Huge thanks to Country Trax, especially to the highly talented Leon and Wayne who not only made the impossible seem “doable”, but made it a super fun weekend.

The course was held at the off-road academy centre of Klipbokkop near Worcester in Western Cape. About 20 of us attended with an assortment of outstanding bikes (apart from me on a bog standard KLR) such as BMW GS1200, KTM 990s, a touring tank spec GS 800 ridden by an Israeli and a Dakar spec KTM 690 which Leon showed on the last day how it could be ridden up the “Challenge”….. a sand track up a hill and back down again. A couple of guys did it on BMW GSA1200s just to shame the KTM 990 guys… but in fairness they could really ride.

Leon from Country Trax .. our off road riding instructor

Leon from Country Trax .. our off road riding instructor and guru

Riding over to Worcester for the Big Bike Sand Course with Leon and the guys from Country Trax

Riding over to Worcester for the Big Bike Sand Course with Leon and the guys from Country Trax

They make it look easy

They make it look easy

Superb food on course and all burnt up with physical exertion and adrenalin in the san

Superb food on course and all burnt up with physical exertion and adrenalin in the sand.

Days starts early and finishes late .. we did sand night riding as well just to

Days starts early and finishes late .. we did sand night riding as well just to push the limits.

An assortment of big bikes. I was riding 650 KLR but most people were on KTM 990 Adventures, and BMW GSA1200s. One guy on old KTM Dakar rallye

An assortment of big bikes. I was riding 650 KLR but most people were on KTM 990 Adventures, and BMW GSA1200s. One guy on old KTM Dakar rallye

The bikes all lined up

The bikes all lined up.

Night riding on sand and dunes... awesome fun

Night riding on sand and dunes… awesome fun

Night riders

Night riders

Course involved drifting, racing on sand, sliding,  riding slowly in deep sand , jumping, and climbing and descending dunes.

Course involved drifting, racing on sand, sliding, riding slowly in deep sand , jumping, and climbing and descending dunes.

Long days of fun... learning that the sand monster can be tamed and that its a mind game.

Long days of fun… learning that the sand monster can be tamed and that its a mind game.

Me riding the KLR which is actually a great adventure bike with good tyres like Metzler Karoos

Me riding the Kawasaki 650 KLR which is actually a great adventure bike with good tyres like Metzler Karoos

In the dunes

In the dunes

Doing some off road trail riding to hone skills

Doing some off road trail riding to hone skills

The chaps I did course with

The chaps I did course with

In the hills for advanced off road training to hone skills before tackling the sand

In the hills for advanced off road training to hone skills before tackling the sand

Trying out the KTM 990 Adventure that Fanny and I will both use

Trying out the KTM 990 Adventure that Fanny and I will both use.

Sand is about confidence... A big heavy bike is not ideal, but once you get the hang of it, its great fun and will inspire confidence for any surface on a RTW adventure

A big heavy bike is not ideal for riding on sand, but once you get the hang of it, its great fun and will inspire confidence for any surface, whether a round the world adventure across deserts and dunes, or an early morning ride off roading.

Taking a break before taking the dunes

Taking a break before taking the dunes.

We did a great circuit around the sand and dunes that surround a reservoir near Worcester. We stayed at 4x4 center over night.

We did a great circuit around the sand and dunes that surround a reservoir near Worcester. We stayed at 4×4 center over night.

Guys in dunes taking a break

Guys in dunes taking a break.

IMG_0256

Perfect training ground.

A briefing to review what we have done and fine tune what we should do.

A briefing to review what we have done and fine tune what we should do.

The final challenge ... it doesnt look as steep or difficult as it actually is.

The final challenge … it doesn’t look as steep or difficult as it actually is.

Jumping practice

Jumping practice

Fanny training on basic off road course

Fanny training on basic off road course.

Sliding practice

Sliding practice

Off road practice

Off road practice

I am now nursing very painful cracked ribs after coming off practicing what can best be described as ” drifting” … enormous fun sliding the back wheel out and carving up the sand …until you hit the ground.

I was woefully under equipped on the body armour front in my cheapie adventure suit and ankle boots and so the wind in my lungs and I parted company for a minute or so as I lay on the ground thinking … “not again”.  The last time my ribs were broken were by Fanny during boxing training last year.  Not sure who I fear most.. sand or Fanny??

The KLR .. a damn decent adventure bike and a third the cost of the KTM

I did invest (wisely) in a Leatt MotoGPX neck brace that I have to say will be de rigeur going forward.  The difference potentially between a hard fall and something that will put me in another set of wheels attached to a chair. Nuff said.

Great weekend, super crowd of like minded people, glorious location, good food, comfortable accommodation, and second to none instruction.  As Leon says the secret to mastering the sand monster is inside the helmet.

Photos at http://www.facebook.com/CountryTrax

About Rupert & Fanny's Big Bike Trip

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