Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: X-mas Raid  (Read 590 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline KTM Jagermeister

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: KTM 950 SE
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 415
X-mas Raid
« on: August 22, 2011, 03:19:43 pm »
Sir John planned a trip for us to the finest detail.  The trip was broken into three days, all cryptically marked R2D1 etc, etc, and then on his GPS he had several options and escape routes.  All set to take us from Johannesburg to St Francis via the most striking scenery that one could probably imagine.  The group was a total of five riders (all on KTM adventure bikes).  John, Terry, Myself, Frankie, his son Jacques and Frankie’s friend Dave who haven’t been riding for 10 years and just landed at OR Thambo (Australia) the morning of the ride.

We were traveling light, some tools, a rain coat and the necessary spares.  The rest of the baggage was dumped in the support vehicle.  Our driver was given lessons in GPS navigation and told to meet us at key intersections along the route. 

Herewith the planned route and the actual run of events.

We wanted an early start.  The route seemed daunting.  Day 1: 689km, day2: 538km, day3: 702km … 90% dirt.  Rain was in the air, as a matter of fact if anyone can recall the week of 16 Dec 2010, it was monsoon season. 




D1R1:  244km, Wimpy at the Modderfontein off-ramp – Ou Hoek restaurant in Vrede .  Due to the fact that Frankie had to pick up Dave we split the group in two. Frankie and Dave would hit some tar and meet us in Warden.  We would have to wait for them we decided to extend the ride around the Vaal dam.  John added another 200km detour onto the day and off we went. 
The gravel was stunning, not too muddy and not too dusty, serious traction! Averaging 120km/h was no problem.

We stopped for a burger and a beer.  Frankie and Dave were nowhere.  Due to a slight “misunderstanding” we missed each other.  Rather not embarrass ourselves by going into too many details.  We told them to carry on and meet us in Nottingham road.




D1R2: 261km, Vrede – Weenen.  Now we were behind schedule.  No problems, the trusty steeds were willing and able.  Still no rain.  We headed down towards Weenen.  Everything was green.  The big gravel roads turned into tweespoor paadtjies with plenty of little streams, mountains on both sides and just unbelievable scenery. 






On the gravel part there were only two vehicles.  We were going nice and fast until Terry had a flat and we quickly had to sort him out.  No problem .. then ..  Jacques’ 640 refused to go any further.  We later established that the needle inside the carb came loose.  I had to tow him to where the recovery vehicle could find him.  80km of dirt with a tow rope, exciting stuff especially since it started raining.   




D1R3: 90km, Weenen –Nottingham Road. Now here begins the fun part.  Our loyal driver got completely confused and simply kept on driving.  When we phoned him from Vrede he was already in the Natal Midlands.  We said stay right there do not proceed, which must have sounded like keep on driving to the Himeville Arms.  He had to come back all the way.  We left the youngest member of the group in front of the Police station with some cash.  The poor soul was only picked up at 22h00 that night. 

John took us on a shortcut, across a mountain.  We loved the big rocks and jumps.  Unfortunately the darkness was catching up with us.  Coming down the mountain with muddy headlights we had to feel our way of the mountain.  Every 10-20 meters there was a lekker surprise.  When we eventually got to Nottingham road we were soaking wet, it was night and the place was filled with mist.

D1R4: 94km, Nottingham Road – The Himeville Arms:  Frankie and Dave were the only ones that did this section.  And they only arrived in Himeville at 21h30 that night.  Dark and slippery as hell.  We decided to look for accommodation close by.  Eventually we got rooms at The Spotted Horse (bikers delight).  It is in the Kamberge and we had to do 50km in the dark, misty and even worse “TARR” roads.  Leading the way I could not go faster that 50km/h.  The cat’s eyes showed the way.  We arrived at the hotel at 21h00.  What a relieve! 
 

Offline Bashplate

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: KTM 950 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 674
Re: X-mas Raid
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2011, 08:49:35 am »
Eina, agree. Towing a bike is not fun.  :thumleft:
 

Offline KTM Jagermeister

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: KTM 950 SE
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 415
Re: X-mas Raid
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2011, 10:14:08 am »
The second day started as the first one ended, misty and wet.  We got up at six.  We still had to get to the Himeville Arms where our two mates were waiting for us.  With the 640 out we were down to five riders and had another 90km added to the day.  Today’s Endpoint was the Mountain View Country Inn in Lady Grey.
The road started beautifully.  Lushan, the manager at the Spotted Horse and also a very keen and able rider joined us for the first 5kms.  We started through a game reserve.  The road was flippen slippery and the higher we got the more misty  and snotty it got.  Think the mist was a blessing in disguise since I hate heights and we were certainly getting right up there.


On route to Underberg

We met up with Frankie and Dave at the Himeville Arms.  An old friend of John joined us for a breakfast and some warm coffee. 


