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Offline SGB

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BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« on: April 24, 2006, 07:05:39 pm »
About a year ago, we did the Intermediate course at Country Trax, and found the learning experience extremely useful.  Nice place to mingle with people who share the passion for motorcycles, although this crowd share the passion in a slightly more specific way, being the BMW brand.  I am fortunate enough to have a few friends who ride BMW's, and therefore they tolerate me at these gatherings as long as I behave and stay humble.  Piet and I made arrangements just after new year, and 20 April eventually arrived, time to head for Jan du Tiot's beautiful farm for some more learning.
 
The course starts at 19:00 on Friday, and having taken the day off, we had to make the best of the time.  After some serious planning, we decided to meet in Harrismith the usual way and follow our noses from there.  Left home about 6:00, and took a nice early morning ride upcountry.  



Some fog here and there, and I realized that summer is over - quite chilly that time of the morning around Mooirivier.  Breakfast in Harrismith was good, then we took the Verkykerskop dirt road via Normandien pass to Newcastle.  



From there some more dirt, our "nose following" philosophy ended in some dead ends - just made a u-turn and took another one until we actually got somewhere.  We really enjoyed the day and arrived at Country Trax late afternoon and setlled in after just over 600 km of great riding.  The accommodation is top class - those log cabin type buildings are really impressive.
 
The course started with dinner and an introduction session / "ice breaker".  The group was a bunch of really nice people.  After dark, Jan took us for a ride through the farm, covering most of the routes and obstacles we rode during the previous course.  The night riding with the only visible area being the patch where your light was shining was a completely different experience.  You can now only see this spot, and when the rock, rut, mud, hill, drop or whatever becomes visible, you are right on top of it and don't have much time to think about the right line and gear and speed and all of that.  Just RIDE!  Great experience.
 
After a good night's rest, we were up and about early on Saturday and ready to ride at 7:00, after a loud wake up call by Jan's air powered diesel loco hooter.  





First half of the day was spent on skills covering the likes of balance, turns, bunny hopping, wheelies, braking, power sliding, uphills / downhills, ruts, rocks, etc.  Jan has some really creatively designed places to exercise all the stuff in a slow and controlled environment.  There is not much talking on this course, and the two groups lead by Jan and Stephen King (the Touratech guy) respectively rarely heard more than "follow me" as lectures.







More like "Monkey see - Monkey do" with some individual feedback and how to improve as and when appropriate.  This whole process works well for BMW's spares sales and Touratech's 1200 bash plate sales.  At one stage the lawn looked like a fully equipped Touratech bush fitment centre....
 


Saturday afternoon was spent doing a bush ride which was seriously technical here and there and kind of demonstrated the limits of appication of bike and rider.  This game does tend to lean itself towards continuous improvement - there is always more to see and hear and read and do and experience.  The bush has hidden stumps, holes, rocks, sharp turns, uphills, downhills and just about all the skills covered in the morning session are needed at some stage in the bush.  



Very good experience, and the team looked a bit flat by the time we arrived home.  We then still did the sand pit just to keep us occupied - the sand was nice and soft and dictated a bit of paying attention to keep the bike shiny side up.  Again, good fun.  All of this was followed by a session in Jan's farm style wood fired Jacuzzi, and dinner.  Elna and Elsie cooked up a storm that lasted the whole weekend, felt like home with all the real "farm" food.  Nobody had a problem with sleeping - the bodies had done a bit of work and the team was tired after a full day of riding.  Not many of us get the opportunity to ride continuously for this number of hours.....
 
Sunday was started with a session at the oval track - always a highlight.  Great place to slide into and power out of corners and the crazy ones even find time for wheelies in between!  






Then breakfast and another outride.  This time less technical, but a good mix of different terrain and just some good riding time.  The route includes the famous canal, shoo - now this is an experience!!  



We all did the canal, which according to Jan is a first, great time was had here by all.  Also rode in the canal and exiting by snaking up the sides until you have enough momentum to take you out was interesting too!  The KTM ran out of fuel and Piet did a bit of towing to get us to the fuel station.
 
Back home, it was time for lunch, certificates and good byes.  How fast can time go....  We saw the rain coming and loaded up quickly and hit the road.  I headed straight for Volksrust, which is about 60 km away, mostly dirt.  Piet went the other way to Amersfoort, headed for Pretoria.  The rain caught both of us not even 10 minutes away.  I stopped, donned my Briscoe rain suit and had another serious practice session on the slippery muddy dirt road.  Filled up at Volksrust and stopped again in Ladysmith.  Rained most of the way and by now it was about 16:00.  Had a quick Wimpy coffe and tackled the home stretch.  Things started getting a little unpleasant around Mooirivier - my "internal" wetsuit started showing signs of failure and I was a bit cold - still raining.  It was getting dark when I got to Town Hill, and it was heavily fogged up there.  Some slow and careful riding was now the right thing to survive.  I just kept a good following distance and stayed away from any traffic as far as possible.  Arrived home at about 18:30 - properly wet and cold.  I have had a hot shower since and life is great again.  Where to next??
 


Thanks to Jan and Stephen and all the others for a great time, and to Piet for riding a BMW so that I can have access to the courses.  Hope to see you all again some time soon!
www.countrytrax.co.za

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Offline mango

BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2006, 07:52:46 pm »
Looks pretty tough, but didn't know that you had to have a friend with a BMW, in order to take part....The introductory and intermediate course is open to all brands of bikes.....why should the advanced be any different?

