Scottish Enduros 2019 - www.scottishenduros.co.uk

 

AGADIR 2007 Supported by Wilderness Wheels wwlogo.jpg (5171 bytes)

 

Report on the 2007 Agadir Rally - entered by Mike Robertson and Paul Carlyle. Report by Mike .

This year’s event has been awaited with excitement all winter given there hasn’t much chance to get out on the bikes since the last Bon Accord event. The (now) usual formalities of securing an SACU letter, insurance, travel, entry fee and purchase of the odd new bit of gear and we were waiting to go down to get started. The travelling took most of the day on the Tuesday with the customary wait in Casablanca for the flight down to Agadir. We arrived at 10 minutes past midnight on the Wednesday and secured a taxi into Residence Yasmina, Agadir – our base for the next days. Breakfast was at about 8 in the morning then it was off to collect our bikes that we would be using for the rest of our practice and the three days of the event. I elected to use one of the new KTM 400’s which, had approx. 22 hours on the clock so for my purposes was brand new. We set off for a little sand practice up behind Agadir (see left) and found some fantastic trails where the sand was quite loose but with dunes and banks to practise the riding and climbing techniques. It was with that it was decided to ride up to the top and have a look around. What we weren’t really aware of was that these dunes are just next to one of the Kings palaces and that a new royal princess (as it happens) was imminent. There were a couple of very large guards on even larger horses nearby so after we had a bit of a thrash we decided to move on to where on of the special of last year was located. A track was marked out with steep up and down banks with loose ground with a particularly evil looking tree stump – that Paul managed to miss! – just waiting to catch the unwary. We had a fantastic couple of hours thrashing round this area with everybody getting faster (with the possible exception of myself of course). It was decided that a little practice of riding the trails might be good and so we all headed out into the trails on the west side of Agadir. With practice over it was time to sign on and get out numbers and change tyres on the bikes and generally make them ready for the next 3 days of the event.

Agadir02.jpg (179919 bytes)The next day the time ticked over for our minute and we started the bikes and set off the dais and headed out of town towards the first of many long and fast trail sections. The first of the trails was reasonably sandy and fairly easy but people were riding a whole lot faster than they did the year before and the speed right at the start were getting on for 50 – 55 km/h which, given that I hadn’t been on a bike for near to 5 months seemed to me to be quite fast – little did I know there was more to come! The sandy trails started to wind around foothills and started to become rougher and stonier. All the time as the confidence was beginning to grow the speed was getting higher. Unfortunately the speed that needed to increase in my case didn’t increase fast enough and I seemed to be passed by – well, everyone. No matter the countryside was, as usual, spectacular and varied. All the while the speed was increasing and the time available for looking around started to get less and less as the concentration on the spot 30 m in front of the bike took on much greater importance. The trails got rougher and harder as the day wore on and I have to say that the organisers seem to have some morbid fascination with long rides in dry riverbeds!! By this time it was late in the afternoon and on my arrival at the second check and almost 50 minutes late I was told that my participation in that days leg was over. After the tough nature of the trail I was sorely tempted to ride the 30 km on Tarmac to Tiznit instead of the 60 Km on a rough and rocky trail. I arrived in Tiznit some considerable time after everybody else and after fuelling the bike I was rewarded by being handed a nice cool bottle of the local Flag beer – and bloody good it was as too.

Our accommodation was in a very nice 4 star hotel in Tiznit with its own pool, European standard rooms, showers (with shower curtains) – we almost had to rough it with paper napkins!!The route from Tiznit to Fort Bou Jerif started even earlier the next morning and everybody was very keen to get started given what we had all learned the day before. The route out of Tiznit took us quickly onto the trails. The trails got very rough very quickly and so much so that I though we had stumbled into a local trial what with the severity of the route. There were quite a few bikes and people littered about at that point who were taking a rest or trying to fight their way up to the top of the climb. After negotiating that part of the test the routes were very Moroccan i.e. lots of fist sized, rolling rocks that the front wheel slipped off at every opportunity. We did start to see something of a road as we neared the fort and the first special of day 2. The wind had risen by this time so visibility with all the bikes thrashing around was a bit of a problem. Never mind it was into the special and I think that everybody was faster than me but the object was to get round. After coming out of this special it was over the rise in the road and there in all its glory was Fort Bou Jerif. This is the place that doesn’t have an address. You have to find it from a GPS location on its advertisements. The route was a loop around via white beach and the second special back to the fort for the evening stop. The route down onto the beach was the usual rough track but once onto the beach it was 7km of flat out and straight ride to the sand special.

The 400s did manage to pull 5th gear with the engine revs bouncing on the limiter. Unfortunately it didn’t have the power to pull me (the diet has started by the way) in 6th but it was still plenty fast enough. Most of the entry had been through the special and were waiting for fuel so at a stroke I had managed to catch them up and how pleased was I. Anyway Ian, one of the quad riders, let me know about the dunes rises and drops. I got into the special and went as hard as my capabilities allowed – time was still fairly crap though. Wilderness Wheels had followed everybody down to this special and they also had some spare petrol so we filled up and set off in front of the rest of the pack. After several wrong turns – some of which took me about 12 km out of my way – we eventually got back to FBJ.

Agadir01.jpg (166229 bytes)The accommodation for the night was one of the Berber tents on a mattress with a blanket. This was a bit of a change from the hotel the night before but given that everybody was tired from a long and dusty day on the pegs it was just ideal. The showers were not as salubrious as the ones in Tiznit – these were very cold and more of a trickle than a shower but they did the trick and everybody did get cleaned up before a fantastic chicken tagine was served up for the meal at night.The next morning we started even earlier and set off back to Agadir via the first special the day previous. By this time everybody was riding at full speed given that there was almost 300km to travel before getting back to the Ardrar hotel and the finish. The terrain was only marginally more forgiving but that just meant you went all the faster – 85 to 90 km/h on the trails and 130km/h on the tarmac sections anyone? Back in Agadir the last section of the event was on the beach just off the promenade in the centre of town. This was very soft and I did manage to bin it, twice, hence a time slower than lame tortoise but I was home and finished.

I went out to secure a finish over the event but I didn’t expect it to be so long, fast and technically difficult. In the end I’m glad it was as the experience has hopefully made me a little more determined to go that bit harder in the events here.The experience is one that I would definitely recommend to anyone who thinks they might like to try a longer distance event with terrain that is really quite different to that we normally ride on. The boys a Wilderness Wheels make it a very easy event for anyone to do given there are no bike logistics and also given the speak fluent French and Arabic then the whole experience is very smooth and trouble free.

I would like to take a moment to thank a few people that have helped me with this event. Yvonne at the SACU, Wilderness Wheels for their equipment and organisation, Joel Udry for the actual event, Ian Oakman for the briefing translations and the other riders for their help and encouragement when lost, stuck or knackered.

Mike Robertson

 

Home Up Contents  Please e-mail comments to webmaster @ scottishenduros . co . uk