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Author Topic: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally  (Read 1875 times)

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Offline Buff

Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« on: September 25, 2019, 04:09:10 pm »
After assisting with sweeping duties at the 2018 Tankwa XC I had promised myself that in 2019 I’d be back in the starting lineup. This race was just too special to watch from the sidelines. Having put aside my Offroad racing for the past 2 years due to the budget constraints of putting two young girls through private schooling, it meant that the saving had to start happening immediately. I also had the “not so trivial matter” of a stripped KLX450R lying around in boxes that needed to be rebuilt and prepped for the race.
More on that build here… http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=226792.0

True to form, no matter how good your prep is for these events, there will always be some last minute drama that will test your resolve. This year it proved to be my GPS unit. MSA regs state the GPS has to have an alternative power source from the bike in addition to its normal battery power. A friend was kind enough to wire me up a charge cable for my bike but for some remote reason it refused to work correctly and while Dux was assisting me on the afternoon prior to our departure, my Etrex10 decided to fry itself  :-[ So that evening at 9pm, instead of being home and packing my bakkie, I was back at Richard’s house having a new cable made up and begging for a loan GPS to use for the event. Bear in mind Richy was racing as well and also needed to pack all his stuff. Fun times  ::)

Thursday morning at 8am we left Brackenfell for Rooiputs. A fully packed Hilux with one male and 4 females (what was I thinking) and a trailer sporting a race prepped Kawasaki KLX450R and a Beta 300RR as backup should the Kwakker decide to take a rest day… oh and a loan Etrex10.

We arrived at the same time as YammieSuper10 (his son & wife was racing and he was assisting in his race buggy) and to find our old Droomers Yamaha team mates all packed out already so we joined up to camp with them for the weekend. Pitching tents in 34 degree weather was hard work and we had to take regular breaks for cold beers  :P
The pits looked a whole lot better than what they did in 2016 and you could see the effort that had been made to level and clean up the camp site. There were also a lot more riders and crew than in previous years and they would continue to stream in during the course of the day and into the night. Bikes were dusted off and final checks made and wheeled off for scrutineering to make sure they were up to the task at hand. Paperwork was checked, race numbers issued, medical kits checked and tracking and timing units added on the bikes. It all suddenly became very real. The race vibe was already electric  :ricky:

The rest of the afternoon and into the evening was spent catching up with the Tankwa regulars and meeting new faces. It was so good to see so many WD's in the pits. I even got to meet the now famous @Kobus Myburgh who was the inspiration behind me tearing down the KLX in the first place  :thumleft: I bumped into Taye Perry and her Dad Hein. It was good to see them back again and Taye is looking well prepped for Dakar. She's still has a huge financial mountain to climb so please support her fund raisers where you can, she honestly deserves a solid shot at Dakar, I believe she's got the potential to ride for Redbull one day.

Bringing the wife and kids with this year was a mission in packing but it sure paid off having the extra hands around to help with basic prep work like filling camelbacks and packing race food and collecting chow etc. This allowed me a lot of unexpected free time and things happened without the usual panicked rush. I even managed to get into bed before 10pm  :o

Pic 1 - Compulsory stop at Nieuwoudville Butchery for biltong and droewors for the weekend:

Pic 2 - The KLX450 sporting it's fresh sticker kit

Pic 3 - Pitting with my old Yamaha team... the green rose among the blue thorns  ;) I see there's a red rose there as well  ;D

« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 08:07:54 am by Buff »
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!
 
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Offline Buff

Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2019, 04:49:16 pm »
Due to too much bike prep and too little body prep I had entered the Silver Class. It entailed 650km’s via GPS navigation, which is still somewhat longer than what I raced here in 2016 on my KTM690.

