Long road to Rally

Discussion in 'Racing' started by MadM, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. MadM

    MadM Dreamer Supporter

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    Disclaimer: Could turn out to a very looong thread. If this thread is in the wrong part of the forum I apologise in advance!

    1. Intro and bike info!

    A long few years have passed from my initial dream of participating in a rally to the actual event I participated in this year. I did some adventure, enduro and hard enduro riding in between, but never anything rally related, since none of the bikes were THE rally platform I would trust and wished.

    My rally dreams really picked up the pace in September of 2017. I managed to buy a bike, that I was after for a while, but just couldn't find a good example before. This bike has proved itself over the years for its reliability in all conditions, easy maintenance and abundance of upgrade parts. My choice for rally steed was the 2006 KTM EXC450, the last of its Racing breed, before KTM turned too commercial.
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    The bike was in mint condition for its age, no matter that it already did 2 Croatia Rally's in Primostren and a few other rides with the previous owner.
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    Fast forward to the winter of 2017/2018. Parts for my Raid build started flying in, from HDB tower, to bearings, rebuild kits and navigatinon. My whole bike build was based on used rally parts from community here of or rally page on FB, with exception of navigation gear and rear fuel tank. I don't want to bore you with all the bike build related stuff as there are plenty of those on the forum (and you can always ask for details if need be), so I will just leave you with some pictures. Basically everything on the frame/carb/suspenison was checked, replaced and rebuilt, the engine only got a preventive valve check and fresh fluids and filters.
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    While I was building the bike, I made quite a few posts around in different threads on this great forum, so here is a navigation view from behind the bars and my first test of the bike on MX track is here.

    Before I post pictures of the finished bike I would like to say that this build would not be possible without help of the community on this forum and FB group. And as I have mentioned in a different thread, a big thank you and a special mention goes out to some great people in this community, that had stepped up and put the extra effort in helping me out with the build:
    @640 Armageddon from Aurora Rally Equipment
    @alongat from TripleClampMoto
    @Tomaz from F2R - Free to Ride
    @schattat from RNS - Rally Navigation Solutions

    Here it is, as beautiful as it will ever be:
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    Next time: 2. Rally info and arrival at bivouac... stay tuned :super
    #1
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  2. alongat

    alongat Fesh Fesh

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    Awesome mate!

    @keener



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #2
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  3. webnetxpress

    webnetxpress DakarEnduro

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    Nice bike! I love the KTM RFS motors. I still think my '03 450 hits harder than my '13 500!
    Looking forward to reading about your races! I'm preparing right now for the Intercontinental Rally in January 2019. 6000km from Spain to Dakar, 2 weeks. I will be racing a KTM 450 rally.
    #3
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  4. Mad Cow

    Mad Cow Dakar Addict!

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    Nice one! I too race a 2006 RFS, mine started as a 450 but the previous owner converted it to a 525, he also raced the Hellas Rally on it.

    Since then apart from various UK rallies (all follow the arrow style events with no navigation) I have done the Tuareg Rally in 2015 (3rd in class) and the Tour of Portugal in 2016 and 2017 (13th and 18th overall) so there's life in the old dog yet (I hope that applies to the rider too :D )

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    #4
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  5. MadM

    MadM Dreamer Supporter

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    Thanks! :beer

    I prefer bikes with long stroke and without unnecessary electronics (read injection and all its crap) so the RFS still and will be the only option for me. A 450 Rally will most likely remain just a dream :cry

    That sounds like a real adventure, will follow you with interest next year :super

    Long live RFS :pope I too have plans for a future 525 or 540 conversion :hide
    I so envy you UK folks for your Rally championship, it is highly illegal to ride off-road in my country so we do what we can in the woods, while making sure police doesn't catch us. :mulie
    #5
  6. MadM

    MadM Dreamer Supporter

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    2 First steps into rally world

    So what is Bosnia Rally? Bosnia Rally is a roadbook training camp, where emphasis is on navigation and rally experience without the time and race schedule pressure. Its organizers are also present here on advrider. So if anyone has any specific questions about the event, please contact them Bosniarally, I am only giving you a user experiance here ;)


    How did I end up on such and event, considering I was talking big names before like Hellas, Serres and Albania? Well, long story short, in November I fell asleep behind the wheel and wrecked my car. So most of my rally budget went into repairs of the car, it was a big blow, but one of my own doing. This meant that all the big events just went out the window, well, down the roadside rail guard actually... I searched far and wide around google and European rally scene, Croatia Rally in Primostren was sold out, Baja Hungarian wasn't too interesting,... I almost gave up. After some e-mails back and forth with the organiser it was a done deal and a cheap one at 500€ including 5x bed with breakfast.

