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Dirt and Trail July 2018 issue 2

  • Text
  • Durability
  • Bikes
  • Riders
  • Suspension
  • Enduro
  • Motorcycles
  • Models
  • Racing
  • Clutch
  • Trophy

The SA contingent. Shane

The SA contingent. Shane Nel, ryan Bland, Kenny G, and Stuart Gregory. “I kinda kept my head down and tried to focus on the race and not the distinguished company. My goal was to achieve a result as a run up to one of the worlds most prestigious events – and also to see how I stacked up in this company.” “It was one hell of an experience. I’d heard that following a road book was a challenge, so I signed up for a course with Portugals WIM Academy earlier in the year for some training. Let me tell you – I thought that I had it waxed, until I found myself in a race situation. Try cruising along at speed with loads of terrain changes while trying to read and navigate the road book bolted to the tower. It’s hectic! “The race started with a 5km time trial pure sand dunes 100 percent sand, everything looks the same – no markers and you collect way points to get through. If you skip a point, its a 15 minute penalty, so you have to concentrate to stay on track – and keep it safe. 20m off the line and there could be a massive hole waiting for you. And you are trying to go as fast as you can at the same time. It was a real challenge and I qualified 30th out of 140 bikes…” “From there - it was race on. Day 1 was all fast roads with fairly rocky terrain and quite a few sand dunes thrown into the mix. A really cool mixup – I was in my happy place. Things started great and I was soon catching and overtaking. Dust is a challenge, but you work around that – all following way points. I made a mistake following riders and not following the road book… 3 times. Damn, that cost a lot of time. I ended up 25th for the day – probably 270km’s of racing. I reckon that this was purely due to inexperience, watch this space.” “Day 2, more of the same, I really struggled with the way points. Racing and following is totally different to riding socially. I ended up getting quite mad at myself. Ended the day in 22nd position. Still not totally happy with all of the mistakes – but that what I entered for.” 36 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE JULY 2018 Stuart Gregory, Shane Nel and Kenny heading out on day 1.

Day 3 and 4, marathon stage. No bivvy you camp out in the desert and work on your own bike. No support. “Day 3 was a complete different mindset. I rode slower and paid more attention to the road book – and as a result I went faster. No result on that day, they were calculated after day 4 – but it felt good and I managed to gain a few positions. The marathon stages were generally much faster than the previous days – still lots of rocks with some fairly gnarly rocky hill climbs. An absolutely amazing place to ride your motorcycle.” “The overnight was great fun you get to mingle a bit and there is serious bench racing and banter on the go. But it was an early night – everyone has the end in sight… The tents are set up – first come first served and you share with a fellow racer. Camp fires, chit chat - such a great vibe.” Glamping, the Bivvy Day 4 – starts at 6am, “I kicked off at 6h34, beautiful morning, nice and cool – perfect time to ride a motorcycle. The top five leave in 3 minute intervals, the next 5 two minutes, and then one minute intervals between the riders. I was still buzzing from day 3 – it was very dusty with rocky, stony roads like tennis balls. I found myself catching the group in front of me and we all hooked up to the refuel point about 90km in. The terrain started getting sandy with dunes – spread the group out quite a bit. I found myself in the zone following one of the Yammie factory riders, so I thought I was on the right track. At kilometer 155 (I remember it clearly), I made a small error and tried to catch him – in the process – eyes off the roadbook , more haste less speed, I hit a step in the riverbed and went flying over the bars… Fortunately, the bike took the brunt of the hit – I walked away with a small scratch on my leg – and my Mojo was wrecked… most people end up in hospital after a crash like this.” “I couldn’t believe it, got up, picked up all the exploded bike bits… re-tied the exhaust with my tow rope – and tried to reassemble the nav tower with cable ties. But the tower was beyond repair, I had to follow tracks and wait for racers to overtake me so that I could follow them. The bike was, luckily still OK. Husky’s are tough. I felt very sorry for myself. That Yamaha guy finished 12th for the day – and I was ahead of him on corrected time. Fek!” “Bart from Bas racing met me at the bivouac. Inspected the bike, shook his head and mumbled about angels… I thought it was over, but I owe him the race – he gave me a pep talk and told me in no uncertain terms that the bike would be repaired and that I’d be racing the next day. I was still running surprisingly, 25th overall.” Top: Repairs in progress... A somewhat modified pipe after the riverbed crash... Broken triple clamp... One slightly panelbeaten tower... Left: Happiness after fixing the bike. DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE JULY 2018 37

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