Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO about halfway.  (Read 55485 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,162
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #400 on: February 27, 2015, 08:46:40 am »
Yeah. I was thoroughly confused, and would have helped if they'd told us at the previous night's briefing. But the newbies have to suffer a little... ;)

Offline Bens

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: Kawasaki KLR 650
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 91
  • Set your priorities - and stick with them
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #401 on: February 27, 2015, 02:49:48 pm »
 :sip:
 

Offline Cracker

  • Grey hound
  • ****
  • Bike: KTM 950 Adventure S
    Location: Europe
  • Posts: 6,108
  • Thanked: 615 times
  • Top Biscuit!
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #402 on: February 27, 2015, 08:14:17 pm »
C'mon Ian, lotsa speaking - not enough talking ........................... keep it coming  :thumleft:
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 07:37:23 am by Cracker »
Don't let fear hold you back ..... take it with you!
 

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,162
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #403 on: March 09, 2015, 03:52:51 pm »
This has been a 'fokken kak" ride report so far (as my team mate may have put it) with so few photos. So the reason proceedings seem to have stopped here, is because I called up the org, and did something I'd been too schnoep to do before and bought the photo package from last year so I had something to show with my tell.

Budget is stretched so damn far at Amageza time, but it's over so quickly and memories are everything. I decided I'd better get them before it was too late. Works out around R25 a picture, so really cheap, actually. Thank you Mr Nel!

So anyway... you can go back and read my blithering again if you like, wiff pictures this time.  :thumleft:

Regular service will now resume.

Offline Cracker

  • Grey hound
  • ****
  • Bike: KTM 950 Adventure S
    Location: Europe
  • Posts: 6,108
  • Thanked: 615 times
  • Top Biscuit!
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #404 on: March 09, 2015, 05:02:06 pm »
Yep, great pics, it's worth buying the package.

That hill will forever be etched in my head. Seeing all those 450s lying in the sand did not fill me with confidence.

Just cruising up didn't work the first time, so the next attempt was a long run-up, pinned all the way.
Whatever was in front of me just got ridden over - luckily that Dutch reporter was nimble on his feet or he woulda been squashed.

Aaah, the memories .......................

For those with steering dampers, do they work well in the sand? My arms were taking strain, the constant swinging of the bars was driving me nuts. And approaching the gates, on the brakes, was a bit sketchy ................  :o :o

Off-piste was a lot easier but cresting those dunes was risky, there were some lovely drop-offs waiting for the unwary.
Don't let fear hold you back ..... take it with you!
 

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,162
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #405 on: March 09, 2015, 08:24:43 pm »
Bivouac (God, I love that word) that night was in the sprawling green grounds of the Kakamas Höerskool (I think) which had soft, green, level grass-minus-thorn-trees for camping. Lord Kamanya and Ex-Pit-Associate-Soon-To-Be-Racing-Champion-525-Pilot Bennetts and I adjourned to the local eating finery of the Caltex garage to wolf down four steaks, a couple of fried eggs, two plates of chips, a coke and three cups of coffee. Each. Finest meal north of the N1.

We then sidled back to headquarters to find this:



That is Yoda bestowing his crooked royal thumb print on the open-mouthed adoring hordes.



I think these little local yokels could smell an Engelsman from about sixty paces, because they gave me a wide berth and shuffled away mumbling something about "Oom" and looking decidedly suspicious. Like I'd bite or something.

But I think it was like those playing cards you collected when you were twelve - bought with the coins you stole off your father's dressing table before school. (Cough - according to a friend of a friend). Eventually you need the set, and even if you want to vomit at the sight of 'The Hulk' you need him in your pack. Plus one of the videographers was desperate for action and bribed the bravest of the girls to risk life and limb getting within four feet of me.



I'm a famous rally rider too!





If you were tired of perving blinged out two-wheel machines, there were also some on three.



And then it was on to the usual task of the evening for competitors:



and org:



And then the evening ended here:



If every good story needs a little twist in the tail... here was mine for today: After losing twenty minutes or so in my collarbone incident, I'd slowly found my sand legs and was on a bit of a charge. I came through one gate and found a stricken WR on the other side of the gate. Racer or not, it's the rally spirit to help each other, or be damned, and this bloke looked stuck.

