dammit. There's a conveniently packed off-road racing calendar over the next two months, so I hope to fit a few of the races in.

Oh, and I notice Alex has canned the water-on-bike requirement. Well, keeps it simpler - there wasn't going to be any easy and properly robust solution on the 450, so happy days. If I crash and die of thirst, sobeit.
1x eye-wateringly expensive morning and I have tyres for Amageza:

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5586/14738764530_6cc7b1f460_o.jpg)

One set for pre-event training and bike setup, and two sets for the race. It better be enough! If my debacle of an off-road racing career this year has taught me anything, it's the value of timeous preparation. Forseeing an entirely likely situation of "Sorry Meneer, next shipment of those tyres is in December." I decided to strike early. Great prices and service from Pete at Outriders, as always.

Meanwhile, bike preparation http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.0) continues at pace. Which means I've spent precisely four hours on it in two weeks. Sat on the plane last night studying wiring diagrams (Greek), reading an amusing instruction manual on bike wiring and messing around with McCad's 'Scematics_Lite'. I now have my connectors library sorted and can start drawing a wiring diagram tomorrow. I'm still not entirely sure how I'm wiring the headlight relays and dimmer box, but I'm assuming the soup will clear eventually.

My fitness plan got done from behind by a nasty bout of the flu. The blue-rinse lady at the chemist told me it would last three weeks and I nearly choked. Well, it's been two, and despite regular bouts of coughing I'm going to do some exercise this weekend, dammit. There's a conveniently packed off-road racing calendar over the next two months, so I hope to fit a few of the races in.

Oh, and I notice Alex has canned the water-on-bike requirement. Well, keeps it simpler - there wasn't going to be any easy and properly robust solution on the 450, so happy days. If I crash and die of thirst, sobeit.

Thank you for the order...you going to rock!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 15, 2014, 07:28:50 pm
Yup. 6 tyres cost less than 4 for my car and will bring a lot more enjoyment, so perhaps I should consider them a bargain.

Until you consider the difference in km that you'll get from them  :P

Sssshhhhh!! We don't mention such vile subjects.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scooterbike on August 15, 2014, 09:30:51 pm
Looks like Deserts, and E09 rear. I will run the same.

Team regulations. Now we just need branded kit and cheerleaders. Actually, forget the branded kit.
:thumleft: our cheerleader will be a boertjie called Braam!!  :imaposer:
 Ja need to find a name  :deal:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: dirtWarp on August 16, 2014, 09:24:15 am
If you don't mind me asking; why did you go for the uber expensive E09's?
A set of M404's would do the job just fine at ~ a 3rd of the price.
I'm probably wrong but AFAIK, the premium we pay for E09's and the like is due to its ability to handle high speed and Hp - read 950SE
You will hardly see 150KM/h on a rally rigged 450 with a stock motor.

It would be nice if we all had the money to burn but for an average Joe like myself, this is what I'd do for Amageza:
Extra under-seat tank is barely noticeable:
(http://packmule.smugmug.com/photos/513085259_Y6vwR-M.jpg)
I would only add an additional aftermarket long range tank...and parachute 'cause these Berg 650's take off
Not only way cheaper but nimbler and faster.

But I might be wrong  ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 16, 2014, 10:23:06 am
What brand is an M404? E09 in 130/18 is just over R1200. They last super long and are uber tough in desert conditions, and Dakar proven. I chose it more for the puncture resistance than anything else. Had two on my 690 and really liked them. I'll get a lot of use out of the part-used tyres after Amageza.

That Berg looks fantastic but I guess it feels quite esoteric and I'd be concerned about parts and reliability. But that may just be ignorance talking. Why do we hear so little about them in these parts?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on August 16, 2014, 11:35:14 am
AFAIK the bergs have basically been discontinued pretty much; always been seen as a model that protypes KTM stuff ahead of commercial KTM breeding. Given Husaberg is owned by KTM why market something else when the orange Brand is so successful?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on August 16, 2014, 11:54:18 am
Ja Husaberg is no longer ... read now Husqvarna  ::)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: sidetrack on August 16, 2014, 04:37:03 pm
Yup. 6 tyres cost less than 4 for my car and will bring a lot more enjoyment, so perhaps I should consider them a bargain.

Until you consider the difference in km that you'll get from them  :P
Don't spoil a good story with facts !
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: dirtWarp on August 16, 2014, 08:17:07 pm
What brand is an M404? E09 in 130/18 is just over R1200. They last super long and are uber tough in desert conditions, and Dakar proven. I chose it more for the puncture resistance than anything else. Had two on my 690 and really liked them. I'll get a lot of use out of the part-used tyres after Amageza.

That Berg looks fantastic but I guess it feels quite esoteric and I'd be concerned about parts and reliability. But that may just be ignorance talking. Why do we hear so little about them in these parts?
Yes  ;D
They are quite exotic: unlike the conventional design, the "cylinder" and bottom end is one unit. To change the piston, you split the motor into 2 halves, which reveals a cylinder suspended by big O-rings between the cases. The gearbox has straight cut gears; it's designed to allow full throttle clutch-less shifting  :biggrin:
The gearbox sounds like a can of nails.

M404 is a Bridgestone tire.
Preventing flats is a good idea but you better not get a flat at all, 'cause the big bike tires like the E09 is a bitch to get off the bead.
It's borderline impossible without a bead breaker.
Some dudes managed to get the E09 fitted to the rim by leveraging the tire leaver with a pipe
 :eek7:

AFAIK the bergs have basically been discontinued pretty much; always been seen as a model that protypes KTM stuff ahead of commercial KTM breeding. Given Husaberg is owned by KTM why market something else when the orange Brand is so successful?
Wasn't marketing it I'm just a big fan of those bikes.  ;D
I was "marketing" the minimalistic, yet potent Ausie approach to the Finke rally.
But as a side note, KTM doesn't make anything close to the 650 berg. It's something to experience.. my 550 berg would power wheelie in 4th, while sitting on the tank.

I was going to ramble on about how reliable those Bergs are but that's beside the point I was making.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 16, 2014, 09:53:02 pm
Without taking this thread down another long bike merit discussion, the reason I went for the KTM was mostly because they are readily available, have huge aftermarket (tank etc) support and I thought a virtually unused 2-year old bike was better value than an older model like the 525 which often attracts inflated prices. But there are many good options, and I'm sure these 'Bergs are among them. I'd have bought a 500 rather if I could have found one, but this 450 was a great deal.

And regarding tyres - yes, I'm sure any decent DOT off road tyre would work. Michelin Desert Race have ruled the Dakar for years, for good reason, and Mitas have done well recently too. I changed a 130/18 E09 on a recent Richtersveld trip without too much difficulty using a pair of these (the short, lightweight alu ones):

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BJZobQ8azTk/UJ02IE2SHBI/AAAAAAAACmk/XK4LTftg9qU/s1600/Bead-Pro-Tire-Bead-Breaker-Levers_003.jpg)

I'm hoping with Tubliss, sealant and plugs I won't need to. But I'll have a 21" tube, some bead beakers and a pump just in case.

At the end of the day one pays one's monies and makes ones choices. I'm sure I've made some questionable ones, but they've all involved quite a bit of weighing up the pro's and con's. We can amuse ourselves afterwards laughing at the consequences (after the pain has worn off).
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: SteveD on August 16, 2014, 10:11:24 pm
Hmm, where did you get the MotionPro Bead beakers?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: dirtWarp on August 16, 2014, 10:26:16 pm
My intent, as stated, was not to discuss your choice of bike. I actually commended it already.

They last super long and are uber tough in desert conditions, and Dakar proven. I chose it more for the puncture resistance than anything else. Had two on my 690 and really liked them. I'll get a lot of use out of the part-used tyres after Amageza.
Jeremy Clarkson: "Some say the E09's outlast 450 motors  
All I know is, my bank balance won't outlast its purchase."

;D

Why do we hear so little about them in these parts?
Forgive me, for a moment there I thought I had kindled an interest in the berg, which led to a slight bit of verbal diarrhea from my side  ;D
 
Was just pondering the true merit of these tower of pizza screens, compared to the above picture.. some go so far as to even reroute the exhaust headers a-la Dakar style with supertanker type fuel cells. The added weight + wind resistance results in a 450 than can barely reach 140km/h, hence my reference to the lower weight/resistance rocket ship 650.
Where does one draw the line?
How much, in terms of tanks, lights and electronics are truly needed to comfortably do the Amageza?

I would love to take part in this great event but reading these epic rally builds can be depressing to be honest. It also makes we wonder if it would not be possible to do the following:
KTM 525 =R35K
25L tank =R3K5
2000 Lumen LED lights = R500 (1 flood 1 spot http://www.extremelights.co.za/shop/high-intensity-led-10w-900lumen/ (http://www.extremelights.co.za/shop/high-intensity-led-10w-900lumen/))
Road book R?
2x M404 = R1K
1x AC10 = R500

Can I actually do it on a R40K budget or am I smoking the good stuff?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: LoopSoosStroop on August 16, 2014, 10:36:48 pm
Can I actually do it on a R40K budget or am I smoking the good stuff?

Yes, but then you'll have to join me on a TTR. I know of a lekker one if you want it.

 :biggrin:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: dirtWarp on August 16, 2014, 10:45:23 pm
Can I actually do it on a R40K budget or am I smoking the good stuff?

Yes, but then you'll have to join me on a TTR. I know of a lekker one if you want it.

 :biggrin:
Haha, I would actually like to.
I already have a 525 though
 ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on August 17, 2014, 03:12:37 am
AFAIK the bergs have basically been discontinued pretty much; always been seen as a model that protypes KTM stuff ahead of commercial KTM breeding. Given Husaberg is owned by KTM why market something else when the orange Brand is so successful?
Wasn't marketing it I'm just a big fan of those bikes.  ;D
I was "marketing" the minimalistic, yet potent Ausie approach to the Finke rally.
But as a side note, KTM doesn't make anything close to the 650 berg. It's something to experience.. my 550 berg would power wheelie in 4th, while sitting on the tank.

I was going to ramble on about how reliable those Bergs are but that's beside the point I was making.

;D I love the bikes as well, but as you say they are going out unfortunately. Shame they were never allowed to continue as a de facto Brand. I think The huskys are unfortunately in for the same fate.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on August 17, 2014, 07:50:02 am
Yeah the Husky's are essentially just white KTM's ... but may still inherit some Husaberg genes if we are lucky.  :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: alanB on August 17, 2014, 09:35:28 am
My intent, as stated, was not to discuss your choice of bike. I actually commended it already.

They last super long and are uber tough in desert conditions, and Dakar proven. I chose it more for the puncture resistance than anything else. Had two on my 690 and really liked them. I'll get a lot of use out of the part-used tyres after Amageza.
Jeremy Clarkson: "Some say the E09's outlast 450 motors  
All I know is, my bank balance won't outlast its purchase."

;D

Why do we hear so little about them in these parts?
Forgive me, for a moment there I thought I had kindled an interest in the berg, which led to a slight bit of verbal diarrhea from my side  ;D
 
Was just pondering the true merit of these tower of pizza screens, compared to the above picture.. some go so far as to even reroute the exhaust headers a-la Dakar style with supertanker type fuel cells. The added weight + wind resistance results in a 450 than can barely reach 140km/h, hence my reference to the lower weight/resistance rocket ship 650.
Where does one draw the line?
How much, in terms of tanks, lights and electronics are truly needed to comfortably do the Amageza?

I would love to take part in this great event but reading these epic rally builds can be depressing to be honest. It also makes we wonder if it would not be possible to do the following:
KTM 525 =R35K
25L tank =R3K5
2000 Lumen LED lights = R500 (1 flood 1 spot http://www.extremelights.co.za/shop/high-intensity-led-10w-900lumen/ (http://www.extremelights.co.za/shop/high-intensity-led-10w-900lumen/))
Road book R?
2x M404 = R1K
1x AC10 = R500

Can I actually do it on a R40K budget or am I smoking the good stuff?

You have to factor in travel costs, fuel, spares etc.

Roadbook holder is about 3-4k BTW.

That Husaberg you have posted above would be a great Amageza bike IMO.  I'm also a fan of the minimalist approach.

Generally a good Amageza bike should have the following characteristics:
1) Reliability - this extends beyond the engine, to all facets of the bike ESPECIALLY the navigation equipment.   Nav towers that fall apart under vibration etc and electrics that dont work are a large proportion of the issues people seem to face as far as I can see.
2) Easy handling - if you are going to have to fight the bike for five days its just going to make your chance of finishing that much harder -  However the issue with rally bikes is the fuel load is such a high proportion of the bike's weight so it handles very differently when full vs empty.
3) Fuel range - ideally you need fore/aft tanks to balance the weight on the bike
4) Easy maintenance - the bike must be set up so you can easily fix stuff in the limited time you have each night.  This applies especially to the nav system wiring

Anyway that's what I would ideally look for in a bike.

Of course being competitive or not, is ultimately all about the rider.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 17, 2014, 11:07:33 am

I would love to take part in this great event but reading these epic rally builds can be depressing to be honest. It also makes we wonder if it would not be possible to do the following:
KTM 525 =R35K
25L tank =R3K5
2000 Lumen LED lights = R500 (1 flood 1 spot http://www.extremelights.co.za/shop/high-intensity-led-10w-900lumen/ (http://www.extremelights.co.za/shop/high-intensity-led-10w-900lumen/))
Road book R?
2x M404 = R1K
1x AC10 = R500

Can I actually do it on a R40K budget or am I smoking the good stuff?

Yes man! Just do it. Two weeks left till entries close. You've already got the bike...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: SteveD on August 17, 2014, 07:37:08 pm
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on August 17, 2014, 11:59:14 pm
^^ What he said. :evil6:


Would love to meet the famous ditWarp in Nov. :deal:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: tour on August 18, 2014, 06:31:06 am
what max steve and bb said.
check my very long build a few threads down for the very cheap version, it might help you with your decision. don't stress the bike too much. kamanya will be on his 950/990 franken missile and I ll be on a 950 SE. all 200 kg + bikes.
GO for it. next year will be longer and harder so last real year to come in.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 18, 2014, 06:58:41 am
Dirtwarp! In case you missed Tour's thread, here it is http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=157478.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=157478.0). Haha! None of my riding mates are doing Amageza, so to be honest these threads are simply an excuse to make new mates and blither on about something I've been looking forward to for ages and am excited about.

My bike is new (to me) so there's lots of excitement, but at the end of the day it's a big enduro with a big tank and the nav gear bolted on. I went with an HDB tower and some bright lights, and it's really lovely, but it was a marginal decision. I bought a set of used nav gear which came with a KTM bolt on tower which would have done the job with the standard light (for much less money). Other than an early start for the liaison one shouldn't really get caught in the dark anyway unless one really cocks it up. (I may well!)

The rest is just dressing. There was a guy with an ice-cream box for the road book at the Durban training, but that may be a step too far over five days. OK, if you crash and break it you can stop for more ice-cream, but I think a manual road book is too much. Make one - plenty of guys do. You don't need an ICO - you can use a bicycle one, or if you have an old iPhone lying around run Rally Blitz, or a cheap switch turns a KTM odometer into one anyway (I think that's what Kamanya used last year). Check out what LoopSoosStroop is doing on next to no budget.

And I've done 3000km on one set of tyres plenty of time, even riding quite hard. The rest is just window dressing. Bingo. Seriously. Come!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: sidetrack on August 18, 2014, 07:55:54 am
There was a guy with an ice-cream box for the road book at the Durban training, but that may be a step too far over five days. OK, if you crash and break it you can stop for more ice-cream
:imaposer:

Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Cracker on August 18, 2014, 07:59:05 am
Come join us, dirtwarp  :thumleft:

A 525 takes you outta the 'pro' class and dumps you in with us 'weekend warriors'. My build has cost me less than R5k, easily, and it all works as it should. Add R15k for entrance, etc plus R10k for transport, fuel, etc and your at R30k. You'll need a fuel tank on the 525 but all the other bits, like tyres and chains, you'd be buying anyway.

  
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: dirtWarp on August 18, 2014, 09:30:41 am
Thanks everyone.
I am now vigorously going through all these builds to come up with the best strategy.

Come join us, dirtwarp  :thumleft:

A 525 takes you outta the 'pro' class and dumps you in with us 'weekend warriors'. My build has cost me less than R5k, easily, and it all works as it should. Add R15k for entrance, etc plus R10k for transport, fuel, etc and your at R30k. You'll need a fuel tank on the 525 but all the other bits, like tyres and chains, you'd be buying anyway.