Day 1 (Fri)

8am – 93km Time Trail
1pm - 77km’s Stage 1

Day 2 (Sat)
8am – 315km Marathon Stage 2 followed by 50km liaison back to camp

Day 3 (Sun)
8am – 76km Stage 3
45min decontrol after Stage 3 before starting with 105km Stage 4

To say I was nervous while waiting on that start line on Fri morning is somewhat of an understatement. I hadn’t raced in ages and my training had consisted of 4 consecutive weekends on the bike of which one was the Canola Run in Caledon. Added to that was the freshly built KLX450 under me. I had only ridden it 3 times prior to coming up to the Tankwa and most of that was in sand so I had no idea how the suspension would handle these square edged rocks of the Karoo. Whether the bike & body would hold out was playing heavy on my mind but I only had one goal in mind… bring both home in one piece after 3 days.

A flag was waved in front of me and the race official said “10 seconds”. The flag dropped and the 450 roared to life… over the start ramp and road crossing and suddenly I was back in my happy place, tearing down a dirt road as fast as I could  :ricky:

Pic 1 - Start Line

Pic 2 - Road Crossing
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!
 

Offline Kobus Myburgh

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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2019, 05:17:18 pm »
 :sip:
"If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them.  I want men who will come if there is no road at all."

-David Livingstone-
 
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Offline Rough Rider

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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2019, 05:43:14 pm »
Should be good  :3some:
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Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2019, 06:30:36 pm »
Sub!! :thumleft: :drif:
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Offline Dux

Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2019, 07:07:48 pm »
Awesome bud  :thumleft: keep it coming
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Offline katana

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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2019, 07:53:02 pm »
Along for the ride.   :ricky:
"The only man that has to remember anything, is the man who tells a lie" Mark Twain
 
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Offline skydiver

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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2019, 08:04:30 pm »
Waiting for the rest.  :sip:
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Offline Crossed-up

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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2019, 08:40:52 pm »
You did amazingly well considering your bike is old and freshly rebuilt, and your body is completely original and un-restored. Impressive performance!  Well done!  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
 
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Offline Buff

Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2019, 08:49:58 am »
You did amazingly well considering your bike is old and freshly rebuilt, and your body is completely original and un-restored. Impressive performance!  Well done!  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

LOL... thanks John, those quarry tracks of yours helped with the prep work  :thumleft: How I wish a full nut & bolt restore was possible on my battered body  ;D
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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2019, 09:07:38 am »
Sub . . .
Thanks for RR
 
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Offline Buff

Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2019, 10:14:07 am »
My daughter and her friend (who also came with) were at the end of above mentioned dirt road with a camera in hand. In my attempt to act like a riding God I almost missed the left turn altogether and I had my first taste of the Tankwa thorn trees burning my arms  :-[

Backtrack 2 days… I needed to find a suitable mount for my GPS. I only had one of those small plastic bicycle mounts that the back cover of the GPS slides onto but a new silicon mount would work better for shock and vibration input. Problem was the silicon mount was R699 and funds were now low. Added to this was the fact the KLX had a thin handlebar with a cross brace that wouldn’t take the silicon mount. If I bought it, I’d also need to change the bar to a fatty bar with larger mounts and go through the schlep of re-fitting levers and hand guards etc. So I opted against this and Mcgyvered an old bicycle triathlon bar mount that allowed me to place the bicycle mount securely in the middle of my handlebars for great gps visibility. I thought it looked good, but would it work?

Right turn into a dry riverbed (all the riverbeds are dry in the Tankwa) and on the gas. These riverbeds are not all sand, many of them are made up of small rocks deposit/shale. It behaves very differently to the quarry sand that we usually ride in and seems to hold a tyre a lot deeper. It also washes in corners a lot easier and to ride it well you need to ride it aggressively. Which of course is easier said than done when you haven’t raced in a while. I was all over the tracks, feeling like a total beginner and struggling to get the bike in line.

It was hot & dry and the dust was hanging thick from the riders ahead of me, making visibility poor. A few kays later we crossed the R355 main road (stop dead and look for donkey carts) and hit a flat out section of normal gravel road for about 15km’s. I twisted the green monsters ear and looked down at the GPS as we went through 110km/h… then she wallowed hard, gulped twice, took two deep breaths, hesitated twice and my heart dropped into my Sidi boots…. Nooooo baby, please nooooo.

I rolled off the throttle and she backfired a few times and I twisted her open again and she took off… thank you God. We went through 115km/h and she did it again… okay, so we had a built in speed limit that I’d need to investigate. Anything below 118km/h she seemed very happy with so I kept it tidy. The next time I looked down at my GPS it was blank… What? No please, not so early in the race. I started it up again while moving and it stayed on for a while until I hit a few rocks and switched off again. I stopped and plugged in the external supply and took off again. One or two bikes came roaring past covering me in dust and roost, Hein Perry being one of them. He pedals a dirt bike almost as fast as his daughter  :o It was also here that I was passed by the flying Stephen on his XR650L  :o I still remember thinking "don't stress it, you'll catch him later on the technical bits". I never saw him again, he was flying on that farm implement  ;) Luckily I now had some dust trails to follow so I took off after them.

The TT was very fast with long sections of open track. It allowed those that were fearless to really give it stick. It was easy riding at normal speeds but at over 100km/h you really needed to focus on not hitting lurkers hiding in the dust clouds. My GPS continued to play up, even with the external supply it kept on switching on and off and when it came back on it would go to “Maps” and I’d need to hit the little enter knob on top. Have you ever tried doing that on a rocky path at 100km/h? Mission impossible, it will go to every other menu button on that gps except to one you want it to go to  :xxbah:
1:35min later the TT was done, it pasted in a flash. The body felt good besides some serious forearm pump from holding on too tight. The bike seemed to be handling well despite my rooky behavior on it and the suspension seemed fairly well planted on the fast stuff. Now I could chill and re-hydrate and try and fix the gps before Stage 1 start at 1pm.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 10:08:51 am by Buff »
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!
 

Offline Black_Hawk

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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2019, 10:48:04 am »
Awesome report and looking forward to the rest of it.

Well done on completing your rebuild on the bike and on completing this race  :thumleft:
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2019, 11:35:49 am »
following!
Dooie visse gaan saam met die stroom...
 

Offline Buff

Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2019, 11:38:53 am »
While sitting in the shade of the gazebo, young Renier offered to try and fix the gps for me by wrapping the batteries in insulation tape so they don’t vibrate around and lose contact. I had pre-wrapped them but apparently not enough so I wasn’t sure if that would help much seeing as the external supply was also playing up but I was willing to try anything. A navigational race without a GPS is not much of a race  ::)

The riders coming in from the TT were in high spirits and most seemed to be very happy with the track. There was a buzz around the pits as everyone shared stories on their morning stage  :ricky:

Just after 1pm I was back on the line waiting for my 10sec countdown. Due to my gps mishap I hadn’t placed too well in the TT so it meant I’d be starting towards the back end of the field. It was hot but thankfully there was a slight breeze that would help with the dust. The flag dropped and away I went, chasing dust trails once again. Thankfully Renier’s trick seemed to help and my gps stayed on the whole stage which made the going a lot faster. I didn’t have to stop and wait for riders to catch up to me to follow wheels, which was a good thing because there weren’t many behind me besides the Ladies Class. I managed to catch and pass quite a few riders on this stage which built the confidence up a little. Passing anyone was challenging though if you weren’t willing to take some risks in the dust because leaving the track wasn’t an option. Many of those that tried this approached suffered the consequences of the tankwa rocks lying waiting for them.

There was an outside refuel on this stage at the around the 60km mark and it was good finding David Droomer and their team mechanic Wouter standing there assisting with the refuels. It’s always fun bumping into people out on the route shouting encouragement or in this case, telling me to get my fat ass in gear and twist throttle  :o :imaposer: I had a good chuckle when one of the fathers shouted "Jy moet hol op daai groen bike, die tankwa skape gaan jy inhaal vir kos" ;D

My race nearly ended prematurely after this refuel point. There were 3 massive whoops, two of them high and blind with drop offs on the other side. The first one I hit and got a little airtime, the following one was also quite big but it was like a table top and the 3rd one caught me out when I thought it was also like a table top and hit it too fast. I got major airtime, enough to look down and still think "oh ¥€$&, this could hurt". I flat landed the bike, fully compressed front and rear suspension and chin butted my bars but I somehow managed to stay upright. While washing the bike this week I could see where the back tyre ate the plastic on the new rear fender  :o

The rest of the stage went well. The route was almost as fast as the TT course and I finished with an average speed of around 52km/h. It sounds low but believe me, that’s plenty fast enough in these conditions. I finished in high spirits and was super happy that my gps never played up again.

