Tuareg Rallye 2015

Discussion in 'Racing' started by Mad Cow, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. Mad Cow

    Mad Cow Dakar Addict!

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    I'm doing the Tuareg Rallye in Morocco next March!

    But first a bit of background....

    After starting Rally Racing in 2011 at the early age of 50 (actually it was only 12 days before my 51st birthday), I have been competing in the British Rally Series; the All Terrain Rally Challenge (ATRC) and whilst I'm never going to be a contender for the podium, I have been reasonably pleased with my progress to date.

    Now the ATRC is not quite the same as the Dakar or the Tuareg any other international rallies to be honest. Our little crowded island doesn't have the wide open spaces to facilitate road book navigation of the type most of you will be familiar with.

    So our rallies are pretty much like extended time card enduros, and always based on multiple laps. The same rules apply as time card but are a bit more relaxed, a mixture of liaison sections with time limits. However there is no penalty for being early and none for being late, although more than 30 minutes late at a check in theory means you are eliminated. I say in theory as unless you are running really late, you'll just get waved through. Mixed into this are relatively short timed special stages, a couple of miles is typical. And overall the laps vary from 20 miles up to 120 (but that long is rare).

    Also UK rallies are nearly all bike only, a couple do allow sidecars and at least one allows quads but we never get to mix it up with cars or buggies. They have their own race series the BCCC (British Cross Country Championship)

    And navigation? It's a case of "just follow the arrows". Most of our events use heavily regulated land controlled by a Government Agency, The Forestry Commission. And they are worried that if we were allowed to navigate for ourselves we might get lost and ride where we are not allowed, so to date road books have been a no go area and courses have to be marked out with fluorescent arrows.

    However this has started to change as earlier this year one rally, The Pikes Peak Baja (no not that Pikes Peak, it's a nickname given to a big hill in Wales by the BCCC boys) had an optional road book liaison section, this proved very popular and managed to impress the powers that be, so things could be changing.

    But for the last couple of years, I have been campaigning the ATRC on my rather elderly CCM 604E (for those not familiar with Clews Competition Machines, a 600cc air cooled Rotax engined, WP suspended, Brembo braked, Acerbis bodied bitza in a british frame made in Bolton, England).

    However for 2014 I have finally joined the crowd and gone orange, buying a 2006 KTM 450 EXC with a couple of big boxes full of rally kit, including nav tower, F2R road book holder, RNS Tripmaster, 13 litre tank and Baja Designs rear tank. It took me a while to build it back up and add a Dottori Rally fairing but it finally hit the tracks a couple of weeks ago at the Ryedale Rally in Yorkshire. I was very pleased with its performance and even more pleased with my 6th in class which leads me back to the topic in hand....

    Now what's the point of having a fully blown rally bike with all the toys if you don't go and ride in a proper road book rally?

    So having got my new fairing painted by a friend, who happens to compete in the BCCC and Desert Rallies in his Mitsubishi Pajero Evo. I was collecting my bike (and fairing) from his workshop when he asked "what are you doing next March?"

    He asked in such a way that he already knew the answer, so I answered "I don't know, what am I doing next March?"

    "You're entering the Toureg Rallye" he announced and then told me that he had entered and decided there was plenty of room on his trailer to fit the bike on there (he had actually measured it up whilst he had it) and he was prepared to transport it to Morocco and back for me.

    Now that's represents a major saving on the cost of any rally and it got better. When I mentioned this to another friend (Finbar, another ADV inmate) he announced he would come along as my "support crew" and was more than happy to pay his own way.

    So the decision was pretty much made for me, so I sent in my entry, booked the time off work and a few days ago received my confirmation email that I was in.

    So I aim to keep you nice folk up to date on my progress.

    Preparation has started already, one of my problems in racing is insufficient time on the bike so last Sunday I booked on a five hour enduro practice day. I certainly got a few strange looks hooning around on a fully kitted rally bike amongst all the enduro bikes but had a good time. It was also hot and dusty... OK nowhere near Sahara heat or dust but certainly different to the torrential rain we had got in Yorkshire two weeks previously! This Saturday we have a 120 mile trail ride planned (believe me that's fairly long here in the crowded British Isles)

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    #1
  2. shan

    shan Adventurer

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    Best of luck will be watching this space :clap
    #2
  3. dansin

    dansin Been here awhile

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    Excellent! Will follow with interest. :thumb
    #3
  4. Mike_MRS

    Mike_MRS Been here awhile

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    Tony, next time you're having a mess with the bike, maybe just take a look at the cables :1drink

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    images hosting
    #4
  5. Mad Cow

    Mad Cow Dakar Addict!

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    Mike

    Tell me about it! one of the screws on the cable clamp pulled out of it's thread causing the cables to come loose. The brake cable got a bit of abuse to the plastic layer over the braiding but is still OK, the speedo cable not so good, ending up between the disc and the pad severing the wires.

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    All sorted now, the thread in the fork protector was miraculously OK and the clamp still works fine. The speedo cable has been re-soldered and reinforced with some extra heat shrink and I've beefed up the brake hose with some plastic spiral wrap, although I'll most probably fit a new hose just in case.
    #5
  6. Torque Racing

    Torque Racing Enduro, Rally & Adventure!

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    #6
  7. Mad Cow

    Mad Cow Dakar Addict!

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    Thanks guys, i'll have to pop over. Have you moved yet?

    The countdown continues.....

    My deposit has been paid so once step nearer and I've been getting some quality bike time in.

    First off, two weeks ago I did a two day "coast to coast" trip across Northern England with the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF). Now by road the Distance from Hest Bank near Morecombe on the Lancashire (west) coast to Scarborough on the Yorkshire (east) coast is only 125 miles. But seeking out the increasingly rare (in the UK) unsurfaced roads we covered over 300 miles in total, with some great trails, mountain scenery, river crossings and café stops :D

    For this trip I took the 990 on knobblies, so a bit more of a challenge but much better for the 200 motorway miles to Lancashire and the 250 miles back home before and after the trip.

    Returning late on a Thursday night it was a quick turnaround at home on Friday and load up the EXC on the trailer for a drive to Mid Wales for the Beacons Rally based near Llandovery.

    This went well, with no particular incidents and an impressive (for me) 6th place in the Rally Class.

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    On the whole the weather was good on Saturday with only one very heavy shower at the end of lap one but due to rain over the previous weeks, we did get a little damp!

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    Sunday started off very wet but did improve as the day went on, a pattern that was set in for the following week.

    Following the Rally I headed over to a friends house, just over the border into England, along with another friend (all three of us having raced the Rally) where much jet washing of bikes and kit and washing machine loads of filthy gear ensued.

    Monday we headed back into Wales to a campsite at Rhayader where we met up with another couple of mates and the five of us spent the week trail riding throughout Mid Wales.

    The only significant problem was my trailtech sidestand breaking, so unless I could find a convenient wall or fence post, I was pretty much excused "gate duty" all week.... and believe me the Welsh trails have a lot of gates!

    So a few repairs to do as the side stand needs sorting and the repair I did to the speedo cable didn't last, so new sensor and cable has been purchased and will be fitted this weekend.
    #7
  8. Mad Cow

    Mad Cow Dakar Addict!

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    Fitted the new sensor and cable and I have a working speedo again!

    Managed to bodge my side stand for the time being, so....

    Went out for a trail ride on Saturday with my mate John (Finbar) I didn't manage to keep the EXC for long as John suggested I have a go on his KTM 690 that has the full Rally Raid Products Kit (Adventure style fairing, extra front tanks, pannier/luggage rack). This is not his bike but the same spec....