PM coming your way
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 18, 2014, 09:47:40 am
Heh. Can of worms! As a really good friend of mine once said: "All the money I ever had I spent on women and aeroplanes. The rest I wasted."
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 21, 2014, 08:16:26 am
21st of August today, which means three weeks down since I announced three months to Amageza, and all I've had to show for it is a nasty bout of flu and equally horrible, tardy progress on the bike build. Time to step it up, bitches. More action going down here: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.60 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.60). I have to go riding this weekend.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: dirtWarp on August 24, 2014, 09:33:20 pm
I like this design:
https://www.youtube.com/v/FPESHRZfriw
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 25, 2014, 09:55:27 am
Nice. A lot of similar decisions to my bike, just a different tower/rally-nav attachment. Flying Brick sell some locally made clamps and nav tray that are pretty much the same as the Rally Management Services one. So - you joining us?? ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: dirtWarp on August 25, 2014, 10:22:32 am
Nice. A lot of similar decisions to my bike, just a different tower/rally-nav attachment. Flying Brick sell some locally made clamps and nav tray that are pretty much the same as the Rally Management Services one. So - you joining us?? ;)
I'm not promising anything yet but I'm getting a 25L tank this week.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: sidetrack on August 25, 2014, 03:53:10 pm
I like this design:
https://www.youtube.com/v/FPESHRZfriw
Give Chilly a Bell's  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: AntonW on August 25, 2014, 07:45:57 pm
I have never seen handle bars, flex bars like this before. Have a look at 5.45 on video
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scooterbike on August 25, 2014, 09:39:32 pm
Flexbars are more common on quad bikes, and also expensive. its got about 5mm vertical movement at the bar ends.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Pom17 on August 25, 2014, 10:18:18 pm
Why would you want flex bars?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on August 25, 2014, 10:34:44 pm
Why would you want flex bars?

Guys use them to reduce vibration, jarring and fatigue ... especially good I believe if you have suffered broken wrists etc. Personally I hate the look of them.  ::)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: sidetrack on August 25, 2014, 11:00:37 pm
Why would you want flex bars?

Guys use them to reduce vibration, jarring and fatigue ... especially good I believe if you have suffered broken wrists etc. Personally I hate the look of them.  ::)
Must feel weird to have flex in them  ...... like the bars are about to fly of the bike  :eek7: Guess you get used to them.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BiG DoM on August 25, 2014, 11:07:11 pm
Why would you want flex bars?

Guys use them to reduce vibration, jarring and fatigue ... especially good I believe if you have suffered broken wrists etc. Personally I hate the look of them.  ::)
Must feel weird to have flex in them  ...... like the bars are about to fly of the bike  :eek7: Guess you get used to them.

Guess you get used to them - you get hard and soft bungs evidently ... only really give a few mm of lateral flex.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Pom17 on August 25, 2014, 11:14:21 pm
Wont it give you a disconnected feeling?

Agree, they look kak.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 26, 2014, 08:59:58 am
A lot of guys swear by them. They just add a bit of damping - the design retains a direct feeling at the bars.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on August 26, 2014, 03:33:18 pm
Looks like Deserts, and E09 rear. I will run the same.


Michelin Desert is a seriously shitty tire, the 2-1-2-1 centre bead causes a serious wobble at about 100-110 km/h on smooth surfaces - Google it, it is a well documented fact and even Dakar teams placed a restriction on speed for the riders on the liason sections.

I bought mine knowing about it, thinking "how bad can it be..?"  -  BAD, to the extent that I stopped popping the occasional wheely just so the tyre can wear down and I won't feel bad throwing a semi used tyre away.

Use it lose it  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 27, 2014, 09:27:41 am
...I stopped popping the occasional wheely...

Yeah. Right.  :laughing4:

I do remember some similar press about the Desert some years back, which deterred me from running it on a long trip. This time I just thought a decade of Dakar winners can't be wrong. Seems to be wildly divergent opinions on this tyre... I'll chuck one on now to test and if I don't like it I'll get a C21 or C17 and sell them for a bargain 3% discount on Wilddogs!

I have your spring in my possession... remind me to bring it to the next race.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on August 27, 2014, 09:52:59 am
Don't get me wrong. I love the Mich Desert rear, and although being a 140, noticeably heavier compared to 130's, I chose to live with it and enjoy the puncture resistance, the offroad capability and the not to bad longlivity even when doing the odd bit of tar.

For our Angola trip, knowing we will do a lot of offroad, I fitted the Mich Desert front, and yes, when conditions is gnarly, it is great, but anything less than gnarly it sucks, even on the typical smooth gravel roads that you find going up in the Tankwa.

On smooth surfaces it has a wobble as you go past 100/110, which I can live with, but chop your throttle and come down past 100/110, man o' man - it was so bad, the first time it happened I stopped to check if I had a flat.
Title: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 27, 2014, 10:55:19 am
Sounds just like the Mitas C23... What do you recommend then?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on August 27, 2014, 08:30:05 pm
Don't get me wrong. I love the Mich Desert rear, and although being a 140, noticeably heavier compared to 130's, I chose to live with it and enjoy the puncture resistance, the offroad capability and the not to bad longlivity even when doing the odd bit of tar.

For our Angola trip, knowing we will do a lot of offroad, I fitted the Mich Desert front, and yes, when conditions is gnarly, it is great, but anything less than gnarly it sucks, even on the typical smooth gravel roads that you find going up in the Tankwa.

On smooth surfaces it has a wobble as you go past 100/110, which I can live with, but chop your throttle and come down past 100/110, man o' man - it was so bad, the first time it happened I stopped to check if I had a flat.

Theyre not supposed to be ridden at 100/110, theyre supposed to be ridden at 130/180 kmh ;D Youre too slow, and posing too much Dave. ;)  >:D

Seriously, accelerate through the wobble and keep going. :deal:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on August 27, 2014, 08:43:13 pm
Youre too slow, and posing too much Dave. ;)  >:D

Eish - I know  :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 31, 2014, 06:48:26 pm
My mate/Amageza team member Dirk/Scooterbike drew up a little roadbook around Grabouw in Rally Navigator, and invited me to come and run it with him on Saturday. He knew the track, so I'd be up front making all the (in)decisions. It was to be my first proper run on my new bike, and great to try out the nav gear, which I'd just finished bolting on. Here's the bike, if you haven't followed the build thread: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=156398.0)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5574/15050127176_ced186a554_b.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3914/15050126856_18fc24969b_b.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3898/14886494710_b254665318_b.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3904/15070109891_5638bcb582_b.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5566/15050126126_5bb2813d22_b.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3857/14886493860_45c7393c3c_b.jpg)

Rally navigation should be a piece of cake: watch the ICO, match the distance to the roadbook turns, and follow the course. Of course, on a tar road, restricted to 80kph it would be fine. On a deeply rutted, loose track that winds through forestry, to put it politely, less so. There's a mantra to it, I suppose: constantly keep loading the next three turns to memory, know whether you've got 100m or 1km plus to the next turn so you can know whether to focus on riding or navigation. I'm sure it's all zen if you're a rally pro, and even they get lost. But it's surpassingly difficult to do at any speed with confidence. And more importantly, to do so consistently.

Dirk's track was probably 'busier' than the average section of Amageza. Either that, or we're in for a very long five days. All in all, job well done, and I've got more of an idea of what is to be expected. More training needed!! Shot Scooterbike!

I need a CAP repeater or an iPhone with Rally Blitz. Paying attention to the CAP heading is a key added piece of info to tell you if you've taken the right turn or not. My GPS is in the wrong position to see the heading easily - I could stick it up top, but I'm more concerned to keep it vibe-free and protected from a crash at the centre of the bars, because my event is 100% reliant on the track it records.

Didn't stop for peetchers, unfortunately, so you'll have to be happy with these:

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5579/14908575447_e3527ea523_o.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3898/14908482630_f7ee8e7ebf_o.jpg)

The bike is a cracking ride. It needs a re-gear. I think I've got 13/50 at the moment, and that's not right for the open sections. I'm going one up on the front and then let's see. Didn't have time to get Tubliss in, but that's this week's project, and then some setup on the suspension. I adjusted the sag Friday night, but think I may have ended up a little hard. The stock spring may not be quite right for my weight, but I want to ride it a bit more before I make that call.

The Seat Concepts certainly was a winner, although it makes the bike noticeably taller. If I'd remembered some ear plugs, I would have had a super comfortable ride. Oh, and the wheels need balancing, but I'll deal with that when I stick Tubliss in this week.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3913/14908446069_1f3476b90d_o.jpg)

Here's the highly scientific fuel consumption test after about 200km (155 'special' plus a bit of 'liaison'). I think the required 270km is going to be easy. Dirk has the same fuel capacity and a carbed WR, so he's going to run out of fuel before I do! ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Rolling Stone on August 31, 2014, 08:46:26 pm
I am worried about Fuel Range, What do you have there?
Consumption?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on August 31, 2014, 09:41:06 pm
Don't worry. Be happy.
Bout 20l.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on September 01, 2014, 02:31:16 am
Ian, some great observations there, the guys would do well to take note. :deal:

Did you catch yourself looking too long at the roadbook? :evil6: I always get caught doing that!

Ian how much deep sand did you have? 20L sounds really light for 270km...

Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 01, 2014, 09:59:41 am
Ian, some great observations there, the guys would do well to take note. :deal:

Did you catch yourself looking too long at the roadbook? :evil6: I always get caught doing that!

Ian how much deep sand did you have? 20L sounds really light for 270km...


Yeah, none to speak of. From the looks of things I have around 350+ in that tank on tight dirt. Sand is, of course, another question. Will be doing some more scientific consumption testing at Atlantis this week...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 02, 2014, 03:04:57 pm
What do:

(http://www.enduro360.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/51631_Marc_Coma__1_1024.jpg)

...and...

(http://bargument.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/LukeSkywalker.jpg)

have in common, I ask you? A LOT MORE than you'd think!! Both of them battle omnipotent evil forces, led by a dark overlord, in inhospital, scary, alien terrain far from home.

Dark Overlord:

(http://g3ar.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/DR-evil.jpg)

No scratch that. Sorry, this one:

(http://grumpyrules.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/945321_10200268671853524_920433044_n.jpg)

They are both set ambiguous challenges that, at first, seem impossible to complete. They get lost many times, sometimes in their own minds, and finally find their way when all seems lost and others have stolen the prize from right in front of them.

Until the very end we won't know if they will emerge victorious from the dragon's lair... (cue ominous, dark music) or even... survive! Boom boom boom boom.

Introducing, Racing Panda's Amageza Team 2014, incorporating, a small, long eared wise one, a tall hamster thing, and an instructor called Handsome Solo. Or something like that.




SKYWALKERS
May the Force be with us!

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5584/15094301236_b485c60f8b_s.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: SteveD on September 02, 2014, 03:23:52 pm
 :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:

I love it!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: alanB on September 02, 2014, 03:55:23 pm
 :biggrin:

Well it looks like you have the right weapon at least

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3914/15050126856_18fc24969b_b.jpg)

 :thumleft: :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: markdiver on September 02, 2014, 03:59:03 pm
 :imaposer:  Brilliant.

Yes, hopefully the force is with us to that finish line  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Scooterbike on September 02, 2014, 08:16:31 pm
holy green space crap! am I the green midget? whats next, T shirts??  :laughing4:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 02, 2014, 10:33:04 pm
Haha. I thought you were the wise leader.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Pistonpete on September 07, 2014, 01:32:17 am
Its not often i fall in love...however the Orange Hubs, Anodised Spokes & Nipples and the Custom Wheel Weights got my blood going! Nice one Panda!
The Force be with you...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 08, 2014, 08:24:02 am
Thanks Pete! Those rather zef wheels were chosen by the former custodian of my ride. He can't actually be called an owner, seeing as he spent all of a year only putting 17 hours on the bike, but he did a lot of pimping.

Here are said wheels on way back from a little trip to Outriders to use the balancing stand and get some Tyre shield pumped in:

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5567/14988935880_dcfbb3cafb_o.jpg)

Got me some re-useable balance weights off ebay. Nice. That's about the accumulated weight of the Tubliss rim-lock there (17oz):

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5564/14988841669_27eab532df_o.jpg)

And speaking of Tubliss... everyone makes big scary noises about Mitas E09 tyres and the fear of having to replace them in the field. I can safely tell you that a rear E09 is a piece of piss - well the 130/18 anyway. Now.... on the other hand... a front Dessert is the most stubborn, pig headed, nasty little bitch from hell, with zero sense of humour on a bad day, I've ever had the displeasure of encountering with a set of tyre irons in my hand.

After sweating, swearing and complaining to any anyone who'd listen, I finally got it on, and then heard a horrible little whistling sound as soon as I inflated the Tubliss. Bugger.

Getting the tyre off again (left it to the next day) was even worse than getting it on. I'm sure that bead is about three sizes too small. Tubliss have a new rim lining tape, and mine had slightly folded over and something pricked the inner liner.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5583/14989018297_9799d788a6_o.jpg)

I evened it out as best I could and then thought fuckit and put a layer of duct tape over the whole lot to hold it all in place. I'm sure someone at Tubliss thinks that is a bad idea, but their liner seems ill-conceived to me. After balancing, the inner got a few squirts of Tyre Shield too, so that should rescue it from full delation if there are any more little pin pricks.

I do like riding on Tubliss though - you can run super low pressures (1 bar in the front Desert, and 0.7 bar in the rear E09 so far) without fear of snake bites, and it just seems to hook up nicely.

Sort of Team Skywalkers plus Rudie, missing Hendrik - so, I dunno, team HDB or something like that - went out for another road book session on Sunday. Incidentally, the HDB kit is just brilliant and everyone is very happy. You don't feel it on the bars at all, so I think the rally lite setup was a great way to go since we're not putting Irritracks or Sentinels or anything on the bars for this event.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3903/15175213172_4fee1a50e7_o.jpg)

I got so lost at about the 12km mark that I had to evacuate to a padstal on the N2 for a pie and recovery. Took a right turn I was certain was correct, that started on a track and ended up on a 3km dive down the side of a mountain through the undergrowth in a 1m-wide stream bed. The end of of that was a T-junction and no turning in the road book. Shit. Backtracked around the dirt roads to get back to the turn into the stream bed and then tried to piece together where I'd gone wrong.

The problem is that at this point the mind starts to play tricks on which turn was which and what one's km reading should be. If one could just go back to turn 11 and re-start from there it would be fine... but which is turn 11 exactly? In the actual rally, this would have been the point I bailed and headed to my next waypoint on the GPS, no doubt picking up dozens of penalty points for missed hidden waypoints in the process. But this is the game, right? I think of myself as a reasonably smart bloke, but I'm packing a large spoon for all the humble pie I'll no doubt be eating.

Rudie had a loose battery terminal and no tools, so hadn't even made the start. But loving wife duly arrived with tools, and he fixed that and met us after Dirk came and joined me at the padstal. The photo above is is us about to start the road book again. Running the same route, it then becomes very confusing as to why one got lost in the first place. Confusion upon confusion. Sigh.

Lessons learned this weekend: (1) this whole rally road book thing involves really having your wits about you. Once you've taken a wrong turn, you better be very careful backtracking before you land in a whole confusing mess of where on the road book you are and which turn and ICO marking is which. (2) I am deeply unfit. Five weeks of intermittent flu have left me cramping like a Comrades runner after only half a day in the saddle. Two months left to do something very serious about that!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 08, 2014, 08:30:35 am
Don't get me wrong. I love the Mich Desert rear, and although being a 140, noticeably heavier compared to 130's, I chose to live with it and enjoy the puncture resistance, the offroad capability and the not to bad longlivity even when doing the odd bit of tar.

For our Angola trip, knowing we will do a lot of offroad, I fitted the Mich Desert front, and yes, when conditions is gnarly, it is great, but anything less than gnarly it sucks, even on the typical smooth gravel roads that you find going up in the Tankwa.

On smooth surfaces it has a wobble as you go past 100/110, which I can live with, but chop your throttle and come down past 100/110, man o' man - it was so bad, the first time it happened I stopped to check if I had a flat.

Incidentally, the Desert front (with E09 rear) was pretty stable on debut on Sunday. Didn't have much wobbling - perhaps a little lightness in the bars from time to time, but nothing I haven't had with other tyres and it hooks up nicely in the rough. I did balance them, though - don't know if that helped.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 17, 2014, 02:04:36 pm
My body hurts all over.

The downside of browsing Youtube in idle moments, is you come across perverted shit like this: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJAvmhgP0h1AEKY8vTEJPJg (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJAvmhgP0h1AEKY8vTEJPJg)

And then you remind yourself that you bought a lowly KDX earlier this year in order to trash it and learn skills you were too scared to, and couldn't afford to (or had too much respect for the machinery to) learn on a big bike. In the dry words of the Aussie narrator:

Quote
You came into this world screaming, and covered in blood, so it's only appropriate to take every opportunity to engage in a sport which will give you every chance of leaving it the same way!

(Or something like that.)

These boys are devotees of The Jarve, otherwise known as "His Holiness, May His Name Be Praised" and other appropriate titles. Basic principle: if yo wanna learn to ride fast, mofo's, learn to ride slow. They advocate trials techniques as the ideal cross training for enduro riding. And by virtue of the same logic, enduro skills as the ideal cross training for rally riding. So - vis-a-vis - trials training as the ideal development for rally riding. Yadda yadda.

So, I've dragged myself off to Zone 7's enduro-cross track the last two weeks - the tight little part on the side with tree trunks across the path etc. - and attempted to learn how to ride this stuff. I still can't balance standing on the bike for more than a few moments with the engine off, but that's cause I'm a bit, well, shit. But after a few tumbles and being thrown over the bars once or twice, I am now proud to say I can sort of get around that track, after a fashion.

