Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: Stevie on September 20, 2011, 10:50:43 pm

Post by: Stevie on September 20, 2011, 10:50:43 pm
Well here goes, Jimbo's HARDCORE Volcano run - Mount Bruckaros Namibia.

To avoid too much confusion a few points must be clarified about strange names and even stranger spelling.

In the prelude to the run, Jimbo had in normal understated fashion put together a very good set of rally notes for all participants.

Firstly it came about that we spelt Brukkaros with a double "K" - only when we got there did we see the correct spelling  - we still preferred  the  double "K".

Jimbo's notes also referred to the Nabian road tax payable at Aroab. One of our sharper eyed participants picked upon it and the name just stuck - "Onward to Nabia" just had a more romantic ring to it - so Nabia it will forever be (at least for these 3 adventurers)
The Nabian salute - not altogether politically correct in some circles - provided much mirth and a good picker up when things got a bit too tough, hot and hardcore.

Jimbo's introduction quoted below:

A bald recital of events, without prejudice, fear or favour.

Seven days, and six nights with no predetermined destination for each day.  Main ride from Mafikeng to Mount Brukkaros in central southern Namibia.  Return to Mafikeng by different, but similar route.  Approximately 1300km each way.  The dates were chosen to provide mild nights and reasonable day time temperatures, and to coincide with the period of full moon.

...sounds like a lekker outride with some mates - piela, knock it over and klap a few beers under the stars every night.... - ja right  :o

As the RR fills a page or two, bear in mind that there are very few action photos and even though the pics are of dusty riders around their bikes, the distances and terrain covered between pics tested us thoroughly.
Most times I was more than relieved to have just made the next rest point.

Chris's intro below

 I think it is probably a dream of most guys to do a motorcycle trip into Africa. You can picture yourself on one of the big adventure bikes riding off into the African sunset. Recently, my dream came true as I joined a group of friends on a 2700km trip from Mafeking along the Botswana border into Namibia and to the Brukkaros Volcano Crater and back, a trip spanning 7 days and plus minus 400km per day.

So after the usual preparation phase synonymous with a trip of this nature - Jim and I left Fourways just before 07h00 on Friday morning - destination Mafikeng, the arranged meeting point.
Unfortunately no escort dogs as work commitments kept the boys shackled behind their desks.

The trip to Mafikeng was uneventful apart from a heavy head and crosswind that saw us being buffeted for most of the ride northwest.
We also had a moment when we unintentionally started too early from one of the roadwork stops and had to make ourselves very small as the trucks and busses bore down on us on the very narrow single lane with no regard for our predicament.

My little scoot had developed a thirst that is quite uncharacteristic so had to stop at Coligny to fill up. Jim took the time to adjust his hydrapack


Chris was keen and ready when we arrived


The boys from Lichtenburg arrived not long after and the route notes were handed out.
the first section was to Ratlabama about 20km of tar. Then off into the villages that are dotted around this area. Jim threaded our little safari of 9 bikes between the homes and before long we were on the border fence..... lekkerrrrr....?????  
 .... :o and then Jim took off at speeds I struggle with on dirt roads - wtf??? does he want us to keep up at those sort of speeds.

I was riding second with Chris shepherding me. I gave myself a decent dust gap and tried to hang on to Jim's rapidly disappearing  taillight - futile.
The ride was fast and exhilarating and I soon found my rhythm although I was still intimidated by the speed Jim was putting down.
(a word of respect here to the dog on the V-Strom with road tyres that was right behind us at each stop - I don't know how you did it, but you did it very well)

After a million turns, big eyes and clenched knuckles we arrived at Pitsane for a re-group and re-fuel.
The Sasol was out of fuel so the next leg to Bray was going to be touch and go - for those of us that had not filled up at Mafikeng - the adventure had started.


Jim's summary of the day:

Day 1.
Left Fourways 07h00 via tar road to Mafikeng.  Adverse head winds and stop / go road works on sections to Ventersdorp.  Arrived at Mafikeng 10h45 and met Chris, Renier, Gerard, Mike and three others from Lichtenburg.  Handed out Route Schedule to Gods Warrior for him and his followers.  Carried out a short briefing at Nandos, and left Mafikeng en-mass (9 riders) for the border fence at Ramatlabama at noon.  The border fence has an un-maintained 4 x 4 track on the SA side which is used occasionally by SAPS to do border patrol.  One can be pretty much assured of not encountering any vehicular traffic.  The track was mainly dry flood / mud plains with some sandy patches, sometimes no track at all and plenty of corners.  There was no petrol at the station at Phitsane, which rattled a few riders.

Chris summed day 1 up

The day finally arrived for the adventure to begin. We all met at Mafeking on the first leg of 258km to Bray. Now I was an average motorcrosser in the late 80’s and also did a handful of enduros in the early nineties but I was not entirely prepared for the first leg. Luckily we followed our leader Jim who was teaching us as we went. The first lesson we learnt was that speed was your friend in soft sand and the faster you went the more stable you were. (Very hard to translate this from your brain to your throttle hand).  

Note to all:
Jim's first lesson - if you don't keep up you get left behind

(Fixed header-RobC)
Title: Re: Nabian Hardcore Volcano Run
Post by: Berty77 on September 20, 2011, 11:08:48 pm
SSS. Hard core as they get. RESPECT MOTHER THUMPERS!!!
Title: Re: Nabian Hardcore Volcano Run
Post by: Ganjora on September 21, 2011, 03:41:19 am
been waiting for this RR...
Title: Re: Nabian Hardcore Volcano Run
Post by: Tosser on September 21, 2011, 06:07:27 am
Subscribed  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Nabian Hardcore Volcano Run
Post by: White Rhino on September 21, 2011, 06:19:49 am

Looks like Yellow was the official colour  :ricky:
Title: Re: Nabian Hardcore Volcano Run
Post by: Lynn on September 21, 2011, 11:15:59 am
Subscribed!!!  :happy1:
Title: Re: Nabian Hardcore Volcano Run
Post by: Dwerg on September 21, 2011, 11:28:28 am
Title: Re: Nabian Hardcore Volcano Run
Post by: africanSky on September 21, 2011, 11:33:48 am
Awesome, can't wait for the rest.
Title: Re: Nabian Hardcore Volcano Run
Post by: chopperpilot on September 21, 2011, 11:36:18 am
Lekker man! :happy1:
Title: Re: Nabian Hardcore Volcano Run
Post by: Malibu on September 21, 2011, 11:49:50 am
Title: Re: Nabian Hardcore Volcano Run
Post by: goblin on September 21, 2011, 05:18:11 pm
Post by: domstes on September 22, 2011, 02:59:06 pm
 :drif:  :happy1:  :thumleft:
Post by: KTM Jagermeister on September 22, 2011, 06:39:02 pm
More ! My kind of tour ! 
Post by: EtienneXplore on September 22, 2011, 08:32:46 pm
Whoop Whoop, I have been waiting for this report!!

I have ridden with JIMBO, and that old Ballie is tough as nails, you gotta bring your A-game  :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

Lekker guys, GOOI........