"What's wrong?" I yelled. "Are you OK?"

"Have you got pliers, some cable ties and an ice cold double gin and tonic for me?" came the reply.

I ripped off my camelbak, threw him my leatherman and the biggest cable ties I had on me, and wished him well. I wasn't stopping if I bloody well could help it. And my hip flask was for emergencies.

Well, it turned out in the chaos Mr WR subsequently lost my leatherman, and kindly went and replaced it at the local Kakamas Midas. (Kakamas has a Midas?!?!?) Maybe my grandmother was right, and one good turn does deserve another... because my leatherman was a piece of shite Stanley Makro cheapie special and my new one was a pucker, pick-up-a-R2-coin-on-the-antlers real deal. No more need I feel ashamed on my bike camping trips! Thank you Mr WR - I never got your name.

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,162
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #406 on: March 10, 2015, 04:50:00 pm »
Day three was set up as the longest day of the rally, in the most inhospitable terrain. We were given grave warnings not to cock it up cause we’d be waiting a long time for assistance. There were a couple hundred kays liaison to Pofadder before the start, so we were up early. It had become a bit of a habit.

The one thing that hadn’t been going very right for the org was results. You can’t have everything, and let’s be honest… Amageza is the dirt cheapest way a man with dreams can play at real rallying. Broken GPS’s, cloud computing, shitty internet… blah blah… but the upshot was that it was day 3 and there were still no results available. Oh, wait a minute - that’s no true - there were results available but mine had been cocked up and I’d been given 4 hours penalties for some reason from Day 2, and it still hadn’t been untangled, so I was starting from the back. Again!

Rallying is a sport of solitude - often you feel completely alone in the world, a feeling enhanced by vast distances and desolate scenery. But after a cold liaison ride we cruised into Pofadder for gas, and suddenly there everybody was. It’s an odd one-hourse town, Pofadder, and I’ve been through there many times recently while trawling around the spectacular routes of the region on my dirt bike. As a result of the large solar energy projects up there, the town is suddenly full of Spanish engineers and business is booming. Modern-day gold rush?

A few kays out of town the entire field was assembled on the side of the road at a random gate for the start, and pretty soon the howl of race engines charging off in pairs filled the air. It was a very fast start to today’s stage, a few sharp turns and then a long open blast down a slight hill and off into the distance towards the Orange river. As I said, I’ve toured this area a few times - most recently in the murderous heat of February this same year - so I had an idea what to expect. Rocks, sand, thorns and lunar landscapes:









It asks to be treated with some respect, cause you’re a bloody long way from help if something goes wrong. I stayed circumspect for the first five kays or so, which included being passed by Gideon Joubert - the day’s eventual winner - who must have been doing 160 or 170kph down the wide, rutted sand piste. Insane!



But by the time I approached the river the bosbefok must have got me or something, and I really started putting the hammer down. I passed ten or fifteen bikes, one of which was my team-mate Yoda, who had some kind of issue with his roadbook. Then there were Andrew and Robert, but no sooner had I drawn level with the Big Man On The Bike Bike than he punctured his front wheel. First of two, as it turned out. He was in for a shit day.

The track blasted us up a dry river valley I’d explored with my mate Tom in February, and it was insane riding in the open terrain, throttle pinned somewhere between delirious enjoyment of the madness, and fear at the consequences of a loose rock jumping up and having your lunch.





We stopped for the pre-arranged gas topup on a farm, and some time around then I hooked up with my other team mate Hendrik. It wasn’t that much later that I had my first off of the day - a little spin out in some tight terrain between some bushes. Nothing serious, and I reflected on what a good job the Leatt interlocking body armour was doing making me feel like some invincible Michelin man.



It was clearly a stupid line of thought, because it was probably only half an hour later that I had a proper off. I was clearly still seeing red, and was on my own, five or ten minutes ahead of Hendrik when I came up a flat bottomed ravine between some sharp red rock spires. The road snaked lethargically through the canyon, and I was putting it to good use, in my flow, sliding the bike around the corners and feeling like a million bucks, when suddenly I wasn’t.

