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Author Topic: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R  (Read 1413 times)

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Offline 51Mobile

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Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« on: October 27, 2021, 11:18:01 am »
A few of my well-respected riding colleagues said it would be fun, there are plenty of opportunities to escape if the going gets tough they said, they've ridden it on oversize adventure bikes. Ok, how bad could it turn out to be?! ......

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Online Noneking

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2021, 11:19:23 am »

Looking forward to this one Boris!
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2021, 11:20:29 am »
Turns out ......VERY!

I donated my phone somewhere along the route, so will rely on photos taken and shared by others and some gopro footage I managed to get.

To me, the Pongola 500 has always had a  mystical air to it, 500km around the Lebombo mountains and over the Makhathini flats, rocks, mud, sand river beds! What's there not to like. I was to find out the depth of truth that "bringing a knife to a gunfight" has in all walks of life, particularly motorcycling.

Before the experts on the forum weigh in on the minutia of the specs of what the correct bike for this kind of ride is, let me explain my position – which is almost completely non-technical. I am never going to win any race, other than some of the lamppost to lamppost sorties that occur at multiple intervals in any ride. I also believe that every bike is a compromise for any ride, there will be sections that the best bike for one section will not be the best for others.

Bike selection for me is the one that puts a smile on my face and lets my heart soar when I just look at it, and in helmet howls of joy when I ride it.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2021, 11:20:59 am »
My 890 does this in abundance, even if I am face planting in the red dunes of the Kalahari in the midday scorching sun. Its limits are way beyond what my riding skill can exploit, and it tolerates my attempts to improve these. To do so in the normal course of riding requires long stretches of tar to find short sections of challenging riding. As such opportunities such as the Pongola 500 are to be grabbed with both hands, and a degree of dread.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2021, 11:26:43 am »
Back to Jozini

While chewing the cud with other riders the evening before the race the predominant question was "have you ridden this before?", saying “no this was my first” elicited a drawn-out knowing "Ahhhh" - but the body language said it all "Lamb to the slaughter!". The torrential thunderstorm outside was doing little to settle my increasing self-doubt. I didn't dare whisper that I was attempting this on a KTM 890.

Despite my best efforts, I could only find one other adventure bike, a single lone 950 Super Enduro, kitted by someone who clearly knew what he was doing.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2021, 11:28:26 am »
I asked him not to come past me too fast, I only saw him again at the Mbazwane fuel stop, where his red route ride had come to an end due to the heat of the day and thick soft sand caused his 950 to voice its protest by overheating, his riding mates were in similar shape. Regrettably, he was forced to miss 40km in the Mkuzi river bed, a section as close to biker heaven as I have ever ridden.

After the torrential rain of the night, the day dawned showing promise of cool overcast conditions, a baited hook if ever there was.

The day opened with a welcome quick prayer, “Please may I return in one piece”
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2021, 11:30:44 am »
And then we were off! Out the gate, hitting the mud of the previous night may dash lit up like a Xmas tree. I quickly realised my bike was in street mode, thankfully a few scrolls through the settings and life returned to my rear wheel, powering me through the smoke screen laid down by the two strokes up ahead.

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Online chicco

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2021, 11:31:59 am »
I've done a couple Pongola 500's with Dallie when I still had my 990....nouja....its was very interesting....
« Last Edit: October 27, 2021, 11:32:42 am by chicco »
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2021, 11:32:34 am »
A mass start is always nerve wracking for me whilst riders jockey for position weaving between bikes, other vehicles, pedestrians, livestock and the route. Once over the pedestrian bridge, the extent of the damage on the paths we were to follow immediately became apparent. The surface became black soap, injudicious action on the throttle was immediately punished. The smaller bikes were having none of it proceeding to scream past me, covering me first with black, then red mud finished with a liberal coating of the gravel I was aiming for to provide me with traction.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2021, 11:36:33 am »
I've done a couple Pongola 500's with Dallie when I still had my 990....nouja....its was very interesting....

Dallie tells me he has done most o fit on a GS1200 WITH a pillion! and I have NO reason to doubt him.

One day -  :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:
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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2021, 11:42:05 am »
I've done a couple Pongola 500's with Dallie when I still had my 990....nouja....its was very interesting....

Dallie tells me he has done most o fit on a GS1200 WITH a pillion! and I have NO reason to doubt him.

One day -  :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:

Dis hoekom Mary-anne se oe altyd so groot is. :imaposer:
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2021, 11:48:16 am »
I've done a couple Pongola 500's with Dallie when I still had my 990....nouja....its was very interesting....

Dallie tells me he has done most o fit on a GS1200 WITH a pillion! and I have NO reason to doubt him.

One day -  :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:

 :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: and why Dallie wears a permanent grin!

Dis hoekom Mary-anne se oe altyd so groot is. :imaposer:
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Offline Bikerboer1973

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2021, 11:56:10 am »
 :sip:
 

Offline roxenz

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2021, 12:03:01 pm »
This is gonna be good! subscribed. (And thanks for putting a RR together Boris!)
Ek sal laaik van n prentjie hier sit, maar is te f0kken onnosel...
 

Offline JohnB

Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2021, 12:44:20 pm »
 :sip:
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2021, 01:11:52 pm »
You seem to have same mindset as me!

Will definitely be following this!
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Offline Buff

Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2021, 05:58:12 pm »
I'm on for the ride  :thumleft:
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2021, 06:45:55 pm »
The bane of all ride organisers life came to pass, just as the paths were opening up and material beneath my tyres was hardening, an angry swarm of plastics was bearing down on me head on. Shitte – with great trepidation I left the lovely surface I was relaxing into, and headed into the slush on its side. Rather that than a head on with one of the smoke belching, shrieking plastic banshees headed straight at me. It appeared that someone had either slung a new fence or locked a gate on the route we were meant to be on. After the finish my new found friend and raving riding lunatic Sean “180km/h” bullet stuck to the route and somehow found a way through.
The rest of us started the search for a way through. You would think we would zoom out on the GPS, look at the carefully downloaded aerial photos and figure out what looked the best way to go, but no. Far rather blast off, wheels spinning, adding the 100th coat of mud and grit to me and more importantly my bike, bouncing between dead ends in an unending cycle of wheel spin off, another coat of mud and grit only to u turn at the next dead-end.

Blue is as ridden, Red is Dallie's route.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2021, 06:53:22 pm »
Eventually we found a way through. Got a little lost in the fever tree forest, a beautiful place to wander around looking for the track.
Once on the track, the swarm buzzed past me, leaving me in tranquillity with the soothing sound of an Akro doing its thing as I winded along the scenic paths towards the first fill stop of the day.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2021, 06:59:46 pm »
The stop was where expected. These stops were awesome, super friendly teams manning them well stocked with fuel for the bike and more importantly riders – foremost me! The team at the stop said I was I think around the 10th bike there. I figured the rest of the field must have got really stuck in the hide and seek game we played with fences and fields earlier.
Current bikes: 1977 BMW R100RS, 2016 BMW GSA, 2021 KTM 890 Rally