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Amageza Rally Experience by Roger Sheffer 2012
article Roger Scheffer hails from KZN and he is a qualified Country Trax Off-road instructor.

The Amageza Rally Run is a navigation and endurance challenge for dual-sport motorbikes equal or exceeding 450cc. The rally run is based on events such as the Dakar Rally and Baja 1000 mile, with long distance stages and navigation provided by road-books and GPS waypoints.
Written by Roger Sheffer

This run is for a physically super fit & more advanced rider, as the terrain varies from high-speed gravel, to deep sand, jeep track and rocky, washed-out farm roads. Each stage is broken into one or more ‘liaison’ and ‘special’ legs. The run is held in the spirit of adventure and is targeted at the rider who wants to test his abilities to the extreme in a meticulously planned event.

With 2012 being the 2nd year for the event, there will be two 1-day stages in and around the Sutherland area over the 28th and 29th of April 2012. Between 50 and 100 participants, who successfully completed one of the 5x Amageza Qualifiers, will take part in this extreme dual-sport motorcycle challenge.

This is Roger's story .....

After 4 months preparing my BMW 450 and converting the bike from an enduro machine to a full spec Rally bike by Howard Scott and Clayton Scott of TRTEC Adventure combined with months of personal fitness training (Mountain biking, Pilates and lots of time Off-road riding) I set off to Sutherland in the Karoo for the Amageza Rally. For those of you not familiar with Amageza, its not just any old rally - it's tough and different.... read more here

The conversion entailed fitting a long range fuel tank of 30 liters, front fairing, road book holder, rally odometer, rerouting the exhaust under the engine, fitting an extra strong bash plate, strengthening the shocks, recovering the saddle and much more....

The bike was finally ready for its first test ride three days before we had to leave for Sutherland, I collected the bike from Howard in Pietermaritzburg and set off on a pre planned 380 km route from PMB out to Weenen and back, all off the beaten track. I arrived in Greytown halfway around the route. When I stopped to get a cooldrink I smelt a strong smell of petrol, Looking down I saw to my horror the fuel tank had burst, This was due to a pressure build up in the fuel tank. Knowing we had no time left to remove the tank and also no one would be prepared to weld a fuel tank that had 30 liters of fuel in it, I made a plan. Breather holes were drilled in the filler caps and the cracks in the tank where filled in with Q-Bond and Pratley Steel. This worked a treat. The tank never leaked again and completed the grueling three day Amageza without further problems.

After the test ride the bike was washed and sent to Sign Worx in PMB where Tony fitted the eye catching decals and signage.

The next day we were off to Sutherland with a ready-to-race bike on the trailer.

On route we met up with Darryl Curtis, also on his way to Sutherland to take part in the Amageza. One thing I learned about Darryl is that everything he does is done flat out. Traveling down the N1 From Colesberg to Sutherland on his tail required concentration of note. I am glad we never went through any speed traps. As for the road construction on the highway a Stop/Go means slow down slightly, check for a gap, then floor it. :-)

Arriving in Sutherland we reported for the necessary scruteneering and registration and then in the evening attended the rider briefing and where given our road books, These are exactly the same format as Dakar and the route one rides is set out on these road books. Navigation is done entirely by means of Road Book, Odometer and a Compass. No GPS tracks are given to us, but we had to have a ( clean ) GPS mounted on the bike along with our other navigation equipment. This was for the organizers to confirm that we passed the pre-set hidden waypoints en route. The GPS where handed in each night to the organizers for route download .

Each evening after rider briefing Darryl and I would head to our bikes to highlight the road book routes as well as danger points then load the road book into the road book holder and retire to bed by 22h00.

Each day started at 06h00, and I promise you that Sutherland is not the warmest place in SA to be sitting on a bike at 06h00 in the dark waiting to head off into the harsh Karoo....

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Riders where set of in pairs and Darryl and I where the 8th group to be set off. It did not take us too long to catch up to the front riders. I tried to stay with Darryl, but man, he is toooooo fast. I decided that risking a broken neck was not an option and set my own pace and concentrated on correct navigation and staying on my bike. We reached speeds of 170 km/ hour . Very scary when this is on rocky twisty disused 4x4 tracks, plus having to look down at the road book and reset the odo after every turn.

Distances ridden where: Day 1: 190 km, Day 2: 490 km and Day 3: 380 km.

There were 70 entrants. The final result was

1st John Webb from KTM Cape Town
2nd Roger Scheffer TRTEC BMW 450
3rd Rickus Vermeulen KTM 640
4th Darryl Curtis Broadlink KTM

What happened to Darryl, you may ask. Darryl was first on day 1 & 2, then on day three we got to a check point half way through the special stage where there was supposed to be a marshal to check our rally cards, There was no marshal there. A local farmer sent us 10 km down the wrong road to get to the check point that wasn't there. We turned around, rode back and then found the marshal. By this time 20 or so riders had passed. Darryl decided he was not going risk injury chasing these riders, (he's booked for the Morocco Rally in May ) and decided to enjoy the scenery. He sent me off in pursuit. I managed to pull back 18 places and finished 3rd on day 3. Daryll came in on 10th on day 3.

All in all this was a fantastic experience and to have learned from Darryl and the experience gained and to have ridden with him was something money cannot buy.

In addition to the above, this race and experience would not have been possible without the help of my sponsors. I would like to thank you all for the assistance received.

TRTEC Adventures: Bike Conversion and mechanical support
Aquelle Mineral Water: Water supply during the event
Jessica Moss: Pilates and Fitness Instructor
Buffalo Security: Financial Support
Sign Worx Pmb: Decals and Race colors
Alfie Cox Racing: Road Bookholder

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