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Gustavo.Ramos 07-03-2011 05:44 AM

Raid de L'amitie 2011
My first raid de L'Amitie...
some thoughts

Day 1 (actually it's two days) : 21/22 April : Lisbon - Agadir

12 30 time to leave, our forecast was: 10 00
Straight to Allgarve
Spanish guy screaming in the freeway... looks like the 650X seat was about to take off
Arrive in Tarifa at 20 30. Ferry at 21 00.
Lots of rain, average mileage 17 litres / 100 km, or something like 14 mpg
adios Tarifa

Shaking Ferry
seasickness... for some people!
Balance session in the deck at top speed
And now in video

(can't figure out how to show this directly.....)

Arrive in Tanger
Customs, usual morocan mess
temperature 9 degrees, 8 degrees, 7 degress
Is this Morocco or Central Europe!?
Barbra Streisand
0:00 on our way to Marrakech

Sleeping beauties

Arrive in Marrakech
Hotel full
No cars in parking lot
another hotel
Gendarmerie (that stands for local police)
hotel full of cars
rooms available
it's 06:45, are we going to sleep what, 5 minutes?
Free wifi = facebook for some
leave car, luggage in taxi, heading to Agadir

tech stop for leaking body fluids
Agadir ahead


Sleeping already?

a few drinks around

to be continued...

Gustavo.Ramos 07-03-2011 05:49 AM

Day 2 : 23 de April : Agadir - Agadir

Wake up
tech check
some new rubber (or not)

This looks serious sh.t

Interesting solution

Looks like some of our friends are resisting to leave Marrakech, already turned back 2 times
Get the roadbooks
check roadbooks by the pool
first briefing... french.. ohoh
another run around Agadir by night

Starts tomorrow!


Gustavo.Ramos 07-03-2011 06:08 AM

Day 3 : 24th April : Agadir - Aoreora

Wake up!
stuff everything
reinforced breakfast
last minute checks
lots of running bikes already
Portuguese team is the last to leave
Controle de Depart!

A taste of sand for starters


Check Point
Plage Blanche!
Been there before, but the beach combined with low tide looked like a virgin, so smooth.. this time 150 guys had already gone through it, she ain't virgin at all...

Yeah, it fell down...

Control de arrive
on the right ther was the beggining of next day's stage, a nice sandy climb!
unload luggage and get ready to set camp
gotta love these 2 second tents

you're doing it wrong, water is in the camelback

There's a beer machine!
20 dirhmas each... almost 2 euro or 2,6 usd, not bad considering its he middle of nowhere
Another french briefing... someone please translate it...
Special drink offered by Yamaha truck
some dune climbing


Desert IS cold!

Some late night stories, time to sleep, 2nd stage is a few minutes away


Flood 07-03-2011 07:24 AM


AfricaWim 07-03-2011 07:40 AM don't be shy with those pictures..:thumb

Olmer 07-04-2011 01:27 AM

Subscribed (so good memories !)


Gustavo.Ramos 07-05-2011 02:29 PM

Day 4 : 25th April : Aoreora - Smara

alarm didn't ring....

crappy cell phone..
wake in a rush, as a result of sleeping in a rush
pack things up
quick breakfast
throw sand at everybody trying to reach control de depart
line up at control de depart


fairly easy sandy climb
not so fairly easy after 100 guys (and gals) gone through it
First kms of... rock

(we're a bit lost ain't we!?)
Small navigational error, corrected at next waypoint, a military outpost composed by a tent and 3 soldiers extremely bored as a college girl at a nun's party.
Lunch in TanTan
"that camel was this big!"

Got a bit of mud when crossing a small water stream... bigger challenge than expected!

Great tracks!

My friend Andre decided to test HP2's crash resistance
quite good results indeed (no pic)

what can we say about these landscapes....

(Yes, roadbook was incorrectly assembled... rushing things causes this, didn't got lost...too many times)
Another great view at the landscape

It's not just another dirt track, rock or sand, it is a constant flow of landscapes, places, spots, holes, that demand for our attention, like a constant feeling something is pulling us onto something special, for a photograph, not one, two, three, too many, or simply hit the ground due to the total absence of concentration in driving when staring at these places.

Some fast tracks

Impossible to go slow
that 950 is always eager to go faster
heavy military base
small stop to help a french guy on a quad... he helped in the first stage when i had a puncture... gotta be there for the others too
on track again
More fast tracks

Open desert

"did you see the guy back there??"
"what guy? (obviously not)"
"filming back there, i went straight at him, full gas, and at about 10 meter did a heavy left turn sliding like crazy, unfortunatly i think i threw a ton of dust at him... :D"
"really? i wanna be part of that film too"
Another 12 kms untill end of stage

Arriving at Smara
Wash that early morning crossing mud

Some even had extra foam... don't know what for, they seemed not realising there would be a 500 km stage next morning....
Arrive at bivouac

Yes, 108, that's me!

Skinny nurse, too skinny, too white, half french saying Andre had a broken shoulder, yeah bmw gear is resistant, but Andre was not as much as BMW
well, nothing was broken afterall
she was just looking for some quality time with him, providing special care
gear out, get tent: 2 seconds, done
All those rocks and the horrifying sight of repairing a puncture on my 950 while baking at the desert sun contributed to my decision to get a bib mousse at the front wheel

Robert, how long?: 1 heur (1 hour)
quick shower (cold....) but it felt great
Robert: ½ heur (half an hour)
Briefing... again french... wasn't expecting anything different
Control de depart opens at 06:30 .... ouch!:huh
100 kms liaison
wake up expected to be at 4:30 :huh
get some fresh clothes
assemble next stage's roadbook
Robert: ¼ hour
At this pace I think i'll have the front wheel ready by 7 am....
Vegetable soup, when we're tired, it tastes even better
chicken... a rare sight in Morocco
Robert, where's my wheel?????????
C'est fini!
assemble wheel
assemble roadbook
final checks
"Andre, you're coming with us tomorrow?"
"It depends on how i feel when i wake up"
"wake up is in 3,5 hours"
"Get that bike ready for the possibility of you defenetly wanting to do the stage."
Good night!!

GB 07-05-2011 03:29 PM

Superb! :thumb Thanks for taking us along :lurk

Gustavo.Ramos 07-06-2011 01:39 PM

Day 5 : 26th April : Smara - Icht

Alarm was set up for 04:30
didn't rang...
Lucky was i because i woke up earlyer

Next stage was 400 kms plus a liaison of 100kms
It's still dark
All we can see is a bunch of bright white lights going back and forth, packing things up
Get all the luggage to the truck
Breakfast, 05:00
No coffee... for some, the raid almost ended right there
Morocan pancake
bread & Tea
Sandwichs for the long day ahead,
Giant dishes of fries (!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?)
And they are cold!?!?!?
Wha was the morocan that cut all those fries and noone eat them?
Fire up!
still dark... and cold.

Very cold
arrive at control de depart
it's dawn

Final road book setup
Many already on their way

In horizon, traces of dust fade away
shall we go?
we go!

Huge dry lake
For some unknown reason i almost hit the single rock that was stuck in the middle of that perfectly plain surface while trying to take a few photographs while riding
End of the dry lake and smooth surface
Here comes rock!
more and more Kms of rock... rock... rock... rock....
Now i have a bib mousse in the front wheel... who cares about rocks, lets go fastr!
Really nice fast pace

Several stops for the scenery photograph
Again, kms and kms of dazling landscape
Somewhere in previous evening briefing Mr. Sinet told there was this area that looked like a really nice track, but it was advisable to go along near the cliffs as the surface would suddenly turn into mud.... the slippery one, good for crahsing and have bikes stuck.

Of course we understood and acknowledged the instruction
No... not really..

Andre again...
i noticed that area was recommeded to be avoided but he couldn't listen to me, when i got close to him, he thought i was pushing, so went faster.... well, the usual!

Really slippery!

Another dry lake
breathtaking landscapes

another dry lake
there's a good spot to take a few photographs
no rear brake!!!
the rear brake fluid reservoir window glass went south...
Keep going only on front brake
Fast track

Another 10 kms untill there's a road

more rocks!
big rocks!
surfaced road...
36 degress
Now i lost the camelback tube valve... WTF!?!?!?!?!!
let's have luch!
we're full, let's go
Whoever didn't arrive at segment 103 by 17:00 would have to go straight to the end of the stage by road
Segment 103 was the entry point for some kind of special track, usually closed by the military, forbidden, and it was allowed us to ride it
Special track
Just shy 50 kms to go...
rocks... all of it
Good pace
real unfriendly place
weird clutch
950 Scooter, seems like the clutch isn't engaging..
After dozens of rocky kms... a f#cked up oued, just for endng surprise
clutch even weirder
get out of that oued..
Control de arrivé
Nice welcoming comite...
No, not those bikes... who cares about bikes!? this chick with a great tan, burnette, wearing shorts, tight shirt...

Hot bath!
Morocan scrambled eggs, teat, coke to get some strength, it was a very long day
truck arrives, lets get some tools and see whats wrong with the 950 clutch
Little tech session with the 950, some of us helped, some helped to the confusion, all of them participated..
The main shfat locking nut that secures the clutch basket got loose and starting to push the moving basket, so the clutch wouldn't engage...
"did you guys used loctite?" (someone asked after i returned from a test drive)
let's hope for the best..

Clutch repaired

rear brake fluid reservoir window repaired too... yes it is a 1 cent or 2 cent coin, then was applied 2 copound past to secure it. Still holding today!

Another few repair on the 650X
pack things up
Get some sleep, sun comes up in a few minutes... again!

Gustavo.Ramos 07-09-2011 04:46 AM

Day 6 : 27th April : Icht - Gué Vatanen

already very hot

Let's go!
Heavy dust going though the air

Finding a few friends along the stage, Isabela, Jaime and Andre
Looks like the BMW is not willing to work correctly
On of the cylinders is refusing to fire
Go on one cylinder only for another 20kms till refuel
Ooops, 2nc cylinder gone too
Another friend redecorating his 650X bodywork, morocan style scratches

Wait for the pick up truck
Let's continue, he's got water, shade and lots of patience
Lunch in Tata
Kefta, like if we never had kefta before in morocco
The last four wheeler is here
Get out of here, we are already late (noone can go behind the last jeep, it's like a security that ends the caravan, usually is way behind, but this time we were just taking too much time to lunch!!)
More great tracks


Checkpoint in the creek

Another bite at a small eating place
Final sprint

Arrive at Gué Vatanen
small river crossing
Ups, a bit of sand

where are they really??
there, in the water

"be carefull that thing is deep"
water in knee level...

Some photos
they were watching us

Fresh beer in the middle of nowhere
Looks like there is JB scotch too, and another one that i can't remember it's name.
Prepare dinner
typical portguese food, codfish with grain... this does not sound right, but i can't find another word... it's a vegetable!

Wait... wait! we have fireworks!

Did anyone noticed there's a truck full of fuel there too!?

Happy birthday...


To be continued...

vander 07-09-2011 02:16 PM

This is really great. Your selective description creates a growing inspiration and desire of taking part in the rally.

Gustavo.Ramos 07-19-2011 07:02 AM

Day 7 : 28th April : Gué Vatanen - M'hamid

No pics, photograph machine ran out of battery
Wake up before daw (as usual)
pack things up
Gasoline? This is a short stage, shy 200 kms
find some gasoline
let's go!
Where is the control de depart?
Someone dared to get lost before finding the control de depart and got his bike a shit hole
4 guys to get that thing out
looks like it's that way! really!?
Control de Depart
Fast tracks
Really fast tracks
Is that dust from a bike ahead? we gotta catch him!!!!!!!
Fast tracks
More dust ahead
bike dust?
we have to catch him!!!!
we have to catch him!!!
we have to catch him!!!
we have to catch him!!!
The 950 Adv is a serious fast machine!
Faster tracks,
There's lake Iriki
Already covered 80 kms of this stage, where gonna arrive quite early today!!
Ups, that's a bump ahead, ouch can't avoid it, gotta be soft
we're through!!
Auberge in the middle of nowhere
Getting hot
Some mint tea to reshen up
Scranbled eggs, traditional morocan dish
Severe speculation about the origin of those "eggs"
Something related to a camel after watching a another camel, this time a female one, in a poster with red lipstick
fresh coke
a few other riders get together
"i think i scratched my bike back there when i fell on some rocks"
Let's go, still 120 kms to go, it's fast!
how much for the food and drinks?
600 dirhams
scrambled eggs = 100 Dh
Morocco isn't what it used to be..
on the run
i don't think we're on the right track
short cut on direct track
"he passed through those leafs"
Fuuuuuuuc... camel bush
up and down, left turn, right turn, sand sand sand...
the guy with the scratched bike goes away
go, go
having fun in the dunes
talking in a tree shade with a few other participants
mild feshfesh
just a bit of dust
what is that??
more dust
flying sand
sand storm
where's the track?
hard to navigate
noone around
low visibillty
the SOB oued
20 kms of oued
Not that hard afterall
Ups there are a few dunes here in the middle
there a 4x4 stranded over there
into the sand
sand bath taking the 950 out
end of the oued
More fesh fesh
fuel reserve light on
WTF? 160 kms with 18 litres?
Did i fill her up?
shity morocan gasoline, that was water
CheckPoint 2
A few friends arrive
only 25 kms to go
let's go
i'm going slower as i'm out of fuel
10kms of fesh fesh
"this isn't as hard as they said it would be"
another sand storm
no, that was a mild breeze with a few bits of sand
what followed was...
Sand storm
Sand storm
Sand storm
Sand storm
Sand storm
Sand storm
Sand storm
Sand storm
Sand storm
Sand storm
zero visibility
15 kms of this
"like hell this ain't difficult...fuc........"
road, asphalted road!
a few friends dringking coke mixed with sand by the road
find the hotel
better find the control de arrive before doing that
control de arrive
let's head for the hotel
No words to describe
spannish Tortilha
ice cold soda
pool fresh water
Sund...without sand going through the airl
wait for the luggage truck to arrive
"we have a few scratches on my bike that we need to polish"
Garage Dakar
broekn scratch, bent scratch, rotated scratch, etc......
hamer here, hamer there
assemble everything
doesn't look too bad....
good as new......LOL
pay? you guys did nothing... we did all the work... morocco isn't the same anymore...
back to the hotel.
Dinner past mid night
tomorrow Control de Depart opens at 7:30 some 40 kms away...
Good night!

it continues..

Gustavo.Ramos 07-20-2011 05:54 AM

Day 8 : 29th April : M'hamid / Zagora

Wake up!
Where's the rest of them?
It's later than expected, no more breakfast
let's go

only some 30 kms ahead
No way, the 950 is beyond fuel reserve...
let's find some black market gasoline
Welcome to the yellow world
5 litres of unleaded please

30 kms liaison
fuel station., fill up
another 8 kms liaison
Control de depart

"today noone breaks anything ok? i wanna arrive early and slep some 12 hours"
fast tracks

really fast tracks
even faster tracks, the kind with high probability of taking off, crash and burn

first signs of sand storm

One MT21 for the 950 breakfast


dry lake.. another one

another sand storm approaching
we can see an area filled with water

smooth surface
Ups... it's slippery
what was that?
looks like this ain't so dry at all
brake... that's water
Brrrrruoooommmm..... swosh! water! 2 fellas gone for a swim
Allez Allez...
looks like i can't stop, there's a 4x4 already rushing to help them
go around the lake
sand storm

where's the track?

very faint track signs?
ups.. a tree

that tree passed just a bit too close
small dunes
near zero visibility

turn off the engine
deafning silence of wind and sand

more sand
no tracks in sight
near zero visibility
trust in GPS for navigation
stop again
impossible to go on
zero visibility
the wind has stopped and the sand dropped for a few seconds, enough to watch the landscape
strangely unfriendly but at the same time confortable, noone is around, we can see only a few rocks and sand that insist on motioning through the air, changing the visibility, surface, the track that we can't see anymore, or if even it exists and everything else around.... ..
noone around
there's a constant mutation
i can hear an engine
is it?
it is vanishing
is gone
this one passed really close
but where?
simply didn't see it
keep going
what a strange inebriant loneliness feeling
more sand
starting to descend
phantasmagoric valley
in a minute we can see a few meters ahead and then suddenly another sand cloud apears and we see nothing, and the the wind stops and the sand fells on the ground
and then like a tornado, wind and sand arises again
strange clutch feeling
Scooter 950
when reducing gears, the revs go to 2k and stay there, there's no engine brake
not here
it stopped
shifting gears won't do anything, there's no connection between clutch friction plates
that's my bike in the track 10 meters away...

what now?
cell phone coverage?
time: 12:30
this is a strange situation, you know you are on the right path and someone will pass through you, but still it's the middle of the desert
i can hear engines, bikes passing by
but where?
left or right?
the heavy wind and sand make it very hard to identify directions
is the track here?
roadbook says so, gps confrms the location
a 4x4
where's he going?
couldn't see me?
how come he couldn't see me?
looks like a few bikes are heading this way?
more sand through the air
it looks like..
i know these

i'm here guys
they've passed 10 meters away from my bike
it's very hard to see anything else when you're through a sand storm and concentrated on riding and navigation
another 4x4
this ain't with the raid
"Who are you? What are you doing here? where are you going?
"we can't help you, we're heading to Algeria"
"do you need food and water?"
Bonne chance
More distant sounds
the wind is playing tricks with the sound
it sounds like engines running
but where?
will they see me?
a 4x4
"we can't stay here, we'll advise at the next checkpoint that you are here."
that feels better...
More sounds
it's just the wind
a nomad coming out of the desert
there's at least 2 guys that know my position
Nomad continues

watch around
visibility is constantly changing
still can hear engines far away
Is it engines or the wind?
increasing wind
check food, water and find some shelter
getting warmer
hot air coming in and out
sand is everywhere, like if wind become thick
get some rest
no more bike passing by
strange new friend around

There's life after all in the desert
more than we can expect
get some sleep
where did that come from?
everything is covered with sand
what time is it?
look around
visbility has increased
still loking around, that horn sound wasn't my imagination
another wind prank or my imagination?
that's a white 4x4!
load the 950 in the pick up
get going
rythm is just too slow
Check Point
changining vehicles


now rocks
just to shaken things up


Arrive at Zagora

nagging morocan guy thinking he is a mechanic
dinner music
night shift on repairs
sleep at last!
no, not really.
get the next stage roadbook ready

a brand new bib mousse, ready for another 10.000 kms on a 90kg 2 smoker

worn out rear tyre
changing tyre
change mousse
head back to the hotel..
more sand here?
sleep... in a rush

Unique experience…
what a stage…

to be continued...

vander 07-25-2011 01:39 AM


I like the way you write with short feelings and thinkings.

Obrigado :clap

Gustavo.Ramos 07-28-2011 03:13 PM

Day 9 : 30th April : Zagora / Ouarzazate

Wake up!
pack luggage to transport truck

Final morning checks, all gear on, head for control de depart
get some fuel
Ok, now we're heading to control de depart

Where is Romero??
He left early and still did not arrive...
oh yes, his GPS is dead, the roadbook is broken..
There he comes, looks like he didn't got (too) lost
Bonne route
strange Zing Zing sound..
oh... it's just a loose brake caliper...
here we go again...

Fast tracks

some rocky climbs
death valley

going up
going down

going up again

more rocks
still going up
great view

rocks rocks rocks
despite the huge quantities of rocks, the landscape was trully amazing

Still going up

We crossed a caravan of very colorfull Citroen 2CV going down the track, quite interesting spirit to do that in 4 wheels
Scrambled eggs and mint tea at the top of the world

The track continues, near the clouds

Now going down
some Zig zag


rain, yes or no??
that would be quite welcome to avoid all that dust in the air


landscape was truly...............

My photograph machine was boiling
Someplaces were just impossible to let by without taking that image forever

Ups.... almost
fatigue... body is getting beaten
Another Oued

i'm gone...
gone... almost..
somehow managed to not falling one single time
someone threw a rock at me
fu#king kids...
rain on the left... am i going to overpass it?

It was quite farther than expected
Control de Arrive
Hotel Oscar
There are some cinema studios around, thus the name...
hotel room(?)
Bath... icy one
Dinner at Seven Years in Tibet stage.... this time was Seven Stage in L'Amitie Raid

F16.. cheap imitation

Fooling around

Hey, shut that thing OFF!

Studio where the whole Raide de L'Amitie was filmed.... (nothing of this really happened)

Good night sleep!
(No repairs tonight)
To be continued....

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