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Author Topic: Gerry and Walter (and Jonathon, and Luca) at the Merzouga Rally  (Read 2455 times)

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Offline SteveD

So our two friends of Amageza fame are currently up in north Africa playing in the sandpit. Gerry has some cool Facebook posts:

Merzouga Rally update.

Flew from Knysna to Johannesburg to Dubai, small layover, then flew to Casablanca, with a long layover, then flew to Errachidia. Arrived at around 23h30 last night and had to find a taxi to drive me to Erfoud, about an hour away from the airport. 

My taxi guy was fantastic, showed me around, told me a lot about the locals, and I had to take a picture with him and his mate. I arrive at my team at 00h30 and the crew is sitting at the truck. I meet them, have a quick drink and then eventually get to bed at 02h00. We're meeting for breakfast at 07h00, and then a dune training ride. 

I get a total of about 4 hours sleep in almost 2 days, and I'm exhausted. But off we go for a training ride.  We get to the dunes, and I just struggle. I feel out of my depth, and I crash and get stuck over and over again.  Luckily my team is awesome, and two of my crew guys start giving me pointers on how to ride the dunes.  It gets a bit better, but I'm quite stressed after the ride.

We get back to the hotel, have lunch and I decide to go for a nap. I sleep for about 2 hours, and when I wake up I'm not feeling very good, so I phone Gina.  She gives me a massive pep talk - Thank you so much Pop, without that call my day would have been very very bleak!

The team meets at 17h00 for an early dinner, and then at 18h00 we go for another dune training ride.  This one is much much better, I'm much more in control. We're doing another training day in the dunes tomorrow, so I'm hoping it keeps getting better...

One day at a time.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 07:48:02 am by SteveD »
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2017, 05:50:37 am »
And later:

Merzouga Rally update

This morning I was determined to really get comfortable on the dunes. When I arrived at the pits, my bike was revealed to me!  Last night the crew fitted my sticker kit, and it looks awesome!  We had some breakfast, then rode to the biggest dunes in Morocco!

Is was much better than yesterday, and there were times where I totally loved riding them.  We crossed over the big ones a few times, I did get stuck a few times, but nothing too serious.  Overall a massive improvement over yesterday.

Then unfortunately as luck would have it, it all went wrong! We were riding up the side of a massive (I mean really stupid massive) dune, and I didn't see the edge of the dune leading up to the final big climb. Next minute there is nothing below me - when I land, the front wheel just stops and I go flying. Unfortunately the bike didn't stay stopped, but flipped and landed upside down, on top of me, balanced on my chest with the wheels in the air. I pushed it off, and then realized that I'm a little sore.

I manage to get up, and with some help get the bike out of the sand. After a few tries, I managed to get to the top of the dune, but I was in quite a bit of pain. We rode for a while longer, then I decided to call it quits and head back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel, I was in quite a lot of pain, so took some painkillers and went for a rest. The afternoon training session I skipped, cause I need to recover enough to start the race on Sunday!

I'm feeling a bit better now, and I don't think my ribs are broken or cracked, cause that would hurt a lot more. At least breathing doesn't hurt. Will now take some pain killers, and see how it is in the morning. 

Riding the dunes is still difficult, but it's becoming more and more enjoyable - And the more time I spend on them, the better I think it will be...

Being here is quite amazing, and being part of this team makes it all so special!
 

Offline gser

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Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2017, 08:45:55 am »
Ons volg julle Kerels , sterkte ZAFfers !
 

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Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2017, 10:32:29 am »
Indeed! All the very best.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2017, 09:38:21 pm »
From Walter via FB:

Administration checks done, now for the bike checks and then Tomorrow the Prologue to see the starting positions for Stage 1 on Monday!!!
#FGEnterprises #F61PerformanceProducts
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2017, 05:25:02 am »
Gerry via FB:

Merzouga Rally update

No riding today.  Just admin, admin, admin.

I woke up and my chest was definitely better than yesterday. So there seems to be improvement, so it can't possibly be that bad.  And as the day went on, it just seemed to get better and better. Nowhere near perfect, it's still sore when I move in certain directions, but not as sore as yesterday.

This morning we had breakfast early, then packed up and started preparing to move to the race bivouac. That would mean changing hotels as well.

We arrived at the new hotel around midday, and then prepared all the necessary documentation for scrutineering.  Just before we did our documentation, I met Mark Coma, quite a special moment for me!