I'm not brave enough yet to try the vertical tractor tyres, or the huge tree stump with roots coming out. But come hell or high water I will. Soon. 45 days and counting...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on September 17, 2014, 03:15:30 pm
 :laughing4: We had a 12yr old girl go over that vertical tractor tire at Toni Jardine's Ladies training day  :P  :o

Sorry, just had to share that  :imaposer:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: LoopSoosStroop on September 17, 2014, 03:21:00 pm
Hahaha, good stuff, where's the vids?

I'm also starting to lean towards the slow/enduro stuff. Partly because it's cheaper than ralley, but mainly because it's safer. I'm a bit of a pissie, not too fond of speed. I've got kids, hehe.

Will sell my TTR after the Amageza and probably get a 200/250 2 smoke, do some enduros and get my skills up.

I'm also getting off the road at the same time. There is just no way to ride a motorbike safely in Gauteng. Once you get on a bike the hooligan in you takes over, there is no stopping it. Weaving between cars, popping the front onto the pavement etc. I'm not a believer in the "he died doing what he loves" thing. Just not worth it anymore.

Anyways, hijack off.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on September 17, 2014, 03:35:22 pm
I'm also starting to lean towards the slow/enduro stuff. Partly because it's cheaper than ralley, but mainly because it's safer. I'm a bit of a pissie, not too fond of speed. I've got kids, hehe.

Hang on a second...Rally hardly involves any traffic at all if youre doing it right. :scratch: Unless you mean the racing part of it. But racing  at full gas is not wise in a rally because you will likely miss a turnoff or a danger in the road book.

And you have a road book telling you where to slow down.

Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Beserker on September 17, 2014, 03:40:50 pm
My body hurts all over.

Maybe an age thing, getting married an' all.

Even 9 year olds does not have a problem with it.

(http://i268.photobucket.com/albums/jj26/Beserker_bucket/sh_00014_1-1.jpg)

(http://i268.photobucket.com/albums/jj26/Beserker_bucket/sh_00015_1-1.jpg)

(http://i268.photobucket.com/albums/jj26/Beserker_bucket/sh_00013_1-2.jpg)

(http://i268.photobucket.com/albums/jj26/Beserker_bucket/sh_00010_1-5.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on September 17, 2014, 03:42:20 pm
That makes me tired just looking at it. If we have that kind of obsticle 500km into Day 2 Im going afkak big time. :P
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: LoopSoosStroop on September 17, 2014, 03:48:56 pm
Hang on a second...Rally hardly involves any traffic at all if youre doing it right. :scratch: Unless you mean the racing part of it. But racing  at full gas is not wise in a rally because you will likely miss a turnoff or a danger in the road book.

And you have a road book telling you where to slow down.

Full gas is relative, 120kph on dirt for one man might be slow, for me it's faster than I want to go. Even the GOC's are too fast for me.

To train with a ralley bike you have to ride a lot on the road as well, it's not just the race itself.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Dwerg on September 17, 2014, 03:51:24 pm
That makes me tired just looking at it. If we have that kind of obsticle 500km into Day 2 Im going afkak big time. :P

You and me both bud. I could barely manage 50kms at De Wild last weekend  :lol8:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Cracker on September 17, 2014, 03:58:43 pm
That makes me tired just looking at it. If we have that kind of obsticle 500km into Day 2 Im going afkak big time. :P

You and me both bud. I could barely manage 50kms at De Wild last weekend  :lol8:

Yous are not looking properly - where you see a tree, I see a road right next to it  :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Buff on September 17, 2014, 04:52:38 pm
That makes me tired just looking at it. If we have that kind of obsticle 500km into Day 2 Im going afkak big time. :P

 :imaposer: Oh boy, the medical tent is going to have its hands full in the evenings  ;) Reading some of Alex reports, you guys are going to be going down more than one or two riverbeds... and they normally have rocks in them, BEEG WOCKS  ;) :imaposer:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: markdiver on September 17, 2014, 05:05:17 pm
That makes me tired just looking at it. If we have that kind of obsticle 500km into Day 2 Im going afkak big time. :P

 :imaposer: Oh boy, the medical tent is going to have its hands full in the evenings  ;) Reading some of Alex reports, you guys are going to be going down more than one or two riverbeds... and they normally have rocks in them, BEEG WOCKS  ;) :imaposer:

Oh boy, that river bed from last years 1st stage still haunts me  :-[ :xxbah:  It almost got the muuuuch beeter of me.  This years policy and remider for me - DO NOT LET ALEX OR ANY RIVER BED GET TO YOU!!   :patch:  ;) ;D
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 17, 2014, 06:06:59 pm

Maybe an age thing, getting married an' all.

Even 9 year olds does not have a problem with it.


Haha - I said I was shit. But no man - you cheeky bastard - that stuff you posted was the easy stuff. I'm talking about this:

(http://rx.iscdn.net/2009/11/1258959751_72081.jpg)

There's set of vertical tractor tyres a bit like these - I'll take a picture next time I'm there. And Buff, if there was a 12 yr-old girl doing that on her first training day Laia doesn't have a chance in about 3 yrs time! ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on September 17, 2014, 09:25:38 pm
:imaposer:

I like Cracker´s approach, although in truth sometimes its easy to say, not so easy to do.

Remember in this year´s Dakar when some the boys found their way the wrong way off a ridge 4,500m high. Ended up going down a slope too steep to ride up again. Finally in a canyon and after carrying their bikes down a series of 3m ledges got blocked by a huge house sized rock with a hole too small to fit the bikes through. ;D

Game over.

Riverbeds are one thing. Big rocks are another. Its when riverbeds become canyons and big rocks become huge boulders that I start to get nervous.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 22, 2014, 11:35:11 am
We'd planned a weekend Amageza intensive training run and road book practice for anyone in the Western Cape who was interested. In the end it was only the Skywalkers crew who went for it, so a perfect opportunity to discuss secret tactics and practice emergency repairs and servicing. And tend injuries in private.

As is my way, this is what my bike looked like at 6pm the night before:

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5578/15295752066_69f60bc74e_o.jpg)

Rerouting brake lines, changing sprockets, oil, filters, trying unsuccessfully to fix faulty fuel injection warning light etc. There's a method to the madness - I plan to deal with all mechanical crises and last minute repairs well before Amageza so that I get to sail plainly through the event without a trouble in the world. Best laid plans and all.

A 450 XC-W comes geared at 13-52 which is useless for open desert stuff. A quick shout out to Dave at Rally Management Services divulged that they run 14/48 or 14/50 on the XC-W-based Dakar bikes, which training partner Rudie agreed with.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3842/15295748766_da00a29f9c_o.jpg)

Out with the old bling (sorry Pete) and in with the new:

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3861/15132198048_3f67c2e4cc_o.jpg)

It's got plenty of top end like this, and will happily sit at 140kph for extended periods. I didn't flat tap it, but I'm guessing it would make around 170kph on a wide open road. The standard front brake hose interferes with the nav gear, so that has been re-routed across the lower triple and p-clamped in place.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 22, 2014, 12:01:54 pm
Locked and loaded in Somerset West for three full days of riding. Friday was surprisingly cold. Snow on the mountains in September...

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3866/15132090090_b9004fb98e_o.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5563/15318458992_d0bcc389a8_o.jpg)

And frost on the seat.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3901/15132093770_58f680e004_o.jpg)

That Seat Concepts is the most comfortable plank I've ever had on a bike, by the way. Great purchase!

The first day was a few hundred kays of dirt road riding and nav practice. Operating a road book should be pretty simple, but it takes some getting used to. It's finally sinking in - I guess it's just habits and routines. I tend to drift off in my head a lot, which is the enemy of finding your way. Riding is one thing - navigating requires constant concentration.

Dirk had a buddy with a farm outside Lainsburg, and he kindly offered to host us for the weekend. The farm has an awesome 60km loop on some very rough mountain terrain, which made for a real workout and a few falls from yours truly.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3899/15318746852_3dab2026b7_o.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3913/15132335469_32fc2a7bcd_o.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5565/15296042346_72a464e7e5_o.jpg)

640's are demanding, impetuous rides. They crave committed, constant attention and throw their toys (or subframe bolts, as it so happens) if you don't give it.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5573/15132488548_19c028f971_o.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3866/15296039936_c7c50eb742_o.jpg)

Still, Hendrik loves the old girl, and he rode her up the mountain faster than either of us did on our 450's! She's a 2001 model, and I'll lay some good money she'll be the oldest bike at the Amageza. Oh, and she was also sporting well used 50/50 Heidenau's - otherwise known as 'The Rekluses'. We can also now confirm that if you don't reattach the fuel lines, a 640 will run for about half a kay with what's left in the carb.

Cameras always flatten hills, but this track had a few completely washed away sections that had to be man-handled through.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3887/15296038766_aebf24b51d_o.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3844/15319072575_1616b15895_o.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5560/15318735992_fa261792d6_o.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5558/15319068485_86dc6471e7_o.jpg)

Day 3 involved a ride back to the trailer in Montagu, but via a great track I'd done once before - a 4x4 trail up and along the mountains above the Anysberg valley. It's gorgeous, and a bit of a workout.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3853/15296031146_f83cd340d7_o.jpg)

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3889/15132457888_1018f166fa_o.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5553/15318713102_343f3102e1_o.jpg)

That stubborn mule also tried to take a drink in a sloot without rider-warning and sent her loving pilot over the bars.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3848/15132454918_66b9189100_o.jpg)

And then the Yammie even got in on the act. This hill looks flat. It wasn't.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3883/15318710042_d1f706bb26_o.jpg)

The 640 wasn't finished yet. Rekluses and pebbles go together like black cats and peanut butter. This was a S-bend worthy of a Monaco F1-track immediately over a blind rise that Hendrik must have hit over 100kph. Amageza note to self...

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5589/15296005936_861f06699c_o.jpg)

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5589/15315882501_84df86acf7_o.jpg)

Hobbling, scraped, bumped and a little broken: a good training weekend then. Hendrik did a bit of work on my hill technique, which paid massive dividends on day three. The bike - and my wonderful Highway Dirtbikes kit - was stellar, and shook off a 40kph off on a rocky descent as if she'd landed on a pillow made of marshmallows. KTM make their enduro bikes tough. I've got a feeling that's a quality I might be making good use of.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on September 22, 2014, 12:42:12 pm
Very nice report Ian! :thumleft:

You guys are way more prepared than I am this year.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: LoopSoosStroop on September 22, 2014, 12:59:58 pm
Looks like awesome riding there!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: markdiver on September 22, 2014, 01:37:33 pm
Looks really lekker Max, will have to come visit one day and ride this route of yours  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 22, 2014, 02:14:51 pm
This weekend I really started to bond with the little KTM. It's only got about 30 hours on now, so it's really too soon to start talking reliability, but it's just been rock solid so far. OK, it's missing that steam train-like thrust and planted feeling of the 690 in the open stuff, but it's plenty fast enough, and in the tight, rocky or sandy terrain it's in another class altogether. It's just so much lighter and there's so much more suspension that for a kak rider like me it's the bizniz. And despite all the add-on shit it's still just an enduro dirt-bike, so when you chuck it on the ground it bounces and little bits don't fall off.
 
I may not feel the same way after my first engine rebuild, but so far, so good!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: KarooKid on September 24, 2014, 09:35:10 am
This thread is going to make me do stupid things.......

Maybe I should.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 24, 2014, 10:46:18 am
I know of an Amageza entry going begging if you want to do something REALLY stupid.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: KarooKid on September 24, 2014, 01:29:08 pm
That might be pushing it as I don't even have a bike yet.

Would at least like to be prepared - with regards to ability and fitness.

I' following your progress. Good luck  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 25, 2014, 12:14:21 pm
Thanks! I don't have any mates doing it (except for new buddies made through Amageza) so it's been cool to get a bit of vibe here instead.

Update on tyres - been testing Desert front/E09 rear for about 1000km now, and overall very happy. Running Desert at 1 bar and E09 at 0.7 bar on Tubliss and no issues at all. 1 bar on the front takes a little punishment if you klap a sharp-edge rock really hard, but on balance the added traction is worth it. If anything I feel I could go even lower on the back, as the E09 is so tough, but so far I've been really happy with the traction except for a section of loose/pebbles and dust on a hard dirt road through Seweweeks's Poort, where it was sliding around a lot. Probably any tyre would have been a bit loose there. None of the dreaded Desert front shake-wobble-and-roll at all, so that's a result.

So... I have my Amageza tyre combo settled. Just as well, as I'd already bought them. Wear rates are looking fantastic, too. At the moment I'm guessing I'll stay on one front and change a rear half way through, but we'll just have to see how that pans out.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on September 25, 2014, 07:48:38 pm
Thanks! I don't have any mates doing it (except for new buddies made through Amageza) so it's been cool to get a bit of vibe here instead.

Dont forget your creepy WD internet friends you´ve never met before! ;D


You sound well-prepped bud. Wish I could say the same. My bike is still in pieces thousands of kilometers away from me and im not to ride until I am on the Amageza. Last time I touched it was in 2012.... ::)

Sitting here with bloody flu so can´t train either. :(

Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: tour on September 25, 2014, 08:16:15 pm
karookid

your sig says that you have an hp2. so that means you have a bike. no excuses. bring what you got. there are 2 over 200 kg 950/990 s taking part... I will be riding an 950 SE so come and play man
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 25, 2014, 09:40:54 pm
What he said.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on September 25, 2014, 09:42:11 pm
Neil - the first time one is always obsessed and pedantic. Then you realize it's fine and you can just hack it like everything else. You'll ace it, I'm sure. Just came out 5 weeks flu and still not fit so know how you feel...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: KarooKid on September 29, 2014, 09:11:31 pm
karookid

your sig says that you have an hp2. so that means you have a bike. no excuses. bring what you got. there are 2 over 200 kg 950/990 s taking part... I will be riding an 950 SE so come and play man


Sure I can do it on the HP but there is no way in hell I put that precious machine through that.

Like Poenie said in Lipstiek Dipstiek - met die regte gereedskap is alles maklik.

I'm working on it.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: tour on September 30, 2014, 06:45:29 am
karookid the hp is fine. just ride to finish and let the pro s ride to win. or is the HP not on the same level as the SE. bietjie tong innie kies hier ne...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: GJ on October 01, 2014, 09:36:39 pm
karookid the hp is fine. just ride to finish and let the pro s ride to win. or is the HP not on the same level as the SE. bietjie tong innie kies hier ne...

Rudi,jy weet mos die SE is baas
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: sidetrack on October 06, 2014, 11:27:13 am
What brand is an M404? E09 in 130/18 is just over R1200. They last super long and are uber tough in desert conditions, and Dakar proven. I chose it more for the puncture resistance than anything else. Had two on my 690 and really liked them. I'll get a lot of use out of the part-used tyres after Amageza.

That Berg looks fantastic but I guess it feels quite esoteric and I'd be concerned about parts and reliability. But that may just be ignorance talking. Why do we hear so little about them in these parts?
Just wanted to let you know about the M404, my bike had them on while I bought them so I'm not sure how many mileage they had done by done. Anyway I have done 3 trips with them on all types of terrain including fairly high speed tar sections and they hold up just as well as some dual sport tires. I would definitely buy them again  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 09, 2014, 07:13:44 pm
Dear god, this amateur rallying lark is an expensive business. I took what turned out to be a very naughty little trip to KTM Cape Town this afternoon. There's no point in spending all this time preparing, training, buying and equipping motorcycles... just to be knocked out on day two by a snapped gear shifter, right? Well, Dave Peckham probably isn't the right person to be turning to for guidance in these matters: http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0061/7252/files/rally_packing_list.pdf?8366 (http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0061/7252/files/rally_packing_list.pdf?8366).

Actually, he is... but how fat is your wallet? As my good friend Brandon the Pilot used to say: "It's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground." Reinterpreted to rally speak: it's better to blow your unborn children's inheritance on spare parts prior to the rally, than to find yourself willing to swap a kidney for a .... (replace with any multitude of small and annoyingly expensive motorcycle parts) to save your ass being unceremoniously abandoned at the bivouac on morning three of the Amageza.

But which spare parts, exactly? Of course a brake pedal and gear selector, and a set of levers, right? New chain and set of sprockets? Couple of air filters? Definitely enough of the world's most expensive synthetic 10W60 oil and filters for five oil changes! How about maybe a set of front and rear wheel bearings? Or some sneaky little parts like a water pump seal and a countershaft seal? And then for the real ball buster - what to do about that rather pivotal little part on a 2013 KTM 450 FI... the FI itself?? R1600, in case you were wondering - and definitely known to be the source of a lot of trouble at unwanted moments.

The good part is that I'm keeping this bike (well, that's the plan) so these things won't go unused in the long term. Small comfort!

(http://spottydogepos.com/ESW/Images/spotty_logo.jpg?xcache=2781)

Then there is the utter frustration of having spent the week in bed. Mostly because by Sunday I was sporting more spots than this Dalmatian, and looking even more sorry for myself. Apparently it is possible for a 44-year old man to get German Measles!