Post by: madmike999 on September 22, 2011, 08:53:01 pm
NICE!  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Post by: >Herman< on September 22, 2011, 08:58:12 pm

:happy1:  :thumleft:
Post by: Would I? on September 22, 2011, 10:01:06 pm
Post by: Stevie on September 22, 2011, 11:12:26 pm
So with nerves a-plenty we left Pitsane not quite realising what lay ahead. The border fence changing  direction left to right, not so favourite right hand turns often catching me unawares. The extra load on the bike getting in my way and the bike having a mind of its own.

Jim's description of what lay ahead

The next scheduled stop was 80 km of all you could wish for – fast dry mud plains, loose stones, deep sand, gnarly steep rocky sections, wheel ruts, ant bear holes and overhanging thorn bushes.

I loved the sound of the gutsy little thumpers as we wound them upon the open sections and fast corners.
A few rather steep, very gnarly, rocky sections up and down called for some intense concentration.
Jim had to advised pick a line and stick with it - don't hesitate, momentum is your friend. The theory sounded good so going up was fine - momentum down the other side was another matter all together. Fortunately things happened so quickly I did not have time to think too much and was up and down before panic could set in. From there it got easier - only the odd lurker would cause a sudden adrenalin rush as it grabbed at the sidewall.

Being suited to the riding conditions the smaller bikes pulled away from the rest of the group. We stopped wait for the big boys and enjoyed some of the sights and sounds of the very slow lifestyle of a Friday afternoon living next to a border fence.


With no sign of the rest of the group we pressed on towards the re-group point. Starting immediately with a tricky little rocky descent. The path sort of disappeared and each man was left to negotiate his own way down. I chose a fairly large step down - and hey - momentum is your friend  :ricky: 

As we rode along to the  re-group,  the terrain got sandier and dust was less of a problem - the threesome of little Suzuki's got closer together - fence on the right, bush on the left, sand below and who knows what form of livestock hiding in the bush....

The pace picked up, Jim fast through the corners, me slowing Chris down, the odd cow slowing us all down. The sand on the track getting thicker caused the bikes to start behaving like a 3 year-old at bedtime, there was only one option - weight back and give it horns - and presto well behaved scoots again. The pace was good and the long sandy stretches saw us clipping along around 80-90km/h. Exhilarating stuff.
We came to a particularly sandy section that required much momentum, and here murphy lurked - 8 - 10 cows in the path with thick bush and a fence on both sides.
The cows all looking for an escape route as Jim passed. One particular specimen from the shallow end of the gene pool tried to outrun the fast approaching thumping ponies and when that seemed to be a bad idea he started using up more of the road that he was entitled to. It required some rapid decision making, hesitation here was going to be a seriaas problem. I was forced to pass on the far right off the path, the fence flashing past a few inches to the right. I had chosen my line and stuck to it, even through  Murphy's wait-a-bit bush directly ahead.
In his attempt to run me off the road the cow had allowed Chris through with little more than a few slaps from the thorny bushes on the roadside. And suddenly we were through, enjoying the thrill of once again being able to gas it to keep on top of the sand.
All too suddenly we arrived at the re-group. We extracted thorns out of hands and arms having a good laugh as we re-lived the tense moments from a few minutes before.

As we waited for the rest of the group the afternoon shadows grew longer. We waited impatiently, knowing that for the next 100 km we would be riding directly into the sun, the later it got the more uncomfortable that would be.
A few friendly farmers stopped to check that we were alright and swopped pleasantries. After 45 minutes the first of the big boys arrived having chosen to take the main road to reach the re-group point. Renier (bless his heart) suggested the Suzuki 3-some carry on ahead. Unfortunately one of their bikes arrived  with a flat front wheel. A quick dose of tyre-weld couldn't sort the problem out so they had a puncture repair to deal with as well.
It didn't take us long to mount up and head onto the dirt road to Bray, 100km away - this should be a doddle I thought, make up some time.... ja right  :o

Jim's description of the road to Bray

At this re-group point (late afternoon) Gods Warrior informed me that this route was not what his group had expected (There had been some falls and a flat tire), and they would not carry on.  That left Stevie, Chris (non-dog) and myself to carry on.  The 100km  to Bray was fast (100km +) with long sections of deep cohesion-less sand.  All went well if one kept up the speed.  No place for loss of talent.

Talent - what's that   :o the route description said nothing of talent...!!!!!

The ride was fast and hard. All I knew was that I had to keep my weight back and the throttle open - easy  :imaposer:
The sensation of hitting a long  patch  of loose sandy road at 100km/h and trying to relax at the same time cannot be described. At times the front wheel threatened to climb over the middelmannetije, clawing at the sloping sand on either side of the wheel track.
Again here, momentum, weight placement and correct body position carried the little scoots over these treacherous sections without mishap and it almost became sadistic fun - accelerating when the next patch of sand loomed closer. My brain arguing with the practice  :eek7: but hey it worked.

I hit reserve with about 20km to go - Gruffy's thirstiness a problem still. I had to stop a couple of times to get the fuel to the LHS petcock.
Just as I hit my own reserve, the pace slowed and we rolled into Bray.


Chris's comment on arrival at the petrol station in Bray

thats the scariest f%$##@g thing I've done in my life


We fuelled up and headed to our overnight stop.








OH - by the way Jim doesn't take too much in the way of creature comforts on a HARDCORE ride...
he just drinks yours  ::)


And don't be put off by his tough exterior - he is actually a softie


Jim's evening summary

We camped at a farmers cattle kraal near Bray.  A very pleasant night. 

Chris's summary

Our first night we camped on the farm of a Doctor in Bray. What a wonderful host he was. However the most interesting information that came out while sitting around the fire was how many adventure riders he attends to each year due to injury. I enquired as to what he thought the problem was. He said guys came out here on huge bikes with wrong tyres and terribly overloaded, without any skill. They also didn’t understand the riding conditions and headed for disaster. Anyway after a most enjoyable evening by a gracious host, we turned in to ready ourselves for the following day of a 350km section from Bray to Van Zyls rus along the Botswana Border fence.

Day 2
We met up with the big boys the following morning on our way from the bakery in Bray. They had toughed it out and ridden to Bray into the night - respect boys - it was tough during the day, nighttime would be scary, so they deserved a night in the local B&B. Due to a few mishaps and the difficult conditions the group had decided to take a more direct route and head back to Lichtenburg. We bid them farewell,sorry that we could not have gotten to know them better and swop more stories.

Jim's comment on what lay ahead  :patch:

We went into Bray early to top up with fuel, water and padkos in preparation for the next 350km of fuel-less, water-less gravel roads, fence track and miles and miles of deep Kalahari sand to Van Zylsrus.

Apprehensive after the previous day's conditions, it was with some trepidation that I assumed my protected postion, riding just behind Jim's dust cloud and trying to move quick enough to not frustrate Chris. I was pleasantly surprised when the road conditions were less sandy and we were able to maintain a good pace. Conditions did not permit a lack of concentration as the conditions and road surface changed so often that we had to remain vigilant at all times. 

