In February, I got a hare-brained idea to ride the Dos Sertoes Rally in Brazil this August. Boy what an unbelievable 10 days it would prove to be. With no rally experience and little riding experience apart from a few years of weekend DS riding under my belt, most considered it a little ambitious (read stupid)to be entering the second longest rally in the world. Admittedly, I have done a couple of hectic rides on my 800GS with Mrs. Bluebull on her 650 but that's hardly the experience needed to enter a 4,500km cross country race, the [sup]2[/sup]nd longest in the world after the Dakar. But you have to start somewhere, and years ago someone had told me in Potgietersrust, South Africa that Pissies will never be heroes. (A pissie is someone who gets scared easily) I wasnt about to be a pissie. : It made sense to team up with other guys to reduce the shipping and support costs on the rally. Our team of riders consisted of: Antonio Narino KTM 525 (Colombian); Yours Truely - Yamaha WR 450 (South African); Dave Peckham - KTM 525 (American); and Phil Bowman - KTM 525 (American). Antonio lives in California and is great friends with Phil and Dave. Unfortunately Antonio fractured his leg 8 weeks before the rally, and though he turned up to start, he had to return home on urgent family business during scrutineering: Just as well, we thought he was crazy to try and compete so soon after his injury. I met Phil and Dave at the rally school earlier in the year. In fact they were instructors at the school. Both have a lot of desert racing experience, but had never competed in a major rally like the Dos Sertoes before. They seemed like good guys and were very keen on the rally so it made sense that we teamed up, especially seeing my bike was also in California (I had it built there because importing everything to Peru would be much more expensive and tedious). The other guys named the team Wild West Rally and managed to raise some money for their effort though the San Francisco Motorcycle club (SFMC). I was unable to raise funds, so ended up funding myself apart from a few small items donated by some kind Wild Dogs and an off-road dealer (MX1-West) in SF. Unless youre the ex-special forces type and able to do everything on your own, you need someone to help you with logistics and bike maintenance between stages while you rest. As it was our first rally, we agreed that we would outsource the maintenance and use friends for support. We initially hoped to have our own dedicated mechanic, but he had other commitments and in the end we went with the Laurent Lazards Uruguay team pictured above. Left to right is Marcello, a magician when it comes to bike maintenance, Mauro, sponsor of team Uruguay, Laurent and Antonio. Laurent & Mauro expanded their team to 4 mechanics so they could work on our bikes as well as Laurents 690 and Mauro's monster quad. Here are the real hero's of the rally, always helpful, always smiling, the mechanics left to right Ivan, Fernando, rider David Casteu, Marcello and Fernando at the finish. Clearly they are well connected too! Working with these guys was really awesome. Check out Laurents website here www.laurentlazard.com, he is running in the Dakar in January. Dave had a friend who had been the team manager, Des McDonald, on the 2006 or 2007 Dakar with Charlie Rausseo and South African rider Elmer Symons. Elmer was sadly killed in a high speed crash on day 6 of the rally. Des would bring plenty of rally experience, and has more recently been involved in managing a number of very successful Baja 1000s as well as some races with Rally Panam for super fast American Jonah Street, who has won a number of stages in Dakar and recently won the Mongolia rally. Randall Fish (also known as Randy Fish ;D ), a good friend of Des came as technical support and backup mechanic. Randall is also a qualified EMT, masseur, and extremely experienced endurance nutrition specialist. He has done some crazy American 40-hour bicycle endurance race four times, so when he says drink this at the end of a long day you drink it. He is also a helluva nice guy. Last but by far not the least, came Diederik Duvenage One of my best friends and fellow mining engineer, super skilled at organizing and logistics, He paid his own way to come along to offer traditional boer support. I figured I would need his support and help, especially towards the end of the rally. Earlier this year, I bought a new 2009 Yamaha WR 450F and had it done up for rally. This became . .This and later on it turned into This. I borrowed Mrs. BBs KTM 450 and joined the guys who like to do enduro and trials style riding in the Atacama desert. It was a baptism of fire I was unable to ride with them for more than 15 minutes before being totally poked. This was a whole new level of riding. The riding terrain was awesome though, perfect for any rally with dunes, steep mountains, rocky trails, you name it. You can see lots of pictures, video and read all about it in this thread: A N00b goes rally racing. All the details of the rally kit and build is also in this thread. Also there is a parallel thread about our team preparation in my signature line that may be of interest as well. In April I went to an informal four-day rally school event in the Nevada Desert in the US, tested my new bike and learnt all about navigating using standard rally equipment: GPS compass, electronic road book and ICO odometer. This was my first taste of rally, and I loved it, especially on the new bike with super aftermarket suspension. There is something to be said about flying across the desert at high speed. You can also read the RR in the above thread. By July most guys entering the race had shipped their bikes and only worked out in the gym. I continued riding on the weekends with my enduro buddies, but extending the trips by riding through the desert from my house to the various destinations. This way I could ride for 8-10 hours instead of the usual 4-6. I also started riding solo during the week: A hazardous practice in the desert but with no-one around to train with this was the only option. I decided that I was risking too much, experienced rally guys had advised against training on bikes close to the rally, because too often one gets injured at number ninety nine. So I changed my tactic and started out for the first time on an MX track. Constantly aware of the danger of breaking something, I took it easy. I found this was by far the best way to train, getting very tired very quickly after only a few laps. Those MX guys are really awesome, but they only do 10-20 laps in a session. But two hours of riding on a track is like 10 hours of tough enduro riding. By the end of July I was riding 50 laps 5 times per week. I think this gave me the edge I needed, my hands had developed nice calluses and I was riding fit. MX was becoming quite monotonous on the wrong bike. I stopped riding just over a week before the rally started and enjoyed the rest. Now we find ourselves on the day before the start. I am ready, and my bike is ready. I hope you are ready too - Please join me in re-living the my story: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream, a journey filled with bike bling, dust, rocks, sand, water, blood and chocolate.