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Discussion in 'Racing' started by JMo (& piglet), Feb 25, 2013.
Thanks Jenny for bringing us along.
On behalf of the advrider readers that might not have spoken up throughout the race for lack of knowledge of rallying - thank you Jenny for the commentary, to the competitors and photographers and to everyone else that made this thread a really fascinating read.
I don't know what got you all interested in this crazy sport, but inspired by shared stories like this I've now decided to attempt my first rally later this year, no desert stuff for me just yet (find the idea of dunes quite intimidating to be honest) but enough to get a taste for the sport and push my limits on the motorcycle.
Thanks again to all in this thread, that was a captivating story you all collectively told, with some great individual achievement highlighted throughout.
Excellent Jenny. Thanks.
Hi Bastimentos - that is great news! - and I think it shows how important web-based forums are (or at least can be) in inspiring others and sharing information that helps us do something similar in the future!
Certainly I consider ADVrider and excellent resource in that regard - not only as a great place to recount trips and share stories, but there is a wealth of more practical information here that means you are able to short-cut a lot of research (and not least learn from other's mistakes!) - whether it is in route/trip/event planning, finding suppliers of certain products or services, through bike preparation and which kit will suit your particular circumstances...
Just don't ask which tyres are best!
You probably noticed that a number of riders (and it was a genuine coincidence that it happened to be the guys I was also following) were using a Giant Loop saddle bag system to supplement their rally bike preparation... and when I looked into it, certainly if you are racing what is essentially a stock enduro bike (like many people do on the Tuareg), then having all your 'essential rallye kit' together in an easily mountable bag system actually makes a lot of sense...
With the increasingly technical nature of Rally Raid events, many riders are now choosing a light[er] weight ‘enduro’ based bike on which to compete, and correspondingly there are fewer options for mounting all the necessary tools, safety equipment and requisite emergency water supply. Similarly, the potential to carry a little extra fuel (without expensive auxiliary fuel tanks) or oil, a few spare parts, and not least somewhere to store waterproof or cold weather gear for the early morning starts and long road-liasion sections are all serious considerations.
When you also consider that the majority of amateur level competitors are unlikely to be able to afford a dedicated race-bike for what may only be one or two events a year, then a system that allows them to convert their existing trail/enduro bike with the minimum of modifications would make the process far simpler; and indeed those essential items that must be carried when racing though the wilderness are typically useful to have onboard when adventure touring and dual-sport riding in general.
After a hard week’s racing, I caught up with Austrian racer and World Altitude Record holder Lukas Matzinger (Husaberg Adventure Team), and Jean-Luc Solans from the If You See Kay Wines sponsored US-based RMS Rally team - both of whom were using the Giant Loop Mojave bag system:
Jean Luc is a firm advocate of Giant Loop luggage “I always use these bags on my dual-sport rides, and [at first] I thought it might be a bit of stretch to use them on a rally... but in fact they were perfect for the job! - They never got in the way, and don’t hurt you if you crash - which is important, as I did that quite a lot!” he laughs.
“I was able to carry all the heavier items that I didn’t want on my person - tools, spare parts, extra water... which made it much more comfortable [and safer] to ride in race conditions” he explains. “Yes, the weight is carried a little higher than in a bash-plate container for example, but honestly it didn’t seem to make any difference... it stayed secure throughout the race and you just forgot it was all there - which I think is the best compliment you can make for a luggage system” he smiles.
Similarly Lukas was equally enthusiastic: “I must have dropped the bike a hundred times during the week, and not once did it [the bag] come loose or get damaged...” he confirms. “It was particularly important for me to have the carrying capacity as I only had around 12 litres of fuel onboard, so was able to stow an extra couple of litres in a container in one side of the bag, together with extra [drinking] water in the other - and as importantly had easy access to both to replenish the bike and myself halfway through the stage - which often made all the difference” he explains. “Also having instant access to my tools and emergency equipment [in the pouch over the rear fender] was far easier than having those items tucked away behind the fairing or down in the bash-plate...” he adds.
Both riders agreed that the Mojave was more than tough enough for prolonged racing use, and just as importantly it essentially provides any dual-sport/enduro bike rider with a self-contained ‘one-stop-shop’ for all your rallye [or trail] essentials in a single, easily mountable bag.