Refuelling 100km from Bray


Post by: KTM Jagermeister on September 22, 2011, 11:35:25 pm
Post by: White Rhino on September 23, 2011, 03:35:02 am

Sounded like the first section up to Bray suited dirt bikes more than DS bikes. It would be good to get a view / ride report from the "Big Boys"

Very lekker - look forward to the next installment ...
Post by: Ganjora on September 23, 2011, 06:14:50 am
that Jimbo,
he's a tough ol' blighter...
the big bikes didn't last long,  eh.
Post by: DeepBass9 on September 23, 2011, 07:17:51 am
Looks like an awesome trip. More!
Post by: Gat Slag on September 23, 2011, 07:26:16 am
Post by: Mark Hardy on September 23, 2011, 09:03:24 am
Shit Damn Blast Fark....now I am really sorry I was not able to join.

Enjoying the report...brings back plenty memories of our december trip along that same route.  :thumleft:
Post by: africanSky on September 23, 2011, 09:20:37 am
Keep it coming :thumleft:
Post by: roxenz on September 23, 2011, 10:06:16 am
Excellent stuff, keep it coming!

JIMBO always wears that tacky Wannabie jersey on a ride - there must be a story there?
Post by: Malibu on September 23, 2011, 01:40:41 pm
I think there is a story with all his gear... ;D
Post by: Stevie on September 27, 2011, 01:29:50 pm

Sounded like the first section up to Bray suited dirt bikes more than DS bikes. It would be good to get a view / ride report from the "Big Boys"

Very lekker - look forward to the next installment ...

With all  respect due to the "Big Boys" - the open sections are their forte - the smaller, lighter  bikes just coped so much better with the tighter turns and rough terrain.
No disrespect intended to the talent of the riders (some of those boys are good), the group can only move as fast as the slowest rider (riding etiquette) and one unlucky slip or tumble will reduce the group's average speed.

It would be great to get comment on their opinion of the route to Bray.
Post by: Ganjora on September 27, 2011, 01:33:57 pm
It would be great to get comment on their opinion of the route to Bray.

it would also be great to get some more of this RR
Post by: ThomTom on September 27, 2011, 01:47:31 pm
I have being sitting patiently under a tree near Bray since last Thursday, waiting for the trip to get going again.  Where are you??????
Post by: alli on September 27, 2011, 03:59:12 pm
I wish I could have gone with, I love those Kalahari roads and the little dorpies that you get along the way.

Now Stevie, where's our fix :deal:

I'm living vicariously through this thread right now.
Post by: Stevie on September 27, 2011, 10:50:48 pm
Day 2 continues....

Jim's comment of the day...

The riding went well, but unfortunately I miss-read my own route schedule at Mc Cathy’s Rest and over shot the turn to the fence by 20 odd km.  Repeated failed attempts to rejoin the border fence resulted in an additional tiring 100km out of our way.  We had no choice but to return to Mc Cathy’s Rest to rejoin the border fence.

We had a fantastic ride on the roads from Bray to VanZyls Rus. It was hot dusty work but we settled into a good pace and kept a dust free gap between riders. The stops were few and far between - (Jim kind of means Hardcore when he says it). The stops were generally just for Jim to get a confirmation of co-ordinates and off he went again. Chris and I just looked at each other wondering if he ever gets tired.

Oh yes - Jim's rule of the day "if you don't stop in the shade, you get hot and sunburnt"

For guys that know the area - shade is pretty sparse - so Chris and I were always jockeying for a patch of shade, much to Jim's amusement.

I lost out on this patch....




We stopped at this spot after a particularly sandy section - beautiful, silent, peaceful



The road to Mc Carthy's Rest was great - a licquorice road - had all-sorts.
We crossed through one of the game parks and I had to play dodgems with a couple of Gemsbok.
The situation seemed unreal as I  watched the 2nd Gemsbok crossing left to right on a direct collision course with me. I had to grab a handful as things started happening very quickly. I was happy to let him pass, enjoying the puzzled looked he and his mate gave us as we accelerated away.

One particular cattle grid on the way out of the game park go the blood pumping as the bikes lifted  both wheels off the ground at around 90km/h  ;D

All too soon we rolled into Mc Carthy's Rest only to find the shop closed and no fuel available. A quick stop and nibble, re-check the route schedule and onward to.......????


Jim took off down the road, I looked at Chris  with a WTF????  look in my eye. Now I know Jim knows where we are going, but something don't look right. My Garmin is telling me a different story. Chris up and follows Jim, I up and follow Chris to this lekker spot...


Still the penny hasn't dropped...


Our navigator

Utilising maximum shade

We tried to follow a marked road on the GPS, but this ran on private land. We did turn in at one of the farm entrances and enquired directions from the local farm-workers. The folk were all very helpful but thoroughly intoxicated, each one trying to outdo the next with their idea of the best road to take. This enthusiasm led to some "huismoles" and the threat of a "klap" or two among the revellers.
The section to where they lived was sandy and soft, getting in with some momentum was tricky. Getting out with no momentum was wild.
We rode out onto the main roadwhich would take us to VanZyl's Rus but this would not have been in true Nabian spirit so the call was made to ride back to Mc Carthy's rest and pick up the border fence road.
Here we sacrificed time for fuel and rode like old ladies back to Mc Carthy's and on to the border road. Now this section of the land without fuel, is, well ... without fuel  :eek7:
A cunning plan is hatched en-route: as my bike is running only slightly lighter on fuel than Chris's, when I run out Jim will borrow some fuel from Chris - head on to Van Zyl's and then bring the much needed liquid for us all to replenish at VZR - cunning hey??



The border road at this point is a mixture of soft sand and hardpack with the odd Aardvark/ Warthog den dug in the middle of it. Not to mention the millions of holes dug by the cute little Meercats.

All was going well as we made pretty good time,  thoughts of low fuel not a priority as the speeds crept higher and higher along roads like this....


With all that speed and not much talent this  :o  jumped out ......






Ja Ja, I can hear all the armchair comments - "shoulda done this" "shoulda done that" - well shoot, then you shoulda been there. I guess I approached the corner doing 80, and probably managed to get down to 60, but in true inexerienced form I looked at the corner and not through it - twat.

Chris riding close behind thought I had saved it, but the fence flashing by 6 inches from my clutch lever and the fast approaching main dropper drawing my eye towards it the inevitable happened - snot, stof en haare - double twat.


I was shaken and stirred but apart from ripping off the side fuel pannier and the bicep protector off the chest guard, I got off with a stiff grazed shoulder and slight bruise on the left thigh.

Jim muttered something under his breath about done one corner done them all.....  :patch:
At this point we implemented our cunning plan to get fuel as  I was running on fumes and Chris was very low.
We checked our water and bade Jim a safe trip as he rode off into the late afternoon, only expecting to see him after the next sunrise.
Chris and I set off in good spirits, knowing that we did not have enough fuel to go too far and this was an adventure, we had food and water so all was well with the world. Our pace slowed a little as we kept our eyes peeled for a lekker place to camp.
Three gear changes later.... my clutch cable snapped  >:( - shoot, now what???
Nought to do but slow right down and find neutral before having to stop. Starting also quite easy, engage first gear and push the happy button grrr putt, grrr puttt, grrr vroom - piela  :thumleft:

We went through a couple of gates and were suprised to find Jim resting at one of the gates.

