The wrap up of the Team CMG diaries and the CMG Online awards for various acts of accomplishment, bravery, stupidity and crashing!
TURNING UP THE HEAT
We’ve lost valuable time at the lunch stop in the past P2Ds, mainly because it’s when fatigue really starts to set in, not helped by the addition of a chunk of nosh in the belly. This year is no exception, although I’m pleasantly surprised by how much less tired I feel than in previous years.
Still, it’s likely 45 minutes before we’re back on the bikes (a good 20 minutes too long, something that I’ll take the blame for) and as Costa heads off to find his own way to Dacre via some less arduous roads, the remaining members of Team CMG make their way out of Kinmount and towards the infamous water crossing that signals the start of the really rough stuff.
It’s not a horribly deep crossing, but it’s a bit of a psychological mind fooker as it bends midway so you enter it without being able to see the end. For Jim and myself at least, having ridden it two times before, we know it well, but higher water levels and a bottom full of misaligned logs mean that it is more of a rodeo ride than normal.
Pausing at the bend to contemplate the next section, both Jim and JP get stuck in between some log gaps. Jim is fortunate to have JP behind him to help him get free, but that leaves JP on his own, spinning the rear wheel relentlessly while Jim and myself can only watch from the other side.
Okay, so we could wade back, but it’s deep water and my boots are still relatively dry … Hey, JP’s a fighter, that’s why we invited him on the team in the first place. He’ll be fine.
[Editor’s Note – there’s a short video of the Kinmount crossing on You Tube]
From here on the trail gets tough. It’s rutted, rocky, twisty, full of muddy water holes and humps strewn with basketball sized boulders. Under normal circumstances it’s a fun ride, but after 12 hours of slog it’s a battle to keep the mind sharp enough to plot the right course through the chaos, and the body standing to help absorb the shocks.
We’re not far into it when we catch up to another team who are blasting along at about as fast a pace as I’d care to do. This is perfect as now I no longer need to keep one eye on the GPS and I can also let my fellow contenders show me the best way through … or not, which can be even more useful.
About an hour in we come across an old friend, Eduardo, who’s looking a bit beaten and is trying to put his front end back together with tape. He’s just had a head-on with an ATV, and although both parties came out relatively intact, his Honda XR650 needs some TLC before continuing on.
It also serves as a good reminder that we are not alone on these trails, and at any time you have to be prepared for a big honking ATV to appear around each and every corner – yet another good reason to follow another team.
MEMORIES OF 2005
Just as I’m beginning to think we might actually get through this and make Bail 2 in ample time, Jim pulls a PD ‘05.
PD ‘05 you say? Well, during the inaugural Paris-Dacre ride of 2005 Jim was riding his aging KLR600 when he managed to dump it on some Canadian shield and split the rad open. Although we managed to bodge it back together and crawl out of the trails, our first P2D attempt was over (though I must admit, I wasn’t too upset about it at the time).
This time I happen to be directly behind him as he takes a left-hander too wide and slides his KLR off the edge of the trail. The bike’s left side digs into the sandy edge and stops immediately, catapulting Jim off and onto the trail directly in front of me.
It’s so dramatic I initially think he’s making theatre out of the event and so I sit there unsympathetically telling him that he’s buggered that one up and maybe he should shut off his still running bike?
When he doesn’t get up, it dawns on me that this might actually be a more serious crash, catapult and cry, but by that time JP has parked up, turned off the KLR and is already tending to Jim.
Hmhhh, Riding 101 – always assume the worst.
We pull the KLR out of the embankment and it’s obvious that the radiator has taken a whack. Thankfully, the slightly crushed looking rad is showing no signs of leakage, though the fan housing is quite bent and preventing the fan from turning.
Oh dear, time for a little roadside surgery. The housing is cut/bent/hacked away until the fan is free once more and we’re ready to go again. Trouble is, the incident has cost us almost an hour and our pace has slowed as a result.
We finally break free of the woods at 6:00 pm and arrive at Bail 2 shortly after.
Overall we’re now two to three hours behind the pace, but with less than half an hour before the cut-off time for this bail. However, we’re running low on gas and JP is on fumes. The next on-route gas stop is another 80 km away, but there’s apparently an off-route one about 20 minutes up the road.
Twenty minutes up, five minutes to gas and twenty back … bugger.
I sit there for a few minutes trying to go through the variables and possibilities, but it’s no good. Either way we slice it, we can’t go on and have no choice but to accept defeat and the long, long ride back to Dacre by pavement.
Once again Paris2Dacre has beaten us, though this time we are no further ahead than in the previous rally. I am despondent and spend the next hour and a half switching between cursing in my helmet, feeling defeated, and going through what we could do for the next P2D to ensure a finish.