    That is enough about that. After consulting Google maps, I realised an early start will be needed to get there in time.
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    Just shy of 500km and 7h of driving through Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia finally got me to the base camp, or better base hotel just outside the town of Kupres. Adria Ski Hotel that was our base cam is located a tad under 1200m above sea level, isolated and peaceful with a thunderous roar of motorcycles one week a year.

    After registration and hotel check-in I got the the bivouac and park right next to a guy with 2017 450 RFR :D I just had to :hide
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    Quickly unloaded thew bike and got it through technical check. It wasn't all that smooth sailing, after all the work put into the bike, I had a dead rear light :eyes oh well, fix it and passed.
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    A panorama photo of the staging area, though still only half full
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    Ohh the irony, when Yamaha Off-road experience bring you KTM's to ride :lol3:jack :imaposer:rofl P.S.: Sorry Yamaha guys :hide
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    After everything was done, I went to my room for a shower and a change of clothes. Got bored in the lobby and went to check on my bike, I was a bit paranoid. When I got the bivouac I was quite surprise to see another Slovenian license plate. I was dead sure I was the only one here.
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    We quickly became friends, fixed his ICO that was acting up and went for a beer. Soon it was time for roadbook basics theory and riders briefing.
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    Two hours passed like nothing. It was interesting hearing it from the pro's. Now it was time to colour the book to our own desire. Try imagining a group of 70 riders storming into hotel restaurant, with rolls of paper and markers in their hands, ordering beer and colouring away like little children. It was a sight to see :D Here is my attempt :)
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    Afterwards it was time to mount it into the F2R 730, garbing a few more beers with the peeps there and going to bed. Day one proved to be quite challenging, from navigation to terrain.

    To be continued....

    Photos from day 0 on the organisation FB page are here.
    #6
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  7. MadM

    MadM Dreamer Supporter

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    I apologise for taking such a long break... I didnt forget about my commitment here, just been swamped at work, just before my vacation...

    So, lets carry on to day 1 on the bike.

    It was quite a short night, colouring and mounting the road book and drinking beer made it hard to get out of bed in the morning, especially since I am not a morning person :eyes I woke up all sore, everywhere... Bed was like a high quality oak plank and pillow resembled a brick :fpalm a torture device for next 5 nights. First thing to do in the morning was a big breakfast, since I didn't know how the day will go. Next, picking up a wiped out GPS with some helpful coordinates loaded by the orga crew.

    At the evening briefing we have collectively decided not to start by numbers as it should be, but you could start when ever you were ready and time stamp from the minute you started. this was because a lot of us were new and most on too big bikes (1200GS), so we let the pro's on smaller bikes ahead and in doing that avoided unnecessary risks with overtaking in tight spots. Of course, the adrenaline in me was pumping at insane levels and I was one of the first at the start. But before that, a mandatory posing picture with the bike, before I ruin it :D
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    Slovenian duo at the rally :clap What is interesting to see here is the fact we both use the same 13L powerparts tank, but different rally setups. Full rally fairing makes the bike look huge compared to my HDB setup.
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    Start procedure went with 2 riders starting together in 30s intervals. After anxiously waiting for our start. Soon the time came... 3... 2... 1... GO GO GO... and we were off, down the track, towards unknown terrains and new experiences. We were speeding down the grassy track to first turn at kilometre 1, when my bike suddenly dies. Crap, I must have missed the gear. Kick start out and started kicking it. Why kick it? Well, 2 days before departure I figure out that my brand new battery has a collapsed cell in it and I had to take my old one that could barely keep the navigation operational :fpalm :baldy It took me around 10min to kick start the bike, couldn't figure out what was the problem, since it always started with 1-2 kicks at home.