I’ve no idea what happened - the track surface was pretty dusty, and probably I just ran out of talent and grip simultaneously, but suddenly I was on the ground. It was pretty innocuous, just a low side, at about 60kph, but when I looked at my stricken bike all I could see what petrol pouring out. I thought I’d lost the gas cap in the wipeout, and the tank was almost full, but as I ran to the bike I saw it was still clamped in place. But petrol was pouring out the top of the tank. I must have already lost 2-3 litres. I yanked the bike upright and the pour slowly to a dribble, but didn’t stop.

The tank seemed a bit distorted, and I realised that the whole mounting system was crushed. These tanks slot onto two brackets underneath the tank, and are secured with just one central bolt through a mounting block. The one bracket was crushed, and the centre block a bit mangled, and partly ripped out of the tank. The fuel leak was going to continue until the level dropped enough for it to stop. There was little I could do. By this point Henrik had arrived on the scene, and I bolted the tank down again with a spare bolt from my toolkit, but it was precarious to say the least. You could wobble the tank about 3cm left and right, and it felt like the very smallest knock would be enough to break it completely.

Rallying is a surprisingly non-individualist solo sport. Competitors are always ready to help each other in any way they can, and everyone is aware of the dangers that potentially lurk for all of us at any moment. But I could see Hendrik was keen to get going. He’d battled fuel issues on day 1, and hadn’t had the best ride yesterday, so he wanted to give it horns today. I didn’t want to hold him back too much, but equally I wanted to assess the extent of my problem before being left alone in this very big, empty place:









We started off, and I quickly fell behind, watching a steady dribble of fuel hissing onto my exhaust header. Not a thrilling sight, let’s be honest, and I remember widening my stance, getting ready to eject - fighter-pilot style - into the nearest thorn bush at the slightest suggestion my ride was about to go up in a spectacular fireball.

It was an anxious half hour, until the fuel level dropped below the bottom of the mounting block and the tank stopped leaking. But then I had other problems. My pain-stakingly developed, rough and tough, lightweight and robust rally bike now felt like a fragile, wounded animal. And I’d gone from cocksure fighter pilot to war hospital nurse. And then there was the very real possibility that I wasn’t going to have enough fuel to make the end of the stage.

It’s quite amazing how quickly it can all change. Mere minutes before I’d been riding agressively, basking in the exhilerration of passing other riders and dreaming of a storming ride through the stage, now I was quickly re-calibrating, wondering if I’d be able to make the finish of the day at all.

Any fall knocks a bit out of you, even if it’s only confidence, but I started feeling a bit weak too. And there’s nothing to make you start feeling tentative like lost confidence and real fear of falling. That’s no way to ride a bike. But I’m sorry to say it stayed with me for the rest of the day.

It was hot, we were a very long way from the finish, and there had been a few navigational issues too. The less said about that locked farm gate and trampled fence the better, but suffice it to say that rallying can throw a lot of curve balls. There’s no point getting frustrated or upset. Deal and move on. Next?

Probably around the middle of the day we formed a little pack, Hendrik and I, with Dave Addison from Cape Town, also on a 450 enduro KTM. I was holding them up, to be honest, as I felt far from myself on the bike, but both of them were battling a bit with the navigation, so perhaps it was a fair trade.

We weren’t making very fast progress, but we were at least steady, and we didn’t get lost except for a bit of off-piste roaming for fifteen minutes around the middle of the day. Alex had set us an extremely winding course around the hundreds of little tracks of the Pella area. I don’t know how many turns there were, but it felt like hundreds. My day got a lot worse when I realised I’d just run out of water. I guess I’d been sucking on that straw a lot harder than I might otherwise have done in the stressful aftermath of my accident. I’d also completely forgotten to eat anything, and the day was going on a lot longer than either of the previous two days. Just before I ran out of water I’d got the shakes, and stuffed an entire protein bar down - and let’s be honest - calling these things food is a bit of a stretch. Emergency rations, maybe, but they don’t make you feel great. So there I was, mouth gummed up with a semi-toxic frustose/protein grime, and no water. Not top notch!