“The fixing system is so simple, and so secure” says Lukas “I’d say it really is the perfect addition for both dual-sport day trips and rally racing!” he smiles.
for further information: www.giantloopmoto.com
#116 Lukas Matzinger (AUT) - Husaberg Adventure Team
#317 Jean-Luc Solans (FRA) - Team IYSK Wines
#133 Dirk Kessler (CAN) - Team IYSK Wines
Jenny: I have to agree with regards to the MoJavi bags. We have been using them for rallies since a few years ago and they have really made riding and racing easier! I tried using a backpack again during a ride a while back and I hated it! Heavy and sweaty! They are perfect for rallies as they contain all you need and more and never get in the way. Highly recommended!
Oh, and did I mention that we are Giant Loop retailers..? (But only because they make awesome bags that actually improve your bike instead of the usual opposite)
I totally agree - I was surprised how many riders were wearing backpacks - even those Kriega ones, while excellent (unless you have lady bumps of course, then the Quad-loc really is uncomfortable!), just bulk you up and make you sweat... I won't open a debate about the safety element of crashing with a backpack on either...
Ideally of course you'd stash everything on the bike in dedicated places - water tank bashplate, tools in a fender pack, safety gear and spare gloves etc behind the fairing for example, and have enough fuel capacity in the tank/s - but in practice, especially on enduro bikes, there is limited space unless you start spending a lot of money, and also adding weight and bulk to the bike itself...
I still love the big 'full dresser' rallye bikes, but after the Tuareg this year, I am sorely tempted to to build my XR400 into a ultra lightweight and simple rally bike - virtually no electrics, and just a MRS nav bracket (ahem) on the headstock with a roadbook and single IMO, and a GPS 60. I already have a large enough fuel tank, and a pair of LED lights - and together with a Mojave bag, I reckon I could pretty much ride it to an event, race all week, and ride it home again!
Infact if I could get it together in time, I might even make the start of the Hellas Rallye after all!
MRS Morgan Rally Systems?
It seems I have enough photos to keep this thread going indefinitely! - however, perhaps now is a good time to wrap this up with my own summary of the week in Tunisia, and to say thank you to Donna & Martin from Torque Racing, who allowed me travel down with them and join the team for the duration of the rally.
It had always been my intention to ride in this year’s edition of the Tuareg Rallye - the Tuareg was my first desert race back in 2008 (when it was held in Morocco), and the Rammstein reveille not withstanding, I was impressed with the organisation of the event - the general quality of the roadbook and route, and not least the ‘laid-back’ ambiance that allowed the racers to race, while those who were not quite as competitive to take part without feeling there were there to simply make up the numbers...
With a move to Tunisia this year, I think most people were prepared to forgive a few teething problems, and other than a few reported roadbook anomalies, on the whole the move was a huge success - certainly the accommodation in Tunisia was a cut above what we’d be used to in Morocco, while the terrain offered new and sometimes punishing challenges for even the Profi class riders.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear the Tuareg Rallye was booked into the very same hotel in Douz that I had stayed at during the 2010 edition of the Oilybia de Tunisie rally (which was part of the FIM world championship) in preparation for my Dakar campaign, and was certainly looking forward to racing there again.
Unfortunately it was clear early on this year that my new rally bike was not going to be ready for March - hell it still isn’t ready for the Hellas rally this month either (but that is typically a whole other story)... So having already booked that week out in my diary, I decided to travel down with the team and report from the bivouac each evening, on behalf of a number of riders. As it turned out, thanks to the organisation choosing to start (and finish) a number of stages from directly outside or at least near to the bivouac hotel/s, it meant I was also able to get plenty of additional photos of the riders in action - and in turn the competitors themselves benefitted from far fewer liaison miles each day too of course!
Perhaps most importantly, with such a large number of ADVrider inmates competing in the Tuareg this year, I felt it was important to provide a regular news feed to all those people following the event and supporting the various riders. For a number of them this would be their first desert rally, so we would be assured of plenty of ‘gritty reality’; while the more experienced racers such as Neduro, Lastplace and Hagenblad would undoubtably keep us entertained up at the sharp end - and they didn’t disappoint!
Of course much of this was overshadowed by the tragic accident that Wes (Beaney) suffered on the second day. No-one could have foreseen such a dramatic turn of events, and indeed over the 13 years the event has run, the Tuareg Rallye has had an exemplary record in that regard.