I wish this damn thing would just start now.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: Cracker on October 09, 2014, 09:25:27 pm
Surely a maxed out panda's supposed to have lots of spots  ;D

On a good point - R1600 for FI is way cheaper than buying a 2nd carburettor - but then again, why have 2 carbs??
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: 1ougat on October 10, 2014, 06:35:35 am
Dear god, this amateur rallying lark is an expensive business. I took what turned out to be a very naughty little trip to KTM Cape Town this afternoon. There's no point in spending all this time preparing, training, buying and equipping motorcycles... just to be knocked out on day two by a snapped gear shifter, right? Well, Dave Peckham probably isn't the right person to be turning to for guidance in these matters: http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0061/7252/files/rally_packing_list.pdf?8366 (http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0061/7252/files/rally_packing_list.pdf?8366).

Actually, he is... but how fat is your wallet? As my good friend Brandon the Pilot used to say: "It's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground." Reinterpreted to rally speak: it's better to blow your unborn children's inheritance on spare parts prior to the rally, than to find yourself willing to swap a kidney for a .... (replace with any multitude of small and annoyingly expensive motorcycle parts) to save your ass being unceremoniously abandoned at the bivouac on morning three of the Amageza.

But which spare parts, exactly? Of course a brake pedal and gear selector, and a set of levers, right? New chain and set of sprockets? Couple of air filters? Definitely enough of the world's most expensive synthetic 10W60 oil and filters for five oil changes! How about maybe a set of front and rear wheel bearings? Or some sneaky little parts like a water pump seal and a countershaft seal? And then for the real ball buster - what to do about that rather pivotal little part on a 2013 KTM 450 FI... the FI itself?? R1600, in case you were wondering - and definitely known to be the source of a lot of trouble at unwanted moments.

The good part is that I'm keeping this bike (well, that's the plan) so these things won't go unused in the long term. Small comfort!

(http://spottydogepos.com/ESW/Images/spotty_logo.jpg?xcache=2781)

Then there is the utter frustration of having spent the week in bed. Mostly because by Sunday I was sporting more spots than this Dalmatian, and looking even more sorry for myself. Apparently it is possible for a 44-year old man to get German Measles!

I wish this damn thing would just start now.

Like the SPARE MOTOR.... :lol8:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on October 10, 2014, 12:03:35 pm
If youre serious about rally, a spare motor is a good idea. This rally is just inside the distance where I think it may be a good idea to have one, so maybe next year...

Get well son Ian! :thumleft:

Im nearing the end of a second week of flu. ::) All this travelling does not help.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 10, 2014, 06:53:37 pm
Sigh. Let's get through this one first, shall we?

Yeah, at this stage I'd put more money on my health letting me down than my bike. To us both being of sane body and insane mind!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on October 10, 2014, 07:44:22 pm
Looking forward to meeting you Ian. Can´t believe we will be in Upington 3 weeks today.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 11, 2014, 08:49:05 am
Likewise Neil! Is it really nearly upon us??
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 17, 2014, 04:47:48 pm
This time two weeks - if Kaptein Yoda can get us out of bed in time so we can dodge the roadworks - we will be in Upington chomping at the bit and doing a lot of aimless shit while killing time for the start of the long awaited event.

Via WhatsApp from Team Skywalkers earlier today:

Yoda: "Ek gaan nog steeds Ceres toe vier race marshal al het et niet bike niet" (The WR ate its waterpomp seals).

Me: "Bicycle? Pony? Rocket boots?"

Yoda: "Husky. There might be a new Husky 300 at my disposal."

Me: "You must race!!!"

Yoda: "Nee fok, ek race nooit weer niet. Sal nie lank lewe nie."

Me: "I hate to mention this, but you're racing in 2 weeks..."

Yoda: "Nope, it's a social ride through the Northern Cape."

If you've learn anything by now, it's always to respect the sage words of a Yoda. And he's not wrong. Cause I'm no racer, I'm just a wide-eyed adventurer, going where I shouldn't, and having a crack at something utterly silly that I have no right to do. I hope nobody notices.

Best laid plans and all... when I set out on this adventure I had a very different picture of how the last few months would have gone. I had visions of a glorious lead up to the big week, arriving in peak fitness and fine form, ready to tackle the most challenging ride of my life with a glorious charge of the light brigade. Probably would have landed my in hospital on the prologue!

Instead, I think I've spent 8 of the last 12 weeks sick. First horrible ear infections and flu, now German Measles, of all things. I mean I thought that was something that only afflicted 8-yr olds?!?! I'm not even back to full strength and vitality yet, and there's been absolutely no exercise of any type in the last two weeks.

But less whining and more HTFU. At least I'm going into this with no ego attached. Objective for Day 1: slowly, cautiously and easy does it. Go just fast enough to finish, and hope that I've got something energy left for day 2... and let's take it from there.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: Cracker on October 17, 2014, 05:16:18 pm
Is that panic that I'm reading in those lines - or is it just me, hoping I'm not panicking alone  :o :o :o
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 17, 2014, 06:01:34 pm
By the way - I'm really reluctant to drop a grand on a radio. Is there any reason why we can't get these - 2 for a grand, split between myself and another Scrooge:

(http://www.capeunionmart.co.za/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/800x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/l/r/lr_zartek_pro_8_twin_pack_-_097516.jpg)

http://www.capeunionmart.co.za/zartek-pro-8-twin-radio-pack (http://www.capeunionmart.co.za/zartek-pro-8-twin-radio-pack)

instead of the single radios for the same price?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 17, 2014, 06:02:54 pm
Is that panic that I'm reading in those lines - or is it just me, hoping I'm not panicking alone  :o :o :o

Who ..... meeeee???

Just don't hit the big red button!

(http://www.preparednesspro.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/panic-button.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on October 17, 2014, 07:56:51 pm

Me: "I hate to mention this, but you're racing in 2 weeks..."

Yoda: "Nope, it's a social ride through the Northern Cape."

If you've learn anything by now, it's always to respect the sage words of a Yoda. And he's not wrong. Cause I'm no racer, I'm just a wide-eyed adventurer, going where I shouldn't, and having a crack at something utterly silly that I have no right to do. I hope nobody notices.

Best laid plans and all... when I set out on this adventure I had a very different picture of how the last few months would have gone. I had visions of a glorious lead up to the big week, arriving in peak fitness and fine form, ready to tackle the most challenging ride of my life with a glorious charge of the light brigade. Probably would have landed my in hospital on the prologue!

Instead, I think I've spent 8 of the last 12 weeks sick. First horrible ear infections and flu, now German Measles, of all things. I mean I thought that was something that only afflicted 8-yr olds?!?! I'm not even back to full strength and vitality yet, and there's been absolutely no exercise of any type in the last two weeks.

But less whining and more HTFU. At least I'm going into this with no ego attached. Objective for Day 1: slowly, cautiously and easy does it. Go just fast enough to finish, and hope that I've got something energy left for day 2... and let's take it from there.

Hmmm much you have to learn my... young... apprentice.   >:D

Yoda knows not the true power of the dark side of Amageza.

 :imaposer:


Seriously Ian, its probably a good thing we are both sick. It means we won´t be gunning it full gas, and will be riding sensibly.  :patch:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: LoodPb on October 18, 2014, 08:53:37 am
Guys I really enjoy this conversation between you two................ NOT that I'm in any better shape though hey!!! :biggrin: :biggrin: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Alex =  >:D , but we should  just be like  O0

To Yoda listen we must..........
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on October 18, 2014, 03:15:27 pm
Guys I really enjoy this conversation between you two................ NOT that I'm in any better shape though hey!!! :biggrin: :biggrin: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Ja, you can´t fool us hey, we saw your heavy, multiday training pictures with Chris ;D ;D

But if I find out from Yoda Ian has been secretly training in the Swampworld of Muizenberg or something, the light sabres are going to come out.(http://s3.amazonaws.com/advrider/duel.gif)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: LoodPb on October 19, 2014, 06:10:52 pm
No, no...... remember looks can be deceiving .......... Wasn't me, was the stunt double....... It's true bru... :biggrin:

Sien julle in upington manne !!! Lekker wees om almal bietjie te ontmoet!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: Scooterbike on October 19, 2014, 06:19:05 pm
Guys I really enjoy this conversation between you two................ NOT that I'm in any better shape though hey!!! :biggrin: :biggrin: :thumleft: :thumleft:

Ja, you can´t fool us hey, we saw your heavy, multiday training pictures with Chris ;D ;D

But if I find out from Yoda Ian has been secretly training in the Swampworld of Muizenberg or something, the light sabres are going to come out.(http://s3.amazonaws.com/advrider/duel.gif)

Yoda sees nothing, Yoda speaks nothing  :tongue6:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: BiG DoM on October 19, 2014, 08:28:38 pm
Yoda speaks Yada Yada  8)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 21, 2014, 02:22:13 pm
10 days to go. Kitchen table. Bike re-wiring. Again! This time it will be awesome. (http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/10/21/asuvu3aj.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 22, 2014, 07:30:53 am
Wiring goodness. The entire control centre of a rally lite bike. With thanks to the wonderful ideas and products of Paul Degarate of Highway Dirtbikes!(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/10/22/pa7y9era.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: SteveD on October 22, 2014, 08:03:56 am
Wiring goodness. The entire control centre of a rally lite bike. With thanks to the wonderful ideas and products of Paul Degarate of Highway Dirtbikes![img width=768

That is SO elegant  :notworthy:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: Buff on October 22, 2014, 08:52:20 am
Looks awesome Ian  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: Pleco on October 22, 2014, 09:12:57 am
Don't skimp on the radio please. ::)

I used those small Zarteks. Both broke in training before I even got to Amageza.

See you in a few days time.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 28, 2014, 12:17:17 am
OK, bought the damn radio... a day before race org announced the cheapies were fine. Still, if it does happen that I need it I'm going to be glad I have the real deal!

Had a good final shakedown at Atlantis this weekend. Happy to report I'm feeling decently back to reasonable strength, if fat, undertrained and not exactly doing one armed-pressups can be called raring to go. But hey, I'm certainly not complaining. A week back I wondered if I was going to make this thing at all.

Did a lot of reconfiguring of electrics and controls over the weekend. Check this out!

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3948/15645588785_a21bea2e32_o.jpg)

The bike is mechanically sorted with a new X-ring chain fitted on Friday. I think 14/50 might suit me fractionally better than the 14-48 I've got on there now, especially with the more technical sounding route, but I can't face another R700 so that's it. Only issue to sort out now really is the fuel injection light that isn't working. The bike is running fine, but for some reason the light is out (and it's not the bulb). That little light tells you when there are faults in the engine, and what they are, so I'd like to have it operational. KTM politely told me they didn't have time to look at it this week, so that option is out. Bastards. It's midnight and I'm about to dive back into the wiring diagrams to try and work it out for myself.

Then an oil and filter change and a new back tyre and we're ready to roll. A year of being late for offroad events and desperate nights before in my garage has hopefully left me more than half prepared for this. Well, here's hoping anyway!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: Dwerg on October 28, 2014, 03:46:47 am
Glad your health is turning. I'm also nowhere near my initial goals for fitness or riding but we'll just have to push on and see what happens I suppose. At least I have the waking up early part sorted  ;D
Title: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 28, 2014, 05:30:48 am
You and me both! As Neil said - look on the bright side, you're going to ride more conservatively, which may actually increase your chances of finishing!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: Beserker on October 28, 2014, 05:37:05 am
Only issue to sort out now really is the fuel injection light that isn't working. The bike is running fine, but for some reason the light is out (and it's not the bulb). That little light tells you when there are faults in the engine, and what they are, so I'd like to have it operational. KTM politely told me they didn't have time to look at it this week, so that option is out. Bastards. It's midnight and I'm about to dive back into the wiring diagrams to try and work it out for myself.

Did it start coming on after you fitted all your rally equipment - if so, you might be using current in excess of what your stator is outputting.
Check your bikes specs, speak to Paul Degarate, or....

Krog's:

021-5916640
083 963 7633

164 Botha Street
Goodwood

If you need a stator rewind for more juice:

Krog's does not rewind stators, Garth who used to work with him does it.
Garth can be contacted on 0833269773 and he's located somewhere in Landsdowne
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 28, 2014, 05:42:09 am
Thanks Dave! Will get on this this morning. But I don't think that's the issue - the stators of these FI bikes put out a lot of juice. And everything I've added is switched, and off. I've got a voltmeter in the system and it's putting out enough.

The FI light is supposed to come on briefly when you start the bike and mine has stopped doing that, so I think it's a broken wire or connection somewhere.  It definitely started after I did my first set of rewiring but I didn't actually touch that wire at all so I don't know why.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: sidetrack on October 28, 2014, 08:45:11 pm
Thanks Dave! Will get on this this morning. But I don't think that's the issue - the stators of these FI bikes put out a lot of juice. And everything I've added is switched, and off. I've got a voltmeter in the system and it's putting out enough.

The FI light is supposed to come on briefly when you start the bike and mine has stopped doing that, so I think it's a broken wire or connection somewhere.  It definitely started after I did my first set of rewiring but I didn't actually touch that wire at all so I don't know why.
I have found this technique to fix most modern electronics - disconnect battery for an hour the reconnect, worth a shot :)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 28, 2014, 09:20:18 pm
Thanks Dave! Will get on this this morning. But I don't think that's the issue - the stators of these FI bikes put out a lot of juice. And everything I've added is switched, and off. I've got a voltmeter in the system and it's putting out enough.

The FI light is supposed to come on briefly when you start the bike and mine has stopped doing that, so I think it's a broken wire or connection somewhere.  It definitely started after I did my first set of rewiring but I didn't actually touch that wire at all so I don't know why.
I have found this technique to fix most modern electronics - disconnect battery for an hour the reconnect, worth a shot :)

You're right - they're touchy things. But the battery has been disconnected several times during the build, so that's not it. I think the wire must have broken somewhere. Took it to KTM today and they cleared the fault log and it's clean, nothing wrong, so I guess I'm just riding it and hoping nothing goes wrong! The bike's running perfectly, so let's hope it stays that way.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: Scooterbike on October 29, 2014, 09:17:27 am
stop fiddling and get packing!!  :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 29, 2014, 12:06:31 pm
Some kind of shitty Yoda you are. Aren't you supposed to be offering insightful words of life changing inspiration and enlightenment??
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: Scooterbike on October 29, 2014, 12:32:12 pm
wasting time you are, packing you should! Just do you should  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: BV on October 29, 2014, 02:08:24 pm
The force is strong here.
The grean saber light for online is very grean.
So you still working you are?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 29, 2014, 02:27:53 pm
Nope. Taunting his teammates he is....
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on October 29, 2014, 07:52:36 pm
Fresh rubber on, half a service, bolts locktighted, headlights set, GPS mounted, bit of a wash.... I think she's ready, at least. Me - I've got a few appointments with my credit card tomorrow. And then there's the big pack! 2 sleeps.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: Hinksding on November 02, 2014, 07:44:24 am
Gooi Panda Gooi! :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 02, 2014, 06:12:43 pm
Gonna try update this page but very shitty internet so far. It creamed by my group in the prologue but don't feel too bad - they came 2nd and 16th. So I start in 51st tomorrow. Slow and steady :)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: whitedelight on November 02, 2014, 06:54:58 pm
Gonna try update this page but very shitty internet so far. It creamed by my group in the prologue but don't feel too bad - they came 2nd and 16th. So I start in 51st tomorrow. Slow and steady :)

Go for it dude,finishing will have you in a much higher position,this I am sure of. Lots of riding to do,slow and steady seems like a good way to go  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's ALMOST AT AMAGEZA REPORT!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 04, 2014, 04:11:51 pm
Howzit. Been a bit slow here with zero internet. It's been a cracking Amageza so far. Having the time of my life - first two days been pretty smooth and bike and rider been doing great. Today was something special - seriously some of the best riding of my life - endless red dunes following the SA/Namibia fence, salt pans, and even some rocky trails. No time for pictures I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 04, 2014, 04:14:19 pm
(http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/14/11/04/1618b403b444445a6cb98dee3629719f.jpg)

Finished with Robert/Darthvader and Andrew/Kamanya today, and rode for a while with Mark Campbell. Wilddogs are everywhere! :)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: Buff on November 04, 2014, 04:17:09 pm
Awesome stuff Ian, glad to hear it's going well  :thumleft:

So at what stage are you planning your big attack for the lead?  ;)

Ride safe and thx for the feedback  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 04, 2014, 04:19:07 pm
Haha. Unbelievable how fast the top guys are. Not to mention the guys behind them. It's another world, really!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 04, 2014, 04:21:38 pm
Riaan's not having it his own way at all - to be fair the constant gate stopping is probably stopping him getting away, but some of the other guys are also lightning. It's gone all pro this year, apparently...

Pieter on the 250 is doing great - he's in for today and styling. All the other usual suspects seem to be having good rides too. Everyone's seeing their arse a bit. So much sand... Happiness!! :)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: lj111 on November 04, 2014, 04:23:43 pm
Well done Ian :thumleft: :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: Buff on November 04, 2014, 04:23:58 pm
That's good to hear, it would be boring if it was a one horse race   :thumleft:

How you finding the navigation so far?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: bmad on November 04, 2014, 08:54:44 pm
Riaan's not having it his own way at all - to be fair the constant gate stopping is probably stopping him getting away, but some of the other guys are also lightning. It's gone all pro this year, apparently...