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    I didn't want to give it back! At first I treated like I would the 990 (i.e. with a lot of caution) but within ten minutes I was riding it more like the EXC. It's a 2014 model with ABS but John has fitted the optional "off Road ABS dongle" which allows the rear wheel to spin, so was able to use the power to get the back end to drift, very nice and controllable especially when compared to the 990 (But I guess that's the difference between 67 bhp and 116 bhp).

    On the road it did everything the 990 can do, decent enough wind protection from the fairing, decent cruising speed, not too vibey (although definitely more than the LC8 motor) but best of all John reckoned it gets over 300 miles from it's 22litre fuel capacity, whereas the 990 is lucky to get 150 miles from 20 litres.

    Luckily John was enjoying the 450 so we kept each others bikes for the rest of the ride. Certainly gave me food for thought, the 690 in that spec (essentially a 690 Adventure) looks like it'd be the perfect bike for me!

    Anyway back to the Tuareg, the Rally bike ended the day with very wobbly wheels as both front and rear wheel bearings are way past their best. I have new ones on order that should be arriving today but best of all I don't have to fit them! John decided that if he is going to be my support crew. he had better get to know my bike a bit better. So next weekend will come round and fit the wheel bearings for me!

    On the subject of support crew/team manager/pit bitch, that afternoon John signed up for the rally too, so one step nearer!

    Since yesterday the heavens opened and it has been pouring with rain ever since. A friend posted on Facebook that it wasn't very good weather for desert training...... he's not kidding! A very cold and wet thirty mile ride to work today :dog
    #8
  9. Stagehand

    Stagehand Imperfectionist

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    Good onya mate. Good luck. :thumb
    #9
  10. Mad Cow

    Mad Cow Dakar Addict!

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    The preparation continues...

    Raced at the Tarenig Rally in Mid Wales the other week, a great course and great fun. Not quite so good regarding the result as after a fairly good first special test, I got held up trying to overtake on the second and then on the third managed to nearly lose my tool bag off the back of the bike so had to stop and strap it back on, losing a couple of minutes.

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    I still managed 7th in class but had I managed to match my first test time, I might have been 5th.... oh well that's racing!




    This weekend we were back in the same part of Wales for a non competitive road book event. Although I am familiar with road book navigation having done it in car rallying many years ago and I've often made my own for trail riding trips, I've never raced a bike and navigated at the same time. So this weekend was the crunch time, to see if I can ride at speed and navigate together?

    Well the answer is yes! a few slight errors at first (but at least I realised I had gone wrong and was able to back track quickly and one or two "overshoots" on tricky junctions but I found it really natural and it was a fantastic event. A couple of lessons learnt... I definitely need a remote switch for my RNS TripMaster (slightly scary having to take one hand off the bars to adjust the trip at times) and I need to learn how to get my GPS to show bearings in degrees rather than N, S, E, W etc either that or invest in a CAP repeater!

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    #10
  11. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    Good progress.

    I am in too for my 3rd Tuareg rally in Maroc.
    #11
  12. Carlos M

    Carlos M www.motoxplorers.com

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    Hi,

    Garmin Montana, right?

    Setup > Heading > Display (Directional Letters) change to Numeric Degrees.
    #12
  13. Mad Cow

    Mad Cow Dakar Addict!

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    Carlos

    Thanks a lot, I knew somebody would know :D
    #13
  14. Carlos M

    Carlos M www.motoxplorers.com

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    :D Glad to help on the easiest (by far!) part of your preparation, and enjoying the report :thumb
    #14
  15. Mad Cow

    Mad Cow Dakar Addict!

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    A more comprehensive write up on the event in Wales.....


    The All Terrain Rally Challenge, Road Book "Social"; was a training exercise in road book navigation and perfect preparation for the Tuareg Rally. Run by Robert (Burt) Hughes and Mark (Moly) Molyneux of the All Terrain Rally Challenge and RallyMoto GB Club.
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    Road book navigation is nothing new to me as I first did it in car rallies as student back around 1980 and have often used road books with their distinctive "tulip" diagrams for 4x4 off road trips I have organised.

    My first experience of using it on a bike was back in 1989 when I participated for the second time in the National Road Rally (An annual UK wide navigation event). This was on a most unsuitable bike for attempting 500 miles overnight, a Yamaha XT250! Not least because of the pitiful 6 volt 35 watt headlight but also the tiny 1.1 gallon petrol tank. To facilitate navigation, I built my own small manual road book holder that mounted on the handlebars and used a paper roll from a cash register that I painstakingly transcribed my route onto by hand. An old side light fitting provided illumination and it worked perfectly helping me to gaining a Special Gold Award in the Rally.
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    But I have never raced and navigated at the same time and whilst I love navigation, (and have a degree in Geography and training as a Cartographer) I wasn't sure if I'd be able to hack it? Well there was only one way to find out!
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    I built the bike up into full rally spec on the Friday afternoon and after only a rudimentary check that everything was working OK I loaded up the bike on the trailer and on Saturday morning headed off to Wales.
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    I had booked a place in the Unicorn Hotel in Llanidloes as part of the event although finding somewhere to park in town with a trailer was a bit problematic. After three laps of the town, I managed to find a spot just round the corner. After meeting up with some of the others in the Unicorn, I was lucky enough to get my own room (the plan had been to share rooms) so dumped my bags and headed back round the corner to the Trewythen Hotel (where the car and trailer was parked)! for our roadbook briefing. This was followed by the obligatory sticking together of the road books and copious amounts of highlighting! Then we retreated back to the dining room at the Unicorn for dinner together and then the pub next door!


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    Sunday morning dawned cloudy but at that stage not wet and we assembled in the car park behind the Trewythen to unload bikes, kit up and load road books. We were all thankful of the extra hour in bed we had due to the end of British Summer Time (aka Daylight Saving).
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    We were flagged off from the car park in town at two minutes intervals (Just like the fast guys in the Dakar) for a 150km road book loop; this involved some (very) small back roads out of town to the first checkpoint where Moly was waiting with the sag wagon. We lost a few riders on this section and Burt, riding as tail end Charlie had his work cut out finding them!

    We then did a large loop in the Tarenig Forest where most of us had raced the Tarenig Rally the month before but this time we rode in the opposite direction, which was interesting. As a result you sort of knew where you were but not entirely (they had made a few changes from the Rally route too) so had to trust the roadbook absolutely (a few people got a bit lost here too).
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    A second checkpoint at a filling station in Ponterwyd where we met Moly again gave us a chance to refuel and grab some food before set of on the northern loop around the Nant y Moch reservoir. Here we rode on a combination of public byways and other unsurfaced highways but also footpaths, bridleways and other private tracks where motor vehicles are not normally allowed. Thanks to Burt and Moly's efforts we had permission to use these routes that were rather "challenging" in places. You'll note from the photos that we all had to wear Rallymoto hi-viz vests to prove we were legitimate entrants in the event as there has been a lot of problems locally with illegal off-road riding. I did pass one bunch of guys on motocross bikes in one of the forests, clearly riding where they shouldn't be.

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    A third checkpoint back at Ponterwyd gave us a chance to regroup and the waifs and strays reappeared before we set off back to Llanidloes, this was mostly on black top but with a brief detour through the Tarenig Forest on the way. We all got back together and all agreed it had been a fantastic day, with a great route and excellent preparation for a "proper" road book event. <o:p></o:p>
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    Best news of all is the boys will be running three rallies with road book navigation in 2015.... bring it on!

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    From my own point of view, the roadbook navigation seemed to come quite easily, after a couple of schoolboy errors in the first few miles (not matching the tulip diagram to the mileage basically and turning too early) It all started to flow very naturally, I did overshoot a few tricky junctions but each time I knew I had done it and just needed to pull a U-turn and readjust the trip meter as I got back to the turn.

    One thing I did realise is a handlebar remote switch for the trip meter is a must!<o:p></o:p>
    #15
  16. Mad Cow

    Mad Cow Dakar Addict!

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    Oh well there's no going back now, paid the balance of my entry fee last night!!!
    #16
  17. Mad Cow

    Mad Cow Dakar Addict!

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    Did a bit of pre-rally purchasing on the interweb at lunchtime today.

    I bought four pairs of oil filters (the EXC runs two). the bike will get an oil/filter change before being transported to Morocco and will get at least one change during the rally. That also gives me a spare pair for the tool box and a pair for the change I plan to do next week!

    I bought six air filters. I already have two so that's eight in total and the plan (based on advice from Martin at Torque Racing Services) is to have a new filter ready oiled, sealed and rolled up in a zip lock bag ready for every day of the rally. That gives Finbar (my grease monkey) the easy task of just sticking a new one in each day and the old one goes straight in the bag and gets rolled up and stored away to be cleaned when we get back home (but we will take some cleaner and oil in case of unforeseen filter replacement being needed at some point). As I will have an extra filter (the rally is seven days) that one fits neatly behind the airbox in a convenient cavity that Martin pointed out to me, just in case I need it on the trail.

    I purchased a brand new set of throttle cables, they will go on the bike before the rally and the old ones (that are in perfect condition) will be going in the spares box. I did think of taping them alongside the working cables but as the EXC has a twin cable push/pull system, it's easy enough to bodge if one cable snaps as a get back to the bivouac measure.

    I purchased two new clutch levers and two new front brake levers, one of each will go inside the airbox as spares and the other pair will go in the toolbox just in case. The bike recently got some nice shiny new Cycra hand guards so I'm hoping I wont need the spare levers but not worth taking the risk when they are so light and easy to store.

    Then I had to start work again :cry

    I have also been offered a spare set of wheels, so their purchase is imminent. They will go to the rally with new tyres, mousses and bearings, making a mid rally change over nice and simple. The original wheels on the bike will also get treated to new tyres, mousses and bearings before shipping to Morocco. I'll also be taking another spare rear tyre. Rubber of choice will be Pirelli Scorpion XC Mid-Hard.

    Other planned bits of rally prep that are coming soon are a partial re-wire to simplify things and removed potential chafe points. I will be replacing the lights switch as its broken and moving it from the bars to the side of the nav tower, which is also part of the wiring simplification but also gives more room for tripmaster/road book switches.

    The front brake hose will be replaced with a slightly longer one and routed across the bottom yoke and then up the right hand fork leg to get it out of the way.

    And then it's trying to fit in some more time on the bike, despite the cold, wet British Winter with another enduro practice day planned in a couple of weeks, a day long charity trail ride across Salisbury Plain just after Christmas with some other like minded rally addicts and I also today booked a weekend event at the end of January... the Rally Experience Weekend organised via the ATRC. Here Patsy Quick and Chris Barwick from Desert Rose Racing will be taking us through a dry run of what a rally entails complete with a day of trail riding on a roadbook

    http://allterrainrallychallenge.co.uk/rally-experience-weekend/
    #17
  18. Stagehand

    Stagehand Imperfectionist

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    Nice! Sounds cool, man
    #18
  19. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    The use of air filters really depend on the amount of dust you get during the day. If you are riding in front, or are lucky to get a lot of dust free air, their is no need to change the filter every day.

    I normally do not change the oil filter(s) during the rally. Opening up your engine gives more change of sand going in. Just change the oil and change the filter(s) at home.

    So you have a spare wheel set and an extra rear rear tire, I would say you do not need the spare tire. I will change my rear wheel when the tire is gone probably after day 4 or 5 and the front wheel is a back up in case I hit a rock to hard. Since I do not have a mechanic I do not like to change tires, changing wheels is a lot quicker.

    Mount your levers not too snug, my levers just turn around the bar and do not break in case of a spell.

    Have fun the remaining part of your preparation.
    #19
  20. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    I like this idea.
    #20