    With the bike running, we head out on a hunt for other riders that passed us. We were on a fast flowing grassy track with puddles here and there, our pace was high and quickly got to a nice wooden rocky twin track winding up the mountain. Half way up, in the middle of the hill my bike dies again. What the FXXX is wrong with the bike... I was cursing in my helmet and thinking of burning the damn thing on the spot... Freaking 8 months of work went into it and it died on me twice on first 15km of the rally. I was furious... :kboom:kboom:kboom A long minute goes past and the bike itself shows me what the problem is and gives up a bit of white smoke from the rads. Idiot me, I forgot to turn the fan on before we headed out and I boiled it twice, complete user error here. So with the fan on, the engine cooled and it started like it should, first kick, I was a happy camper again and went on the hunt for others, especially my Slovenian mate, since we got separated.

    A few fast kilometres later and a lot passed riders later I came up to a dude on a heavily modified CRF1000 (build still in progress). I followed him for a while, than saw an opportunity and passed him, thinking I can ride faster on a smaller bike. As it later turned out, I was wrong, he was waaay faster than me on that 998Rally bike. But it was all good, we rode together for next few hours.
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    We had a good flow to our riding and were eating up kilometres, all the way to a steep rocky downhill that change the course of the day for me. I lost the front end on one of the rocks and went down hard :muutt With a corner of my eye I saw something flying from the bike, before I landed in the rocks. I got up quickly, unharmed thanks to my protection gear. Mato, 998Rally rider, came to me to check me out if I was OK, and helped pick my bike up. The thing flying past my head was my 60csx GPS unit that I broke off in the fall. I also bent the hell out of my nav gear plate. With all twisted up, we rode off, now with him up front and me following. Since I couldn't navigate and he was way faster than me, I soon found myself lost somewhere in the green hills of Bosnia. I lost all track of where I was and also all tire marks on the track were gone. This was a sign for me to stop, take a breather and find out where I am. Aftermath of the fall, zip ties are a riders best friend in situations like this :D
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    While I was fixing my navigation stuff a group of 3 riders on CRF1000 passed me, which was strange. I consulted my GPS and found out I landed on the edge of a bypass for bigger bikes, lucky me. Quickly started the bike and went after them, now following a red line on the GPS instead of RB. Soon after the bypass ended I was back on RB track and following the tulips again. Track was great after this, from stony climbs to beautiful single trails I was loving it at this point. I wouldn't like to be here on my 950ADV though :D
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    Yet again I made a rookie error and got lost... I was way to focused on going fast and not navigating... At this point I lost count on how many times I got lost today. The bad part of losing my heading was that the last detour I took, was up a wrong hill on a 8km long rock garden that was brutal on my body and bike. Worst of all, I had to go back down those 8km of rocks... At that point I was beat, I couldn't navigate and ride anymore, my brain was toast. So I followed another rider on a 701, he might be a bit slower, but had navigation figured out. After a few passed wet ridges we came up to another grassy field, I regained my strengths and went flying down the trail again, but looking back on the other rider, since now we were riding together.

    After a big clay like puddle he suddenly wasn't behind me anymore. I turned back, too look for him. He went down hard in the clay like soil with E-09 tires. Parked my bike, helped him get himself and the mammoth that is 701 up. We took a breather after that, he was quite shaken up with a sore ankle, but in good spirit. I took the opportunity for some photos, since scenery was AMAZING.
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    We saddled back up and went slowly on, we were only 15km away from camp now. Got back on gravel and the last track that took us to the finish. At the bivouac I quickly find Mitja and we went for a beer. After doing 50km more that the track, I really needed it :drink

    Next up shower, briefing, RB colouring, more beer, a quick nap and it was Day 2 already.

    Stay tuned ;)
    #7
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  8. MadM

    MadM Dreamer Supporter

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    Day 2

    After the mayhem of day 1 it was time to start day 2 with a different plan and a clearer head. We were lucky to have a beautiful sunny start to a short and very fast stage.
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    We were up early, taking care of the bikes and some chores on them. Mitja had to install his roadbook for the day...
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    ...and I needed to tighten some bolts that got loose the other day. Had to improvise a bit, since I couldn't get to bolt head due to RB already installed.
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    Photo credit: Reinhold Wenzel

    Mandatory zip ties on the GPS, they held it on better than OEM mounting :D
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    One of the event sponsors was very kind and provided MX jerseys for all riders. It was a nice surprise and a group picture was in order.
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    Photo credit: Bastian Benjamin Brüsecke

    After all that hard morning work, it was time for a quick nap, before the start of the day :rofl
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    It was a beautiful and hot day today, a splash in the puddle was a refreshment, though a smelly one, since it was still water in the middle of the grasslands :puke2
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    Photo credit: Reinhold Wenzel

    There was quite a lot of pressure on me today. Since Mitja had troubles with his old ICO, I had to navigate for 2 today. I don't want to brag or anything :hide but my navigation for day 2 was spot on :clap:clap:clap Was very happy with my performance on this day. Terrain on the stage varied from wide gravel roads, to flowing single track through grasslands filled with wild horses and amazing views.
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    As I said before, today's stage was really fast, we were pulling speeds up to 120km/h+ and the PRO's still went by us like we were standing still. But with all that speed, comes troubles. Today that was a collision between one of our riders and a car on a narrow village road. Rumours in the bivouac were that the rider went flying over the car and broke his hip, his RabelX equipped Yamaha wasn't in any better state...
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    We crossed the finish line of the day at around 15:00. That meant that I had time for some mandatory bike work. I changed air filters everyday, but after 2 hard days riding, it was time for a oil and oil filter change too. After draining the oil, I found some clutch derbies in it, I was quite rough on the poor thing.
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    Next up, laying the bike on its side and changing the oil filters. That way, I didn't make a mess on the bike and around my parking spot.
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    Fresh filters with new o-rings on the covers and I was done for the day.
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    Now with ample time to spare, it was time for a well deserved beer, before a tasty all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner and briefing for day 3. It was whispered around the bivouac that day 3 will be a marathon day, with 400+km of riding.
    #8
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  9. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Fantastic! For sure you picked the right place to post this. Thanks.
    #9
  10. MadM

    MadM Dreamer Supporter

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    Well, I got side tracked with my report, work and home improvement projects took its toll on me. Before I can properly continue my story, here is a video clip of Day 1 from an inmate that had a gopro.
    #10
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  11. bobone

    bobone Been here awhile

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    hi mate! nice report!

    just one question: what are those fork protectors? do you have a code or a model number? thanks
    #11
  12. MadM

    MadM Dreamer Supporter

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    Polisport wrap round guards, I think the part number is: 8398500001 for orange ones.
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  13. MadM

    MadM Dreamer Supporter

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    Here are the other 3 days captured on video, thanks to @ershn8d
    Day 2


    Day 3


    Final day, day 4

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    Here is where I will leave you in regard of Bosnia Rally 2018. Now I am turning to my 2019 project that I will soon share with you in this thread. I will try and keep a good track of everything from preparations to the main event and hopefully inspire someone that is in doubts at the moment to try it themselves too :)

    Stay tuned for more ;)
    #13
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  14. MadM

    MadM Dreamer Supporter

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    50337275_2049752258413588_486489721552240640_n (1).jpg
    *Photo credit: Rally Albania
    Now I seriously need to get off my a$$ and start with some training :)
    #14
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  15. choutos

    choutos Been here awhile

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    And get some cameras to share everything with us after the rally ;)
    #15
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  16. Toe

    Toe Grab your gear

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    Great to see everything so far and best of luck in the future!
    This couldn't have come at a better time as I'll hopefully be following somewhat in your tracks this year :beer
    #16
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  17. josip01

    josip01 Adventurer

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    My number is 42 :)
    #17
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  18. choutos

    choutos Been here awhile

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    Is there live tracking in this event? I will be following #42 and #51.
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  19. MadM

    MadM Dreamer Supporter

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    I will take as many photos as I can, even from preparation and training days. My 450 will get a few treats before the rally and my first training event is just 3 weeks away, though there is still snow outside :D

    If you need any info or help, I will gladly help out if I have the necessary knowledge.

    Great! Can't wait to meet you!

    I really don't know, I think there are daily updates. Though, I wouldn't bother following me on timing :eyes I will be glad to get to the finish line :hide
    #19
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  20. choutos

    choutos Been here awhile

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    Are you on your own or with a team supporting you?
    #20