Before it was time for me to eat, drink and recharge for the marathon stage, the KLX got a fresh air filter and a chain lube. Everything else on the bike looked good. I had a chat to Wouter about the bike gulping at anything beyond 120km/h and he seemed to think it was the float level in the carb not being set 100% and the carb was getting sucked dry at speed. This made sense as the float level was the one thing I never bothered checking when I had it out (live & learn). I was relieved it wasn’t anything serious as I had no problem running below 120km/h in these dusty conditions. 

That evening we were spoilt with Karoo braai packs, potato salad and roster brood for supper. I was feeling so good I even allowed myself a few B&C’s to wash the dust down.

Life was good in the middle of the Karoo  :thumleft: I hit the sack dreaming of dodging rocks and eating dust  ::)

Pic 1 - Me
Pics 2 - Davey & Wouter (Kabouter)
Pics 3 - typical unmanned outside refuel
« Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 09:18:03 pm by Buff »
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!
 

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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2019, 11:46:45 am »
Looks really awesome :thumleft:
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Offline gmac

Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2019, 11:49:13 am »
Jealous!! Thanks for sharing
 

Offline Buff

Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2019, 02:44:34 pm »
Saturday - The marathon stage:

I awoke at 1am, cold and unable to get back to sleep. I’d hoped my sleeping bag would be warm enough, it wasn’t. I lay and tossed around in the tent trying to get comfortable but I just couldn’t get back to sleep. It was a frustrating 5 hours of listening to everyone else snoring and farting and I couldn’t wait for the sun to rise just so I could get up and moving. Once up, I was feeling rather groggy. Both the missus and I had picked up a sinus injection, probably from the dry air and dust so I popped some tablets with my egg & bacon roll (supplied as part of the food package) and hoped for the best  ???

We were greeted with a glorious sunrise and cooler weather; it had the promise of being a great day on the bike. The Silver Class only had a 315km’s racing stage and a 50km liaison back to camp. The stage finished at the Tankwa Halfway House for us. I say “only” because Gold had another 150km’s extra to do and the Rally Class even more than that.
The 450 was fueled up and my 5 x petrol cans for the outside refuels dropped off at the fuel collection point. Almost all the refuel points were unassisted on the marathon stage. Each of my cans contained exactly 8l off fuel, which is the size of the KLX tank.

The Rally class was sent off at 8am on their liaison and rest of us let off at 8:30am. I got the 10sec call and I was off racing. I’d checked the routes posted on the notice board the previous evening and had seen that the first 15-20km’s of this stage was the same as the start of the TT so I was able give it a bit of stick. The dust was really bad already and some places it was turning into fesh fesh after just 2 days of racing. When I got to the spot where I suspected we needed to turn right off a fast gravel road I slowed down and looked for tracks, there were none. I looked at my GPS… it was blank… FFS, 20km’s into a 315km stage? I switched it back on while riding slowly then noticed two riders coming back towards me. We stopped for a chat and they said their GPS’s were showing 3 tracks all going the same way at this point with none turning right. I checked mine and it showed the same. I rode back to the right turn I suspected we should go but there were no tyre tracks turning right there. 2 more riders joined us and they had the same issue. While we were stopped the leading ladies also caught up to us, being led by Kim and Alison but they just blew by so I figured they must know something we don’t so I tagged in behind them.

We eventually turned right and I could read lines again so I took off, overtaking the ladies and a small group of other riders.
The track was familiar from last year’s scouting so I was able to ride in front and set the pace. I’d just pulled a gap on them when I crested a rise with a triple warning flag and found a young lady with her quad bike well and truly stuck in a huge erosion gully. I had no choice but to stop and help her, it would be impolite to leave her stuck. While extracting her quad and getting my HR into the red, the group behind caught up and also assisted with some muscle. 
We took off again, me leading the group. I was feeling surprisingly good on the bike despite my lack of sleep and I was really enjoying the first part of this track. It was more technical than the previous 2 stages with lots more rock and elevation variance. I pulled into the first refuel point with a gap on the group behind despite my GPS failing on me again.

Anton and Abre’s laaitie were there assisting with the refuel. The laaitie undid my fuel cap and I poured in the petrol. I then took the gps out of its cradle and pulled the batteries out in the hope of getting them to fit snug again then took off. The first few kilometers out of the refuel was a 50km/h speed zone which then opened up to another flat-out section of gravel road before turning left to go up and around a mountain. Just after the left turn was a clipper card that we needed to stamp. I looked down to grab the clipper card out of my saddle pouch and noticed I had no petrol cap on my bike… masekinners. In my haste to check the gps I had forgotten to replace the cap at the refuel point. My pants were soaked in fuel, as was my handlebar bag with my snacks in it. I just sat there hunched over my bike and had a laugh at the situation, what else could possibly go wrong here? Barely 60km’s into the stage and it had gone pear shaped already  :-\

I had no choice but to turn around and ride back and look for my fuel cap, obviously losing all the time I had made up and falling well behind the field now.  It wasn’t at the refuel point either but Anton gave me the fuel cap off an empty container that was almost an exact fit and I was able to get going again. About 1km further on I spotted my cap lying on the side of the road… yeah baby, we were back in business. The risk was now having no GPS and no wheel to follow or possibly a wheel to follow but one a lot slower than me  ???
« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 02:59:53 pm by Buff »
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2019, 03:49:40 pm »
really enjoying this racing RR

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Offline Buff

Re: Buffs RR of the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2019, 05:13:39 pm »
I hooked up behind one of the ladies (Hanlie) but realized that her pace was just too slow for me so I overtook her and went in search of someone else. I figured I’d just ride my own pace and follow tracks where I could and if I got to a spot where there was doubt, I’d stop and switch the GPS on and check. It seemed to work while I was stationary but switched off as soon as I hit bumps. This worked well but obviously wasted a lot of time. I got a flow going and was really enjoying the more technical riding. It was rocky and rather challenging and you had to focus 100% or you’d be lying on the ground very quickly. Somewhere between refuel 1 and 2 I bumped into the Honda Team on their 450L’s. They’d done a big liaison loop and hooked up onto our track. One of the bikes had its front wheel off and I stopped to check if all was okay. It turned out Charl had a pickup sensor break off up front and jam in his brake disk and he did and impromptu endo onto the Tankwa rocks. Fortunately he was fine and they were almost done fixing the problem so I took off again looking for dust clouds.

At some point the track took a sharp right and climbed up the side of a very rocky and technical koppie. I marshaled near this point last year and everyone besides the front runners struggled with it. I knew I needed to hit it with some momentum to get all the way up but alas, not even that was enough. I hit one of the bigger rocks, lost momentum and stalled the bike, nearly falling over in the process  :-[ Getting going again was a mission, the rocks were loose and it was so steep they just kept on spinning out from under the back wheel giving you zero traction. It took some clutch work to finally get to the top where I found Dirk (GS1200) and Nadine having a water break. I stopped to check if they were okay before heading off again. With some help from good Samaritans ahead of us they somehow managed to get that GS1200 up that climb... respect  :thumleft: How he got it down the other side must be a story all of its own  :o

The track ran along the plateau for a while before suddenly disappearing into a rock garden. I stopped, not being able to make out any tracks in front of me… wtf? I turned around and rode back a bit to see if I went wrong but could see no other tracks. I switched on my GPS to double check myself. Nope, I hadn’t made a mistake; I was on the right track. So I trundled forward over these large rocks heading towards the edge of the cliff but still seeing nothing until all of a sudden I was on the edge and as I looked down I saw a very jagged path off the mountain and 4 riders below me holding onto their bikes for dear life. While looking for a line past them one of the guys on a Husky slipped while pushing his bike and both he and his bike took a dive over a couple of big rocks. It didn’t look or sound good but fortunately both bike & rider were okay. I managed to stay on the bike and ride down the pass and passed all 4 of them in the process.

