Friday, 30 March 2012

My 1st Rally

I spent 6 months training for the Tuareg Rally and it was certainly an unforgettable experience.

Day 1 . Had found secret check point and my start to the rally felt really good. Had to miss an oncoming Donkey whist climbing in the last part of the Enduro section. Ended up going off path and rolling down steep hill. Trees and bushes broke me and the bikes fall. Took a long time to get the bike off me and get back on track. Got to 1st check point but Ico kept freezing after and I struggled to navigate.

Day 2. Started at back and worked way through back riders. Wasted an hour waiting in line for fuel. After cp3 got lost after navigation error. Was just going too fast trying to make up time. A lesson learned. Missed next check point by 8 minutes.

Day 3. Going well with Labyrinth section completed in good time. 1st set of small dunes fine then clutch went on bigger ones later on. Took all day to get bike back to camp. John, Andy and I put in new plates. I worked late into the night trying to get it finished.

Day 4. Early start trying to get the bikes problems sorted out. Got to the start line but clutch problems persisted. Found John and replaced seal in clutch. Still had problems. Spent all day putting in a complete set of clutch plates. Day gone.

Day 5. Battled with the dunes all morning. One hill climb I just couldn't do. Did attempt after attempt but did get near enough to hand in time card. I'm pleased I pushed myself further into the dunes and persisted.

Day 6. Struggled with dunes again but rest of the day good. Finished in the top half.

Day 7. Went really well with navigation and special completed with loads of time to spare. I had learnt from previous mistakes and it felt good. I was on schedule for my best result. With 120km to go and all the hard work done, the bike had a fuel injection problem and my rally was over.

Day 8. I watched everyone else complete the rally. I was really pleased for everyone and congratulated all that I shared moments with on the rally. It goes without saying that I was gutted that I was unable to ride my bike to the finish.

The 690 genuinely held up well and the gear from Rally Raid Products was spot on. Just some bent rims, broken spokes and a new fuel injector needed. The plastics and decals were pretty badly scratched up, the rear light got broken, and the front fender collected a nice crack but its to be expected.

My 1st rally didn't quite go to plan but I was happy with my fitness levels, only suffered gentle bruising, met extremely nice people, and basically want to do it again. Everyone on the team was amazingly patient and helpful. A big thank you to them all.

My final thoughts go out to the riders who went out with broken bones. I wish them all a speedy recovery.

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