D2R1

This section was nice and fast, the rain stopped and the mist cleared.  WE were enjoying the traction and had no problems.  We refueled in Matatiele.  From here we headed towards Rhodes where we would have lunch. 









Scenery along the way - Note the monastry in the background.



Introduction to Some of the Riders:



Sir John – Route planner, gentleman of note (until he gets on the bike).



This is me



Muddy Dave from Australia



Terry – Or as he also refers to himself : The fasters man between crashes


 

Offline Bashplate

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: KTM 950 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 674
Re: X-mas Raid
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2011, 02:21:25 pm »
 :happy1: :thumleft:
 

Offline KTM Jagermeister

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: KTM 950 SE
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 415
Re: X-mas Raid
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2011, 08:16:01 am »

D2R2 - Where it got really muddy.

After a relatively easy start to the day all hell broke loose as we approached Naude’s Neck.  The mud was 30cm deep and thick.  Tractors made grooves in the road and this was the only place to stay.  Poor Dave soon learned much more about riding n mud on the 950 Adv.  At the end of this Section Dave was out of it, he lost all confidence and decided to join the recovery vehicle.  I don’t blame him …





Frankie at Naude’s Nek.  Do note the orange pants, easily visible from 5m behind.

Fortunately it got better as we descended down the mountain.  I would love to do this on a sunny day. I think the scenery is to die for ?!? At this stage Terry found new confidence and John was right behind him.  With my fear of heights I was struggling to keep up with Frankies orange pants.  Lower down it was fun again the lunch was filling and the coffee warm (chased by a cold beer).
 
Going down mountain




D2 Frankie crossing river



D2R3

The last part of the day was delightfully dry.  The road was wide and open.  Terry was gunning it.  Me, Frankie and John were riding close together (laughing at some of the skid marks Terry left behind).    The evening we stayed in an old hotel, had some Jagermeisters and got into bed early.  I for one was paste.  Still had one long day ahead of us.  At least we were heading into the Karoo and it would be dry … well so I thought !


 

Offline KTM Jagermeister

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: KTM 950 SE
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 415
Re: X-mas Raid
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2011, 10:49:04 am »
Final Day



D3R1 – Lady Grey to Sterkstroom

I was WRONG!  Somehow the rocks of the Karoo transformed into slimy mud.   However, by now we were mud-monsters and we actually enjoyed the conditions.  Truly the roads that Sir John found us were out of the ordinary.  John hates big dirt roads.  We often took an unexpected turn-off, the scenery was always breathtaking.  THANKS JOHN!  I know he spent days working on these routs and he had no problem with sharing it with the DOGS. 



D3 Terry had a low speed oepsie.  Don’t think you can simply pick up the bike.  It simply slides across the road.





Mingling with the locals




D3R2 – Sterkstroom to Cradock (Steers)

Today was simply NOT Terry’s day.  It was nice and dry.  John was leading the way with Terry close behind.  Me and Frankie were riding next to each other, staying out of the dust.  As we came around a corner it was just bikes all over the place, John was sitting with his head in his arms and Terry was picking himself up from the ground. 

What happened was the following:  The road forked, John stopped next to the road to make certain we don’t take the wrong path.  Terry came around the corner, fixated on John and slid right into him, knocking John over as well.

No real injuries.  In fact John was laughing so hard that he had to hold his head with his hands and for the rest there were only scratches, a missing indicator and a battered ego.

 

Terry’s skid marks



D3R3 – Cradock to Jansenville










Sir John






D3R4 – Crossing the Baviaans



Coming down on the other side of the Baviaans.

We have been through, over and accross the Baviaans several times.  Let me just categorically state this.  When the Baviaans get's wet it is NOT an easy ride!

Well we all made it to St Francis, the support vehicle, missing riders and beers were waiting for us.  Last thing we had to do was to get into the Jacuzi and relax !!!

Thanks boys!!!




 

Offline Frankie

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: KTM 950 Adventure
    Location: Limpopo
  • Posts: 120
  • Extreme wide open country
Re: X-mas Raid
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2011, 06:55:01 pm »
that was a good tough trip!!! :ricky:

The hands were stuck to the bars after those three days - the MUD! :biggrin:

200km in 3 days - we should call it the "TRANS-SAFRICAN SAFARI MUD RALLY" :D
Yamaha 500Enduro 1977 project
KTM 950Adv; 950SE; 690E...back to 950Adv
 

Offline Frankie

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: KTM 950 Adventure
    Location: Limpopo
  • Posts: 120
  • Extreme wide open country
Re: X-mas Raid
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2011, 06:58:10 pm »
SORRY!!

2,000 KILOMETER IN 3 DAYS :ricky: -

the 950 SE was in its element!
Yamaha 500Enduro 1977 project
KTM 950Adv; 950SE; 690E...back to 950Adv