I was feathering the throttle and short changing every gear, trying not to brake unless absolutely necessary - not exactly a great approach for riding super sandy tracks. My fuel light came on a very, very long way from the end. I was expecting the bike to stop at any moment.

But on we went. I was finishing this day, godammit! Suddenly we came down a ravine, up a koppie, and there were a bunch of marshals in a bakkie! I fell upon them and scragged a bottle of water, got the news that we were actually doing quite well in the standings, and suddenly felt so much better. Zero to hero. Just like that.

We set off, and I was riding a bit more strongly now. The rest of the afternoon was a joy, actually. We didn’t put a foot wrong on the nav, and the stage had a beautiful ending over a big koppie and down a steep descent to the finish.


The happy troika - all relieved to be done, I think.





It was late afternoon - a long day - but many of the riders were still out there and many were only going to get home in deep darkness after a somewhat harrowing ride down the mountain under lights.

This was my gas level at the finish - just riding on fumes - nothing in the other side of the tank.



Thankfully Charl was waiting at the end of the timed section with fuel, coke and sandwiches - a massive relief on all fronts.



Somewhat surprisingly, I’d actually got my best result of the rally so far, too: 27th. A testimony to how many people got lost, I guess, because I really hadn’t been very quick. We didn’t have any consolidated results until the end, but I must have been in the early 20’s overall at this point, after three days just inside the top 30. Perhaps having no ambitions whatsoever but to finish had been doing my results a world of good?



We took a slow ride into town. It had been a challenging but good day… the real challenge lay ahead - how the hell was I going to fix my bike?

Offline markdiver

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: North West
  • Posts: 581
  • Thanked: 2 times
  • It's better to burn out, than fade away!
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #407 on: March 11, 2015, 08:23:06 am »
Nice read Ian - bringing back memories and getting juiced for this years race.  It must be said that "maxthepanda" stopped to assist myself with Brian's big off in last years event.  He stayed until Brian was completely comfortable (well as comfortable as he could be under the painful circumstances) and while I was moving Brian's bike & gear from the track.  Thanks again Ian for your help, I hope you got your time back for the time you spent assisting.   :thumleft:
Mine - BMW 1200 ADV, KTM 450 RR; HUSABERG TE 300; Goes 320 Quad
Missus - BMW 650 GS.

>< ( ( ((º >`•.¸¸.•´¯`•.¸.•´¯`•...¸>< ( ( ((º >
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #408 on: March 11, 2015, 08:27:47 am »
I hope you got your time back for the time you spent assisting.   :thumleft:

Yup, he did  :biggrin:
 

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,162
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #409 on: March 11, 2015, 05:57:48 pm »
We came down off that mountain in the softening light of late afternoon. I hate to think what it must have been like in the darkness. But there were quite a lot of riders who were going to find out.



Actually, I’d been expecting to get caught out in darkness on this Amageza, and has purposely put on very powerful (read: expensive) LED lighting. Which I never used. Sigh. Well, there’s always night rides at Atlantis… Actually, come to think of it… wouldn’t a night rally stage be an extremely rad and exciting (and probably totally necessarily dangerous) idea?

While friends were still lost in the desert, I was running around the bivouac in Springbok trying to work out how to fix my tank. Acerbis tanks are made of roto-molded polyethylene, a waxy paraffin-based-type material (that may be technically nonsense, but it gives you the idea), designed to ‘sweat’ petrol, so nothing sticks. Not stickers, and not epoxy. I think the sweating bit is a side-effect of keeping them flexible and indestructible, but in my situation this was going to cause me real problems.

I ran around hoping to find someone had brought a spare tank. KTM Cape Town were my main hope, but that drew a blank. And nobody else had one either - or was ‘fessing up to having one - for love or money, so my only option was to fix this one.

Luckily my team boys were good mates with Eddy, of E2R fame, and he thought it would be no problem to wangle the tank right with some fancy fuel-resistant Liqui-Molly epoxy stuff.



So we stripped the bike, tried to dry the tank, and mixed up the epoxy. Eddy was pretty gung-ho and insisted it would be absolutely fine. He let it solidify for a few minutes, then cranked the centre bolt down, and that was that. I was a bit sceptical, but my race was hanging in the balance, so what was there to do?