Pieter on the 250 is doing great - he's in for today and styling. All the other usual suspects seem to be having good rides too. Everyone's seeing their arse a bit. So much sand... Happiness!! :)

All that sand sounds like a nightmare to me...

Max, as long as you are having a jol, all is good. Nice to hear you in such good spirits about the event
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: Mooch on November 04, 2014, 10:29:11 pm
sub
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: SteveD on November 05, 2014, 09:18:23 am
I had the pleasure of eating with Max the Panda last night, in the bivouac. What a nice guy  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: bud500 on November 05, 2014, 10:02:24 am
Lekker man!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on November 10, 2014, 09:59:16 am
Well done Ian! So bloody pleased you did so well bru. Was great meeting you at last as well.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 10, 2014, 02:26:02 pm
Thanks, guys, and awesome meeting everyone too! This has, in every way, been a personal highlight of 2014!!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: Beserker on November 10, 2014, 02:37:04 pm
This has, in every way, been a personal highlight of 2014!!

And the newly wed Mrs. Henderson is reading this thread?   ::)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: N[]vA on November 10, 2014, 02:44:35 pm
This has, in every way, been a personal highlight of 2014!!

And the newly wed Mrs. Henderson is reading this thread?   ::)
lol!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 10, 2014, 02:54:32 pm
This has, in every way, been a personal highlight of 2014!!

And the newly wed Mrs. Henderson is reading this thread?   ::)

Haahaha. She's deeply competitive - her estimation of the race doubled when she heard the results!

(But yes... a highlight not the highlight! Nothing surpasses Istanbul!)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: bmad on November 10, 2014, 04:28:30 pm
This has, in every way, been a personal highlight of 2014!!

And the newly wed Mrs. Henderson is reading this thread?   ::)

Haahaha. She's deeply competitive - her estimation of the race doubled when she heard the results!

(But yes... a highlight not the highlight! Nothing surpasses Istanbul!)

Good recovery  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: Buff on November 10, 2014, 04:50:59 pm
Congrats on your finish and great position as well Ian, awesome riding  :thumleft:

I believe a lot of your success lay in your preparation, that bike of yours was very well sorted. It just goes to show that the 7 P's are truly important... Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance  ;)

Now please will you help me wire up my 690 in preparation for next year, I can no longer stand by idly and watch you buggers have all the fun... interspersed with what looked like a wee bit of suffering (hardly noticeable though)  ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 10, 2014, 08:10:49 pm
Heh. For sure, Brett... any time!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: Scooterbike on November 10, 2014, 09:44:27 pm
I had the pleasure of eating with Max the Panda last night, in the bivouac. What a nice guy  :biggrin:
mmmm, Did you sleep next to his tent...???  :lol8:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: SteveD on November 10, 2014, 11:28:29 pm
I had the pleasure of eating with Max the Panda last night, in the bivouac. What a nice guy  :biggrin:
mmmm, Did you sleep next to his tent...???  :lol8:

 :laughing4: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA!
Post by: bonova on November 11, 2014, 08:37:25 am
Ian!! It was awesome to meet you finally.
IN a way it's a shame that I get so caught up in the craziness of the Amageza and I spend too little time chatting to guys like you.
You can be very proud of the way you handled it all!
Peter
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 21, 2014, 06:25:39 pm
This thread wouldn’t be complete without a writeup on the event that inspired it all.

The dust has settled, the bikes are washed, and the bodies returned more or less to normal, but the candle of obsession is burning hotter than the Olympic flame. Team Skywalkers' whatsapp group is on fire with arguments about the merits of 450 KTMs and 501 Husqvarnas. Goodbye WR… back to the shed, 640… Amageza 2015 is going to be a festival of orange and white KTMs. God help all of our bank accounts.

The banality of normal life doesn’t stand a hope in hell. For a short, fleeting moment we stuffed cares, conventions and worldly concerns behind the door, and became wild creatures, risking life and limb to battle with the elements and each other. Some lost, some were bent and some broken and bruised, but we were all victorious. And we want more!

So bring it on, Amageza 2015. But first, here’s my 2014 story…
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 21, 2014, 06:47:52 pm
This thread already tells the story leading up to this point, albeit in a kind of jagged, meandering way, but I’m not going to re-tell it. Perhaps a few reflections before we hit the road?

Life has a habit of making it up as it goes along. It’s kind of obvious, but bears reflection. We’re not writing the story of our lives… our lives are writing the story of us. We simply do our best to take it down as it happens. Hopefully with a bit of humour, sometimes shock and horror… maybe a little gravitas. “Try not to get distracted and keep up!”  Cause this story is rolling faster than a Dakar-winning Kamaz truck, driven by a deranged lunatic called Vladimir. And it only gets worse as we get older. Get on the gas and don’t let up!

Best laid plans and all… It’s been a big year for me: I got married, moved offices, sold my house, tried (and failed) to buy a new one… and that’s just the last four months. I may have been a little traumatised. Just a touch. I’d made a very impulsive decision to sign up for Amageza 2014, and it became a big priority for me for the year. Maybe because it seemed to mark a change of phase, somehow it felt like now or never… but soon I was pouring an inordinate amount of money, focus and determination into it.

I didn’t have any mates signed up, so it became a bit of a solitary journey into a new world… which only served to heighten the sensations.

Back in March, I started this story talking about my latent petrolheadedness. I can now stand up in this circle of new friends and say without reserve: “Hello, my name is Ian, and I am a fucking petrolhead.”

One of the main joys of preparing for Amageza had been all the farkling. I’d rewired the bike. Twice. Fitted tank, instruments, damper, lite-fairing, new cockpit, seat, pegs, Tubliss, tyres, plastics, drivetrain, lights, buffed up the suspension… now it was my bike. Aint she pretty?

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3943/15658038671_578aa6d4b3_o.jpg)

Fitness was the other priority. I’ve got a bit of a history of endurance sports, but I figured Amageza might ask a lot if she bared her teeth, so I signed up for an intense two-month programme at Roarke’s gym in Cape Town - sort of cross fit meets weights.

Well - to say it was a waste is an understatement. I made it there exactly three times. I’d come back from Europe with an intense ear infection in August, and the next three months proved to be a nasty limp from one infection and viral attack to the next, finally summiting with German measles, of all things, just four weeks before the race. No sooner was I feeling better than I’d go for a run or a cycle and I’d be back in bed. It was disheartening, disappointing and disspiriting. At one point I seriously thought there was a good chance I’d be missing out altogether, or having to drop out after a day or two. My gorgeous new wife left for New York a week before D-Day, making me promise to take it easy and look after myself. I smiled wanly from beneath the covers and nodded.

Screw that, I thought… I’ve come this far. We are Team Skywalkers, and may the force be with us!

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3948/15474431649_e8c203af5d_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Kamanya on November 21, 2014, 06:55:28 pm
Do me moar! Moar I tell ya!

Welcome to PHTG (rv). = petrol head therapy group (rally version)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Buff on November 21, 2014, 07:23:54 pm
Front row seats booked, bring it on brother  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Pistonpete on November 21, 2014, 08:25:41 pm
Robc's  :sip:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Scooterbike on November 21, 2014, 09:15:05 pm
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on November 21, 2014, 09:44:48 pm
Been waiting for this one....was almost beginning to wonder. Naaa not Ian He´s a raving petrolhead! ;D :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: N[]vA on November 21, 2014, 09:52:11 pm
Cant wait! :D
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: lj111 on November 22, 2014, 11:24:42 pm
Front row seats booked, bring it on brother  :thumleft:

+1  :sip: :thumleft: :ricky:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on November 23, 2014, 01:00:33 am
and then....? (ah, Married life  ;D )
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: bonova on November 24, 2014, 08:01:15 pm
Give us MORE!!!!  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 27, 2014, 07:16:01 am
Team Skywalkers are rally veterans. Yoda hadn’t slept for a week due to the heady mix of excitement/terrror chemicals coursing through his veins. I’d been man down under an inter-gallactic virus attack - no doubt all stress motivated - and Chewbacca had been using the last precious moments to get his vehicle in a condition of prime, tip top rally readiness.

So when I arrived in Somerset West at 10pm the night before departure to drop off my bike and kit off, this is what I saw:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7463/15783816931_10b98fb3b8_o.jpg)

This, my fine, furry friends, is the 1999 production version of KTM’s cutting-edge rally domination vehicle… circa 1996! I think I’m right in saying it was the oldest bike at this year’s Amageza. OK, it leaks a little fuel, the instruments go on the blink from time to time and it has pretty serious carb problems, but none of this was likely to stop Chewy from challenging for a podium position.

How do you fit Tubliss again?

Luckily we had Skywalker mini-me's to do the hard work packing the car.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7566/15599864779_27dcb1dd61_o.jpg)

Never underestimate the value of midgets! There was more nervous giggling than a bunch of school girls before dance night, and we were due a 4am departure, so I extracted myself around midnight and drove the hour back to Cape Town so I wouldn’t have to get up before I went to bed.

Before I knew it the alarm was dragging me out of deep slumber and I was sitting drinking tea with my collection of garden gnomes waiting for the truck.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7557/15600284108_713cbc6ab8_o.jpg)

That’s our handlanger, truck driver and petrol attendant, Obi Wan, working the luggage. He’s far and away the best rider of the lot of us, so we restricted him to oil changes, putting up tents, and single-handedly wrestling the bikes on and off the trailer. There’s only so much beating three men with healthy egos can take. There wasn’t space in the cab, so he had to travel on the back, which is appropriate as he feels too much comfort is deeply damaging for the soul and a serious impediment to top performance in battle.

Anyone who has left Cape Town on the N7 recognizes this Wimpy. It was also the scene of the crime of the departure for our Ngola Kingdom misadventure just over a year ago.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8572/15599869599_90600c75e6_o.jpg)

The journey to Tatooine took several light years, which left plenty of opportunity for continued education about all sorts of important matters, including:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7508/15165753624_8e56a19548_o.jpg)

We ate all the biltong we bought as race food, laughed a lot, listened to very bad music and bumped into half of the Amageza participants and organisers every time we stopped to refuel the ship. What does one have to do to get away from these people?

Arrival in Tatooine/Upington was in high spirits. Yoda had organised us a fancy guesthouse, so we unloaded, ate the biggest steak I’ve seen in my life, and crashed, wondering what joys scrutineering held in store. Tomorrow it begins.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: LoopSoosStroop on November 27, 2014, 07:41:41 am
Always enjoy good writing!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 27, 2014, 07:43:18 am
Obi Wan was up early checking on the machines

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5602/15600286678_46fe1f001b_o.jpg)

…and before long we found ourselves in a big queue outside a shed.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7556/15762011416_63dd3ddd3d_o.jpg)

I was lined up immediately behind the most famous Big Man of the Amageza, Lord Kamanya himself, who soon arrived to bestow trinkets of wisdom on the apprentices, before leaving on some Very Important Business.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7532/15166261923_a2d2c8e1d5_o.jpg)
(Antiques rule!)

My fine show pony, for the very last time in such spiffy condition. Honestly, you would think by now I’d worked out this was a knife fight in the desert and not some Malibu beach beauty contest.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7483/15166263093_078c92c148_o.jpg)

And on to the battle registration hall, where the Overlords had strung up these pretty white cloths to pretend that all was well and dandy, and that we weren’t about to be thrust into the heat of dangerous battle like a herd of bleating lambs to the slaughter.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8633/15783828181_ac62ce1983_o.jpg)

Darth Vader himself was curiously absent  - he’d left matters to his many luitenants - as he no doubt presided viciously over battle headquarters at the Death Star, trying not to worry about why Mr Stevens wouldn’t give him any penne arabiata and what the true meaning of the ‘tray’ really was.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Kamanya on November 27, 2014, 07:52:46 am
A trinket for the masses...

https://www.youtube.com/v/W7PJR6PXFKs
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Sláinte Mhaith on November 27, 2014, 08:10:04 am
 :peepwall:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on November 27, 2014, 01:02:35 pm
This tray is wet. And this one - and this one- and this one- and this one- and this one. :imaposer:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: THROTTLE JOCKEY on November 27, 2014, 02:44:38 pm
 :sip:
Title: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 27, 2014, 06:00:35 pm
A day spent travelling to the far reaches of the known universe, cramped in the back of a transport ship loaded with battle supplies, isn’t going to do any gangly-legged creature any good and my back had duly gone into spasm by the time we arrived.

(http://www.wallpaper4me.com/images/wallpapers/punchjarjar-701653.jpeg)

I have a bit of a weak back, and although my lovely wife has been nagging me incesantly to go to yoga, I’m evidently both: (a) lazy, (b) pig headed, and (c) a bit whiny… but this is my party and I’ll cry if I want to.

I had sent Obi Wan off to the market looking for illegal drugs to ease my pain, and started stuffing anti-inflamatories down my gob like they were smarties at a 5-year old’s birthday party. Oh, and pain killers. Not a good combination… which explains why I felt more than a little high come Sunday morning.

I drifted down to the rider’s briefing in a pleasant haze, and we listened to a surprisingly muted Lord Vader brief us on what to expect over the coming days.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7631/16763000125_2183d74540_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7635/16140692234_ce3456c123_o.jpg)

I was expecting a lot more fanfare, chest beating, and dire warnings… something like:

Quote
[bugles]

“Attention. This is the Amageza and you better all pay attention.

Welome all of you! Look at me, now back at the person next to you, now back at me, now back at the other person next to you.

Do I know who you are? No, I don’t fucking know who you are. DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM????!

I am Lord Vader. Lord Darth Vader. Lord of the Amageza . Lord of all I survey. I can kill you with a single thought. I can kill you with the push of an SOS beacon. I can kill you with a motorcycle. I can kill you with this hall.

Look at me. Don't look back at him. I am the Lord Amageza Vaderer. The Darthest Vaderer of them all….”

[more bugles]

Then we were off, down to the local short-circuit race track for a brief, and probably quite dangerous race  around the cones, that would both entertain the local tribesmen and establish our starting positions for the first real day in the desert. We assembled on a dusty patch of dirt, and awaited starter’s orders. There was a lot of nervous laughter, backslapping and making light of the situation, but you could see from the yellow-tinged whites of their eyes that everyone was afraid.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8608/16555730327_b56402ea3c_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7572/15600878670_ba9fea0975_o.jpg)

I bumped into Commander Kamanya, who was looking around shiftily and muttering something about there being not a lot to gain, and everything to lose, and that he intended to tread very gently on the pebbles. The knife between his teeth and clenched jaw told a different story.

Obligatory 'proudly South African' shot:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7592/16555729917_ef55666056_o.jpg)

But seriously - this is a proudly South African moment. A true triumph of boer-maak-a-plan determination and ingenuity to pull of such an extravagant event for such a niche interest group of people across such vast distances of our beautiful country! Congratulations Commander Nel!

I watched the first groups go off with a mixture of apprehension at my own turn getting closer, and relief at watching some of them cock it up on the slippery corners. At least I wouldn’t be the first. Team Leader Yoda set a sparkling time and came breezing home in in the middle of his batch.

Chewy on the other hand, set off in a blaze of glory, wrestling his antique rally beast around like it was a 125 pitbike on steroids. He was about 150 yards ahead of his batch and flying, when he overcooked it badly, spun out and binned it grandstand-style, disappering from view in a dramatic explosion of dust almost the size of that ash cloud that wiped out Iceland in 2012.

When the soot had cleared about 3 minutes later, we noticed said forlorn-looking rider slowly pushing his race bike back to the ‘pits’. Clearly, in a fit of pique, the Fritz-machine had thrown an Austrian-style temper-tantrum and refused to move one inch further under its own power. I can hardly say I blame her - it’s not a nice experience to be thrown on the ground at light-speed in full view of the assembled hoardes. The indignity. The shame. Chewy would be starting from the back on Monday.

Soon my name was being called. I was lined up with two other fellows - one a rather inconspicuous clean-cut smaller person (lined up left) on a basic KTM 500. I didn’t recognise him at the time, but it was none other than Hentie Han Solo Hanekom of Tatooine, fearless warrior and masterful lightsabreman, who would make short work of battle, put his enemies to the sword and emerge victorious just five days later:

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8663/16575424958_ec658c7bba_o.jpg)

Tough crowd.

But first things first. This is what happened. I got the jump on them as we left the photography arch and picked my chosen spot on the start line. I fingered my custom starter button and imagined racing away at the gun, leaving these jokers in my dust.

Suddenly, Starter John waved his fingers at us, counted down and jumped out of the way with a flourish, as he gave the all clear.

I whacked the Big Red Button, revved the guts out of my beast and lept towards the first corner.







Actually...that’s not precisely what happened. In actual fact, I stalled in unceremonious fashion and watched the other geezers racing away while I frantically tried to start my machine. That was the last I saw of them, while I serenely made my way around the course, trying not to make a fool of myself. It seemed to take a very long time, and I think they possibly delayed the start of the next batch for me.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8606/16575612350_46cfef53b1_o.jpg)

Off goes Hentie, never to be seen again.