Yes, the retirement plans have already been flushed down the toilet and as Team CMG sits bleary eyed and of aching limb with all the other rally-finishers at the Lower Dacre community centre, we begin to hatch a new plan for victory in 2010.
Well, a finish maybe…
CMG ONLINE P2D 2008 AWARDS
At the risk of sounding all lovey-dovey, anyone who gives the P2D a shot deserves some recognition for their efforts, but here are the CMG Awards for outstanding achievement/silliness at this year’s event:
For stepping up to the plate
This year’s Paris 2 Dacre Rally was the third such event. The first took place in 2005, the brainchild of John Baxter, with the help of the Ontario Dual Sport Club. In 2006 it expanded to include the assistance of Rally Connex, after which it switched to a biannual event with the 2008 rally being organized solely by the good folks of Rally Connex.
With that in mind we’d like to present this CMG Award to Kevin, Linda and all the other great people and volunteers of Rally Connex, without whom we wouldn’t be doing such enjoyably testing, tiring and tumultuous things.
Finishing sans testosterone
She was part of Team Parker Brothers, headed by her dad, Dave Grummett, who also owns Parker Brothers Powersports in Toronto.
Finishing within the allotted time
For the first time ever, one team made it to Dacre within the officially allotted time of 16 hours (and with a massive 2 hours and 11 minutes to spare!), that being Team Orange Krush! The team had large tanks, communicators and detailed plans, but rumour has it that they actually fitted catheters as well so that they didn’t need any pee breaks (much to the suffrage of any riders following too closely behind).
Did I also mention that they also had one of the oldest average ages for a team in the event? Just goes to show that experience will beat youth in this type of event.
Least suitable machine to do it on
Has to go to Lawrence Hacking on the Honda Varadero (although Costa gets an honourable mention). Lawrence managed to navigate the Varadero all the way to Bail 2 (embarrassingly getting there shortly before Team CMG) at which point he was forced to retire due to a hole in the bike’s sump – signified when the oil light came on in trails!
Lawrence being Lawrence he managed to repair it sufficiently with epoxy and ride the pavement back to Dacre to ensure he finished on two wheels, not on the back of four.
The aptly named Team Kaboom gets this one. Riding a fleet of KTM 950 Adventures, they lose one rider who drops his bike on a rocky hill-climb, falls against a log and breaks his arm … then rides himself to hospital! Then shortly after another rider T-bones another both badly injuring collar-bones.
What’s left of the Team decides to bail at Kinmount.
Taking out the wildlife
This is a split between Ray Sticklend of Team Trail Tours, who managed to hit and kill a deer in the foggy morning section and Eduardo Masionis of Team Fear, who managed to hit (but thankfully not kill) an ATVist in the afternoon.
Both escaped relatively unscathed, with Ray wisely calling it quits though Eduardo taped back up the front end of his XR650 and duly made it all the way to Bail 3!
P2D 2008 STATS
Over the years the event has seen good growth, with a total of 104 entries this year, of which 98 made it to the start and 33 officially finishing (that’s doing the whole route without taking a bail). Bailees totaled 55, meaning that 10 poor soles never made it to the end by either route.
The numbers of people finishing is up significantly over previous years which is thanks to a shift in attitude of the participants, with a palpable determination to finish amongst many, despite being one of the toughest events to date.
But how did the OEMs do? Good question, of the 33 bikes that officially finished, here are the numbers by make and model:
KTM 450 exc – 8
Suzuki DRZ400 – 7
Honda XR650 – 4
KTM 525 exc – 3
KTM 640 Adventure – 3
BMW 650 X-Challenge – 3
Kawasaki KLR650 – 2
KTM 640 Enduro – 1
Yamaha WR450 – 1
Husqvarna TE610 -1
That makes 15 for KTM, 7 for Suzuki, 4 for Honda, 3 for BMW, 2 for Kawasaki and 1 each for Yamaha and Husqvarna.
- All the members of Team CMG (Jim, Costa and JP) for doing what they could to try and get this thing done once and for all.
- Calabogie Peaks Resort for providing the very plush bed prior to partaking in all this chaos.
- KTM Canada for the long loan of the KTM 690 and 530 so that we could get a training session in on the Algonquin 2 day prior to the P2D.
- Roxspeed FX bar risers for making the 690 perfect for the lanky ‘arris.
- Jockos Beach Resort for providing the warm and comfy bed at the end of all this chaos.
- Orr Lake Golf Course for the R&R on the way (sorry for leaving all those divots across the course).
- Bruce Noble for the use of his workshop to fix the KLR bearings and his farm to provide the starting location.
- And finally, Rally Connex (especially Kevin and Linda) and the crew of volunteers for putting on such a well organized and stellar event in the first place. Without this kind of dedication we’d all be a lot worse off.