An hour or so of drying time, and we filled the tank with a lot of crossed fingers, but it seemed to be holding fuel, so perhaps it was going to be fine…?

Yoda arrived… he’d had a very long day and got lost a couple times, but fought on bravely - alone I think - and managed to retrace his steps each time, picking up next to zero penalties. Great effort! We all collapsed for the most knackered sleep of the rally so far. Another long day tomorrow would be a real killer… what would the morning bring?

Offline billy-joe

Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #410 on: March 06, 2017, 03:20:07 pm »
Ian, did you ever finish this ride report?  you cant leave me hanging like this!
-There is no road to happiness...Happiness is the road.
-One cannot drink beer all day long if you do not start early in the morning says Welsh!!
 

Offline MickeyT

Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #411 on: March 07, 2017, 10:00:53 am »
Ian, did you ever finish this ride report?  you cant leave me hanging like this!

+1!!!  :sip:
"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." – Philippe Halsman
 

Offline BlueBull2007

  • Caribbean
  • Global Moderator
  • Bachelor Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: AJS (all models)
    Location: Other
  • Posts: 10,557
  • Thanked: 522 times
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #412 on: March 08, 2017, 06:56:36 am »
 :patch:





Rally nut. What could possibly go wrong?
Living the Rally Dream - Ride Report
Current bike: KTM 350 EXC   Previous bikes:  2010 WR450F, 2006 KTM450EXC,KTM 450RR, BMW800GS, KTM450EXC, BMW650 GS, BMW650 Dakar, and Honda XR250
 

Offline Crossed-up

  • Pangaman
  • Grey hound
  • ****
  • Bike: Yamaha XT500
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 6,975
  • Thanked: 145 times
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #413 on: March 08, 2017, 07:40:06 am »
 :BangHead: :BangHead: :BangHead:
 

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,162
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #414 on: March 09, 2017, 08:24:40 am »
...you cant leave me hanging like this!

Dear Lord. For two years?!?!?

Offline BlueBull2007

  • Caribbean
  • Global Moderator
  • Bachelor Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: AJS (all models)
    Location: Other
  • Posts: 10,557
  • Thanked: 522 times
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #415 on: March 10, 2017, 04:41:27 am »
Yes, actually 2 days short of three years, 17,472 very long hours to be more precise.

Ian, do you see what you have done?   :laughing7:
Rally nut. What could possibly go wrong?
Living the Rally Dream - Ride Report
Current bike: KTM 350 EXC   Previous bikes:  2010 WR450F, 2006 KTM450EXC,KTM 450RR, BMW800GS, KTM450EXC, BMW650 GS, BMW650 Dakar, and Honda XR250
 

Offline billy-joe

Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #416 on: March 10, 2017, 10:16:04 am »
...you cant leave me hanging like this!

Dear Lord. For two years?!?!?

What can I say, I am seriously committed whereas yours is now in question!  do you think you'll be able to remember the end?
-There is no road to happiness...Happiness is the road.
-One cannot drink beer all day long if you do not start early in the morning says Welsh!!
 

Offline 1ougat

  • The Commodore !!!
  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS HP2
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 4,390
  • Thanked: 70 times
  • The Commodore
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #417 on: March 12, 2017, 07:45:40 am »
Sadist vs Masochist  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Make mine a Boxer with a shaft!!!!
2006 R1200 HP2 !!!! - La Poderosa - "The Mighty One"
1965 R50/2
1996 R80 GS PD Classic
2010 1200 GS 1975 Suzuki AC50
 

Offline Scooterbike

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Honda CRF-1000L Africa Twin
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 1,304
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • .
Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #418 on: March 23, 2017, 05:45:26 pm »
 :imaposer:
AT (rooi moses); Husky 501, Husky 250
 

Offline Dacquiri

Re: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO FINISH!
« Reply #419 on: August 18, 2017, 09:46:38 pm »
The ultimate cliffhanger!!!!  At least it seems you survived the second rally and can start regaling the 2015 cliffhanger!! :peepwall:
KTM 500 Exc-f