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Old 12-30-2013, 01:54 PM   #1
neduro OP
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2013 Tuareg Rally Race Report

Earlier this year, I got to race the Tuareg Rally in Tunisia (along with a whole big bunch of other ADV’ers). It’s been a few years since I did (OK, since I finished) a ride report. Since the big show is bringing out the F5force in, well, force, I figured now would be a good time for a rally race report that you can hopefully enjoy in place of snooker. I hope they’ll add their stories in here, too… here is mine.



I want to start by going all the way back to the beginning. Years and years ago, I saw Dakar on TV, and saw a helicopter shot of the lead bikes beating their way over a dune and into camel grass. The helicopter lifted up and the shot pulled back to reveal a seemingly endless future of the most desolate yet exhilarating desert a country boy from the Northeast could imagine. I was hooked. At the time, it never occurred to me that I could go there, the idea seemed unachievable.



Over time, I went through the painful process of realizing that the obstacles preventing me from racing Dakar were not real, except in the only place that matters- in my head. I pulled the blinders back from my dream of Dakar, and when it moved to South America, I adjusted my dream accordingly.



I loved the race, but at some level it didn’t scratch the Africa itch. Africa, as anyone who has been there will tell you, is different. There is no desert on earth like the Sahara, there is no desolation that compares, and no madness like the culture that surrounds it. I got a flavor for this before going to Dakar, with a ride in Morocco and then a navigation rally in Morocco and Western Sahara, but those experiences only made the itch worse.



So when DaveRMS called and said there was space in the container for the Tuareg Rally in Tunisia, I realized it was a chance to go and do something I had always wanted to. Those opportunities don’t come along every day, and I decided to go. My dad passed away pretty young, and that taught me there isn't always another year, we can't wait for it to be convenient, we have to settle for possible. Racing in Africa was possible. So I was going.

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neduro screwed with this post 12-30-2013 at 02:09 PM
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Old 12-30-2013, 02:15 PM   #2
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I am in for some Ned-vice and stories.
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Old 12-30-2013, 02:54 PM   #3
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Old 12-30-2013, 02:57 PM   #4
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:37 PM   #5
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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In for MOAR!!

This is going to be good!

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Old 12-30-2013, 07:45 PM   #7
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Of course, the decision was a last minute one, leaving me with some real obstacles to deal with. First, the opportunity came when I was away traveling, and my scheduled return was one week before the bike would have to ship from Oakland. The bike in question was a KTM 505XCF that I had bought with loose ideas to turn into a rallybike, but I hadn’t started that process yet. So, I needed to build the bike and get it to San Francisco in just a few days.

Here it is before we started, in trailbike form…





Enter my savior C.Vestal, who can build a rally bike in his sleep by now. We dug into the 505 late one night, and a day later, I had one of the prettiest rides out there. I don’t know how I am so lucky to have friends like Chris, but I’m sure glad I do. We used all the spare pieces I brought to Dakar and didn’t use- I bought a tank and that’s about it.

Coming apart:



Chris, smiling as ever, working his magic:



Complete! Don’t ask me about my expression, heck if I know…



Then, cRaSH and AnnieGS stepped forward and offered to drive the bike to Oakland in one shot- I think they had vacation in mind, but the weather had other ideas. They wound up in a hellish white knuckle cannonball run, and didn’t let it stop them. Thanks, Ray and Annie.



In order, that's my 505, Charlie's XR, Dirk's 690, Mike Krynock's 525, Jean-Luc's 690, and Wildman's 525-ish Meca bike. I'm hoping they'll chime in.

I had the luxury of using exactly the gear I wanted for this race, and here’s what I chose:

- Rally Moto Kit rally conversion- nothing needs to be said.
- MX1West- 6 gallon Acerbis tank, Ariete goggles and Mousses
- BRP Triple Clamp, threaded bar end mounts (these are awesome!) and chain guide
- Renazco Racing- the absolute Bomb-Diggity seat. Yes, it is that awesome.
- Trailtech- Stator and heavy flywheel- very nice for avoiding stalling and having lights.
- Touratech- GPS mount and a slick crossbar setup
- Wolfman- fairing bags- impossible to overstate how nice it is to have a place to stash gloves, emergency stuff, tape, etc…
- Cycra Handguards- I’ve tried them all, I think theirs are the best.
- FMF exhaust- crazy light and the motor runs amazing.
- 7602 racing vent line filter. This stuff matters in the silt.
- Scotts Performance- Steering damper- lifesaver in rally!
- Klim Riding gear- I used their soon-to-be released Rally Jacket combined with Dakar pants, both of which are fantastic.
- Bell Helmets- For me, the fit is perfect, and the Moto9 is both feature heavy and weight light.
- Motonation/ Sidi Boots- I got a set of Crossfire 2s and they are everything you might hope.

Right as we finished the bike, it snowed for the first time. Of course, that was a fine reason to take the TTR out and do powder 8’s. Call it training if you’d like, I call it the most fun you can have on two wheels. Big crazy drifts and no real risk because there isn’t ice underneath yet:



My neighbor helped me make a promo photo for facebook sharing, which I still find amusing:

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Old 12-30-2013, 08:06 PM   #8
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Thanks for sharing Ned.
MOAR!
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:26 AM   #9
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I knew there was a reason to come back to this part of the forum! Thanks Ned!
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:21 AM   #10
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The next issue was budget. The Tuareg is an inexpensive rally, which is like saying a car is an inexpensive Rolls Royce- still not exactly cheap. My first call was to a friend in Napa, who had helped me with Dakar- Layer Cake Wine.

Many of you got to sample some, as he generously sent case after case out to my supporters to thank them for their help. When I called, he had just launched a new brand, called If you see Kay, a red blend from Italy. Kay wanted to go racing, and could help me get not only myself but the rest of the team there. Thus was team If you see Kay born.



As I write this, I just had an idea: take a picture of yourself with a bottle of Kay, put it in this thread, and I’ll dig up some swag to send your way. Like them on facebook, love them on your table, ask for it by name.



So, for the third time, the road had risen up to meet my rally racing goals and I was off.

Next post: Getting there.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:19 PM   #11
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:32 PM   #12
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Thanks for keeping the memories and the dream alive!

This rally was one of the more fantastic experiences I have had in the sport. Such a terrific group of riders and support crew. Great chance to experience another culture as well.



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Old 01-06-2014, 02:04 PM   #13
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:55 AM   #14
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Please, FFS, don't do an Antware on us.



no pressure...
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:30 AM   #15
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Crap....I know better than to read a Ned RR BEFORE he finishes it.

Lookin' forward to more..
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