And then comes me:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7598/16140689724_909c9c84f2_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7628/16575423158_964ed564fc_o.jpg)

Slow and steady doesn't exactly win the race... but it does keep you in it!

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7625/16555727037_c313b5ee6a_o.jpg)

Here’s the finish of my heat - as you can see, I’m not exactly in the immediate vicinity:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7281/16140688364_b88b0898a7_o.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8593/16576853789_90b06f7e62_o.jpg)

Oh well - I would line up at no 51 in the morning, and I didn’t break anyhing. Job done.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7553/15785705515_a7a35d8aa1_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: alanB on November 27, 2014, 08:23:41 pm
Loving this!

Really impressed at your determination to push through all the pre-event set backs  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Scooterbike on November 27, 2014, 08:59:51 pm
as a team Skywalkers member, this is extra special to read  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on November 27, 2014, 11:18:52 pm
as a team Skywalkers member, this is extra special to read  :thumleft:

Don't you mean: "Special to read, this is"? :)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Stef@n on January 03, 2015, 11:35:44 am
Where is the rest??  :patch: :lamer:

Stef@n
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on January 05, 2015, 03:46:50 pm
Where is the rest??  :patch: :lamer:

Stef@n

Yeah :) Had a shameful end of year from a ride report point of view... but at least it included some riding ;) Took some punters (read: my dirty Angola crew) down some of the Amageza route for an end-of-year holiday. Heat fried my brain, though, and now I'm stuck in Maputo without photos, so the story will have to wait. It's coming though, it's coming...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on February 23, 2015, 09:38:51 pm
There's a good reason I haven't finished (or even started proper) this ride report. You see I was called up to fight an intergalactic battle and save the universe. Yoda was there, Chewy, some bizarre looking creatures I haven't seen before and frankly were so ugly they made me want to puke, and then I came across Lord Kamanya. "Blow me down, what are you doing out here?" I asked him. "I thought you'd be at home race preparing that secret new Amageza weapon you don't want to tell anyone about??"

That fellow has no sense of humour. He coughed grumpily, refused to make small talk, and threatened to decapitate me with my light sabre if I didn't immediately go home and write up my ride report. Not for no good reason I'm scared of the big fellow, so did exactly what I'm told. If you happen to see him.... no, never mind.








Right, so where were we?

Quick recap. We're in Upington, scrutineered, checked in, race prepared, and have our starting order thanks to our time trial from the day before. I'd ridden pretty conservatively and was scheduled to start 50 odd.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7553/15785705515_a7a35d8aa1_o.jpg)

My team mates were there, or there about. I think Yoda was a few places behind and Chewy was stone last courtesy of his dramatic spillage on the course. He's a generous fellow, giving up his race time to keep the spectating minions satisfied, but such is the nature of the beast (believe me, that's not an inappropriate term to describe him).

It was Sunday evening, and everyone was a little less humorous than they'd been the last few days, which I suppose isn't that surprising, all things considered. The night before battle does that to a man. I felt quite good, actually, but lying in bed waiting to fall asleep I reflected that was probably because I was medically high. A double dose of myprodol and a handful of prescription anti-inflamatories make for a soft feather bed of well being that floats up around your ears and buries you in marshmallows while little guppy fish kiss miscellaneous parts of your bodies and fairies whisper sweet nothings in your ear and tell you everything is going to be juuuuuuuuuust fine. What would tomorrow bring???
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on February 23, 2015, 10:03:56 pm
It's funny how something you've looked forward to for so long suddenly arrives. I'd spent a year of near obsessive fervour talking about, thinking, dreaming and planning for just this moment, in a splendid indulgence in bike porn and gear lust. And now here we were.

Main task of the night before was this:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7493/15785718525_cda88ab061_o.jpg)

There are lots of things to do on a rally, but none more important than marking up the roadbook!

The morning was a little damp, but there was no dampening of spirits. We lined up on our dust launch pad and awaited starter's orders.

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5611/15166268923_04d29201bc_o.jpg)

Frankly, it looked like we might get thoroughly drenched!

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7465/15600542537_e0ba8c5aed_o.jpg)

It's a bit of an anti-climax setting off. A few fingers from Vader's official and then you're off, breaking the speed limit after about 50 metres and then hunkering down for a couple hundred kays of liaison. It's a bit weird. You want to jump up and down, scream and shout, pull wild victory salutes at your fellow competitors, stand on your seat and flash your bottom at the Empire Overlords... but instead you have to behave like a municipal bean counter when someone arrives to pay a double electricity bill in 5c pieces.

Careful, slow, methodical, disciplined obedience to the roadbook. It's not by chance that my spell checker wants to turn 'roadbook' into 'roadblock'. That's about right. Not since the invention of happy clappy fundamentalism have any bunch of believers paid so much slavish literal attention to the written word as rally riders. There's no space for reinterpretation. It's not "Ah, I can see Vader suggests we go 80... but he wasn't thinking of this powerful beast I have between my thighs and how much fun it is to twist the throttle. I think I'll sit at 140 for a little while."

I once went to see a therapist in the hope they could do some hypnosis on me and help me overcome a songwriting block. "Do you think I can be hypnotised?" I asked.

"Tell me," he replied. "How good are you at concentrating when you go to a talk or speech?"

"Honestly, I have never in my life managed to get through a talk or meeting without drifting off a dozen times."

"Exactly. We're not going to have a problem here."

See, I don't concentrate on one thing very well, for very long. And I wouldn't say obedience is my greatest quality. So this was going to be a challenge. I got passed by about 20 people on that first liaison, probably because I was being ultra conservative in the speed department - for above said reason. We got rained on a bit, but nothing too serious, and honestly it was so exciting to just be here, now, at last, that I wouldn't have minded a drenching.

In a flash we were lined up waiting our first start of a rally special stage:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7506/15600297208_81eabd760a_o.jpg)

I think that bike in front of me was a little 250, which later had to withdraw when something burnt out or broke. I think the 450 is something of a sweet spot for this kind of riding. Enough power, light, and absolutely minimalist. Would it carry me to the finish? We'd soon be finding out.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Kamanya on February 24, 2015, 07:41:55 am
I swear, you stop now, and I am going to come over....
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Buff on February 24, 2015, 08:42:30 am
Finally... it has begun  :blob10: :blob3: :blob5: :blob6: :blob7:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: SteveD on February 24, 2015, 05:29:04 pm
This is gonna be good  :sip:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Scooterbike on February 24, 2015, 08:55:10 pm
OMG
started again, the writing has...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Beserker on February 24, 2015, 09:17:42 pm
OMG
started again, the writing has...

...grinded to a halt..  :imaposer:

Sure the race went better  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: JustBendIt on February 25, 2015, 05:26:04 am
Keep it coming Ian ...

or Darthvader, Kamanya and I are coming over to do burnouts on your flesh with our brace of secret rally machines that may or may not exist, even though you will never be able to see them because they may or may not be made from a composite alloy of invisibilium, unobtanium and fuckofftium.

I can neither confirm nor deny this.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on February 25, 2015, 08:10:48 am
I won't lie - it's an intimidating feeling sitting at the holding area at the special start, waiting for your start time, and listening to the high pitched whine of racing four strokes setting off every minute or two on the other side of the hill. I guess I was feeling the same as everyone: What's it going to be like? Will I be too slow? Will I fall off? Will I get lost? Will the bike break?

Eventually my time arrived and I cruised over the hill to the line. There was John/Crossed-Up with his yellow vest and his clipboard, counting down his fingers and sending pairs of bikes off at minute intervals. As I mentioned, I'd ridden slowly on the liaison and only had enough time at the stop to stuff my face with some food, take a leak and get my kit back on. There's a lot going on in your first rally stage, and it's tough keeping track of it. So there I was at the start of the special and I realised that my two ICOs were out of sync, and I wasn't sure which one was right. I fiddled a bit, but the time evaporated and before I knew it I was a go.

Go! GO! GOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!  

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7634/16575420968_959e31b40f_o.jpg)

We shot off up the track. Vader had chosen a challenging little piste for our first day. Sandy tweespoor, becoming more sandy tweespoor, becoming extremely sandy tweespoor. If you haven't done this before, let me give you an idea. I was doing about 110-120kph, with the back end of the bike extremely loose. I'm running a damper on the bike, but hadn't cranked it up to the max, which would probably have been the right thing to do. So the bike is bouncing around all over the place, and you're staying hard on the gas to keep it under control. Now I'd done quite a bit of roadbook training... but not in these kinds of conditions. It's one thing reading a roadbook while riding. It's another thing altogether reading a roadbook while it's bouncing left and right at the frequency of one of those little punch balls in a boxing gym. All your shit goes extremely blurry, and you can’t look at it for more than a split second because you’ve got to keep your mind on what’s going on at your front wheel.

I wish I'd known that the track was going to be more or less straight for many kilometres, but I didn't. So I was stressing. My blurry roadbook wasn't making a lot of sense because I didn't know which ICO to believe and so I never knew quite where I was. I was tentative and I started doubting myself.

I passed a few people, but I think a few more passed me. At least during the first half of the day. Yoda caught me while I was stopped taking a piss, and sped off into the blue yonder. He was a man on a mission, the little fella. Robes trailing in the breeze, ears tucked into his helmet, long toes wrapped around the pegs. His blue monster was on fire, and it was clear I wasn't staying with him for long.

I mentioned my propensity to drift off in a haze of lovely day dreaming... well, not such a good thing in rallye raid. There was a speed control section about half way through the stage, and I entered the 40 zone at about 110, cursing like a storm trooper and locking up everything in a mini dust storm when I realised what I'd done. Apparently I wasn't the only one. Then we turned off the main road/track and headed in a more off-pisterly direction. This was more what I came here for.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7635/16140686804_25d5684960_o.jpg)

You've no doubt heard about the bloody gates. Well, the road to good intention is paved with the Gates of Hell, and Vader had been very specific about the million kinds of purgatory that would be awaiting us if we didn't close them behind us politely, responsibly and in good order. Now excuse me - the man has awesome black robes, a voice transponder that makes him sound really badass and a trick light sabre. He also rules the known universe and can kill you with a single thought. WHY, I ask you, couldn’t he instruct one of his legion of silly stormtroopers to go and stand at every single godamn gate and open them? “This one’s open, this one’s open, this one’s open, this one’s open…”

We discovered the fastest way to get this heinous job done was to team up. I was riding at this point with a new friend on an orange 690RR. Fine beast that, but a propensity to go straight on sharp slow speed sandy corners. You never really get away from anyone with all the gates, so it made sense to just settle down and get on with it together:

Blast up to gate, skid to halt, stall bike, put out kick stand, rescue bike falling over in soft sand, open gate, push bike through. Friend arrives, waves like the Queen of England and sails through. Run back to gate, close it, jump back on bike, start, stall, rev tits off bike and head off to next gate. Repeat in reverse.

To be honest, I hadn't ridden much on the 450 before the start of the rally, and didn't feel at one with the bike yet. But we were feeling each other out.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8670/16762993755_0390be1002_o.jpg)

Clearly she felt the need to put her foot down, because all at once she turned from one sweet little show pony into Gorog in all his glory and thrashed me into the sand at about 60. OK, it may not literally have been a cartwheel, but it felt just as awesome, and knocked the stuffing out of me for a while. I saw on the side of the track, took note of the absence of cute-arsed pompom girls, medical staff or cheering audience and thought to myself: “Oh. Fuck. So THIS is rallying.”

So I got up and gingerly set off, on my own this time. There’s nothing quite like an eina fall to knock your confidence a bit, and sand is not the place to start losing confidence if you don’t want to have a horrible day ahead. So I gave myself a stern talking to and tried to get back in the flow of it.

I then experienced the next weird thing about rallying - even though there are a lot of you out there,  and you’re setting off at tight intervals, you can end up riding on your own for long periods, never seeing anybody. It carried on like this for a while, but then I caught up to 690RR and we started our tandem gate dance. I was happy for the company. It was Day 1, afterall.

The memory gets blurry for a while - we were riding a mixture of off-piste sections and very sandy tracks. The sand had been getting thicker for some time, but the 450 was also getting lighter as it burned fuel, and consequently more fun to ride. We came across a hut with a little pan where you were supposed to turn right. Several people missed this turn, so I caught a few people up here, and then we were into a confusing rabbit’s warren of tracks and CAP headings. I seemed to be on top of the nav, because I didn’t make many mistakes, and passed quite a few riders coming from all different directions.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8569/16575419558_0af8396190_o.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8750/16575419248_817c0e1879_o.jpg)

Suddenly, I was stunned to see an aparition on the side of the path. As far as I knew holograms were not part of the rally lexicon and I thought it was a bit early in the rally for Vader to be throwing those kinds of tricks at us. So what the fuck was Lord Kamanya doing sitting in the shade of a thorn tree with his ox loitering quietly - no flames coming out of its bottom?

“Lord Kamanya!” I saluted, hailed, bowed, did all the appropriate stuff. “What in Zeus’s name are you doing here?” (Excused the confused celestial references).

He mumbled something to the effect of being without fuel, and suggested we pick up my bike and tip all the fuel into his bike, on account of the whole “kill you with a single thought” thing. I would have readily agreed (I value my life) but the thing was I had heatstroke and cramp (on account of being a girlygirl and not having done enough training between my bouts of german measles, mumps and arthritis) and I wasn’t thinking straight. So I missed the logic of what he was suggesting completely, but looked at my tank and saw a fair bit of the green stuff swilling around so I offered him some. The dastardly quick release doesn’t let any fuel out when you unclick it, so we stuck a camelbak pipe down the tank and tried to suck some out. It worked for a bit, but I should think I only gave him about half a litre before we gave up on that exercise, and I wished him luck mind-jediing someone else and struck out for the finish.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8581/16575608300_099446e8bf_o.jpg)

It was only about 20 kays away, and I was feeling good on the sand, so it passed in a flash and before long I was cresting the final dune and drinking lovely cold water with Andy, Dewald and crew.

I was reasonably pleased with my first competitive rally stage. I was safe, I'd finished without drama, I'd had an off but both my ride and I were fine. All good.

Nothing like the race draw unfolding at the sharp end of the field, though, where Han Solo was giving Obi Wan a real run for his money:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7621/16576851999_1536f7a435_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7641/16762993155_3cafe03cbf_o.jpg)

Then it was a short ride through to fuel, camp and a cold shower. It had been a straight up day, just like I promised myself. A harmless off, but otherwise tidy, finishing in an even 30th position. Not bad. The bike was running well, and otherwise all good. So we had begun:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7283/16455053529_b8f22a89a2_o.png)

Happy camper:

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5606/15762022536_4bd155530d_o.jpg)

Happy ship:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7546/15762021756_a6c41aa0dc_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on February 25, 2015, 08:12:20 am
Keep it coming Ian ...

or Darthvader, Kamanya and I are coming over to do burnouts on your flesh with our brace of secret rally machines that may or may not exist, even though you will never be able to see them because they may or may not be made from a composite alloy of invisibilium, unobtanium and fuckofftium.

I can neither confirm nor deny this.

Yeah yeah.... you could get a job in Joseph Kabila's private press corps!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: charliepappa on February 25, 2015, 08:38:57 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on February 25, 2015, 06:09:32 pm
Signed up today for more punishment. There goes my September!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Crossed-up on February 25, 2015, 07:53:00 pm
Signed up today for more punishment. There goes my September!

Good Lad!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on February 26, 2015, 07:11:44 am
Reply to this thread if you’ve got pictures! I’m short. I arrived in Upington with video and still cameras, gopros and high hopes of doing a great video diary of the entire experience. That idea went out at the sharp end of a Michelin Desert knob in the dirt.

Last night involved a quick air and oil change and not much else to do to the bike. My plan was air filter every night except the marathon. Oil and filter Monday and Wednesday. It’s a 15 minute operation on these KTMs and maybe this year I’ll do it every night, but the oil was coming out so clean, and the 10W60 Motorex is such good oil it seemed like just pouring away good money. I had a spare set of tyres with me, and planned to change those the night before the marathon too… but we’d see how things went.

Changing oil on the XCW is ridiculously easy. 15 minutes all in, including filter and removing and refitting bash plate:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7283/16761924632_912048fc32_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7639/16762992585_e142b3e2fd_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7633/16762992295_cdfc4ed02b_o.jpg)

Dark Overlord Kamanya’s pit bitch, Justin, had brought along two genius pieces of equipment (other than his lace pit umbrella, which clearly won Most Valuable Accessory, not to mention most stylish pit accessory - there’s no way Team Skywalkers is leaving pompom girls behind next time). The first was a matress compressor…

Me: “Chewy, yo! Do you gave a compressor in your truck?”

Chewy: “Ya, Befok. I have a fokken great one in my fokken truck.”

Me: “Brilliant, so I won’t bring one then.”