The documentation part of scrutineering took ages, with so much to do.  But the organization is incredible, and every piece works so perfectly. The only challenge is to completely understand where you need to be, and what you need to present at each station. And if I spoke Spanish, or French, it would certainly be easier. 

With all the documentation done, my international racing license in place, race numbers collected for my bike, now we can get the bike checks done.  This was quite serious - every detail is checked, riding gear checked, medical kit checked, and finally i was accepted and ready to go.

Once the bike was approved, we needed to attend a compulsory training session where the navigation equipment is explained - so now I have no excuse for getting lost...

And finally we had dinner, then marked our roadbooks for tomorrow.  The riding is going to be quite interesting, we do a short free practice session on roadbook in the morning, so we can test all the equipment. Then after that, we do a timed prologue, which will decide the starting order for the first stage, which will be at around 16h00 in the afternoon.  So it's going to be a very long day...

Now it's time to get some sleep. Thanks for all the messages and comments on these posts, it's just awesome to have so much interest from home!
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2017, 05:26:35 am »
We know her.......
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2017, 05:27:57 am »
"I'm not kidding, all the riders have got balls THIS BIG"
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2017, 10:29:49 am »
Walter:

And the starting day of the Merzouga Rally is here. Its just after 7 and already 22.6 degrees. They will be doing a test ride of 41km all in the dunes, then a bit later when everyone finished the test ride they will have as very short (2km) timed section just to see the starting times of the prologue that will be the same 41km section but this time just with a bit more speed😁 Walter also have a couple of friends riding with him this week. Jonothan Blackburn (74) from England and Gerry van der Byl (94) also a South African, Gerry is also in the BAS Truck/vd Velden Motoren team and its his first international race. You can go check out all the riders and the stages on www.afriquiamerzougarally.com and the live time positions you wil get on the following link: http://sports-timekeeping.com/classement.php?id=28&nom=Merzouga%20Rallye%202017 🏁🏍💨✊🏻
#FGEnterprises #F61PerformanceProducts
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 10:31:54 am by SteveD »
 

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Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2017, 02:12:39 pm »
The irrepressible Jonathan Blackburn!

All the very best, guys.
 

Offline seankriel

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Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2017, 04:54:03 pm »
Guys! What about our Spaghetti friend? Luca Saporiti is also there... He did very well in last years Amageza! Very nice chap!

Number 41!!

I have HATE this refresh refresh on the Sport Time Keeping page... I just ewant to see who long it takes to get to CP2

http://sports-timekeeping.com/posi.php?id=28&etape=1


Gooi Mielies Boys!!

« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 04:55:14 pm by seankriel »
It's not what you know and it's not who you know. It's what you know about who you know.
 

Offline seankriel

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Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2017, 04:57:12 pm »
"I'm not kidding, all the riders have got balls THIS BIG"

THAT looks BIG!! LOL :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
It's not what you know and it's not who you know. It's what you know about who you know.
 

Offline seankriel

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Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2017, 06:58:51 pm »
Cool

Stage 1 done!

36   TERBLANCHE WALTER   16:48:00   16:53:00   17:23:20   17:45:32
65   NEWLAND ANDREW   16:48:30   16:53:30   17:24:51   17:46:14
37   CUYPERS CHARLES   16:44:30   16:49:30   17:32:47   17:47:00

74   BLACKBURN JONATHAN   16:58:00   17:03:00   17:30:39   17:48:08
64   LAMBERT ELRIC   16:29:00   16:34:00   17:20:55   17:48:10
175   JAROSLAW KALINOWSKI   16:55:00   17:00:00   17:29:39   17:48:11
87   LUNDIN JACK   16:59:00   17:04:00   17:32:49   17:48:20
42   GERINI MAURIZIO   16:43:30   16:48:30   17:29:45   17:48:23

94   VAN DER BYL GERRY   16:49:30   16:54:30   17:29:17   17:48:32
121   SENN VAN BASEL HUMPHREY   16:55:30   17:00:30   17:32:50   17:48:38
41   SAPORITI LUCA   16:57:00   17:02:00   17:32:50   17:48:40

Good going guys!
It's not what you know and it's not who you know. It's what you know about who you know.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2017, 09:04:30 pm »
Walter:

Prologue and Stage 1: some photos of todays ride!! All went well with the free practice and the prologue, bike was awesome and the dunes was great. Just the fesh fesh was crazy like always. Stage 1 was a bit of a struggle, had problems to consentrate but still was a good ride... just waiting for the final standings to see in which position im going to start tomorrow. Thank you very much for everyone's support it is much appreciated 🏁🏍💨✊🏻
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Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2017, 09:08:04 pm »
From Gilly:

Hot, wind blowing and sand everywhere. Huge respect for those who stand out there, starting the riders off.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2017, 09:11:21 pm »
And from Jonathon:

Merzouga Rally has started! Yesterday we had a pretty long day of registration and scrutineering, but apart from a lot of waiting, it all went pretty well. Today we had a practice lap, prologue, and then a 40km stage to get settled into.  More pictures and updates to follow....
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2017, 09:16:11 pm »
And some photos of Gerry. I'm glad his ribs are OK, that dunedive sounded a bit hectic.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 09:17:58 pm by SteveD »
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2017, 12:06:04 am »
Gerry via FB:


Merzouga Rally Update - Stage 1

Today was really awesome! It started with me waking up to a chest that felt almost normal! Such a relief that I didn't break anything, and that it's getting better! Off to an early breakfast, then had to get kitted up and collect bikes from the overnight holding area. I loaded my roadbook, and entered the GPS route code so that the system can track if I find all the waypoints.

The riding for the day was a free practice session on roadbook in the morning, to test all the equipment, and to get us to understand how the navigation works. This is followed by a Prologue to define the starting order for the first stage, and then stage 1 late part of the afternoon.

The practice ride was fantastic, some technical stuff, nothing significant though, some dunes, some off track navigation through some dunes, and then some very tricky navigation.  Unfortunately I missed one waypoint, cause in the dunes section I decided to ride my way instead of their way... I won't do that again!  When I realized I missed a waypoint, I stopped and tried to track back to see if I can find it, but i couldn't quite get it to work. So then I skipped it, and just rode on.  It's a free practice after all, and won't count towards the final positions... not that I care much about that. 

I finished the prologue, and went back to the pits, feeling awesome! Had something to drink, chilled for a bit, and then got ready to ride the prologue, which was a short 2km loop in the dunes. So navigate off track through the dunes - it sounds simple, but let me try explain what it's all about. You start on a compass heading of say 293 degrees, for 2.1 km.  But it's not possible to ride in a straight line over dunes, so you ride a bit left of the heading, then a bit right of the heading, and you have to keep track of where you're supposed to be, cause once you've done the target distance, you get a new heading of say 206 degrees and you have to follow that as close as possible over the dunes for the next 1.1km.  And then you get another new heading, and so on... So you can just imagine if you go a few degrees too left or too right, when you reach the target distance, you could be 100's of meters away from where you should be. It gets quite tricky...

The prologue done, we had to wait for our start positions for the stage 1 special. During this time, Mark Coma presented a roadbook marking workshop.  To get information directly from the master, and to be able to ask questions, was fantastic. But the presentation was concurrently in three languages, and I find it amazing how complicated Spanish and French is - it takes 5 minutes to explain something in Spanish, then it takes 3 minutes to say the same thing in French, and then only about 1 minute in English!  It was quite amazing, and I used quite a few of these techniques when I marked my roadbook for tomorrow's stage... hopefully I don't get completely lost!  With that done, we had riders briefing and a big group photo, and then off to race stage 1.

I started at 16h54, sounds stupid late, but the sun is still up and it's 38 Deg at that time.   The special was quite short, the same route as the free practice this morning, and I finished quite easily.  This time I rode the correct way, and collected all the waypoints for the route.  That's quite helpful, cause you get up to an hour time penalty added to your stage time for every missed waypoint! After the stage I felt so good - it was an easy day, but I did it!

Now back to the pits, mark the roadbook for tomorrow's stage, have dinner, and finally get to bed.

Tomorrow is going to be an epic stage, with massive dunes all day long! Going to be Awesome, cause I'm getting better on them... I hope!!
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2017, 12:09:08 am »
This is interesting:

The Side by Side started in the evening. Racing a nocturnal special for the very first time! #Merzouga2017 #Sidebyside #DakarSeries
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Gerry and Willem at the Merzouga Rally
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2017, 06:44:00 am »
More photos of Gerry: