Joined: Oct 2012
Zambia rider to Dakar
Having hijacked your "who is doing dakar thread" though I had better put the update on the Namibia training on a different thread so people don't get fed up with my posts.
I am just struggling to do attachments or upload photos due to slow internet here. So bear with me. I have tried putting the newsletter into PDF format etc but it won't upload and it has the photos on - so have just copied and pasted from it.Anyway hope you enjoy it.
As part of his “time in the saddle” David set off from
Mazabuka on the KTM 690 bike and rode the whole wayhundred kms over two days.
(with the exception of 75 kms) into Gaborone, Botswana.
That was a fairly decent distance of one thousand four
He then went down to Johannesburg with Charles (this time in the Sprinter) to do some Dakar shopping and to get the KTM
450 rally bike branded at Bandit Signs courtesy of Darryl Curtis. The bike now really looks the part with all the sponsors’stickers on board.
It was also the perfect opportunity to chat to potential sponsors such as Pirelli (who are now on board with the most vital
aspect of the race
– tyres and mousses), and to be guided in such things as goggles by the experts. Goggles come in
different shapes and with different lenses for each type of landscape, blue, yellow, chrome and clear (night riding!).
Goggles now purchased.
Also important is the nutrition required by the riders, so once again Mr Curtis introduced David to Megan of Pace andcould ride the 300 kms into Windhoek.
Power who discussed the rehydration and calories that David needs to consume, so the relevant milkshakes and
rehydration powder have also now been purchased.
Thermals- it gets somewhat cold in the Andes, so gloves, scarves, thermal socks and underwear all have to be bought and
packed along with the actual riding kit. Luckily UFO has helped out in this regard with boots, enduro jackets, race pants and
Back to Gaborone for the last round of the SORC championship which David was leading, when we heard the bad news that
his closest rival had been robbed in Zimbabwe whilst on his way to the race and sadly had to withdraw. This meant that
David had won the championship without having to race. A long discussion, and finally a decision was made not to let
David race on the Saturday. So close to Dakar and with the training in Namibia scheduled to start on the Sunday, it was too
much of a risk to take. David understandably was upset but could see that it would be unnecessarily stupid to go out and
take chances out there. So we arranged for him to take the KTM 690 round as a roving marshal, to stay out of trouble but
at least do some training!
Due to the fact that we had to be in Namibia by midday on Sunday, we attended prize giving and then left at 9.30 at night
to drive through to Windhoek. It was freezing cold, the amount of game on the road was unbelievable and it was an
extremely long night of driving. We got to the border at 6am on Sunday and then offloaded the KTM 690 again so David
NAMIBIA NAVIGATIONAL TRAINING COURSE
The tourists at Klein Windhoek lodge must have had palpitations when the course participants turned up there. It was
chaos, one Sprinter with trailer and two bikes on board (us), one Toureg and trailer with
two Honda’s on board (Brett
Cummings and Glen Grundy), one VW bus with trailer with two KTM 450 Rally raid bikes (Darryl Curtis and Riaan VanKTM 690. One has never seen so much stuff. Dirk was the truck driver and Tom the navigation software/road book guru.
Niekerk), one very large overlander type truck which was the backup truck for the bikes and took spare wheels, tyres, kit
and spare engines as well as food and drinks, the Waldschmidt bakkie with roof top tent contraption and Ingo on his Dakar
Once we had sorted ourselves out and loaded everything up and dropped our vehicles off at the Waldschmidt house for
the week, Ingo sat us down to discuss “what to take to Dakar”. He brought with him the tent (3 seconds to open and 20
minutes to wrestle it to the ground to close it
– guess who has that job during the race in South America?). A word of
advice on mattresses – if you cannot actually take your bed from home, then take the next best thing, don’t skimp on
comfort, you are going to need to sleep properly). Ingo kept stressing that sleep was the most valuable thing a rider could
get. Initially I did not take much notice, but after one week of training, all of us were shattered, and the reality of “hitt
the wall” due to lack of sleep, started to dawn on
us all. So take a decent mattress, none of this itty bitty slim stuff – you
might as well sleep on the floor with that.
There are two schools of thought as to what to take with you to Dakar and what to carry with you on the bike. Some riders
prefer to run as lightweight as possible; others are prepared for every eventuality and carry an additional few kilos on
themselves or the bike. Some service crew operate with minimal stuff, and then you get the worriers (who also take
whatever they can and require their own 747 to get it there), I fall into the “what if” category and am determined to get an
entire hotel and motorcycle dealership to Peru. Charles and David keep taking my lists and chopping them in half. Ingo is
incredibly prepared, as is Darryl, everyt
hing has its place, in its Tupperware box, labeled and then in the “ammo” box. Air
filters already prepped and oiled are stashed away neatly, spare batteries for head torch, jump leads, tow rope, little mat
for putting your bikes tools on when working out
in the bush on your own, the list was endless. As the riders say “make life
easy for your mechanic”, so he is not scratching for stuff in the night and having to wake you up to find if you actually
brought that brake lever or whatever .A chat about the bivouac and what to expect in the way of food, showers, riders
briefing nightly (compulsory), getting your road book done and loaded on to your bike, laying out your clothes for the next
day, and general conversation about the noise, lack of sleep, and the dreaded fesh fesh all came up. Note
– hit showers
early, before they become vile, take your own bath plug for the sink so you can wash your kit, not to mention take clothes
line and clothes pegs and washing powder. Favourite topic, the dreaded “monkey butt”
which Dakar riders seem to suffer
from. Vaseline is what the medics recommend, so take tubs of the stuff (also used for sealing goggles to your face to keep
Down to the real business of the navigation and road book. Here, I bow to those techno gurus such as Charles, for a more
sophisticated view than mine, as to what exactly is on the bike and why. To me it is a load of waffle, but vital waffle…..The
bikes are all fitted with a) A Road book, this is the instruction manual of the route giving kilometers to travel between
waypoints, between landmarks, it gives indication of dangers, speed zones, waypoints, co-ordinates and compass bearings
to follow, especially when there are no landmarks like in the dunes. b) An ICO, this is basically an Odometer connected to
the front wheel, the ICO has to be calibrated to the circumference of the front wheel and this will indicate to the rider the
kilometers traveled according
to the Road book. Normally riders will have 2 ICO’s fitted so they have a comparison; the
second ICO is an optional extra. The ICO needs to be adjusted when they get to a distinct landmark if different from Road
book to the reading indicated in the road book. c) An ERTF GPS which is supplied by the organizers and has all hidden
waypoints, Safety waypoints, these waypoints only open when you are within a certain diameter of the waypoint and
validate when you pass within a predetermined distance from the waypoint varying between 90mts and 200mts. An
optional “Caps” reader may be fitted; this is mounted near the ICO on the top of the Road book so rider does not have to
glance too far down to read when navigating at high speeds. The “Caps reader” is connected to
the GPS and gives the
information from the GPS at eyelevel. After the days ride the GPS is downloaded by the organizers who then check where
riders erred, exceeded speed limits and missed any waypoints. Any errors are either penalized with monetary fines
(speeding), time penalties up to disqualification if errors are repeated or excessive.
Marking of the road book is a very personal choice. There were the perfectionists whose road books looked like a work ofcompare the riders’ navigation skills and speed, and to see that David was on the pace and handling it like a pro.
art, and then the scribblers who merrily highlighted anything that looked excitingly different to the past 100 kms!
Obviously each rider has their own preferential way of doing things, and it was interesting to see the differences between
them all. Cautions and speed zones are imperative and these must be obvious to the riders in a variety of assorted colours.
The pencil cases were full of highlighters, glue, cello tape, white out and scissors, it was like the first day of school.
Monday morning early, the riders left Windhoek and rode towards the Brandberg Mountains. We met them for breakfast,
and tales of wildlife in the Namibian bush abounded, Kudu and warthogs seemed to have given a couple of the riders a bit
of a scare. Those of us in the back up truck, stopped at Uis to look at the route of the recent Namibian enduro which had
been held in an old mine area, and looked like a very demanding route. We finally arrived at the White Lady camp area in
Brandberg, on the edge of the Augrab River after a 410 km ride for the bikers. Evidence of elephants was everywhere, and
warnings of not bumping into them on the way back to our tents rang loudly in our ears. David had no problems with
navigation and using the equipment, so it was a great relief that he was so comfortable with it. The routine each evening
was the same, the bikers came back in, handed their GPS to Tom who could then see if they had deviated from the route,
what speed they were going at, and what their general navigation abilities were. He would then give them the road book
for the next day, and whilst they sat around marking and discussing the route, Ingo and Dirk would wash down the bikes
and check for problems. In the meantime, Lisa along with Dirk always had a spread of food and drinks out for the riders to
nibble on. Breakfast and dinner each day was at the camps main restaurant, so food was not in short supply by any means.
Every evening we could ask questions and talk about the upcoming Dakar, with insight from Darryl and Ingo as to what to
expect. All of these little trivial queries really helped us to build up a picture as to what we were all in for. It was great to
The terrain was spectacular, and the red of the mountains in the early morning light was unbelievable. The riders saw thesession would have been very short lived.
rare desert rhino on one of their rides, but nobody saw the elephants at all. Hard luck hit Glen and Brett on the Tuesday,
with both of their bikes playing up within 5 kms of each other. Luckily and by an absolute miracle, Glen had contact with
friends who drove from Long beach with two spare bikes for them to use which was so fortunate otherwise their training
After 3 nights in the Brandberg and riding the countryside around there, the riders left on Thursday morning to head to
Long beach, which was a total distance of 341 kms. They stopped and took photos of the incredible Spitzkoppe Mountains
before meeting the truck for lunch and to refill their camelbacks. Then after refueling in Swakopmund, they headed off to
ride in the dunes. David had no experience of dune riding, so this was a new lesson for him and not as easy to master as he
had thought. Went barreling up the first sand dune and front wheel dug in and over the handlebars he went. Fortunately
he has adapted to the dunes but does feel that he could have done with more time out there learning how to read them
and ride them. Also one has no idea how much sand can get into absolutely everything, clothes, bikes, shoes, hair
– it was a
stark reminder of what to expect in South America.
That evening we all went for dinner at the Burning Shore Restaurant (of Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt fame). We were joined by
Andrew Mulligan who was there to get some footage of the riders for an upcoming programme. The minute he arrived, all
our plans went awry. Friday saw 3 bikes seize out in the dunes, it appears to be sand going down the exhaust pipe and
causing a problem. First Lourens Mahoney’s bike, then Darryl and then David’s bike all developed hiccups. It was not a
good day for the guys or for Andrew who was trying to get some footage and interviews. Luckily we had one spare enginebetween the riders, and Darryl replaced engines. Poor Brett was on David’s bike and had to walk nearly 3 kms in the dunes
to alert us of the problem. Ingo had a back up in the form of a Rhino which went out to retrieve the bike from the middle of
nowhere. The next day, Riaan had the same problem but managed to get the sand out before the engine chewed it up and
seized, but it was a bit of a fright for all, 6 riders and 6 nearly destroyed machines on an 1800 km trip. Even the use of Sat
phones proved to be a learning exercise for us all when we were trying to locate Riaan out in the dunes. Thank goodness
for Facebook as he used this to advise us where he was!!! All these things showed us not to take for granted the safety
equipment, the machinery or our own limits. After 7 days, we were totally shattered from the experience.
Comments on our fellow riders who are doing Dakar: - Glen and Brett are currently doing the Australian Safari and we wish
them all the best. Brett is the little dark horse out of the riders, extremely bright and a very capable rider, navigation is
going to be no problem for him (having said that, I have just read he has wrong slotted in Oz). Glen is the stalwart of the
two and will keep on keeping on. Both of them have taken over a year off from work to prepare for Dakar, and if they are
not racing bikes at every desert, national, international (Australia and Morocco) they are racing bicycles. They are two
absolute gents who we clicked with immediately and who will be friends for life. Darryl and Riaan need no introduction as
riders; they are at the top of their game, professional racers and professional comics too. Nothing or nobody was safe
around these two who were always scheming up something to antagonize the rest of us. As far as navigation goes, Darryl’s
GPS downloads were so interesting, he never wasted any time getting from point a to point b. Each and every time through
the dunes he navigated in a dead straight-line regardless of what was in front of him obstacle wise. Riaan, although new to
the Dakar is no fool either, and will surely be quietly quick in Dakar. Ingo Waldschmidt is the rider who made us all realise
that a privateer from Southern Africa could do Dakar and finish. Probably the most natural sand rider (it does help being
raised in the Namib Desert), he reads the dunes like a tracker. His neat and methodical way of doing things calmly certainly
makes sure he has everything in order and needed for completing yet another Dakar. His wife Lisa and daughter Zoe also
offer the most incredible support system for him. Every single one of the riders made the weeks experience memorable as
did the guidance and advice from Tom and Dirk. (PS Just heard that Brett finished 4
th overall in Australia and won the Dakar
Challenge. Glen also finished in 21st place, so well done to them both).
UPDATE ON DAKAR SCHEDULE PART TWO
Sunday morning all the other riders headed home to their real lives! We were able to relax, if you can call it relaxing! I
dragged a very reluctant Charles and David to the shops to purchase various items, and they whined and sulked and lost
in 10 minutes, but cheered up when promised food. We spent an enjoyable evening with David’s team mate
Ingo and his wife Lisa. It was the first chance for us to really discuss the team and plans for January 2013.
We spent the entire Monday morning and most of the afternoon at Interpol and Natis and various police stations around
Windhoek in order to complete paperwork on the KTM 690 which had been purchased in Namibia and then after a quiet
dinner at Joes Beer Garden (we were all like zombies), loaded up the Sprinter in order for the early start the next day.
Departure time was 4.00 and we drove off under cover of darkness. A few kilometres before Gobabis the Sprinter ran out
of fuel, but no problem, offload bike, shove David onto it with fuel can and instructions to buy diesel. Within 10 minutes he
was back and off we set again. We were doing well time wise and at 14h00 were through Jwaneng, when we had a “little
incident”. Charles was overtaking a Toyota Cressida which decided to turn right with no warnin
g. Obviously he hit us, but
Charles had already tried to swerve wider and next minute we were barreling down the side of the road through grass and
rocks. David was asleep in the back, sat up and saw we were heading for a tree; meanwhile all of us were more worried
about the trailer behind and the two big bikes on the back. Nearly 200 metres up the road we were able to stop, how
Charles stopped us from flipping I will never know. Luckily all of us, and the occupants of the Toyota were ok but we had
done some damage to the trailer as well as cosmetic damage to the front left of the Sprinter. Thank goodness for high
friends in low places…. Neil Gailey was with us within 30 minutes armed with a welder, an army of workers, police etc. we
also became the freak show on the side of the road for 5 hours with every Tom Dick and Harry stopping to gawk. Neil
welded our trailer, (that also caused a small fire underneath it due to the dry grass!!), went with Charles to the police
station and generally baby sat us through the whole ordeal. Anyway, all of us are safe and sound at our various homes.
David is armed with packing lists, shopping lists, shipping lists etc. We will have to ship the bike and all of the other items
over to Europe in October. Once in Europe, Jan will strip and check the bike and arrange for it to go on board the ship to
South America. Meanwhile we have a VW 4 Motion as a small service vehicle as well as the Mercedes Truck. Air tickets
have now been purchased and the house in Lima has been booked and paid for, all we need now is to book for the finish in
To the Sponsors, thank you for your continued support, and please let us know what else we can do to give back to you.
The photographs of David jumping the KTM Rally raid in the dunes, was put onto Face Book and posted to KTM Racing
page, where I see that it has been shared 167 times and “liked” by 2279 people. That is a fair amount of coverage for just
one photo which has now been shown all over the world. Hopefully we will also feature on TV in December and also havethere! Follow David’s Facebook page David Reeve’s Zambia Dakar 2013 Challenge.
had articles posted in Enduro World magazine, Lowdown and various newspapers, so your company name is getting out