Archive for October, 2009

Training in the Pyrenees and Morocco
October 17, 2009

Yam pyrenees

So here she is, the first trip out.  Clean, new and sparkling.  Not yet quite ready for the off, but large fuel tank on the front and navigation stuff so i can have a practise ready the road book in Morocco.  I had signed up for Patsys Pyrenees Party, which is basically an orienteering weekend on bikes.  I was in a team with my sponsor Sir Charles and a guy called Rob who had never ridden off road.  As i’m a BMW instructor the organisers had decided that the best person Rob could be with was me.  The event was fantastic, map reading to hidden checkpoints along some great trails,  through some gorgerous abandoned mountain villages, rocky trails and river crossings.   The views were great!!

Views of Pyrenees

After 2 fantastic days riding we flew to Morocco.  Our bikes were transported down by Team Desert Rose.  We were in Morocco for 4 days riding and our guides were Clive (Zippy) Town and Patsy Quick.  For me it was a chance to find out what speed i should be riding and whether i could navigate on a Dakar road book.  (Previously the Dakar has been through Morocco and they had some old road books).  The first day was on the GPS, however it had rained quite alot and after getting our bikes through a couple of deep rivers we were told that a village we were headed to was totally blocked off and we had to turn back.  We had ridden for a couple of hours so back we went, then road for a couple of hours before getting to an off – road section again then back just before dark.  A great first day and a great hotel!!!  That was a real treat for me  as previous experiences in Morocco had been camping or sharing with alot of other rally riders.

Day 2 was on the road book and ended in the Sand dunes of Mersouga.  Me and Zippy rode together and he made me navigate which was ok.  Some of the time i was just praying i was going the right way, the road book was pretty accurate and i just kept in my head ‘Trust you own navigation’.  Zip told me that it’s very easy to follow other people and get lost and that you’ve got to keep your head and go which way you think is right.  I once had that experience on the Turaeg rally where i followed Nick Plumb and Matt Hall instead of trusting my own instinct and we ended up really lost on the edge of a cliff.

We got into the sand dunes just as it was starting to get dark and gave my Yam the first sand dunes of many its going to experience over the next couple of months.  It did Ok and the power was fine but i was having problems with it stalling a couple of times.

The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn so we could watch the sunrise from the top of one of the big dunes.  Patsy took Sir Charles and he made it to the top.  We spent a couple of hours riding around before breakfast and i fell off and the bike wouldnt start.  Bugga!!!  Charles had some fantastic offs flying off the top of the dunes.  I dont think he could see the tops of them and it wasnt on purpose.  My fuse had blown so after a few kicks got it going and get out of the sanddunes.


I also quickly took a group of tourists on camels for a tour.

Camel Tour


We had another Dakar length day and i was getting really into the swing of it but then the desert bit me and i had a big off.  Basically i was riding pretty fast and it just spat me off as i turned.  I was really winded and couldnt breath for a while.  The bikes nav bracketts had bent but it still ran alright, all part of it i suppose.

Last day was again a long one and my bike kept blowing fuses everytime we stopped so ended up having to kick it all the time which was hard work but OK.  The end of the day was abit of a nightmare as we all got split up but we all made it back alive and kicking.  

A fantastic trip, well worth doing both training wise and seeing how the bike ran.  Thanks to Team Desert Rose for all there hard work in organising it and driving all that way!!!!!