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Author Topic: What is off-road racing all about? WCOC Rd 2 in Wellington  (Read 228 times)

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Offline theMountainGoat

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What is off-road racing all about? WCOC Rd 2 in Wellington
« on: March 13, 2020, 01:12:27 pm »
Round 1 of the CSMX Western Cape Enduro series was brutal; I slogged it out in the McGregor heat for almost 4h30. But before the blisters had time to heal, I came across an advert for Round 2 of the Western Cape Off-Road series. I have done a fair few enduro races in my time, but always shied away from the off-road events, thinking that they were ‘not my style of riding’.
But 2020 is the year I am saying yes to racing, and this event was happening in Wellington just down the road from home. So, after convincing my new riding buddy to make the step up from pit crew to racer, we were in for our first off-road.

We arrived nice and early at the venue; a flat, dry and dusty looking wheat farm. After a quick chat with the friendly guys at KTM Cape Town we were feeling like factory riders with our pit situation under the orange banner. But I soon began to question my decision to enter this race; 450’s and 500’s everywhere. What was I thinking on my 250 two-stroke and my soft gummy tyre? But soon the junior race was underway and hyped up on the sound and smell of the 85 two-strokes I was good to go.

Why was I excited about this event? I had never really had the chance to ‘bang bars’ at the races. Enduro events are typically won and lost on the technical sections, and there is very little opportunity to go for a racing pass. But today we were starting in rows of 5 or 6 and I was mid-pack so there would be plenty of opportunity to go toe-to-toe on the fast and open 32km course.

Watching a first corner pile-up from the 2nd row start meant the nerves were sky-high. I clicked up into 2nd and sent it. I had a good jump off the line but the two guys on my inside beat me to the holeshot and I was soon being roosted like never before. A quick dip through a rocky ditch and we were into an open field. 6th gear tapped and jumping irrigation ditches – this was epic!

The rest of the first lap was a bit of a blur. A huge adjustment to the high-speed riding and having to consciously look for route markers was a big challenge. I had confidently believed I would make up time in the more technical riverbed section but two silly mistakes in quick succession meant any time I had made up was soon lost. And just like that lap one was done.

Once I became accustomed to the high-speeds, I was really able to enjoy myself and rode a good race. I didn’t really know what to expect from the track, but it ended up being very enjoyable. Two slower flowing sections through eroded riverbeds and a tight bit of single track through the acacia trees gave me a chance to make use of my enduro experience and make up time on some of the other riders. The more technical riverbed had some nice rock sections but in pushing too hard to make up time and impatience behind riders led to silly mistakes and meant it wasn’t the game changer I had hoped it would be.

After a while I started to get the hang of the dust and learn how to setup a pass without getting too much roost or risking a crash. The next big learning was with finding the limit of traction when on the gas. With enduro riding you have to be able to find traction with your rear wheel in technical spots. That and throttle control will get you up most things. But with this event I had to forget how I used to go around corners and start applying the same search for traction to my cornering. Following some faster riders quickly opened my eyes for how fast you can really ride a dirt bike!

Things were going well but just over midway through my 4th lap I blew through a sandy berm and hit an anthill. The bump kicked the rear into the air and sent me riding the front wheel for the next 20m or so and off the side of the track. This was a close one and one of those “how the heck did I save that?!” moments. I knew I wouldn’t finish the lap before the time bar so settled into a comfortable pace to bring it home. By this time riders were pretty spread out so it was a lonely ride back to the checkered flag.

And just like that it was over; my first off-road race done and dusted. The bike held up well and so did I. The biggest surprise of the day came with the results; a 4th place finish in the open class – well exceeding my expectations! A lot learnt, and new friends made. I will definitely be back for round 3!
 

Offline Serf

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Re: What is off-road racing all about? WCOC Rd 2 in Wellington
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2020, 01:36:54 pm »
Gooi some pics  :thumleft:
 

Offline theMountainGoat

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Re: What is off-road racing all about? WCOC Rd 2 in Wellington
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2020, 01:42:50 pm »
Before and after!
 

Offline Serf

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Re: What is off-road racing all about? WCOC Rd 2 in Wellington
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2020, 04:23:09 pm »
The 2nd photo should be edited for graphic content... :imaposer:
 

Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: What is off-road racing all about? WCOC Rd 2 in Wellington
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2020, 07:26:52 pm »
The 2nd photo should be edited for graphic content... :imaposer:

It's before the race. :pot:
 

Offline theMountainGoat

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Re: What is off-road racing all about? WCOC Rd 2 in Wellington
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2020, 11:41:12 am »
I am also thinking of writing up some of the training and bike setup activities I go through as the season progresses. It seems there isn't too much out there in terms of 'training for races' so hopefully that can help some people. I am pretty clueless with the bike setup so that will be largely hit and miss, but hopefully somewhat useful!
 
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Offline weskus

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Re: What is off-road racing all about? WCOC Rd 2 in Wellington
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2020, 10:08:14 am »
I was also lining up to do the offroad races again this year and started towards the end of 2019 to get more saddle'time only to have a "good" off and injuring my knee to an extend that I need an operation. Needless to say that I'm busy with fisio as we speak and I'm so desperate to to at least an race towards the end of the year..depending on Covid measures off course.. Wellington were hot-and Dusty, i went pass the farm @ 14h00, respect for the guys finishing..
Vorige scooters : Suzuki TS 185, Honda CD 200, Suzuki PE 250, Kawasaki Z650, Yamaha 495 IT, Kawasaki KLX 300, BMW F 650 GS Dakar, BMW F 800 GS, KDX200, KTM300, Suzuki GSXR1000, Honda CD200, KTM 1290 Superduke (stukkend geval) tans KTM 990 Adv - toer,  KTM 300 XCW- funrides,Honda Z50 Monkeybike(projek), Honda ST70 Dax, Honda CX500 Custom - bar toe..