In Jim's own words
About 75 km from Van Zylsrus it became apparent we would all run out of fuel well before VZR unless we did something about it.  I offered to take 2l of fuel from each of Stevie and Chris and go alone to VZR for more fuel, and return probably the next day.  An abundance of farm gates in the next few kms slowed me to such an extent that Stevie and Chris caught me in their attempt to go as far as they could.  I was close to exhaustion at that point and decided to make camp there and then.  Stevie and Chris readily agreed.  We were about 50km from VZR and slept very well on the stones under the stars.

Chris's summary of the day
This was more challenging but a lot more fun. We did take one or two detours and found ourselves running out of petrol so we camped where we stood.
( he does say a bit more tomorrow  ;))

And sleep well we did, the setting was beautiful and harsh

Sunrise on Day 3 - the promise of adventure to come...



Post by: terminator1 on September 28, 2011, 05:33:12 am
subscribed!  :3some:
Post by: Mark Hardy on September 28, 2011, 05:49:18 am
more more more more ...please
Post by: White Rhino on September 28, 2011, 05:53:30 am
Reports like these, with incidences, always make for better reading. Enjoying the events as they unfold. :thumleft:
Post by: Ganjora on September 28, 2011, 06:32:25 am
lucky,  stevie,  lucky...
we want more!!!
Post by: alli on September 28, 2011, 11:16:27 am
This is making me sooo lus for an adventure ride. :ricky:

Thats what it's all about, not knowing what is around the next corner, great views and the wind in your helmet

 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Post by: africanSky on September 28, 2011, 01:55:30 pm
Hey Stevie - how long till the next dose?

It's amazing how much momentum a DS has when you need to scub off speed in a hurry!

Glad you were OK.
Post by: Gunner53 on September 28, 2011, 02:01:47 pm
Eish looks like a great ride. Spoke with Jimbo yesterday. Really pissed now that I couldn't make it. Figure we might need to organize a re-run for the dawgs that didn't make this one.

keep the report coming
Post by: Stevie on September 28, 2011, 11:29:12 pm
Day 3 - what a great day....

It started well.....


Just after sunrise I had a took a walk in the very chilly morning air. It was crisp, clear and verrry cold. I was rewarded with watching a herd of Springbok doing what they do in the early morning. The Kalahari slowly waking to the sun's rays.
Some tough leathery things slower to rise than others  ;)


everyone doing what had to be done, taking care of all those pressing issues....



I will let Jim and Chris relay the start of day 3 - did I mention this was a great day??  :D

Day 3.
The only vehicle we have seen on the border fence turned up early manned by Frans and Jan.  As it chugged closer it began to unexpectedly sound like a petrol driven motor.  Chris hailed them down and sure enough, Frans agreed to part with 10l of regular petrol, straight out of the tank.  This was a welcome turn of events, but we were still 3 or 4 hours behind estimate.

The next morning a miracle arrived in the form of a bakkie that siphoned 10 litres of petrol for us to reach Van Zyls Rus. The funny thing was that that was the first of two vehicles that we encountered on our whole trip along the border fence, the other vehicle being the Police Border Patrol on the last day.

Words cannot describe the look on Frans' face first when they saw us and then when Chris asked him where we could buy petrol.
I think the offer to pay almost double sealed the deal and we were ready to rock n roll. This turn of events had Chris and I scrambling because we were planning a lazy morning, slow pack up and to give the bikes a once over.
(word of advice - when Jim is ready, he rides - so don't dawdle)

Our rescuers - Frans & Jan, good friendly helpful guys.


The ride to VZR was great, fast sand, rocks and hard pack. We had a funny incident on the way which had me chuckling in my helmet.
Jim was ahead just out of sight, Chris choosing to ride just out of my dust to keep an eye on me. I noticed a long stick lying in the road and moved to the left to make sure I didn't clip it and have it smack me or the bike. Chris went to the right. As I approached the stick seemed to move of its own accord - yep, slang - groot een. Now I did not have too much space to move and the bugger was already rising up hood spread. No time to panic, got lots of protective gear and lots of momentum. The snake flashed past my knee and I was past - no problem.
(I don't know if Jim had woken this big boy up, but he seemed rather grumpy - not like all the other nice Kalahari folks we had met.)
Now the irritable fellow turned his full attention to Chris  :o much to Chris's distress  :imaposer:
I did not see the events that followed but rely on Chris's rendition of the event.
With not enough space to stop and visions of the reptile's fangs firmly embedded in his leg, ankle buttock or hand, Chris amazed himself by vacating the left side of his bike and taking cover on the right - all at 90km/h!!! a feat not repeatable under normal conditions  :ricky:

The rest of the way to VZR was uneventful but very enjoyable.

There was some catching up to do.  A complete top up at VZR.  Fuel, water, engine oil, chain oil and frozen chops.

Soon we were in Van Zyls Rus filling up with petrol, water and essentials such as chops and boerewors. Strangely, the lady that was working at the shop was the Sister from the Clinic. We got chatting and she conveyed that it was most distressing that there were so many big bike riders especially in Winter that crashed on their roads because of not knowing how to ride the conditions and overloading just out of jolly

(Maybe the fallen riders hadn't quite perfected the snake avoidance technique!!! ;D)

Fuelled up, carrying at least 6 litres of water each and a mini polony under the belt we headed off towards the Molopo river bed. The road very rocky and with big piles of material for re-surfacing limiting riding surface. We headed into a stiff headwind - Chris and I chewing dust  for 20+ km's.

We turned off the main road onto a very rocky track that had plenty twists and turns forcing us to reduce speed and negotiate very carefully. This track would be great with an unladen bike.
Suddenly the road did a rollercoaster dip and dropped into the Molopo riverbed/floodplain. Steep rocks gave away to very loose sand and some interesting pathfinding on my part. Rather than fight to keep the bike on the track I did a sortie through the scrub and bushes until I found the road again.


The gates along this stretch wore us down, it was hot and gate after gate took it's toll on us. We took turns to open the gates but we lost our rhythm. (During the SA Bike Desert run these gates are all open and the guys can belt through)
This area was beautiful and the first section of road was great, we clipped along at a good pace. All too soon we were on the sand corrugations that required 90km/h minimum or things got just too hairy.
I was probably still a bit edgy after the previous day's off and laboured through the first 130km at just under 80km/h putting Chris under unnecessary strain behind me. We could not find a spot to re-fuel at the 100km mark and pushed on until this beautiful tree offered us some welcome relief.


Jim's comment on this stretch
We were soon in the big Molopo River bed, via Middle Pos border post and enjoying the 160 km of fast river bed and long – long sections of deep sand.  A good speed is required here, and it is sometimes difficult to actually stop.  We were in the habit of stopping 100km from re-fuel to empty fuel from back-pack into tank and to check on fuel consumption.  On this section we continued an additional 30 km before it was appropriate to stop.

Fortified with sustenance and H2O we hit the road again. Chris encouraging me to up my speed on the next stretch. The slow start in the sand minus clutch must have been quite entertaining to watch - the bike in full control with me hanging on until enough momentum handed crude navigational functions back to me.
I did crank it open as per Chris's request and had to occasionally back off as I ended up in Jim's dust. This last stretch to Molopo lodge was fast and bumpy - lots of fun. The last right hander before we hit the T-Junction on tar almost claimed me, but I managed to keep the rubber down. There is a little thorn tree right on the edge of the road that probably saved my bacon. Chris also had a near miss on this corner so I did not feel too bad about over-cooking it.

We filled up at Molopo Lodge, Chris and I both dunking our heads into the swimming pool - lekker. We were sorely dissapointed though - as we rode in the Lodge advertised Sprinkbok Pie  :drif:
unfortunately pies had to be baked and were the large family size - bummer.


As we were still well behind schedule, Jim cut out our Kalahari sand loop and we slabbed the 70km to Rietfontein - boring. Well not really as this gave us an opportunity to have a look around without having to concentrate too much on the road ahead.


The route we were meant to be on...20km in the distance - the Red Kalahari - lions and all!! :eek7:


We blitzed through Rietfontein, passed Haakskeenpan where the landspeed record attempt will take place and headed to the border post.
Unfortunately no pics of Haakskeenpan in the late afternoon, but it is a sight to behold. My first view of it took my breath away - will go back just to see it again.

We rolled into the clutches of border post officialdom as our bikes were scrutinised and checked - we most certainly fitted the profile of vehicle smugglers..... :imaposer:


Nabian roads - wow!!!!  :thumleft:

Formalities completed we gave the ponies their head on the fantastic roads - this was it Nabia - we were there, this was adventure.

1st camp in Nabia

Sunsets - love 'em - today was a big day, great.


Supper leftovers


Safest place for a cooking fire with all the dry grass in the area


Masterchef Nabia in correct attire





Jim's comment
By night fall we had just made it (they close at 16h30 S.A.T.) through the RSA / Namibian border, and camped on a farm 20 km inside Namibia.  A very comfy sleep in the soft sand.  Plenty stars, and full moon.

Chris and Jim opted to sleep on the banks of the dry river, I preferred the openess of the riverbed itself, the pebbles giving a level surface and being lower also some protection from the wind.
With a good meal under the belt and some very special Nabian tea, Chris and I were treated to some of Jim's adventure stories under a crystal clear night sky. The moon ultra bright as it completed it's trajectory through the night.

Chris had decided that he would tough it and use his tent as a groundsheet and sleep under the stars as Jim and I were doing. Stories of free roaming Kalahari Lions however had Chris re-think this strategy. All was well until a creature of the six legged variety inspected his nostrils and disturbed his slumber -  this saw him erecting his tent post haste.  :imaposer:

Day 4 - Sunrise


Fantastic treat - water that was lukewarm yesterday - chilled by the cold night air, ice cold and refreshing - revives the morning spirit.

Clearly these two needed a bucket of it...


This would be a day of profound statements and fashion.....




Post by: Mark Hardy on September 29, 2011, 07:29:12 am
after this read I am going for a ride......... :thumleft:
Post by: alli on September 29, 2011, 10:44:08 am
Those farm gates on the molopo border river road slowed me down badly when I did that section, only me, so it was stop, open gate, get on bike, ride through, stop, get off, close gate, get back on bike, ride till next gate......repeat ad nauseum........but still well worth it.
I camped on that road about halfway to Andriesvale, only saw another vehicle the next day, awesome.

Thanks for sharing Stevie :thumleft:

Post by: ThinkMike on September 29, 2011, 11:01:16 am
Keep it comming!!!     :thumleft:  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Post by: Spore on September 29, 2011, 12:19:32 pm
Fantastic! Hats off to all of you! Have met Jimbo nearly 2 years ago on Dr Rex's farm at Bray. Keep it comming! :thumleft:
Post by: DeepBass9 on September 29, 2011, 12:23:31 pm
Do any of you have a gdb file of your track? I am heading that way down to the bash so I would be useful to see which routes you took. Thanks!
Post by: Stevie on September 30, 2011, 09:23:47 am
Do any of you have a gdb file of your track? I am heading that way down to the bash so I would be useful to see which routes you took. Thanks!

Will see what I can do...
Post by: DeepBass9 on September 30, 2011, 10:20:39 am
Cool thanks!
Post by: Stevie on October 02, 2011, 09:21:13 pm
Is this alright??

Probably some info you don't need.
Post by: Stevie on October 02, 2011, 11:09:18 pm
Day 4

With a bit of time to spare it was nice to take notice of the smaller things around us.

The silence of the area was wonderful. No uneccessary noise to have to deal with.
I was packed up fairly early as I wanted to change my sparkplug to see if my fuel consumption could be improved.
This was also a big day because it was new shirt/jersey day - Chris putting on his "loudest " and Jim mimicking a bumblebee.

Jimbo also proposed the "Nabian Salute"

Chris was a little slow in getting going this morning...

...and kept Jim waiting...


We took an easy ride into Aroab to pay our Nabian road tax - R140-00 - re-fuel, buy water for the days ride and chops for dinner tonight. The interest from the locals was intense. Many shaking their heads at our idea of adventure, others wishing us well.

The road to Koes took us over some amazing roads, smooth and fast. We rarely backed off the throttle even going over the zero gravity dunes. The thrill of flying over these sections of road were exhilarating, flying over the top at 120+, rear wheels spinning as they lost traction at the crest, and then the hollow-gut swoop down the far side.
The thrill had me whoop-whooping in my helmet, my smile ear to ear. I am really sorry that we did not get any action shots of these zero gravity sections. I was quite prepared to head back and do them all over again - lotsa fun  :ricky:

The Nabian roads were good, lots of loose gravel on top but rarely was this a problem. The corners  were also do-able at speed. We stopped on one particular corner to do some action videos, again good fun.


The terrain and landscape all but flat constantly changed as we continued on our quest. The riding still fast and intense. The roadside farms separated by many miles (no noisy neighbor complaints out here!!!).

We rode into Koes just before mid-day and followed Jim to the salt pan on the outskirts of town.
This was an almost surreal experience for me - almost as if I had ridden into a 3-D video game. I followed Jim's lines as he sped out onto the pan, the surface uber-smooth we weaved and turned on this amazing playground - my mind not computing very well that I was leaning the bike in a tight turn at 100km/h!!!
Chasing behind Jim it reminded me of one of my son's playstation games, apart from the handlebars' slight vibration in my hands it all seemed like I wasn't there. With no immediate reference points along the featureless pan it was difficult to judge speed.
I stopped to take some pics and in no time Chris and Jim dissapeared into a shimmering midday mirage, only to re-appear, heading straight at me at top speed - great stuff.

Pics to follow - Photobucket on strike!!!  >:(   SORTED  ;D


Arrived in Koes just in time to re-fuel and grab some supplies before the whole town shut down for for their daily siesta - apparently it is too hot to do anything so they go home and do .... well ...... dunno??
Chris was able to buy some half defrosted pies from the local take away - warm on the outside crispy ice on the inside - on the day, they tasted good. We sat outside the closed shop on the cool cement marvelling at the pace of the town as it went to sleep.

As with all other spots, if you were late you missed the shade and your buddy didn't care...

Jim's comment day 4 - part 1
Day 4.
Lazy start.  At Aroab purchased Namibian road tax, fuel etc. Enroute to Koes we practiced our fast Namibian road corners, played on the “Zero Gravity” roads over the dunes, and at Koes did a couple of flat out “figure eights” on Koes pan.  Then departed for Tses.  

Post by: White Rhino on October 03, 2011, 05:36:59 am
Cheers for the route Stevie. Pics will help to visualise this delicious offroad terrain :thumleft:
Post by: Stevie on October 03, 2011, 09:40:48 am
Day 4 cntd.

Pics have been added to last post.

En-route to Tses, we suprised a couple of locals that were up to some sort of hanky panky at the dam in the backround.... ;D


Stopped in Tses to top up with fuel, again attracting much interest from the locals, this lad looking as if chemical abuse had occured in his genealogy...

Quick photo stop as time was on our side

And there she was - our first view of our destination - Mount Brukkaros


Brukkaros just visible on the right of the pic


She loomed larger as we got closer. The riding very relaxed now - we were taking in our surrounds, the terrain showing evidence massive tectonic activity all those millions of years ago. Sudden upthrusts of rocky outcrops, clues of the upward pressure of steam/water and lava as this phenomenon took place. Some areas flat and smooth giving way to rolling swells of earth not unlike a mild day offshore.

Finally, the turn-off, this was it, the heart of Nabia - we had made it.


The happy Nabian Adventurers


Nam $30 for day visitors, $50 for overnight camping

Chris comment
We did eventually cross into Namibia and we did get to see and camp on the amazing Brukaross crater which can be seen from about 90km away as it rises above the skyline.

The roads were amazingly fast and quite easy to handle.

Jim's comment
Well before Tses Mount Brukkaros came into view.  It is visible from 90kms in any direction.  Topped up with fuel at Tses, and then on to Mount Brukkaros.  We arrived on top (Or as high as you can go by bike) with time to spare.  Some difficulty with finding fire wood, and no water.  There was a relentless South-Westerly all afternoon and night, but it felt fresh and almost alpine.  The track up the side of the mountain is un-kept and rocky, but not difficult.  Just a little care and caution.  The foot track to further in the crater would have been risky for us under the circumstances.  Chris unexpectedly produced a flask of Brandy to celebrate our arrival at destination.   A cool windy night, but slept OK.

Our humble abode for the night

And then CATASTROPHE!!!!!!!!!
Chris had smuggled along Very Njarmie Brandy for our celebratory toast atop the Volcano. We had each carried along our 200ml of Coke to mix. All set, mixed our drinks, set up the camera for the celebration pic. In my haste to get in position after pushing the button, I raced forward telling Chris and Jim not to spill my very precious drink .... just so that I could - @##&%!!

The view


Post by: tau on October 03, 2011, 09:53:25 am

Koes pan I have lost 4 teeth on that pan and blown a 5s5 exc motor that the pieces was lying on the pan service for 100m.

Like your spirit on the ride looks like you had fun :thumleft:
Post by: eSKaPe on October 03, 2011, 10:04:31 am
Always an adventure in Nabia! Great ride
Post by: Charka on October 03, 2011, 10:33:14 am
Looks so lekke...................
Post by: APO on October 03, 2011, 11:58:43 am
Hey guys, respect to you all - thanks for the report. Im going to have to put in some sand practise before enjoying something like this.
Post by: eSKaPe on October 03, 2011, 01:34:12 pm
This RR a good build up to our trip to the bash next week - we will be doing some routes around Aroab, Karasburg and the canyon - wish we had more time...
Post by: domstes on October 03, 2011, 04:17:40 pm
One day, when I am big I am going to do a trip like that!  :thumleft:
Thanks for the RR.
Post by: Stevie on October 03, 2011, 04:54:10 pm
One day, when I am big I am going to do a trip like that!  :thumleft:
Thanks for the RR.

... And then you get one of these.....

Post by: White Rhino on October 04, 2011, 05:39:49 am
Well done guys - a fantastic spirited adventure ride (skuze the pun) :thumleft:
Post by: KTM Jagermeister on October 04, 2011, 07:41:52 am
Lekkerrrrrrrrrrr !
Post by: onderbroek on October 04, 2011, 08:27:12 am
Post by: Stevie on October 04, 2011, 05:42:35 pm
We scoured the mountainside for firewood, 3 of us managed to collect just enough to braai the chops for supper. The howling wind causing the wood to burn much quicker.

While walking the harshness of the enviroment was evident, but not without some beauty...

This guy had the right suspension for this terrain


This guy well camouflaged...


After a scrumptious supper, a quick air filter swop - Jim educated us on stars, surveying and suchlike.
The moon was brilliant


Jim showing me where spillers of brandy should go and sleep....


Chris suggesting I go sleep on top of the mountain...


After a very windy night the dawn broke, crispy cold, brilliant sunrise


The rest of the team taking their time to get up


This very interesting Praying Mantis took up residence in my knee guard, giving me the willie's when I picked it up and he ran over my hand....


Time to go, 30 seconds to departure, the long road home.


We warmed up very quickly coming down the gnarly road from the campsite. The day crystal clear, truth be told, I didn't want to be heading home yet.


This sign is not that interesting, but the trip to get there - wow. We came in from Tses and departed through Berseba - destination Keetmanshoop.


About 20 odd km's from Brukkaros the ground is littered with fairly large white stones not unlike quartz, I stopped to collect some for the kids. It reminded me of a hailstorm just past. These stones were  visible on the road from Tses, at about the same distance  from Brukkaros - I can only assume a remnant of the days when the volcano was active.


Crossing the Fish River, first bit of water we had seen in ages


After a short break in the valley we moved on, Jim leading. I gave myself a decent dust gap before following Jim. I had got to about 100km/h when something ahead did not look right, no dust from Jim, and an odd movement up front on the left of the road. As I rode closer I saw rider down
No!, not Jim, this is a dead straight road....??????
Jim was sitting up, leaning back, his bike facing the way we had just come. The goat was off the road in the last throws of death.


Obviously shocked by the sudden turn of events, Chris and I moved Jim's bike and checked that he was ok. The Shepard, an old guy that looked about 70 (turns out he was only 55) hovered about 40 meters away - too scared to come closer to these aliens that had invaded his otherwise peaceful world.
Lesson learnt from Jim's actions immediately after the accident, his leg had taken an almighty thump, he sat and checked it to make sure nothing was broken before it possibly started swelling, although not before making sure that Chris and I cleared his chain of stones and debris - priorities.

Chris (ops medic from army days) put some happy white pills into Jim, with Jim protesting all the way. After about 10 minutes Jim was up and about and ready to roll.

In Jim's own words

Day 5.
Brilliant sunrise.  Lazy start, and an easy 100km to Keetmanshoop, again crossing the Fish River – no bridge this time. 

An incident to break the high speed monotony of Namibian roads occurred near the Fish River when a herd of goats crossed the road R. to L. in front of me.  All fine, except I did not see the last straggler (A large ewe) desperately trying to join the herd, and on a collision course with my front wheel.  At the point when I decided impact was inevitable, I managed to get a bit of back brake on in an attempt to drop the bike.  No time for the bike to go right down, but down enough for me not to go over the top.  Impact was dead center, bike half down, and myself and bike slid fairly harmlessly to the edge of the road.  Goat stone dead, and quite broken.  A few minutes to check bike and self.

From Chris

We then turned for home the next morning and very soon Jim was in an incident with a goat. Amazingly he hit rear brakes and put the bike down at about 100kmh. Choosing not to hit the goat head on. All in all it worked out good for Jim but not for the goat. Jims years of off road experience coming to the fore when he most needed it.

We got going as soon as Jim was ready, heading toward Keetmanshoop.
Interesting landscape along the way.


The ride to KMH was chilly and refreshing. We rode into town - Chris on a mission - Russian and Chips


PINE NUT, they had PINE NUT - lovely

Jim choosing not to sit with the riff raff and rabble... (probably had something to do with the nick-name Chris and I had given him following the goat incident!!! :mwink:)

Jim's grumble

At Keetmanshoop, Chris insisted we all have Russian and chips.  OK, I suppose.  Carried on to Aroab, and again fuelled up (Cheaper Namibian fuel), and crossed the border back into RSA early afternoon.


The ride to Molopo lodge was uneventful as we sat on the straight and narrow until the turn-off to Askham - this must be the worst road in SA, suffice to say it was torture. We varied speed from 80 - 120 km/h - nothing helped, dusty, bumpy sandy - just plain crappy.

Jim's comment

Stevie had developed a work related problem in Johannesburg, so I decided in the interest of time we would travel via Askham to VZR.  We slept on a friend’s farm 35 km west of VZR.  Quite cold there at night.  Note: The gravel road from Askham to VZR is really unpleasant.  (Irregular corrugations without let-up). 


The late afternoon saw us about 30km from VZR, riding some very loose sand at low speed. Chris and I both falling over at 0km/h. I was suffering from sense of humour failure by this stage, Chris and Jim quite unflappable.

Our camp for the night was in the confines of a homestead enclosure,  behind fence and gate, supposedly safe from the creatures of the night....

Post by: White Rhino on October 05, 2011, 03:42:57 am
Jim handled the incident like a pro. :thumleft:

Love this picture with the halo above the moon - looks like the Close encounter scene with a mature Richard Dreyfus :ricky:

Enter it into the monthly comp...

Post by: Stevie on October 05, 2011, 11:06:52 am

The evening breeze was suprisingly chilly as we went about preparing camp and supper. The evening sunset once again - peaceful and beautiful.
The hospitality of the Kalahari folk is to be commended, upon chatting to the farm owner via cellphone we went about our business getting ready for an early night. It wasn't long before a bakkie rolled up at the closed gates - the farmer- his wife had sent him out with fresh fruit & colddrinks. This turned into a very pleasant and interesting visit.
Now just to give a short backround into the event that followed, Chris had been quietly nervous about comments regarding Lions and suchlike, so much so, that he positioned himself snugly in his tent at night - assuming that Jim or myself sleeping under the stars, would appear more appetising to a free roaming Kalahari lion than his green dome tent. His minor concern was some blood that had leaked from one of the packs of chops onto his only pair of shorts!!  ;)

He did not really take the subtle comments that Jim and I had made very seriously and believed we were taking the mickey out of him. I confidently stated that Jim was too tough and leathery (to which Chris agreed) so the lions would only consider him as a last resort, I was too skinny so at best they would use me as a toothpick, Chris however showed promise as the tastiest morsel out of our trio.
I had commented and Jim nodded in agreement that the fence surrounding the homestead (see pic above) was not there to keep burglars out.... the stage unknowingly to us , was set  :3some:

Now on all farms there is usually a big dog of dubious ancestry - this particularly friendly Kalahari one was tall, fawny grey in colour, with a long tail, similar to an Irish Wolfhound, we did not take too  much notice of it as it sniffed around us when we arrived  and then, satisfied, sauntered off to do what farm dogs do best.

Farmers visit over, he got ready to leave, Chris and I walking to open the big silver gates. On the way to the gates Chris jokingly said to "watch out for these supposed big Kalahari Lions".
I just chuckled, enough subtle ribbing had kept the lion issue on his mind, but I gave it no further thought.
I cannot put into words the events of the next 15 seconds to accurately portray what went down, I cannot even remember what Chris said, but herewith the events as they unfolded.
As boys do, after an evening of liquid consumption they will look for the nearest tree - spot the big one just outside the gates in the pic above.... Chris's intended target...
Now with the full moon torches were not necessary, everything visible and coated in that eery moonwash, dark shadows contrasting with the very light Kalahari sand.......
I opened the RHS gate and Chris the left as  he made his way to the tree....
Halfway to the tree,  the safety of the fence and gate 5 paces behind him, Chris spotted the crouched beast in the shadows watching him intently, its tail twitching from side to side. As he stopped it shuffled forward, belly flat on the ground, preparing for the final assault.
Faced with the fight/flight options that presented themselves, Chris did what any Hardcore Nabian biker would do under these circumstances - he ran - towards me!!!!  :o

Now I was totally unaware of the events taking place 10 paces away from me  until Chris was at my side - I still cannot remember what he was saying apart from some squeaks and much relieved sighing -

 ... the farm dog doing figure of eights around our legs, happy for any attention he could get.
It took 2 seconds to piece together what had just happened,
that was me ..... :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:

Chris told me later during my fits of laughter, that he could feel the cold steel of the claws already in his back as he made his escape bid, thinking that he never imagined leaving this world as Lion Doo-Doo.

Chris was given his Nabian name - NOIL  
He admitted to only being able to do his wee-wee about half an hour later  :ricky:

While lying in bed we were consumed by fits of laughter that lasted well into the night, the best therapy in years.  

Jim's comment of Day 6

Day 6.
Could have stayed on this farm forever, but instead had to get moving.  This was the dreaded fuel-less, water-less 350 kms from VZR to Bray.  Again the road played navigational tricks on me.  I decided to try an alternate road out of VZR in order to avoid all the gates I knew only too well. The alternate route from VZR to Molopo border fence went well until we came across a well and truly locked gate across our path.  65km out of our way and forced to return to VZR and again fuel up.  This lost time now made haste the order of the day, and did I mention those tiring gates.  I wanted to get to Bray, and at least 100km further that day to be sure of making it to Jhb. the following day.  You could say we rode all but flat out the rest of the day, stopping only at Bray for a short fuel and snack break.  Stevie alleviated the gate problem by suggesting that the first rider both opens the gate, and then shuts it again after the others are through without stopping.  The first rider then repeats the procedure. Amazing how much energy this plan saved.  There was some reluctance among the troops at Bray to continue on the additional 100km, but to their credit they responded well to direct orders.  We had all ridden hard for well over 500km that day.  We slept soundly on the fence line knowing we are now only 157km from Mafikeng.  

While on the detour we spotted this Vulture nesting, the mate circling high above. I did not want to get too close and disturb them.

So back on the border road all was going well, Chris and I riding hard to keep up with Jim.
After passing the point of my last fall - and hey it was a very sharp corner, I was relieved and settled down to a good pace. Out of no-where with some added brain-fade I was caught again by a sharp right-hander, again not bleeding off enough speed before the corner....


I lost about 2 liters of fuel in the fall and had to borrow from Chris later in the day.

Chris had a wee in Botswana while standing in SA (keeping a beady eye out for Lions and suchlike!!)

We stopped in a the shade of a nice tree at the entrance of a game lodge and found Wilddog evidence. Jim scorched his hand when he put it up against the sign that had been baking in the sun all day - much to our amusement.


Customary salute


Jim pushed us hard into Bray where Chris organised emergency takeout padkos.


Chris and I were dreading the next section as this was the baptism of fire we had endured only a few days previously. But our fears were totally unfounded, we managed the 100km past Bray without problem and actually enjoying the conditions. While setting up our last camp Chris and I agreed, that by comparison, this stretch was much easier than what we had just accomplished on worse roads.
Jim inflated and then deflated our ego's in one sentence ...
"if you can ride these roads as you guys have done, you can ride anything. If you fall now, well then, thats just silly" Talk about performance pressure.


Sunrise final day




There was to be one last sting in the tail for me on this ride. I woke up feeling very tense about riding, we only had a relatively short section to complete as Chris had arranged for us to be trailered back to JHB from Mafikeng.

The ride started well with us having to slow down and dodge cows and donkeys along the fence line. I had again let Jim get well ahead giving myself time to anticipate corners and the varying terrain. At some point Chris stopped me and told me to relax, my state of mind evident in my riding.
All went well for some time and I slowly got back into my rhythm.
We slowed down for some obstinate cattle that kept running in road, not allowing us to pass. When the break came we were approaching a hill crest, I stood up and gassed up the side only to be greeted by a massive wash-away with the only way out, hard to the right.


No escape to the left


I was going fairly quickly, and managed to avoid the big dipper which would have seen me going over the bars. My route to the right was littered with stones, rocks and thornbushes. I chose the best line under the circumstances.I am not sure if I locked the rear wheel or not. My final escape route was blocked by this mother and her two kids lying in the shade of an impenetrable thornbush. My intended line was between them  with only some risk of thorn damage. The front got through  the obstacle, but the bashplate connected with mother and threw me off in a pile of snot, dust and thorns.
I took a heavy hit in the left side that had me gasping for breath - I knew all was not well.
You see where she was lying in wait to where I knocked her - serious kinetic energy. The two lurking kids visible just behind her.

Chris was running a little behind me and did not see the fall. He crested the ridge was confronted by the donga and my disappearance (I was out of view behind the bushes). I was very relieved when he was there to lift the bike off my leg and pop me with some happy white pills.
I could feel that my chest and ribs were not too well despite the protection of the chest protector.
I developed a nasty bruise on my left arm, and am still struggling with rib cartilage front and back.

We took 10 minutes to check Gruffy and myself and then set off to find Jim.

Comment from Jim

Day 7.
Another lazy start.  157km of fence line through the old Bophuthatswana Homeland.  A lot of cattle, goats and donkeys to look out for.  I set out at a fast pace, I really like this kind of riding on full alert.  I waited once for Stevie and Chris, and they were not far behind.  I decided not to wait again, and carry on to Mafikeng.  

But soon after this decision I came across a genuine S.A. Police border patrol in the form of Inspector van der Merwe with his 4 x 4 bakkie, and chatted with him for some time.  Infact worryingly too long before Stevie and Chris pitched up.  It transpired that Stevie had taken a tumble in a rocky section and hurt a rib or two.  Stevie decided to take the tar to Mafikeng, and Chris agreed to escort him.  I was left to enjoy the remaining 55km of border fence – which I surely did.  I rejoined the troops at Nandos Mafikeng, and then returned to Johannesburg – very satisfied.  

Chris's comment

Other than three minor falls by our least experienced rider and one standing still fall by me, we got back to Mafeking in one piece.

After a couple of days at home the enormity of the adventure we had just completed struck me. 2700km of serious riding doing between 400 – 500km per day.

Now I know there are some serious guys who can put their leg over just about anything and go anywhere and back but for us mere mortals take care when you plan a route like this.

Here are some pointers:

1. Have an experienced rider with you to help with conditions,
2. Get fit and practice lots before you go,
3. Get the right bike for you,
4. Get the right tyres (Dunlop 606 for me),
5. Get the right size tank and check out fuel points (one of them was closed on our trip),
6. Don’t overload your bike and don’t let the weight go past your rear axle,
7. Try carry luggage very low down. Have a look at the Coyote saddle bag.
8. In soft sand riding at high speed consistently makes the bike more stable and easier to handle at higher speeds.

Finally, I would like to thank Jim Morris (Jimbo) for taking us on this trip and teaching us so much. It was a total blast. Thank you! I still cant believe he is 66, what a Legend!

Tyre condition before the start of the last day
Chris DRZ 400 - started brand new TW52 - handling impressed everyone, lost most tread on the last 2 days

Stevie DR350 - started slightly used D606 (680km - mostly tar) - brilliant, cannot fault it for this type of riding

Jimbo DR350 - D606, already had on Desert Run under the belt (4000km) but was ready to be retired)

What it was all about


My GPS readings, I only switched it off when we stopped for the night.


The Hardcore Volcano run completed, no fanfare, just Nando's and good memories.
Post by: DeepBass9 on October 05, 2011, 11:24:34 am
 :hello2: Awesome!

Suzooks rule!
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on October 05, 2011, 11:51:59 am
Really really liked reading this. :thumleft:
Post by: Tyre kicker on October 05, 2011, 03:15:46 pm
Very very nice report to have read,I must do this more often I tell myself daily!!!!! :thumleft:
Post by: terminator1 on October 05, 2011, 03:23:56 pm
flippin' awesome!
Post by: RobC on October 05, 2011, 03:25:43 pm
Another lekker RR! :thumleft:
Post by: Malibu on October 05, 2011, 04:31:28 pm
Terrific report guys, and an experience to remember forever!

Post by: goingnowherequickly on October 05, 2011, 06:35:29 pm
Great report
well done, some serious mileage in these conditions daily
Post by: ernies on October 05, 2011, 07:15:42 pm
This looks like that trip of a lifetime. Nice report and picks ….. thanks  :thumleft:
Post by: Berty77 on October 05, 2011, 10:52:57 pm
B-a-e-utifull!!! This is what its all about  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Post by: Lynn on October 06, 2011, 07:36:46 am
Awesome!   :thumleft:

Post by: Kerritz on October 06, 2011, 07:47:16 am
Great stuff......very impressed with the Suzie's....showed what can be done on smaller and lighter bikes!!

Thanks for sharing!  :thumleft:
Post by: JIMBO on October 06, 2011, 08:07:48 am
STEVIE, thank you for faithfully and elegantly recording our little ride.  Some embarrassing episodes you could have left out, but did not.  That is fine with me.  

CHRIS, thank you for your companionship and generosity.  It was great having both of you along for the ride.  

When I first conceived this ride, back in May / June this year, it was intended to be 7 days of hard riding on various off-the-road terrain with minimum distractions such as cage traffic, camp sites, and daily targets etc.  I researched with only myself in mind.  Then I started to wonder who was going to open the gates, collect the firewood, light the fire, cook the chops and pick me up when I fell over etc.  The invitation to W.D.s netted two perfect candidates.  Stevie's ability to find wood (where there was none) and get a serviceable fire going was nothing short of amazing.  Chris with his little 250mm x 250mm braai grid and  tongs (Hand pliers) was able to take care of any catering demands.  

All things considered the ride went pretty much as expected.

Thanks again Stevie and Chris.