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Author Topic: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R  (Read 1483 times)

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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #40 on: November 03, 2021, 12:39:51 pm »
Time to go. Back onto the twee spore tracks. These had again firmed up and the riding was great until they stuttered and converged into a single track on the dune ridgeline, crashing through the undergrowth. Time to find a shady bush again. The sound of a motor approaching raised me from my stupor, and there was Dallie in his side by side, flashing white teeth topped by two bloodshot eyes radiating a sparkle of extreme mischief.

“Are you alright?”

My bike was more than serviceable, I had no broken bones or other injuries to display, what else could I say than “I’m ok.” I think I managed to signal that I was a little tired.

“Do you need anything?” – I suppose a tar road would be out of the question, other than that no.

And off they went. I had been riding alone most of the day, but his departure left me feeling very alone.

The last time I felt this combination of utter exhaustion and a long way still to go, was under a 50ft pole, with 29 other guys being yelled at by a 16 year old 2 stripe.

Ok, no time to mope, let's get on with it. The single track was now also stuttering, it was like following Morse code on the ground – dash – dash – dot – dash – dot – dot – sot …. I checked the GPS. Looked ok, I zoomed in to the max. Incredibly I was exactly where I was meant to be, in terms of space – time – well that was another matter, here I was way off. But clearly on what I suppose was meant to be the track.

Inching forward, the track disappeared. A wall of hostile looking bushes and trees faced off against me. Where on earth had Dallie gone? Where should I go? I was too tired to even try and figure out an alternate route. I lay on my tank, gunned the bike and endured the branches and thorns ripping through me and more distressingly my BIKE! It was too thick to get through in one hit, shoving branches over my head, trying to break off others, and just bulldozing forward was the only option. When all else fails, time for brute force and ignorance.
 Eventually, I burst forth onto the other side. The dot dashes of tracks started to join up, and I could get the air conditioning working again. BLISS!
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #41 on: November 03, 2021, 12:42:34 pm »
I made it to the 2nd last fuel stop for the day, just at the turn to Lake Sibaya. It was just before 2pm and I had just under 300km under the belt. I was astounded to see Rassie Venter at the stop. I had met him on the Kalahari Rally, where he had blitzed his way through the rally on his 690, this time he had chosen lighter weaponry. Regrettably, the heat had got to his mousse and his day was done. Again, I dived into anything edible and drinkable at the stop. The marshals there recommended that I miss the Lake Sibaya loop as it was getting late. Initially, I was adamant, I have to do it, else I cannot get onto the Mkuze river section.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #42 on: November 03, 2021, 12:46:22 pm »
Eating again Bob!? Forcing down as much food and water as i could before heading out again.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #43 on: November 03, 2021, 12:53:26 pm »
“Ahh, not so!” miss the loop and re-join the red route just before the final fuel stop. I was being offered the ultimate get out of jail free card.

I refuelled myself as best I could, calculated that I probably had just enough fuel to complete the ride, waved goodbye to Rassie, and headed off along TAR! Now, this was not part of the plan, but was extremely welcome.

That Red route stalked its way down my GPS screen until it was on top of me. Again, neglecting to zoom out to check if this was the last chance saloon to join the route into the river, I blindly turned right.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2021, 01:06:11 pm by 51Mobile »
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #44 on: November 03, 2021, 12:55:02 pm »
Slap bang back into 300m deep soft sand masquerading as a twee spoor pad. Voracious thorns on both sides and a death trap middle mannetjie. The one consolation was the day was cooling off. The wind was up and there was a semblance of cloud cover coming in.

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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #45 on: November 03, 2021, 12:56:43 pm »
The last fuel stop appeared at the end of the track, I was now getting into the groove and reluctant to stop. My simple fuel calcs indicated that I should make it – just. Shortly thereafter, the Mkuze river came into view, a steep drop into the river bed onto now 600m deep sand. River sand, carefully sorted so that its grain size distribution is optimal for making riding very tricky.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #46 on: November 03, 2021, 01:03:57 pm »
Just to be sure that we were unable to just blast down the river bed, there were holes everywhere. And by holes, I mean bike swallowing holes. Holes dug for water, holes dug for building sand, holes dug by people, holes dug by donkeys, cows, kids, chickens and ducks. Where there were no holes there were trees that had fallen across the river, and sometimes both. Dallie made yet another pass in the side by side, a little way further down the river bed he very nearly had it on its head due to one of the battalions of holes.
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #47 on: November 03, 2021, 02:14:28 pm »
what rear tyre were you on? wondering if it was aggressive enough?

Great RR please keep it up
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #48 on: November 03, 2021, 02:32:20 pm »
Thank you. It feels easier to do the ride than the report. Must be the history of shirking homework that is catching up on my.

I was given a Mitas E12 Rally Star to try, that had been increased from a 140/80 -18 to a 150/80 -18. Though, on my new thinner rims, it looked very much like a 140 at best. They are awesome tyres in any terrain, but for deep sand i would prefer something with a wider footprint.

Being on my third set of rim, I was very reluctant to drop my tyre pressures, which I held at 2.4Bar. In the river this did not last, I eventually figured that the probability of rocks was low enough that I could ease the pain and drop the pressure to 1.8 Bar. My tyres are tubed.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2021, 02:36:51 pm by 51Mobile »
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #49 on: November 03, 2021, 02:41:26 pm »
I, on the other hand was doing terrifically on the straights, far less so when I had to navigate the obstacle course of holes, trees and sieves. I had been keeping my tyres at 2.4 Bar front and back due riding on new wheels that replaced 2 sets of rims I had destroyed previously due to hitting lurkers with lower tyre pressures. It was now time to do something about this.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #50 on: November 03, 2021, 02:43:25 pm »
At 1.8 Bar, it was like turning on the lights. The bike came up on top of the sand quickly and stayed there at far lower speeds. Things were looking up. The river was still dry in the initial 20 odd kms, but my 890 was cruising, the Akro purring along, with the occasional obligatory growl at the looser sections of sand. The 890’s ability to work through the lower parts of the rev range was a joy to use, it snarls at you when you need it, but aside from that leaps into action from remarkably low down.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #51 on: November 03, 2021, 02:45:28 pm »
Soon water stared to make its appearance in the low river sections with long soft sand bars in between. This was adventure riders’ heaven. I was flying up the river, jumping off the edges into the water, ramping up the sand bars. Though at a far more sedate speed than I would have liked. I will return and ride this when my energy levels are closer to that of my 890.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #52 on: November 03, 2021, 02:48:48 pm »
The scenery was awesome. Huge trees lining the riverbanks punctuating the thick riverine vegetation. As the route wound its way towards the Lebombo mountains there were towering cliffs on the outside of each bend. Man it was terrific to be alive! Even better to be here on this amazing machine in such magnificent surroundings with a symphony from the engine, Akro and tyre zipping over the sand and through the water.
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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #53 on: November 03, 2021, 02:51:47 pm »
One would think Dallie could leave it there. But no! There must be a sting in the tail, and here it was. I overshot the turn out of the river, having far far far too much fun. Then stopped in the worst place possible to turn the bike, got the back wheel well and truly dug in, had to do a series of iterations of pushing the bike over, pulling it around as much as I could, pick up, digging in the back wheel, rinse repeat. The shreds of energy I had accumulated in the river were rapidly depleted.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #54 on: November 03, 2021, 02:53:43 pm »
Having turned I found a route out, though was a little hasty in turning and needed to plough through low hanging branches of fever trees to get to the route. This was a section I was concerned about.

I had looked at it carefully when receiving the tracks. In general, it looked promising with a marked road fairly close. This is the issue with riding, it if often just a 2m of impassable section that can ruin your day.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2021, 04:05:06 pm by 51Mobile »
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #55 on: November 03, 2021, 02:55:24 pm »
As I rounded the corner, there it was, Dallie’s sting in the tail. I could see him rolling in mirth at our discomfort of having got here in one piece and being faced with this. It seemed as if the universe was acting in concert with him, just for good measure a herd of cows was leisurely strolling up the precipitous goat track right in the line I needed. And they were not going to budge.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #56 on: November 03, 2021, 02:56:50 pm »
The track was strewn with rim eating blocks of rock, my tyres were low, the wheel spin in the river had made 40km closer to 80km travelled with negative impact on my careful fuel calculations and the rocks were wet, cows besides.

Half heartly, I took a run at the goat track. NEVER a good idea, do it properly or not at all as my dad would have said. The inevitable fall happened with the bike on top of me, my head pointing decidedly downhill looking up on at my bike which had every intention of punishing me for my indiscretion by threatening to roll over on top of me.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #57 on: November 03, 2021, 02:59:39 pm »
A stern talking to went on in my helmet.

Once I had managed to extricate my leg from under the bike, I took on picking it up. I was too tired to try and spin it, so I could lift it from an uphill position.

Brute force (or rather what was left of it) & ignorance time again.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #58 on: November 03, 2021, 03:04:12 pm »
Once back up, I chased down the cows, shooed them off the track and headed to the Jozini Tiger Lodge.

Once stationary in the parking area I swore I would never try anything stupid like this again, the Pongola 500 had definitely seen the last of me.
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Offline 51Mobile

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Re: Mixing Oil & Water = Pongola 500 + KTM 890R
« Reply #59 on: November 03, 2021, 03:05:11 pm »
I think next year, I need to use the sections where the going is good to get miles behind the back. I was too casual in these sections where I could have made up some time.

I have started to practice deep sand cornering, which should help in those heinous twisty turny 300m deep loose sand sections. I have scouts out looking for a Tractionator Desert for my rear.

And I need to coax a few mates on similar bikes to join me.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2021, 03:18:04 pm by 51Mobile »
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