So ... what’s the story?
Monday – my motorbike on top of the dune in Bowshar coughed, jumped 3 times and stopped. No resuscitation helped, can’t start Wednesday – bothering Steve H. to bring me spark plug spanner Saturday - bothering Steve H. to bring me spark plug spanner Sunday - bothering Steve H. to bring me spark plug spanner Sunday evening – went to Steve to borrow spark plug spanner Monday morning – found disconnected cable from ignition coil Monday evening – bike is up and running, installed small tank Tuesday morning – mail from Nelson – Let’s go to Wahibas Tuesday – all day mails about spark plugs (well, first 5, next 76 usual moto-sh!te) Tuesday evening – took small tank off and put big one back Wednesday (apart of another spam about spark plugs) – usual faffing, packing, trying to navigate Nelson to my house (but it’s difficult via discharged gsm, huh?), rebuilding 1-bike trailer to 2-bikes trailer; that successfully managed we were off just before 8. Empty stomachs were filled up just after Fanja half an hour later. Then just usual procedure, drive thru nigh, camp spot after Mintirib, chit-chat and beer till 1:30. If not for 2 snoring motor bikers that silhouettes of 450s against sky full of stars would be quite romantic.
Thursday – were waked up by calling for Fajer (first morning prayer). Thermometer showed 14dgr, it was cold and everything wet dripping. Relatively relaxing breakfast and after 7 the bikes were unloaded in front of coffee shop in Mintirib. My bike started at first push of button – so all ok then, huh? Packing, getting dressed to full armour, locking trailer, more and more fafing. Then came fist glitch – my motorbike did not start. Battery gave up after several attempts.
So 70 kicks from me, 16 from Nelson (really willful creature... Honda, not Nelson) and then another 23 – and Honda roared to life. Yes, motorbiker with dripping sweat from nose is great entertainment for watching by-standing locals dressed in kaftans. But off we went (almost 8:00) and cruised to Al Wafi to start point. Nelson started his helmet cam but as it became his good habit – it was discharged... Plan was to do Wahiba Challenge 09 route, but continue to west edge (near WC07 or 08 end point). Topped up the petrol and off we went (9ish). On track thru Woodlands petrol started to come out from below my tank cap – that soon sorted (just sealing came out of its place) and that was all the problems we had. We avoided flock of goats just making their way up the dune and we were up. Sand was wet and hard – riding was very easy. First part thru small dunes went quite well, Nelson paced himself and all was ok. In First point we were around 10, in Camp spot at 11, just comfortably cruising.
I had 3 “technical dismounts” – one of it - just front wheel decided to go other way then my body, landing hard, my elbow buried to my ribcage, ouch. I left Nelson to lead to try his navigation skills. Not even finished 1 km I found him extracting himself from deep bowl just hidden after small dune. That his LOOK was priceless
We continued and soon dunes were higher and valleys wider.
Riding was really easy and at 12 we were already chewing on our lunch below the tree near 1000 night camp having longer break to rest, locals in pick-up (that’s 2wd!) revving it up the dune (dune bashing, engine trashing, right?) usual background. I remember that dune from WC few years back – all teams had to drive up the valley to find easier incline/pass. Now huge dark spots of wet sand were visible on the dune.
We just roared up the dune without glitch, Nelson even pulling (unwanted) wheelie. Now riding really started to be fun even if we felt already softer sand in places. We were riding much faster, then steep slipface (down one I changed the gear by mistake to neutral and freewheeled down... scary), diving down, speeding thru valley and roaring up to the sky again on the opposite side, top of the dune, small and shallow dunes and again slipface, diving down... and again and again and again.... really good fun. When we were approaching west point it was even pity to finish so I turned northwards riding bowls on dune like U-ramp. But all comes to end – it was 14:00 and we were on our end way-point.
Short break in shadow of the tree so Nelson can replenish nicotine. Then only track northward, trying to squeeze what possible from throttle. Near Areesh camp we hit tarmac (unbelievable what they do for tourists) but as soon as we were out of dunes we turned to wadi (lots of pools and mad) and sandy track going on outskirts of dunes. Around 3 we were back to car. Great ride. Officially confirmed: Nelson has his fist E-W Wahiba crossing below the belt, well done indeed, he took it easy and it was easy. But as he stated: with soft sand it would be different story. Well done mate – u deserved that curry in Mintirib.