The last rider in the group and the guy furthest down the mountain was on a Honda XR650R and he managed to tag onto the back of me. I was later to find out his name was Riaan. The two of us rode a fairly decent pace from there until refuel 2 where we stopped and chatted. He mentioned he was held up for a long time when he stopped to help get the GS up the mountain and I mentioned to him that I had no GPS and was simply relying on my shaky memory of where the tracks are going. His words were “Don’t worry chom, stick with me and I’ll show you the way, we’re riding at a lekka pace together”. Right there, a new friendship was made, forged in the dust of the Tankwa  :ricky: The two of us rode the best part of the next 200km’s together, taking turns to set the pace and read tracks where possible. When I was leading and got to an intersection where there was doubt he’d point it out to me before reaching me and I’d take off again. On the fast open sections (which there was plenty of in the second part of this stage), he’d run ahead because he was reaching speeds of 160km/h and on the more technical rocky stuff then I’d pull ahead on the smaller bike. 

The day got long… and it got hot… and we got tired, so very tired. My forearms where destroyed from holding on for dear life. Fortunately there were a lot of clipper cards on this stage so we had fairly regular stops to shake our arms out and eat but we never hung about for too long before taking off again. I ran out of water with about 100km’s still to go to the refuel at Halfway House and as the stage grew longer I could feeling the warning signs of cramps starting in my hands and thighs. At one point Riaan stopped up front ahead of me in the middle of this lunar landscape. I pulled up next to him to check if he was okay? He just sat there looking around and said that none of his friends would believe him if he told them where he was now. He entered the race expecting it to be like one of those KTM rally raid tours where the guys just cruise through the Tankwa enjoying the trails and stopping regularly for drinks etc.  :imaposer:
Never in a million years did he expect to find himself in a race of this magnitude yet here he was, having the absolute time of his life. I just had to smile, this is what I’ve been trying to tell so many riders and here was someone experiencing it for themselves  ;D

Although Halfway House was our finish point for the stage, our first stop there was simply for a refuel. We still needed to do another 46km loop out from HH and back again before finishing the stage.

Finally we could see the oasis, literally through a heat haze. For a second I wondered if I was hallucinating like a cowboy in a western. It was so good to finally stop there and be greeted by my wife & daughter with an ice cold coke and welcoming wishes. @Crossed-up was there doing time keeping and so was @Ri doing some supporting, it was good to see them as well  :thumleft:

The stop was brief but it did wonders for the moral and the body to get in some cold liquids and a fresh camelback. I lead for the first part of the loop and Riaan the latter half and our pace was noticeably faster. We literally rode this loop as fast as we could and the terrain allowed it because it wasn’t as rocky as the previous sections. There was one really nasty section of fesh fesh that forced me to keep a big dust gap to Riaan because I could literally see nothing through the dust. I was constantly wiping my goggles to clear the dust off. We also lost some time towards the end of the stage where the GPS tracks crossed but we were able to find our way back with just a few minutes lost. I was very relieved to finally cross that finish line. Riaan came up to me, locked hands, hugged me and said “Thank you, I have just experienced the best day of riding in my life”. It was an emotional moment, I was tired and the dust made my eyes water for a bit. A day that started out with so much frustration ended on such an amazing high. I was also pretty chuffed to hear from @Crossed-up that we had only ridden that loop 4mins slower than the fastest time of the day, so we weren’t hanging about  >:D

We wrapped the finish off with a celebratory beer at HH before saddling the bikes up for the 50km liaison back to Rooiputs. My riding time for the day shows 6hr7m… that’s a long day at race pace  :o
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!