As a ‘reporter’, I felt it was my duty to break the news with as much tact and diplomacy as possible - not least to help alleviate any concerns that the friends and family of other riders may have had having heard the rumours back home - but at the same time, it is something that no-one ever wants to have to do. When I snapped that picture of Wes drinking a beer, contemplating the week ahead on the eve of the rally - little did I know at the time just how much that photo would come to mean to so many people.
Without a doubt this year’s Tuareg Rallye featured the highest of highs and lowest of lows, and while a fatality always casts a long dark shadow, one thing is certain, throughout the week the event provided both the competitors and their supporters with some first class amateur level Rally Raid racing. Everyone will have their own memories and stories to tell for a long while to come... Thanks to the ongoing support of Torque Racing, these are just some of mine.
Behind the scenes:
Early morning Friday 8th (Scrutineering) - Memo Tours transported all the Torque Racing bikes to and from Tunisia:
Why Irishman George Dennison was listed as from Nicaragua is a mystery that remains until this day - funny though!
The hotel Sahara Douz was very comfortable, and a had an excellent buffet restaurant that featured local dishes, barbecue and even stone-backed pizza... I could live there!
#115 John Mitchinson of Rally Raid UK in conference with the Orga during scrutineering - his expression says it all!
Donna Gray uploading the daily routes to the riders’ GPS on the eve of the rally (with #96 Geoff Saunders)
Meanwhile Martin Wittering was putting the finishing touches to all the rider’s bikes prior to the start the following morning:
Bennie (Memo Tours), Martin (Torque Racing) and #87 Tony Schattat help another rider with an electrical problem:
Bennie from Memo Tours helping #116 Lukas Matzinger fit a new tyre and mousse he’d just bought from them:
Martin, #76 Mark Brincat and #304 Phil Renwick sharing a youtube joke in the bivouac:
More from the bivouac:
Martin at work on Georges CRF:
Donna cooking up a feast at the Memo Tours Barbecue!
Donna does her best to blend in with the Sandpeople on the Star Wars set:
Helping #107 George Dennison at the fuel stop on the Star Wars stage (day 4):
#21 Dominic Clifford, Donna Gray and #96 Geoff Saunders at the refuel:
Donna larking about with #76 Mark Brincat:
Rally Raid / Torque Racing team bikes in the bivouac:
Martin clearing out the team minibus at the airport on our way back home:
The Torque Racing Riders - Tuareg Rallye 2013
#304 Phil Renwick, #126 Jeff Webster and #115 John Mitchinson - a trio of Torque Racing riders doing their best impression of startled Meercats!
#107 George Dennison at the finish - highest placed Brit and winner of the coveted ‘Red Head’ patch for three Tuareg Rallye finishes without penalties:
#76 Mark Brincat on the final stage:
#45 David Austin crossing the line:
#86 Geoff Saunders getting to grips with the GPS:
#115 John Mitchinson about to start the first day:
#125 Terry Starrett:
#21 Dominic Clifford and #107 George Dennison share a drink at the end of the race:
#51 Paul Lake starting stage 4:
#31 Roger Hawkins hoisting a big one over the line!
#25 Wesley Beane - 10th March 2013.
Ha, no - unfortunately Raid Designs have blagged that name already...
You are doing a fantasitc job, Jen.
The GL Mojavis always follow me on my non-competition 690RR trips - containing tools, spare tubes and peace of mind. I'd say these products are simply geniously well designed.
Additionally the GL Coyote fits like tailormade to the 690RR - making it my favorite gravel-touring tool of all times. With the Coyote under the Mojavi I can effectively also carry compact camping gear and extend those rides to multi-day, allroad extravaganzas.
And kudos for excellent presence, Jenny. Appreciate it!
Little video that i made from days 0 and day 1 of Tuareg Rally:
Very interesting to see the video and what it is like out in the dunes with all of the other traffic. Thanks for putting this together and sharing. Great stuff.
Wrote a report on my tuareg tour.
Carl the Zebra Swede
Excellent report, and I LOVE this photo!
Final Tuareg Video released today:
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/K7wiut_NTCI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Very fun rally. I want to go back again next year!
I'm thinking I need to come up with a 3 or 4 year plan.... this looks like a BALL.