If I had been sleeping on a rugby ball, I would have had a wonderful night’s sleep with Chewy’s compressor. However, my Game Stores matress did not fit his pomp accessory and it seemed nobody in the entire bivouac had been dumb enough to bring a blow up matress to the thornveld. Because we’d been ensconced in luxury digs the two nights before the carnage started, I didn’t get to find out that I had no way of blowing up my bed until we were in the middle of nowhere. I can assure you the shopping in Kakamas is not what it’s cracked up to be. I was now a little grumpy, and quite concerned.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7624/16575606100_acaea4fa5b_o.jpg)

Chewy was just tired and confused. He had other things on his mind than my sleeping comfort. Like his ride (oldest in the rally, I think) that was pissing petrol all over the ground at regular intervals.

(http://kamanya.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/14/11-Amageza/i-Xm9vvg5/0/L/DSC04905-L.jpg)

Pit Bitch to the rescue! That man had thought of everything. I’m inclined to think he should buy up a set of 525’s and start his own Amageza team. I mean, he may even tempt Lord Kamanya to become Lacky Kamanya and join him!

Where was I? Oh, yes, Ridiculously Clever Accessory no. 2: In an act of unfettered genius, Team Dark Overlord were travelling with a laptop. And not any laptop - a laptop running Garmin Basecamp! Now why is that so clever, you might ask? Well, any newbie doing rallye raid for the first time sees a bunch of GPS waypoints on the roadbook, and promptly overlooks them for Very Important Things like speed control zones. This is exactly what I’d done on day 1. However, we were only one day away from finding out that known waypoints are like a silver string of guiding happiness hanging from the Celestial Stork of the Bestowance of All Good Things when you are lost in the desert in 40 degree heat with a distinct shortage of drinking water. The general idea is that you bang them waypoints in your GPS, and then when you see one on the roadbook, you check your GPS and see if you are where you think you are.

Let’s say you’re travelling to 11 Fanie’s Plakkie lane in Southern Boksburg and you’re from Cape Town and don’t know your West Rand from your Braamfontein. You’re up shit creek without a paddle aren’t you? And what about when your friend’s cuzzie’s best girlfriend’s tchommie has given you turn-by-turn directions like: Go past the Peter Styvesant billboard, né, then up the road and turn left at the little green house - I think it’s left, but it may be right - and then go for a little way and just now you’ll come across the cul-de-sac where my mate Hennie lives and then you’ll be there.

Choose the wrong Peter Styvesant billboard and you are in a world of trouble, my friend. Choose the right billboard, and you’re still going to be driving around in circles for an hour and a half, cursing the cross-cultural mess that is our delightful society, and wondering what it would take to call an Uber to this godforsaken corner of this ugly city, abandon your rental on the side of the street and get the hell back to the mountain, good coffee, people who don’t go to work until after 9am, and the general peace, quiet and safety that is the Good City.

You think this, dear people, sound like an exagerated metaphor? Wrong. Let me assure you, Alexander Vader Nel, is far more capable of getting you horribly lost on your way to Hennie’s house than you might think. And this is where the GPS waypoints come in. Think you’re at the right place at intersection 127? Bingo. Check the waypoint and confirm you’re as smart as you think you are before carrying on.

Ah, you’re actually lost, aren’t you? Check the nearest waypoint and head there across country to save yourself running out of petrol riding around in circles for four hours retracing your steps and just getting more confused in the process.

Good luck to you, though, because you’re certain to find that between you and those beautiful little GPS crosshairs (X marks the spot) is a ravine, large swollen river, mountain, or fence designed to keep the inmates of Alcatraz safe. So fuck you anyway!

What’s the point of this sweet little story? Well, have you every tried entering 27 GPS waypoints using the arcane, confused and irritatingly out-of-date interface that Garmin calls an operating system? Good luck. The genius that is Pit Bitch Justin, bless his little cotton and lace socks, solved that delicate problem by whacking them in to Basecamp with that delighful modern invention we call a keyboard, and then uploading them to anyone who came bearing gifts. In my case 500ml of rather valuable petrol.

Who ever said one good turn doesn’t deserve another?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Kamanya on February 26, 2015, 08:38:54 am
Most valuable 500ml I've ever received too!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: weskus on February 26, 2015, 03:23:15 pm
Most valuable 500ml I've ever received too!
I'll sponsor a shirt to go over that body-armour of Andries, met so 'n sexy bitch aan sy sy moet hy darem beter lyk :peepwall: :pot:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: JustBendIt on February 26, 2015, 07:42:55 pm
Hey Ian

I don't remember signing a release form allowing you to use that uber cool sexy photo of me with exposed midriff, my umbrella and mirror ball

I demand one million dollars or you will be hearing from my gaggle of attorneys ....
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on February 26, 2015, 09:06:16 pm
Hey Ian

I don't remember signing a release form allowing you to use that uber cool sexy photo of me with exposed midriff, my umbrella and mirror ball

I demand one million dollars or you will be hearing from my gaggle of attorneys ....

You have a point, but this is praise not slander, and as they say there's no such thing as bad publicity! I'm claiming public domain: http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=162917.msg3085966#msg3085966 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=162917.msg3085966#msg3085966)

But as an act of goodwill I've fixed it with one of those fancy Bolivian parka things they were handing out to all the riders at the marathon stage on this year's Dakar:

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8634/16654389801_d544d5225c_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on February 27, 2015, 07:50:42 am
Jesus, enough with the silly nonsense, Ian. Pull yourself together - you’ve got a ride report to finish! Seriously, though, one of the awesome things about Amageza already was the comaradarie. Thanks to Yoda Dirk I was the token soutpiel in a team of very cool guys, and due to the obsessive and all consuming nature of the Amageza, the training, the bike prep and the excitement, we had quickly become part of each other’s lives. Meeting Andrew, Justin, Robert and the rest of the merry band - many known previously only by reputation - had added an extra layer of value to the whole experience. Riding a bike in the desert is fun - doing it with a bunch of other really cool idiots is priceless!

I was a bit stiff on Tuesday morning, but generally in good shape and high spirits. We were sent off on a short liaison, and then we were awaiting our turn at the start once again. It’s not exactly news that the org was having trouble with the GPS track processing for results, so we were sent off in the same positions as the day before. Thanks to my conservative time trial, that meant 50th, and near the back again, instead of 30th, where I’d finished on day 1.

I didn’t know it yet, but there was to be a bit of a down side to that story. The first five kays or so were through flat thornbush territory, the track winding between trees - with plenty of marks from where earlier riders had ‘gone straight’ through bushes. The pace was clearly hot this morning. Then we came around the corner and in front of us was one of the biggest godamn dunes I’ve ever seen outside of multiple viewings of the English Patient.

It looked about 17 stories high, and thanks to my lowly starting position I was looking at a scene of carnage. At least ten bikes were stranded or crashed in various places from half way up the dune.

(http://i283.photobucket.com/albums/kk307/Minanawe/IMG-20141104-WA0001_zps255e9c3e.jpg)
(someone else's random photo, but it gives you the idea)

And more...

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7629/16575417628_6d09eeb5d6_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7283/16761923342_b8651c91af_o.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8662/16762991215_a509c6c119_o.jpg)

I took a run at it at speed, but although the track looked fairly smooth from a distance, it was narrow and bumpy, and thoroughly churned up by all the bikes that had gone up before me. About two thirds of the way up the route was totally blocked by two crashed bikes, so I pulled off into the camel grass next to the track, ran out of speed and power and promptly beached myself on a hillock. Bugger.

Turn around and back down. “I will not be repeating myself here!” I told myself. Gunned the bike, got it into fourth and ground the throttle against the stops. I pulled off the track much sooner this time, changing down early and beating my engine with a sharp stick, I kangaroo hopped my way off piste to the top of the mountain.

It was immediately clear Alex had found something special for us. The route led away through a river of very soft red sand, over some dunes in front of me. It was hot already, there was no traction, the track was churned up to oblivion, and I started to wonder if I had a very long day ahead of me.

Take a look at these views of the carnage that lay ahead over the next few dunes...

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7618/16575605070_9c4bf07632_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7644/16737112066_d5cc6d2738_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7629/16737111906_f6d721b9c4_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7616/16575604370_ded20c4350_o.jpg)

As it turned out, I had a day in two parts, puncuated by a dramatic break. I wasn’t loving the first bit. The bike was top heavy and full of fuel, and I hadn’t yet found my sand legs. Also, with so many riders battling, the route was congested, and at the top of each dune there would invariably by someone fallen and blocking the path. It wasn’t my intention to run anyone over just yet, so I was being more cautious than was good for the terrain. Sand is generally my favourite surface - I’ve ridden a lot of it it, and feel very comfortable - but maybe the texture today was different, maybe it was the barbed wire border fence next to the track that was messing with my mind - either way I was feeling tentative.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8746/16761921402_2c9618c2ec_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7621/16575412698_3dfd9702df_o.jpg)

At some point Guillame Martens - one of the visiting Dutch riders who was training for the Dakar - came past me, and I decided to up my pace and follow him to get myself into some kind of groove. That lasted for about three dunes, and then I had a magnificent wipeout. Sand wipeouts are generally pretty innocuous - you can’t hurt yourself on the surface, the bike stops quickly and doesn’t come over and hit you, and you’re not even going to get any abrasion injuries.

My collarbone, however, had other plans, and decided to have a meaningful encouter with my handlebars. In reaction to a nasty fall I’d had in Angola the year before, I’d covered myself in the best and most expensive protective gear I could lay my hands on. I looked a bit like a cross between an armadillo and a stuffed panda (haha), and if you threw me on the ground I more or less bounced. However, the one area my fancy chest protector didn’t cover was my clavicle. And it’s not the strongest bone in the human body. I’ve never broken it before, but this must have been damn close. I hit those bars hard enough to twist the forks in the tripple clamps, and let me tell you I hurt more than they did! A searing pain - for a moment I thought that was my race run. Turns out my mates were not far behind me. Yoda and Chewy were quickly on the scene, and helped me get my shit together again.

Pieter also caught up on his little 250. Credit must go to this man - surely on the smallest budget of the rally, he ended up putting a lot of bigger, fancier and faster machinery to shame in the overall standings!

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8732/16761921222_c8009d8d9a_o.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8641/16575414078_e28faa388b_o.jpg)

I think little bike would make a great foundation for anyone trying to finish the Amageza first time out without any aspirations for a top-20 placing. It was solid, reliable and totally did the job.

A bit of mechanical intervention and I was on the road again, just 20 minutes behind, and quite chastened.

Ironically, it was the turning point of my day, for some reason. I rode gingerly for a while, but then I guess I thought “What’s the worse that can happen?” (dumb thought) and turned up the wick a bit.  I started to find my sand legs - perhaps the balance of the bike was just getting better with a bit of fuel burned - and some speed.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7486/15600886520_e851a4175a_o.jpg)

I met up with Jonathan Blackburn, the pommie on the union-jack emblazoned 690 who had ridden down through Africa, and we formed a gate team. For periods there were other people with us - Mark Campbell joined us for a while - and we were catching a passing a lot of other riders. The quicker we went, the better my bike started to feel, and the more comfortable I did too. I guess the fall was about 20% into the stage by distance, and between that moment and the end, this became my favourite stage of the entire Amageza.

It was extraordinary scenery, and I wish there’d been time to stop, drink it all in and take photographs. This beautiful undulating river of fine red sand, huge deserted salt pans covered in a thin veneer of hard, crackled mud, loads of birds and other wildlife. I’d have given my back teeth to be touring in this terrain, and Alex had definitely pulled out all the stops getting us to race here.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7620/16575601810_6e0d8b655f_o.jpg)

After some time I was on my own. The others had got stuck on dunes somewhere, and unless someone falls badly or looks in mechanical trouble, it’s each man for himself. But by now I was fully in the flow, and just having the time of my life. Today was the day I finally bonded with the 450, and it’s a sensational machine on song. I had purposely built the lightest, most minimalist race bike I could. I wanted it to ride well, and not break if I crashed it, and those decisions were paying dividends.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7622/16761817791_b79340253b_o.jpg)

Just at the end of the dunes proper, I caught up with Lord Kamanya himself, and when we turned inland and bashed our way through a silt riverbed for a few kilometers, I got to witness first hand the extraordinary sight of him muscling that magnificent tank through this kind of terrain. God bless the man - it’s quite an achievement - but one has to wonder what mincemeat he would make of the race on a suitable ride. Just look at him storming through the soft stuff!!

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7629/16575412378_4afaf29aa2_o.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8589/16737107946_b0182e7c89_o.jpg)

The terrain had changed now, and after a couple hundred kilometers of charging straight down the border fence, there was a bit of navigation involved. After running off-piste through the silt bed we were on rocky terrain over some small hills. I was on my own again, and coming down one of the hills I saw the somwhat perturbing sight of a group of eight or so rally bikes heading back in the opposite direction.

“No man - this is the wrong way,” one of them said. “There’s loads of tracks - everyone has turned around down there. It's a dead end.”

Now this is the point at which rally riding becomes very tricky indeed. Do you follow the herd, or do you trust your own navigation. Instincts be damned - I haven’t been doing this long enough to have any. I was reasonably sure I was right - everything had been adding up so far. But I hesitated, not entirely ready to head off into the wilderness on my own. After a few minutes, Andrew came down the hill behind me, and he clearly thought this was the right track too, so off I went. It was only a few km to the end of the stage, and if I’d had the presence of mind to check my waypoints I would have known that. But I knew it was close, and gassed it through the winding valley floor.

Three or four more turns and that was that. A fence, a gate and a road - we’d reached the end of the stage. Except we hadn’t: no marshalls, no trucks, no cold water and no damn dancing girls. What was wrong? I was now thoroughly confused, and decided to back track, wondering if I’d missed the marshall point in the trees. Five or so minutes back, and I bump into the others coming towards me. They hadn’t seen the marshalls either, so clearly they weren’t here for some reason.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7611/16575412008_13e6d88bea_o.jpg)

We started the liaison, and after 20 or so km, there was Andy and the marshall point. Apparently a bit of a bugger up with GPS points or something, but I was relieved either way. Chewy’s brother Charl was there with the bakkie, some food and drink, and spare fuel. Stage 2 done!!

(https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5610/15762024426_6a4dabc73e_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7604/16575600580_de6b21abeb_o.jpg)

I thought I'd ridden much quicker than the day before, but clearly the 20 minutes fannying around after my fall had cost me. Still, I was in the top 30 - and doing a lot better than I expected to at this stage of proceedings, so I was delighted:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7287/16453835000_e013830f49_o.png)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Kamanya on February 27, 2015, 08:24:51 am
Three or four more turns and that was that. A fence, a gate and a road - we’d reached the end of the stage. Except we hadn’t: no marshalls, no trucks, no cold water and no damn dancing girls. What was wrong? I was now thoroughly confused, and decided to back track, wondering if I’d missed the marshall point in the trees. Five or so minutes back, and I bump into the others coming towards me. They hadn’t seen the marshalls either, so clearly they weren’t here for some reason.

We started the liaison, and after 20 or so km, there was Andy and the marshall point. Apparently a bit of a bugger up with GPS points or something, but I was relieved either way.
(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7287/16453835000_e013830f49_o.png)

In the wide expanse, huge distances and with few marshals, there are a few times when the finish line will not be manned, but itself is just a waypoint.

They can be tricky, because like you experienced, you immediately think you've made a mistake and you start second guessing and back tracking. Also because it's the end of the racing stage, everything has a speed limit again. The previous year some similar happened in the Richtersveld - the finish line was right at a farm house with a 40kph limit. I picked up a lot of time penalties there.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on February 27, 2015, 08:46:40 am
Yeah. I was thoroughly confused, and would have helped if they'd told us at the previous night's briefing. But the newbies have to suffer a little... ;)
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Bens on February 27, 2015, 02:49:48 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Cracker on February 27, 2015, 08:14:17 pm
C'mon Ian, lotsa speaking - not enough talking ........................... keep it coming  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 09, 2015, 03:52:51 pm
This has been a 'fokken kak" ride report so far (as my team mate may have put it) with so few photos. So the reason proceedings seem to have stopped here, is because I called up the org, and did something I'd been too schnoep to do before and bought the photo package from last year so I had something to show with my tell.

Budget is stretched so damn far at Amageza time, but it's over so quickly and memories are everything. I decided I'd better get them before it was too late. Works out around R25 a picture, so really cheap, actually. Thank you Mr Nel!

So anyway... you can go back and read my blithering again if you like, wiff pictures this time.  :thumleft:

Regular service will now resume.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Cracker on March 09, 2015, 05:02:06 pm
Yep, great pics, it's worth buying the package.

That hill will forever be etched in my head. Seeing all those 450s lying in the sand did not fill me with confidence.

Just cruising up didn't work the first time, so the next attempt was a long run-up, pinned all the way.
Whatever was in front of me just got ridden over - luckily that Dutch reporter was nimble on his feet or he woulda been squashed.

Aaah, the memories .......................

For those with steering dampers, do they work well in the sand? My arms were taking strain, the constant swinging of the bars was driving me nuts. And approaching the gates, on the brakes, was a bit sketchy ................  :o :o

Off-piste was a lot easier but cresting those dunes was risky, there were some lovely drop-offs waiting for the unwary.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 09, 2015, 08:24:43 pm
Bivouac (God, I love that word) that night was in the sprawling green grounds of the Kakamas Höerskool (I think) which had soft, green, level grass-minus-thorn-trees for camping. Lord Kamanya and Ex-Pit-Associate-Soon-To-Be-Racing-Champion-525-Pilot Bennetts and I adjourned to the local eating finery of the Caltex garage to wolf down four steaks, a couple of fried eggs, two plates of chips, a coke and three cups of coffee. Each. Finest meal north of the N1.

