I’ve been touched by the spirit!

I can now relate to teenage Elvis Presley walking into the revival tent getting swooped up by the feeling of something so overwhelming to an individual. My knees buckled. “Rubber-leg” dance moves over each whoop. Weightless rider. Women leaping to the air screaming. The authorities desperate to shut me down. The Rally organisers futile attempted to contain me.
You see…I was fortunate enough to be hosted at Airbnb PW. A ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ host. A host with vision, generosity and an all-around great spirit. Between our host and his trusty sidekick (aka the ladies’ man), we were spoilt with a pre-determined menu of burgers, schnitzel, sausages, and bacon-egg rolls. The Esky’s was like Spotify’s genre of music. A playlist of never-ending chilled thirst-quenching liquids.

                                                                      Airbnb PW (camp MADCAT setup)

Getting there…

All Rally participants were eager to make this a memorable experience. To ensure success advance preparation started months before with a call out on the Slack channel for improved roadbook manageability. Tim discovered “chubby buttons”. It turned out to be a great success. An easy, glove friendly option to scroll through the electronic roadbook.

Apart from the lucky few allowed early entrance to join Miles Davies training, the rest would have to wait for the gates to open at 4PM Friday afternoon. Now what is the trilogy of B? Bike, beer and babes. The time of day determines the order. 4 o’clock came around far too quickly.

Once in the gates it was easy to secure a high traffic, level space to erect MADCAT HQ. It made for plenty second flick looks. A real bike show. Old, new, rally and even motherships.

Shortly after getting the setup sorted to PW’s liking, we got our 1st taste of the catering to come for the weekend. Homemade burgers and coleslaw. This was followed by a rally briefing while enjoying golden and dark ale. Helps me hear better is my excuse. What’s yours?

The evenings were normally ended off in MADCAT HQ under the magnificent gazebo’s just chilling and nervously contemplating our performance the following day.

No Rally, no cry…

The next morning, I hardly had time to scratch my arse and there was a hot coffee accompanied by bacon-egg roll in my hand. No standing in long que’s guessing what was on the menu, no tasteless cafeteria style grub. Living large at ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Airbnb PW.
With stomachs full the Rally activities started in full swing. Sad about the previous year’s lack of participating in all events Peter was all gung ho. Flat track, enduro coarse and barrel race on the mornings menu for him.

Slight difference to previous year’s event, Saturday presented with a roadbook practise day. A shortened course to hone skill and equipment. Colin led out with precision for the 1st 18 km’s of the 35 km Skilled course. Rolf took over the navigation from there when Colin’s buttons started giving drama. A picturesque route (not pronounced root) with challenging hurdles to overcome.
The route (not pronounced root) proved to be challenging in sections. Another opportunity to identify what needs work. It quickly highlighted my lack of steep downhill skill. It’s come a long way but needed better execution with more confidence. In Dori’s words: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”.
A trained eye could easily spot the dark red on the slope graph insert below. Bitch of an uphill. Now picture this…Rider and steed come around a bend. The air filled with dust. Visible distance only mere meters. Rider and steed reached the middle hump only to find Christian parked on left and Johannes parked on right. WTF! With very little space between them, we manoeuvred to the middle. Colin and Rolf halfway up the next steep section. One man down and the other attempting to hold bike and retrieve at same time. A recipe for carnage.
I was knackered. Too hot, too thirsty, over it. Was gonna walk my bike up. Lucky a young fella offered to take the bike back down and ride it up. A relief beyond compare. All riders back down the hill then. Off ye go.
Attempt one in 1st gear failed. Probably should have warned him 1st is short. Back down. This time 2nd gear. With relief he cried success.
Next up, Johannes popped an unplanned wheelie on last 2 meters aaaannndd was up. Phew!
Christian next, perfect line choice as always. All the way up with flawless execution.
Rolf paid the piper for a poor line choice. No off but achieved success after an expert midway hill start.
“Where’s Colin”? I asked. “Colin turned back” was the reply. His previously injured shoulder acted up in a severe way. Pity, we only had 5 – 8 km’s left to go.

Altitude graph
Slope graph
Speed graph

                                                                        The big day…

Right. Early morning start. Get breakfast and coffee going. Peter had a mission and a big day ahead. The plan was to relief him of duties to just get going. 6:30 AM I was up. I was met with Peter who also got up early. There he was cooking bacon and eggs for one and all. Darn it!

Rolf, Christian, Johannes and Peter planned double rally. They left as soon as the gates opened. Among the 1st 10 riders out the gate.
Colin, Damian, Neil, Zora and I planned Balanced route (not pronounced root).
Jeff and Hal planned Cruiser route (not pronounced root). Some young fella asked to go along. Later that eve bragging that he was escorted by MADCATS.

Now what would an ORR be without my bike spewing and seeking attention. There we were, just like the times before, attempting to figure out what was the agony. A quick test revealed internal surgery was required.

Trapped between Hal-ible Lecter and Sannen-stein they demanded: “Scalpel please”! I handed the one a no 10 socket and the other a screwdriver.

A delicate operation. We carefully proceeded to open the guts (Fuel tank) and pull out the intestines (fuel pump and filter). With a covered up open wound we could step aside and work on the intestines (fuel assembly). The fuel filter was clogged with previous MADCAT good times. Too many I’m afraid.

Hal-ible Lecter used a small air pump to blow out the rubbish. Sannen-stein tested the currency and in no time, all put back together and sewed up we jump started it back to life.

“It’s alive, It’s alive”! Sannen-stein cried out.






 The boys are back…

I know he’d be a poor man if he never saw an eagle fly – John Denver

Colin’s bike got a jump start, my bike up and running. Damian, Neil and Zora patiently waiting through all this drama, but finally we were on our way. Balanced track better watch out. We were about to Thin Lizzy it’s ass. Boys are back in town; boys are back in tooowwwwn.

Whom ever worked out this route (not pronounced root) deserves credit. Well put out with one big challenge, nice flowing bits, spectacular scenery. Mastery at work.
Spot the challenging uphill on slope graph. Dubbed carnage hill by YouTubers. Damian, Zora and Neil spent an hour there saving souls. ORR spirit to be commended. Old mate Colin and Marty at the top waiting. Too scared the venture down will race their pacers.

Once on our way again it was mission finish. No way we were going to be DNF’s. Marty led, Colin led, Zora led, then repeat again. All will echo in my memory for eternity. No small celebration.