Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 11:18:01 am

Title: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 11:18:01 am
A few of my well-respected riding colleagues said it would be fun, there are plenty of opportunities to escape if the going gets tough they said, they've ridden it on oversize adventure bikes. Ok, how bad could it turn out to be?! ......

Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: Noneking on October 27, 2021, 11:19:23 am

Looking forward to this one Boris!
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 11:20:29 am
Turns out ......VERY!

I donated my phone somewhere along the route, so will rely on photos taken and shared by others and some gopro footage I managed to get.

To me, the Pongola 500 has always had a  mystical air to it, 500km around the Lebombo mountains and over the Makhathini flats, rocks, mud, sand river beds! What's there not to like. I was to find out the depth of truth that "bringing a knife to a gunfight" has in all walks of life, particularly motorcycling.

Before the experts on the forum weigh in on the minutia of the specs of what the correct bike for this kind of ride is, let me explain my position – which is almost completely non-technical. I am never going to win any race, other than some of the lamppost to lamppost sorties that occur at multiple intervals in any ride. I also believe that every bike is a compromise for any ride, there will be sections that the best bike for one section will not be the best for others.

Bike selection for me is the one that puts a smile on my face and lets my heart soar when I just look at it, and in helmet howls of joy when I ride it.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 11:20:59 am
My 890 does this in abundance, even if I am face planting in the red dunes of the Kalahari in the midday scorching sun. Its limits are way beyond what my riding skill can exploit, and it tolerates my attempts to improve these. To do so in the normal course of riding requires long stretches of tar to find short sections of challenging riding. As such opportunities such as the Pongola 500 are to be grabbed with both hands, and a degree of dread.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 11:26:43 am
Back to Jozini

While chewing the cud with other riders the evening before the race the predominant question was "have you ridden this before?", saying “no this was my first” elicited a drawn-out knowing "Ahhhh" - but the body language said it all "Lamb to the slaughter!". The torrential thunderstorm outside was doing little to settle my increasing self-doubt. I didn't dare whisper that I was attempting this on a KTM 890.

Despite my best efforts, I could only find one other adventure bike, a single lone 950 Super Enduro, kitted by someone who clearly knew what he was doing.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 11:28:26 am
I asked him not to come past me too fast, I only saw him again at the Mbazwane fuel stop, where his red route ride had come to an end due to the heat of the day and thick soft sand caused his 950 to voice its protest by overheating, his riding mates were in similar shape. Regrettably, he was forced to miss 40km in the Mkuzi river bed, a section as close to biker heaven as I have ever ridden.

After the torrential rain of the night, the day dawned showing promise of cool overcast conditions, a baited hook if ever there was.

The day opened with a welcome quick prayer, “Please may I return in one piece”
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 11:30:44 am
And then we were off! Out the gate, hitting the mud of the previous night may dash lit up like a Xmas tree. I quickly realised my bike was in street mode, thankfully a few scrolls through the settings and life returned to my rear wheel, powering me through the smoke screen laid down by the two strokes up ahead.

Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: chicco on October 27, 2021, 11:31:59 am
I've done a couple Pongola 500's with Dallie when I still had my 990....nouja....its was very interesting....
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 11:32:34 am
A mass start is always nerve wracking for me whilst riders jockey for position weaving between bikes, other vehicles, pedestrians, livestock and the route. Once over the pedestrian bridge, the extent of the damage on the paths we were to follow immediately became apparent. The surface became black soap, injudicious action on the throttle was immediately punished. The smaller bikes were having none of it proceeding to scream past me, covering me first with black, then red mud finished with a liberal coating of the gravel I was aiming for to provide me with traction.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 11:36:33 am
I've done a couple Pongola 500's with Dallie when I still had my 990....nouja....its was very interesting....

Dallie tells me he has done most o fit on a GS1200 WITH a pillion! and I have NO reason to doubt him.

One day -  :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: chicco on October 27, 2021, 11:42:05 am
I've done a couple Pongola 500's with Dallie when I still had my 990....nouja....its was very interesting....

Dallie tells me he has done most o fit on a GS1200 WITH a pillion! and I have NO reason to doubt him.

One day -  :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:

Dis hoekom Mary-anne se oe altyd so groot is. :imaposer:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 11:48:16 am
I've done a couple Pongola 500's with Dallie when I still had my 990....nouja....its was very interesting....

Dallie tells me he has done most o fit on a GS1200 WITH a pillion! and I have NO reason to doubt him.

One day -  :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:

 :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: and why Dallie wears a permanent grin!

Dis hoekom Mary-anne se oe altyd so groot is. :imaposer:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: Bikerboer1973 on October 27, 2021, 11:56:10 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: roxenz on October 27, 2021, 12:03:01 pm
This is gonna be good! subscribed. (And thanks for putting a RR together Boris!)
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: JohnB on October 27, 2021, 12:44:20 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: m0lt3n on October 27, 2021, 01:11:52 pm
You seem to have same mindset as me!

Will definitely be following this!
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: Buff on October 27, 2021, 05:58:12 pm
I'm on for the ride  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 06:45:55 pm
The bane of all ride organisers life came to pass, just as the paths were opening up and material beneath my tyres was hardening, an angry swarm of plastics was bearing down on me head on. Shitte – with great trepidation I left the lovely surface I was relaxing into, and headed into the slush on its side. Rather that than a head on with one of the smoke belching, shrieking plastic banshees headed straight at me. It appeared that someone had either slung a new fence or locked a gate on the route we were meant to be on. After the finish my new found friend and raving riding lunatic Sean “180km/h” bullet stuck to the route and somehow found a way through.
The rest of us started the search for a way through. You would think we would zoom out on the GPS, look at the carefully downloaded aerial photos and figure out what looked the best way to go, but no. Far rather blast off, wheels spinning, adding the 100th coat of mud and grit to me and more importantly my bike, bouncing between dead ends in an unending cycle of wheel spin off, another coat of mud and grit only to u turn at the next dead-end.

Blue is as ridden, Red is Dallie's route.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 06:53:22 pm
Eventually we found a way through. Got a little lost in the fever tree forest, a beautiful place to wander around looking for the track.
Once on the track, the swarm buzzed past me, leaving me in tranquillity with the soothing sound of an Akro doing its thing as I winded along the scenic paths towards the first fill stop of the day.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 06:59:46 pm
The stop was where expected. These stops were awesome, super friendly teams manning them well stocked with fuel for the bike and more importantly riders – foremost me! The team at the stop said I was I think around the 10th bike there. I figured the rest of the field must have got really stuck in the hide and seek game we played with fences and fields earlier.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 27, 2021, 07:00:59 pm

I was beginning to feel the effects of the morning thus far. A warning I failed to heed. I opted to rather attempt to remedy my rapidly dwindling energy with simultaneous mouthfuls of biltong, chocolate and jelly babies all washed down with copious quantities of energy drinks. Refilled my 3l camelback – the first of 3 refills. On a km/l basis my bike was almost more economical that I was, and the worst by far was yet to come.

Suitably convinced I had done all I could to re-energise, I fired up my ever willing 890 which at this point felt like an oversize Rottweiler straining at its leash paying scant regard to the choke chains’ best efforts to restrain it, dragging all and sundry along (it must be all those Rottweiler parts my KTM890 pathfinder Noneking keeps recommending – and I sheepishly keep adding to my bike).

Oh shit, what the hell was I doing. With increasing mix of trepidation and excitement I set off, needing to make the halfway mark before the cut-off time of 11h30 beyond which we would be barred from the rest of the red route. This could not occur, I had come all this way primarily to ride the route, but equally to do the 40km in the Mkuze riverbed, which was right at the end. Well….not quite. More on that later!
Shortly after leaving I stated noticing dust being thrown up by the bikes in front. Things were drying out, the mud would diminish. Excellent! My relief would be short lived. What I failed to take cognisance of was the complete vaporization of the any semblance of cloud cover. It was getting hot. Very hot!


Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 28, 2021, 10:24:51 am
Riding the backpaths toward Tembe elephant reserve
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 28, 2021, 01:24:45 pm
The route threaded its way between two lakes along the banks of the Pongola River. Magnificent country tracks linked by cattle paths and other single track. As a bonus the mud was hardening. And then . .. . . .

On receiving the tracks a few days before the ride, I downloaded them and tried to squeeze as much data as is possible to plan my ride – FAT CHANCE. However, my various maps, Google Earth and other sources indicated that areas would be tough, labels like “4wd drive required” was amongst those, and the track we were to follow left this 4wd only track and headed into the bush!. They may as well have put “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!” across the start line and leave it at that. I was about to innocently cross the point of no return.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 28, 2021, 01:38:05 pm
As soon as we were directed off the track, if it qualified as a track, clearly indicating 4wd required, we hit sand, and lots of it. As a rather infamous event medic would have put it, just 300m of sand - 300m deep!

Now I know sand can be conquered with speed. However, there are a few aspects that get in the way of this, firstly you need to get up to speed. Secondly, whilst all instinctive reactions are screaming at you to slow down, your training is telling you to keep going faster, causing a huge dilemma at just around your right wrist.

When I was able to get the message through to the throttle, get the speed-up, the track would throw a corner in the way, options are slow down to execute the required turn, bash on straight - hope to miss whatever is in the way until you can stop, or just lay the bike down. I used all the options, often not exclusively. I also discovered that an open full face helmet make an exceptionally effective emergency brake. Particularly when hooking the open part in the sand.

Now I know Dallie and the other mannne wat ken, will drive the bike through the corner like a jet ski. I tried often and discovered that my memory may be fading, but all those old injuries have memories of their own and they remain as sharp as ever.

Eventually, i made i to the fence line of the Tembe Elephant park. Stopped in the shade to slurp out litres 5 - 6 of the day, and muster the strength to head on.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: caconcepts on October 28, 2021, 01:40:34 pm
Fantastic RR, I am in all the way.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 28, 2021, 03:33:55 pm
Time to hit the turn and get back to riding.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 28, 2021, 03:35:05 pm
Apologies for the double photo - recollection of events has me fumbling my keyboard.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 28, 2021, 03:39:20 pm
Now things were looking up. A STRAIGHT, albeit very sandy track all the way to the Moz border. I quickly got on the gas, vetoing all protestations from old injuries, rational adjudication of the implications, and plain old common sense.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 28, 2021, 03:43:22 pm
The fence, or more specifically rather sturdy fence poles on my right were of concern. Hitting one of them at the 80 – 100kkm/h, the speed that seemed optimum on this track, would be something of a show stopper. The left hand spoor had tree branches that seemed very lonely and kept tugging at my arm to get me to join them. Another wrinkle in the system is that it seems that the race rats up ahead either found it tricky to remain in a straight stripe, or they were revelling in the joy of being freed to abuse their throttles to the max. They were laying intricate zigzag tracks all the way. These even at reasonable speed kept threatening to tuck my front wheel under my bike.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 28, 2021, 03:45:17 pm
UP, was my theme for this section – stand UP, open UP, look Up – Up worked for me.

Eventually spitting me out into the Moz border fence, a 90 degree turn and heavy wooden boom across the road.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 28, 2021, 04:24:10 pm
Strangely even riding in a straight line was exhausting. I stopped on the border line, made the 90 degree turn to head East and contemplated the boom across the road. Whichever Einstein constructed this had omitted to consider putting on a counter weight to the boom!

Here I am, hot as hades, humidity way off any semblance of acceptability, 300m of sand – soft all the way to the bottom, a motorcycle needing more hands than I had to get it moving forward AND a boom that needed to be held open.

It was not like one could just hold the boom up with one hand and move on through using your other hand, or quickly scuttle under it before it crushed your skull. IDIOTS!

Scratching around I found that they had followed the work ethic adhered to in most of SA inc, and left their off cuts right where they had cut them. Gathering a few of these, I was able to construct a way to hold the boom open sufficiently to get myself and bike through the boom. However, doing so in boots and soft sand was exhausting.

The track along the border was sublime. I got lulled into a false sense of security and ending up going far too fast, crested a dune only to be faced with what looked like the unfortunate field that had hosted the battle of the Somme! A troop of 4x4’s had clearly tried to come up the face of the dune and got stuck, whereupon they had sat on their accelerators churning up massive cross axle holes all the way down the face of the dune.

Standing hard on my rear brake had my back end coming round to both check that I was still there and swinging to the other side to crap on me from that side. Somehow between the back-end chastisement, the field of craters, steep descent and all the travel my suspension was able to give me I popped out on the other side, and had a somewhat more subdued ride for the rest of the way.

Along the Thembe fence was the most magnificent elephant bull I have ever seen, with long swooping tusks ambling along the fence. Regrettably at this stage I did not have the energy to stop and take a photo, would have lost it anyway along with my phone still wandering the Makhathini flats. We greeted on another and both went on our respective ways.

My bliss on this track was rudely terminated. The route forced us onto yet another snaking, winding, deep rutted track with 300m deep sand under it. All the way to Manguzi. To be fair, it probably was a perfectly fine track, but I was well beyond the task at this point.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on October 29, 2021, 09:04:51 am
http://www.youtube.com/v/bQ5xggFq02Y

A section of the fence line, which looks positively tame versus how I remember it.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: Noneking on October 29, 2021, 09:08:42 am
Awesome Boris!
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: m0lt3n on October 29, 2021, 09:08:56 am
brilliant descriptions! keep it up
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:28:22 pm
The tight track, deep ruts and 300m deep sand were not responding well to the heat, which meant I was in survival mode. Fighting my way along the track was exhausting, regularly having to catch the bike as the front wheel went on its own mission. I started weighing up the energy required to catch the bike and wrestle it back upright versus just falling over and picking it up as to which was the lesser of two evils.

After what seemed to be an eternity I washed up in Manguzi, at the halfway mark. Surprisingly arriving with an hour to spare before the cutoff time. Any aspirations of smugness were immediately extinguished when I learnt the group in front of me were an hour ahead.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:29:49 pm
I rolled to a halt in front of the shop near the petrol pumps. Found a spot just within the shade to park and proceeded to roll off my bike and against the wall of the shop. Stipped off all I could, within the parameters of decency – albeit anything other than cooling down was far from my mind. There I sat. Literally. Vaguely conscious of the world around me, cars coming and going, petrol attendant rushing from car to car, the odd beggar – probably assessing if I was in any state to resist a smash and grab move on their behalf. I was not, these activities formed a blurred backdrop to a semi-comatose state as I willed some life back into my body.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:30:42 pm
After about 15min, I managed to get a few energy bars down and the last glugs  of water that I had in my camelback. It took me another 15min to be able to stand up and buy another 6 liters of water and 4 Super M’s – chocolate milk to the rescue! In my cycling days, we figured out that chocolate milk was an amazingly effective recovery drink. Let's hope it had not lost its magic.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:31:58 pm
Surprisingly some semblance of life slowly crept back into my abused body. I could even go from seated to standing without getting too dizzy and the world dimming on me. Time to send a message to my wife. No phone! Bugger! This is where a Montana 700 comes into its own. I quickly typed a message that I was at the halfway mark, had lost my phone and was heading out. The Montana can send an SMS and email via its satellite link-up, very handy when you lose your riding mates in the middle of nowhere with no signal as we often did, and nice to know at the press of a button one can summon help. In the past we have battled to get the rescue service to our locations, even when you are able to send them a pin, which they generally disbelieve is accurate as there are no roads or any other form of civilization anywhere near – just as we like it. Until we need to casavac someone.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:34:48 pm
As I pulled out of the stop almost an hour later after having crawled in, a group of riders rolled in being hurried on by the team manning the table. The message was clear, better get a move on.

Rolling out of Manguzi I expected some forest track with difficult dunes as the route went past Mabibi. We had got stuck in those dunes in a 4x4 many years ago.

Initially, things went well, though the heat was still rising. I was subsequently told that this area has only two seasons, summer and Hell! I figured Hell had come early.

The twee spore tracks were treating me well. It was just the steeper sections where 4x4’s had done their cross axle fest going up that were causing me some grief. Then the twee spore track started to stutter, the incidences of tricky dunes increased, it was getting hotter, my Super M’s were waning.

An hour after leaving Manguzi, things were getting desperate in my domain. I needed some shade and recuperation. When I had mentioned I was going to give the Pongola 500 a try, a friend told me the previous year some riders came across a fellow rider lying in the road. Fearing the worst they approached him, asking if he was ok. On hearing the voices of others, his lifeless body moved, he lifted his head and said he was ok, but F*^$@d! And rolled over back into the sand. The memory of this tale at least brought a wry smile to my face, as I too dived under a bush and lay there for quite some time.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:35:48 pm
After probably a 10min power nap, I forced down another energy bar and drank 20 glugs of water. I had ridden 200km needing now over 10l of water. My 890 must have been chuckling at me, with similar consumption numbers.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:39:51 pm
Time to go. Back onto the twee spore tracks. These had again firmed up and the riding was great until they stuttered and converged into a single track on the dune ridgeline, crashing through the undergrowth. Time to find a shady bush again. The sound of a motor approaching raised me from my stupor, and there was Dallie in his side by side, flashing white teeth topped by two bloodshot eyes radiating a sparkle of extreme mischief.

“Are you alright?”

My bike was more than serviceable, I had no broken bones or other injuries to display, what else could I say than “I’m ok.” I think I managed to signal that I was a little tired.

“Do you need anything?” – I suppose a tar road would be out of the question, other than that no.

And off they went. I had been riding alone most of the day, but his departure left me feeling very alone.

The last time I felt this combination of utter exhaustion and a long way still to go, was under a 50ft pole, with 29 other guys being yelled at by a 16 year old 2 stripe.

Ok, no time to mope, let's get on with it. The single track was now also stuttering, it was like following Morse code on the ground – dash – dash – dot – dash – dot – dot – sot …. I checked the GPS. Looked ok, I zoomed in to the max. Incredibly I was exactly where I was meant to be, in terms of space – time – well that was another matter, here I was way off. But clearly on what I suppose was meant to be the track.

Inching forward, the track disappeared. A wall of hostile looking bushes and trees faced off against me. Where on earth had Dallie gone? Where should I go? I was too tired to even try and figure out an alternate route. I lay on my tank, gunned the bike and endured the branches and thorns ripping through me and more distressingly my BIKE! It was too thick to get through in one hit, shoving branches over my head, trying to break off others, and just bulldozing forward was the only option. When all else fails, time for brute force and ignorance.
 Eventually, I burst forth onto the other side. The dot dashes of tracks started to join up, and I could get the air conditioning working again. BLISS!
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:42:34 pm
I made it to the 2nd last fuel stop for the day, just at the turn to Lake Sibaya. It was just before 2pm and I had just under 300km under the belt. I was astounded to see Rassie Venter at the stop. I had met him on the Kalahari Rally, where he had blitzed his way through the rally on his 690, this time he had chosen lighter weaponry. Regrettably, the heat had got to his mousse and his day was done. Again, I dived into anything edible and drinkable at the stop. The marshals there recommended that I miss the Lake Sibaya loop as it was getting late. Initially, I was adamant, I have to do it, else I cannot get onto the Mkuze river section.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:46:22 pm
Eating again Bob!? Forcing down as much food and water as i could before heading out again.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:53:26 pm
“Ahh, not so!” miss the loop and re-join the red route just before the final fuel stop. I was being offered the ultimate get out of jail free card.

I refuelled myself as best I could, calculated that I probably had just enough fuel to complete the ride, waved goodbye to Rassie, and headed off along TAR! Now, this was not part of the plan, but was extremely welcome.

That Red route stalked its way down my GPS screen until it was on top of me. Again, neglecting to zoom out to check if this was the last chance saloon to join the route into the river, I blindly turned right.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:55:02 pm
Slap bang back into 300m deep soft sand masquerading as a twee spoor pad. Voracious thorns on both sides and a death trap middle mannetjie. The one consolation was the day was cooling off. The wind was up and there was a semblance of cloud cover coming in.

Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 12:56:43 pm
The last fuel stop appeared at the end of the track, I was now getting into the groove and reluctant to stop. My simple fuel calcs indicated that I should make it – just. Shortly thereafter, the Mkuze river came into view, a steep drop into the river bed onto now 600m deep sand. River sand, carefully sorted so that its grain size distribution is optimal for making riding very tricky.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 01:03:57 pm
Just to be sure that we were unable to just blast down the river bed, there were holes everywhere. And by holes, I mean bike swallowing holes. Holes dug for water, holes dug for building sand, holes dug by people, holes dug by donkeys, cows, kids, chickens and ducks. Where there were no holes there were trees that had fallen across the river, and sometimes both. Dallie made yet another pass in the side by side, a little way further down the river bed he very nearly had it on its head due to one of the battalions of holes.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: m0lt3n on November 03, 2021, 02:14:28 pm
what rear tyre were you on? wondering if it was aggressive enough?

Great RR please keep it up
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 02:32:20 pm
Thank you. It feels easier to do the ride than the report. Must be the history of shirking homework that is catching up on my.

I was given a Mitas E12 Rally Star to try, that had been increased from a 140/80 -18 to a 150/80 -18. Though, on my new thinner rims, it looked very much like a 140 at best. They are awesome tyres in any terrain, but for deep sand i would prefer something with a wider footprint.

Being on my third set of rim, I was very reluctant to drop my tyre pressures, which I held at 2.4Bar. In the river this did not last, I eventually figured that the probability of rocks was low enough that I could ease the pain and drop the pressure to 1.8 Bar. My tyres are tubed.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 02:41:26 pm
I, on the other hand was doing terrifically on the straights, far less so when I had to navigate the obstacle course of holes, trees and sieves. I had been keeping my tyres at 2.4 Bar front and back due riding on new wheels that replaced 2 sets of rims I had destroyed previously due to hitting lurkers with lower tyre pressures. It was now time to do something about this.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 02:43:25 pm
At 1.8 Bar, it was like turning on the lights. The bike came up on top of the sand quickly and stayed there at far lower speeds. Things were looking up. The river was still dry in the initial 20 odd kms, but my 890 was cruising, the Akro purring along, with the occasional obligatory growl at the looser sections of sand. The 890’s ability to work through the lower parts of the rev range was a joy to use, it snarls at you when you need it, but aside from that leaps into action from remarkably low down.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 02:45:28 pm
Soon water stared to make its appearance in the low river sections with long soft sand bars in between. This was adventure riders’ heaven. I was flying up the river, jumping off the edges into the water, ramping up the sand bars. Though at a far more sedate speed than I would have liked. I will return and ride this when my energy levels are closer to that of my 890.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 02:48:48 pm
The scenery was awesome. Huge trees lining the riverbanks punctuating the thick riverine vegetation. As the route wound its way towards the Lebombo mountains there were towering cliffs on the outside of each bend. Man it was terrific to be alive! Even better to be here on this amazing machine in such magnificent surroundings with a symphony from the engine, Akro and tyre zipping over the sand and through the water.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 02:51:47 pm
One would think Dallie could leave it there. But no! There must be a sting in the tail, and here it was. I overshot the turn out of the river, having far far far too much fun. Then stopped in the worst place possible to turn the bike, got the back wheel well and truly dug in, had to do a series of iterations of pushing the bike over, pulling it around as much as I could, pick up, digging in the back wheel, rinse repeat. The shreds of energy I had accumulated in the river were rapidly depleted.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 02:53:43 pm
Having turned I found a route out, though was a little hasty in turning and needed to plough through low hanging branches of fever trees to get to the route. This was a section I was concerned about.

I had looked at it carefully when receiving the tracks. In general, it looked promising with a marked road fairly close. This is the issue with riding, it if often just a 2m of impassable section that can ruin your day.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 02:55:24 pm
As I rounded the corner, there it was, Dallie’s sting in the tail. I could see him rolling in mirth at our discomfort of having got here in one piece and being faced with this. It seemed as if the universe was acting in concert with him, just for good measure a herd of cows was leisurely strolling up the precipitous goat track right in the line I needed. And they were not going to budge.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 02:56:50 pm
The track was strewn with rim eating blocks of rock, my tyres were low, the wheel spin in the river had made 40km closer to 80km travelled with negative impact on my careful fuel calculations and the rocks were wet, cows besides.

Half heartly, I took a run at the goat track. NEVER a good idea, do it properly or not at all as my dad would have said. The inevitable fall happened with the bike on top of me, my head pointing decidedly downhill looking up on at my bike which had every intention of punishing me for my indiscretion by threatening to roll over on top of me.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 02:59:39 pm
A stern talking to went on in my helmet.

Once I had managed to extricate my leg from under the bike, I took on picking it up. I was too tired to try and spin it, so I could lift it from an uphill position.

Brute force (or rather what was left of it) & ignorance time again.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 03:04:12 pm
Once back up, I chased down the cows, shooed them off the track and headed to the Jozini Tiger Lodge.

Once stationary in the parking area I swore I would never try anything stupid like this again, the Pongola 500 had definitely seen the last of me.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 03:05:11 pm
I think next year, I need to use the sections where the going is good to get miles behind the back. I was too casual in these sections where I could have made up some time.

I have started to practice deep sand cornering, which should help in those heinous twisty turny 300m deep loose sand sections. I have scouts out looking for a Tractionator Desert for my rear.

And I need to coax a few mates on similar bikes to join me.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: caconcepts on November 03, 2021, 03:12:04 pm
Nice snapshots, I trust there is a video coming soon.....
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 03:20:20 pm
Eish ........
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: caconcepts on November 03, 2021, 03:22:10 pm
Eish ........

At the very least, the hill climb and cow herding.....
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 03, 2021, 03:59:02 pm
Those are not pretty, and will need a sound track over print to make it past any censors.

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Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: ETS on November 03, 2021, 04:44:20 pm
Fantastic RR thank you!
Maybe next year i will try with my 500 :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: Noneking on November 04, 2021, 06:23:20 am
Lekker RR Boris!!
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 04, 2021, 08:20:31 am
Fantastic RR thank you!
Maybe next year i will try with my 500 :thumleft: :thumleft:

That would be awesome. Though i suspect i will see you at the start and then a long time after you have got back. The 500 will blitz this ride.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 04, 2021, 08:44:20 am
Lekker RR Boris!!

Can i sign you up as the team leader for next year?
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: m0lt3n on November 04, 2021, 12:47:43 pm
Thanks for sharing!

You doing the Tankwa next year?
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: Noneking on November 04, 2021, 04:11:13 pm
Lekker RR Boris!!

Can i sign you up as the team leader for next year?
I’m more of a follower….. and your RR hasn’t really painted a positive picture for anyone wanting to follow you into Dallie’s playground…
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 05, 2021, 07:12:15 am
Thanks for sharing!

You doing the Tankwa next year?

That does sound like a sufficiently stupid and interesting prospect.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: Sheepman on November 05, 2021, 07:44:36 am
Great ride on the big Katoom  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: Malcolm on November 05, 2021, 10:28:42 am
Nice One!  Lekker ride and report!
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: captain jack on November 05, 2021, 09:01:37 pm
Great report. Thanks :thumleft:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 06, 2021, 08:19:17 am
Thanks for sharing!

You doing the Tankwa next year?

That does sound like a sufficiently stupid and interesting prospect.

Are you considering a kyk weer next year?
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: m0lt3n on November 08, 2021, 07:53:40 am
Thanks for sharing!

You doing the Tankwa next year?

That does sound like a sufficiently stupid and interesting prospect.

Are you considering a kyk weer next year?

yes

if not alone and if allowed
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: Noneking on November 08, 2021, 08:31:33 am
Thanks for sharing!

You doing the Tankwa next year?

That does sound like a sufficiently stupid and interesting prospect.

Are you considering a kyk weer next year?

yes

if not alone and if allowed
3 idiots better than one….. I’ll be interested
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 08, 2021, 08:53:05 am
Excellent! Count me in.

I will now have to read your Tankwa Rally ride report and analysis very carefully, and prepare accordingly.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: m0lt3n on November 08, 2021, 09:10:57 am
Daai arme 990 van my  :violent1:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 16, 2021, 11:30:36 am
Nice snapshots, I trust there is a video coming soon.....

@caconcepts - as requested. Not elegant viewing, which I suppose reflects the quality of my riding and my physical state at that point.

http://www.youtube.com/v/sEO-ipf4AaI

Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: caconcepts on November 16, 2021, 01:35:26 pm
Respect to you and your steed, funny how we all you the same words on an involuntary dismount.... :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 17, 2021, 07:57:52 am
Indeed! The vocabulary seems to be as ubiquitous as AGAT!

 :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: chicco on November 17, 2021, 08:36:59 am
I managed to find my tread from 2010..... :thumleft: Check out the video on page 3.....

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=58049.60
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: Tman21 on November 17, 2021, 08:46:21 am


@caconcepts - as requested. Not elegant viewing, which I suppose reflects the quality of my riding and my physical state at that point.


Nee wat, hier laat jy alles maklik lyk.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 17, 2021, 05:46:56 pm
I managed to find my tread from 2010..... :thumleft: Check out the video on page 3.....

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=58049.60

Were you angry with your throttle! :biggrin:

You guys were flying!


Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 17, 2021, 05:49:19 pm


@caconcepts - as requested. Not elegant viewing, which I suppose reflects the quality of my riding and my physical state at that point.


Nee wat, hier laat jy alles maklik lyk.

You are too kind! Survival is a strong instinct.



Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: chicco on November 18, 2021, 08:15:01 am
I managed to find my tread from 2010..... :thumleft: Check out the video on page 3.....

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=58049.60

Were you angry with your throttle! :biggrin:

You guys were flying!

Amazing how the camera technology has advanced in 11 years.
Title: Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
Post by: 51Mobile on November 18, 2021, 02:28:15 pm
And how much hair Dallie has lost.

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