We then sidled back to headquarters to find this:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7582/15787287992_c4936b4174_o.jpg)

That is Yoda bestowing his crooked royal thumb print on the open-mouthed adoring hordes.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7548/15600301518_372d2e1b0c_o.jpg)

I think these little local yokels could smell an Engelsman from about sixty paces, because they gave me a wide berth and shuffled away mumbling something about "Oom" and looking decidedly suspicious. Like I'd bite or something.

But I think it was like those playing cards you collected when you were twelve - bought with the coins you stole off your father's dressing table before school. (Cough - according to a friend of a friend). Eventually you need the set, and even if you want to vomit at the sight of 'The Hulk' you need him in your pack. Plus one of the videographers was desperate for action and bribed the bravest of the girls to risk life and limb getting within four feet of me.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7635/16761813841_6ff429d6aa_o.jpg)

I'm a famous rally rider too!

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7590/16575600350_ca90690a24_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7623/16576843349_4e9c06c344_o.jpg)

If you were tired of perving blinged out two-wheel machines, there were also some on three.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8640/15600890210_51990e6580_o.jpg)

And then it was on to the usual task of the evening for competitors:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7589/16576843109_f3eb551b2c_o.jpg)

and org:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7644/16737106506_6b6a2fc74d_o.jpg)

And then the evening ended here:

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7620/16576842899_8245238c7b_o.jpg)

If every good story needs a little twist in the tail... here was mine for today: After losing twenty minutes or so in my collarbone incident, I'd slowly found my sand legs and was on a bit of a charge. I came through one gate and found a stricken WR on the other side of the gate. Racer or not, it's the rally spirit to help each other, or be damned, and this bloke looked stuck.

"What's wrong?" I yelled. "Are you OK?"

"Have you got pliers, some cable ties and an ice cold double gin and tonic for me?" came the reply.

I ripped off my camelbak, threw him my leatherman and the biggest cable ties I had on me, and wished him well. I wasn't stopping if I bloody well could help it. And my hip flask was for emergencies.

Well, it turned out in the chaos Mr WR subsequently lost my leatherman, and kindly went and replaced it at the local Kakamas Midas. (Kakamas has a Midas?!?!?) Maybe my grandmother was right, and one good turn does deserve another... because my leatherman was a piece of shite Stanley Makro cheapie special and my new one was a pucker, pick-up-a-R2-coin-on-the-antlers real deal. No more need I feel ashamed on my bike camping trips! Thank you Mr WR - I never got your name.
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 10, 2015, 04:50:00 pm
Day three was set up as the longest day of the rally, in the most inhospitable terrain. We were given grave warnings not to cock it up cause we’d be waiting a long time for assistance. There were a couple hundred kays liaison to Pofadder before the start, so we were up early. It had become a bit of a habit.

The one thing that hadn’t been going very right for the org was results. You can’t have everything, and let’s be honest… Amageza is the dirt cheapest way a man with dreams can play at real rallying. Broken GPS’s, cloud computing, shitty internet… blah blah… but the upshot was that it was day 3 and there were still no results available. Oh, wait a minute - that’s no true - there were results available but mine had been cocked up and I’d been given 4 hours penalties for some reason from Day 2, and it still hadn’t been untangled, so I was starting from the back. Again!

Rallying is a sport of solitude - often you feel completely alone in the world, a feeling enhanced by vast distances and desolate scenery. But after a cold liaison ride we cruised into Pofadder for gas, and suddenly there everybody was. It’s an odd one-hourse town, Pofadder, and I’ve been through there many times recently while trawling around the spectacular routes of the region on my dirt bike. As a result of the large solar energy projects up there, the town is suddenly full of Spanish engineers and business is booming. Modern-day gold rush?

A few kays out of town the entire field was assembled on the side of the road at a random gate for the start, and pretty soon the howl of race engines charging off in pairs filled the air. It was a very fast start to today’s stage, a few sharp turns and then a long open blast down a slight hill and off into the distance towards the Orange river. As I said, I’ve toured this area a few times - most recently in the murderous heat of February this same year - so I had an idea what to expect. Rocks, sand, thorns and lunar landscapes:

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8569/16762984865_c2d4048da2_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7626/16737106006_ab3d2d92a2_o.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8664/16761916842_c0a8375901_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7652/16140676614_43522f80a2_o.jpg)

It asks to be treated with some respect, cause you’re a bloody long way from help if something goes wrong. I stayed circumspect for the first five kays or so, which included being passed by Gideon Joubert - the day’s eventual winner - who must have been doing 160 or 170kph down the wide, rutted sand piste. Insane!

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8716/16555714017_3105b45542_o.jpg)

But by the time I approached the river the bosbefok must have got me or something, and I really started putting the hammer down. I passed ten or fifteen bikes, one of which was my team-mate Yoda, who had some kind of issue with his roadbook. Then there were Andrew and Robert, but no sooner had I drawn level with the Big Man On The Bike Bike than he punctured his front wheel. First of two, as it turned out. He was in for a shit day.

The track blasted us up a dry river valley I’d explored with my mate Tom in February, and it was insane riding in the open terrain, throttle pinned somewhere between delirious enjoyment of the madness, and fear at the consequences of a loose rock jumping up and having your lunch.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8705/16575409638_a9c54c6551_o.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8661/16143044113_01e0b0ec04_o.jpg)

We stopped for the pre-arranged gas topup on a farm, and some time around then I hooked up with my other team mate Hendrik. It wasn’t that much later that I had my first off of the day - a little spin out in some tight terrain between some bushes. Nothing serious, and I reflected on what a good job the Leatt interlocking body armour was doing making me feel like some invincible Michelin man.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7624/16575409088_a81957e870_o.jpg)

It was clearly a stupid line of thought, because it was probably only half an hour later that I had a proper off. I was clearly still seeing red, and was on my own, five or ten minutes ahead of Hendrik when I came up a flat bottomed ravine between some sharp red rock spires. The road snaked lethargically through the canyon, and I was putting it to good use, in my flow, sliding the bike around the corners and feeling like a million bucks, when suddenly I wasn’t.

I’ve no idea what happened - the track surface was pretty dusty, and probably I just ran out of talent and grip simultaneously, but suddenly I was on the ground. It was pretty innocuous, just a low side, at about 60kph, but when I looked at my stricken bike all I could see what petrol pouring out. I thought I’d lost the gas cap in the wipeout, and the tank was almost full, but as I ran to the bike I saw it was still clamped in place. But petrol was pouring out the top of the tank. I must have already lost 2-3 litres. I yanked the bike upright and the pour slowly to a dribble, but didn’t stop.

The tank seemed a bit distorted, and I realised that the whole mounting system was crushed. These tanks slot onto two brackets underneath the tank, and are secured with just one central bolt through a mounting block. The one bracket was crushed, and the centre block a bit mangled, and partly ripped out of the tank. The fuel leak was going to continue until the level dropped enough for it to stop. There was little I could do. By this point Henrik had arrived on the scene, and I bolted the tank down again with a spare bolt from my toolkit, but it was precarious to say the least. You could wobble the tank about 3cm left and right, and it felt like the very smallest knock would be enough to break it completely.

Rallying is a surprisingly non-individualist solo sport. Competitors are always ready to help each other in any way they can, and everyone is aware of the dangers that potentially lurk for all of us at any moment. But I could see Hendrik was keen to get going. He’d battled fuel issues on day 1, and hadn’t had the best ride yesterday, so he wanted to give it horns today. I didn’t want to hold him back too much, but equally I wanted to assess the extent of my problem before being left alone in this very big, empty place:

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8677/16143043593_5fd23ea0ba_o.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8726/16555712687_b7fd6627d7_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7286/16762982545_9b0ee59145_o.jpg)

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7634/16555712187_bfc7b622f0_o.jpg)

We started off, and I quickly fell behind, watching a steady dribble of fuel hissing onto my exhaust header. Not a thrilling sight, let’s be honest, and I remember widening my stance, getting ready to eject - fighter-pilot style - into the nearest thorn bush at the slightest suggestion my ride was about to go up in a spectacular fireball.

It was an anxious half hour, until the fuel level dropped below the bottom of the mounting block and the tank stopped leaking. But then I had other problems. My pain-stakingly developed, rough and tough, lightweight and robust rally bike now felt like a fragile, wounded animal. And I’d gone from cocksure fighter pilot to war hospital nurse. And then there was the very real possibility that I wasn’t going to have enough fuel to make the end of the stage.

It’s quite amazing how quickly it can all change. Mere minutes before I’d been riding agressively, basking in the exhilerration of passing other riders and dreaming of a storming ride through the stage, now I was quickly re-calibrating, wondering if I’d be able to make the finish of the day at all.

Any fall knocks a bit out of you, even if it’s only confidence, but I started feeling a bit weak too. And there’s nothing to make you start feeling tentative like lost confidence and real fear of falling. That’s no way to ride a bike. But I’m sorry to say it stayed with me for the rest of the day.

It was hot, we were a very long way from the finish, and there had been a few navigational issues too. The less said about that locked farm gate and trampled fence the better, but suffice it to say that rallying can throw a lot of curve balls. There’s no point getting frustrated or upset. Deal and move on. Next?

Probably around the middle of the day we formed a little pack, Hendrik and I, with Dave Addison from Cape Town, also on a 450 enduro KTM. I was holding them up, to be honest, as I felt far from myself on the bike, but both of them were battling a bit with the navigation, so perhaps it was a fair trade.

We weren’t making very fast progress, but we were at least steady, and we didn’t get lost except for a bit of off-piste roaming for fifteen minutes around the middle of the day. Alex had set us an extremely winding course around the hundreds of little tracks of the Pella area. I don’t know how many turns there were, but it felt like hundreds. My day got a lot worse when I realised I’d just run out of water. I guess I’d been sucking on that straw a lot harder than I might otherwise have done in the stressful aftermath of my accident. I’d also completely forgotten to eat anything, and the day was going on a lot longer than either of the previous two days. Just before I ran out of water I’d got the shakes, and stuffed an entire protein bar down - and let’s be honest - calling these things food is a bit of a stretch. Emergency rations, maybe, but they don’t make you feel great. So there I was, mouth gummed up with a semi-toxic frustose/protein grime, and no water. Not top notch!

I was feathering the throttle and short changing every gear, trying not to brake unless absolutely necessary - not exactly a great approach for riding super sandy tracks. My fuel light came on a very, very long way from the end. I was expecting the bike to stop at any moment.

But on we went. I was finishing this day, godammit! Suddenly we came down a ravine, up a koppie, and there were a bunch of marshals in a bakkie! I fell upon them and scragged a bottle of water, got the news that we were actually doing quite well in the standings, and suddenly felt so much better. Zero to hero. Just like that.

We set off, and I was riding a bit more strongly now. The rest of the afternoon was a joy, actually. We didn’t put a foot wrong on the nav, and the stage had a beautiful ending over a big koppie and down a steep descent to the finish.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7610/16761914632_bcb1ab29ac_o.jpg)
The happy troika - all relieved to be done, I think.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8620/16576839909_40c89be518_o.jpg)

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8127/15762028936_c8cfd050b4_o.jpg)

It was late afternoon - a long day - but many of the riders were still out there and many were only going to get home in deep darkness after a somewhat harrowing ride down the mountain under lights.

This was my gas level at the finish - just riding on fumes - nothing in the other side of the tank.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7517/15165771324_ab5c9a6561_o.jpg)

Thankfully Charl was waiting at the end of the timed section with fuel, coke and sandwiches - a massive relief on all fronts.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8579/15599889929_d9524830e2_o.jpg)

Somewhat surprisingly, I’d actually got my best result of the rally so far, too: 27th. A testimony to how many people got lost, I guess, because I really hadn’t been very quick. We didn’t have any consolidated results until the end, but I must have been in the early 20’s overall at this point, after three days just inside the top 30. Perhaps having no ambitions whatsoever but to finish had been doing my results a world of good?

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8625/16453661638_b67a5ed1cf_o.png)

We took a slow ride into town. It had been a challenging but good day… the real challenge lay ahead - how the hell was I going to fix my bike?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: markdiver on March 11, 2015, 08:23:06 am
Nice read Ian - bringing back memories and getting juiced for this years race.  It must be said that "maxthepanda" stopped to assist myself with Brian's big off in last years event.  He stayed until Brian was completely comfortable (well as comfortable as he could be under the painful circumstances) and while I was moving Brian's bike & gear from the track.  Thanks again Ian for your help, I hope you got your time back for the time you spent assisting.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: SteveD on March 11, 2015, 08:27:47 am
I hope you got your time back for the time you spent assisting.   :thumleft:

Yup, he did  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 11, 2015, 05:57:48 pm
We came down off that mountain in the softening light of late afternoon. I hate to think what it must have been like in the darkness. But there were quite a lot of riders who were going to find out.

(https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7618/16576839689_86296a3168_o.jpg)

Actually, I’d been expecting to get caught out in darkness on this Amageza, and has purposely put on very powerful (read: expensive) LED lighting. Which I never used. Sigh. Well, there’s always night rides at Atlantis… Actually, come to think of it… wouldn’t a night rally stage be an extremely rad and exciting (and probably totally necessarily dangerous) idea?

While friends were still lost in the desert, I was running around the bivouac in Springbok trying to work out how to fix my tank. Acerbis tanks are made of roto-molded polyethylene, a waxy paraffin-based-type material (that may be technically nonsense, but it gives you the idea), designed to ‘sweat’ petrol, so nothing sticks. Not stickers, and not epoxy. I think the sweating bit is a side-effect of keeping them flexible and indestructible, but in my situation this was going to cause me real problems.

I ran around hoping to find someone had brought a spare tank. KTM Cape Town were my main hope, but that drew a blank. And nobody else had one either - or was ‘fessing up to having one - for love or money, so my only option was to fix this one.

Luckily my team boys were good mates with Eddy, of E2R fame, and he thought it would be no problem to wangle the tank right with some fancy fuel-resistant Liqui-Molly epoxy stuff.

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8547/15165774334_dc8c254e0f_o.jpg)

So we stripped the bike, tried to dry the tank, and mixed up the epoxy. Eddy was pretty gung-ho and insisted it would be absolutely fine. He let it solidify for a few minutes, then cranked the centre bolt down, and that was that. I was a bit sceptical, but my race was hanging in the balance, so what was there to do?

An hour or so of drying time, and we filled the tank with a lot of crossed fingers, but it seemed to be holding fuel, so perhaps it was going to be fine…?

Yoda arrived… he’d had a very long day and got lost a couple times, but fought on bravely - alone I think - and managed to retrace his steps each time, picking up next to zero penalties. Great effort! We all collapsed for the most knackered sleep of the rally so far. Another long day tomorrow would be a real killer… what would the morning bring?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: billy-joe on March 06, 2017, 03:20:07 pm
Ian, did you ever finish this ride report?  you cant leave me hanging like this!
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MickeyT on March 07, 2017, 10:00:53 am
Ian, did you ever finish this ride report?  you cant leave me hanging like this!

+1!!!  :sip:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 08, 2017, 06:56:36 am
 :patch:





Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Crossed-up on March 08, 2017, 07:40:06 am
 :BangHead: :BangHead: :BangHead:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: MaxThePanda on March 09, 2017, 08:24:40 am
...you cant leave me hanging like this!

Dear Lord. For two years?!?!?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on March 10, 2017, 04:41:27 am
Yes, actually 2 days short of three years, 17,472 very long hours to be more precise.

Ian, do you see what you have done?   :laughing7:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: billy-joe on March 10, 2017, 10:16:04 am
...you cant leave me hanging like this!

Dear Lord. For two years?!?!?

What can I say, I am seriously committed whereas yours is now in question!  do you think you'll be able to remember the end?
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: 1ougat on March 12, 2017, 07:45:40 am
Sadist vs Masochist  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Scooterbike on March 23, 2017, 05:45:26 pm
 :imaposer:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: Dacquiri on August 18, 2017, 09:46:38 pm
The ultimate cliffhanger!!!!  At least it seems you survived the second rally and can start regaling the 2015 cliffhanger!! :peepwall:
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: onderbroek on March 15, 2018, 09:03:44 pm
Ag nee
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: billy-joe on April 01, 2018, 08:28:39 am
Gents, dont hold your breath.  and the title is so misleading...
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
Post by: BlueBull2007 on April 01, 2018, 05:48:28 pm
Bloody hell I think I should lock this thread because everytime someone posts on this thread I think he has maybe finished it. ;D
Title: Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO about halfway.
Post by: BlueBull2007 on April 01, 2018, 06:08:12 pm
Okay I changed the topic of the OP, because it was
(https://photos.smugmug.com/Miscellaneous/i-37FRwFC/0/06fb4130/M/misleading%21-M.jpg)

if he wants to finish it, all he has to do is to change it back :thumright: