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Author Topic: Champagne Valley National Enduro  (Read 558 times)

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Offline Splash

Champagne Valley National Enduro
« on: September 01, 2009, 02:04:03 pm »
Towed my dual sport bike down to Four Rivers Rafting, Champagne Valley, Drakensberg to watch a national enduro. The final race of the season, it was going to determine the number one plate next year. All the big guns entered, it was going to be closely contested. The race was a 48km track which made having a bike to get to spectator points attractive.

Accommodation was camping – reduced costs. Did have an orange KTM tent to show off. A bit colder than I had hoped – some snow could still be seen on the higher peaks. Took two sleeping bags which kept me warm enough. Arrived in the dark and was awed by the view in the morning - magnificent venue, with the days racing just having to be spectacular.

Riders attended the race briefing while I relaxed and enjoyed the morning sun. Good not to have to stress about terrifying sections, called names like avalanche, b*tch hill and goats’ pass. Watched the first few riders take off. Time for me to make my way to the first spectator point. A map made things easier. Ended up riding in the general direction of the route and found where the track passed over the road. Not difficult to spot as Day-Glo sticks everywhere. They used something like sixty cans of spray paint.  Guess the route marking was good.

Not long into my wanderings met two other bike riders with pillions. Joined forces and set off on an adventure.  Some suggestions from a marshal an offer to follow one of their vehicles. We went behind them until they stopped – lost. In the distance we could see bikes coming down the side of a mountain. We had missed the turnoff. No problem for us: we had bikes and could see the road in the distance. So off we went in the general direction. The 4x4 vehicle followed.  Not much further it had to turn back. We came to a dead end at the edge of a deep donga. We continued following foot paths. Had to eventually ride through the donga, which was interesting. All the bikes made it without a problem. Had to cross more dongas but these were not difficult and proved how versatile the bikes are. Made our way to a checkpoint and spent time watching bikes make their way down an insane descent - a cliff face littered with riders being rather careful.

Did my good deed for the year. Someone had fallen cracking his clutch cover. He could not continue with the race - took  his bike to a dirt road from which I towed him till he was picked up by his pit crew.

Our next stop was a river crossing. We made our way down to the river but could not get to the crossing without doing a step-off. Was not brave enough – rode around and got down on the other side. Wanted to ride all the way down to the river until the problem of getting back up became apparent. Parked our bikes and walked down. Interesting to watch riders negotiate the step-off. As usual, some made it look so easy and barely slowed down. Others had a good look and took it slowly. The good-lookers  did not look good -- most of them almost went for a tumble. A little more aggressive riding would have been safer and much easier – so I thought watching from the side, my bike nowhere in sight.

The actual river crossing was easy. Some riders analysed and navigated unnecessarily – straight across worked fine.

Down from the river crossing was a huge mountain climb. Could barely get my camera to zoom in to take a clear picture. Looked awesome and must have been challenging due to its length – so many opportunities to get something wrong.

The day ended too soon as we made our way back to the finish to watch the last riders come in. Tired, struggled to keep myself awake for prize giving. Eventually gave in and went to my tent and a good night’s sleep.

Sunday morning another beautiful day. Just had to ride a little more. Made my way to Nottingham Road looking for breakfast. Passed a road sign to Sani Pass. That was it, all plans changed. Filled up with fuel, bought a muffin for breakfast and on to a new adventure. The bike being easy to ride, reached Sani Pass border post in no time, or so it felt anyway. No passport so I was not going any further. Back by lunch time with the terrible task of having to sit behind a steering wheel all the way back home.

Great experience, took plenty of pictures and a successful trial run for spectating. All went well. Thanks to Four Rivers Rafting and Natal WFO for a brilliant weekend’s entertainment. 

Pictures:


















« Last Edit: September 03, 2009, 12:23:42 pm by Splash »
Have bike, will ride.
 

Offline 63magic

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Re: Champagne Valley National Enduro
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2009, 11:47:43 am »
cool race report, Splash!

thanks for sharing.
life is a journey.. so enjoy the ride! preferably on a motorbike...

and no, I don't ride a Xchallenge, but my bike is not on the list.............
 

Offline ktmmer

Re: Champagne Valley National Enduro
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2009, 11:57:34 am »
Splash i like your bike
 

Offline Splash

Re: Champagne Valley National Enduro
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2009, 12:25:07 pm »
Splash i like your bike
Me too! Very impressive.
Have bike, will ride.