 :?:
 

Offline macduff

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BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2006, 09:09:07 pm »
looks like a tough course  :shock:  :shock:  :shock:
and that canal ride... forget it .... suicidal  :oops:  :oops:

thanks, was good to get a peep into this course, after blablas report on the intermediate one....
 

Offline SGB

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BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2006, 09:12:02 pm »
Quote from: "mango"
Looks pretty tough, but didn't know that you had to have a friend with a BMW, in order to take part....The introductory and intermediate course is open to all brands of bikes.....why should the advanced be any different?

 :?:
 

Tried to say that "tongue in cheek".  All brands welcome....  It's just nicer to have friends to "chirp" around the brands issue.....  Advanced no different - more riding, less talking, more paying attention, less resting.  Otherwise the same - excuse to ride!
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Offline funacide

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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2006, 09:34:39 pm »
Awesome report SGB. Thanks for sharing, I would love to try the canal part, looks like awesome fun!!!!!
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Offline Grootseun

BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2006, 07:10:46 am »
great report SGB. Gives on a great feel of what to expect on the course...a definate must-do for all IMO.
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2006, 09:01:50 am »
Thanks for the report SGB!
Great pics

I look forward to doing a course some time in the future
 

Offline >Herman<

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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2006, 09:12:57 am »
Cool report.

Is there a huge difference between the intermediate & advance?

Offline Scribble

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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2006, 09:21:21 am »
cool post
riding rough stuff at night is quite a scary experience

this   is now on the list of things to be done
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Offline tsiklonaut

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BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2006, 09:27:15 am »
Very good report and course!

It is a real pity we don't have advanced big-trailie courses around here. The nearest is in Sweden where the HP2s need to be rented and is headed by racing talent P.G. Lundmark and the next nearest is the BMW enduro park in Germany where it's possible to take part with own bike  :oops:

Thus i have to practice these things alone around here unfortunately, not much big trailies here as well...

There're some strip mines i can (illegaly) practice soft sand driving, climbing, power-out curves etc:


Such rides give awful lot of experiences i must say, and also gives you understanding how much there is more to learn acctually.
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Offline funacide

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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2006, 09:35:49 am »
That looks like an awesome place to practice your skills.....

Quite a nice pic as well....
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Offline Grootseun

BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2006, 09:44:03 am »
Is that a black & Whit pic or did i go colourblind...
really is an amazing picture.. i like it  :thumbleft:
 

Offline tsiklonaut

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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2006, 10:53:32 am »
Quote from: "Grootseun"
Is that a black & Whit pic or did i go colourblind...


Thread high jack (on)/off

No yer not colourblind, it's 50 years old photo emulsion technology film i used, Kodak Tri-X namely in big negative format 6x7 camera. This film gives a very dramatic "feeling" to landscapes. Most of famous press award winning photos since 1950s are done on this film media due it's distinct "feel".

Couple of pics i posted to UKGSer from the same set:



But with decent contrast adjustments, it get's a "feel" of bit more modern B&W image too:


Thread high jack on/(off)
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is an illusory
Mathematical equation
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Offline Grootseun

BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2006, 11:08:12 am »
Jeepers Tsik... those are the best motorbike shots i have seen in a very long time.... i am really impressed, who too k the shot over your shoulder.. ? I cant see the camera in the rearview mirror... I still take pictures with a Canon EOS elanII/III (I think) it's a SLR and is equivalent to todays 350D. It is really expensive to develope the film tho.. I get some really great shots on the camera. I prefer it to digital due to it's ease of use.

Sorry for the hijack.
 

Offline SGB

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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2006, 11:33:16 am »
Quote from: "bla-bla black sheep"
Cool report.

Is there a huge difference between the intermediate & advance?


Howzit Bla...

Difference between the courses - Yes quite substantial.  Advanced is riding most of the time - very little time lecturing / talking.  Most of the technical bits / skills are taken to the next level.  The limits of application of bike and rider are tested more.
www.countrytrax.co.za

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Offline >Herman<

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« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2006, 11:44:02 am »
Thanks SGB.  I will do the Advance next year. This year I first want to improve on my skills and ensure that the things we learned during the Intermediate becomes 2nd nature.

Maybe do another Intermediate this year, before the GSC.... maybe with pillion... "Hou vas vrou, ons gaan nou jaag!" :twisted:

Offline Leo

BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2006, 11:50:15 am »
Nice report SGB.

Thanks for sharing..... 8)

Tsk I also love those B&W photo's. Excellent quality. Very impressive :D
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Offline mango

BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2006, 10:59:27 pm »
Quote from: "SGB"


Tried to say that "tongue in cheek".  All brands welcome....  It's just nicer to have friends to "chirp" around the brands issue.....  Advanced no different - more riding, less talking, more paying attention, less resting.  Otherwise the same - excuse to ride!


Phew, you had me worried there  :D  Not sure if I would ever do the advanced, but the intermediate is on the cards, hopefully this year still.
 

Offline X Banana Boy

BMW Advanced Off-Road Course
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2006, 03:15:25 pm »
Thanks for the report.  That Town Hill can be a bugger in the mist.  Did that a couple times when the folks were taking me to school.  Nice to see a KTM in the mix.  :lol: