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Dakar Practice

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It was less of a practice and more of a bit of fun on the beach. But what the hell, they both involve sand!

It started off with a random suggestion by me one Sunday morning to Shane:

Do you fancy heading down to the beach sometime and taking photos of me messing around on the GS?

At the time I was expecting the “sometime” to be in a few weeks, if at all, but the response I got was “yeah, how about now?”. And so it started! Cameras were grabbed, Dave was called, off-roading gear was donned and we all headed down to Bordeaux Harbour.
Aidy On The Beach
This was the first time I’d ridden on sand, so I was a little apprehensive at first as I had no idea what to expect. Was it going to be really soft? Was it going to be slippery? Would my bike collapse in a pile of rust as soon as it goes near the salt water? It didn’t help that I had to ride the bike over slippery stones to get onto the sand. However, my fears soon subsided as I realise that the sand in Bordeaux Harbour is actually really compacted and it was no different really to riding on a normal track.

Soon I was picking the speed up and pushing the bike over further whilst cornering. It felt like the bike was almost lying down on it’s side but looking back at the pictures I still had a fair way to go over. The tyres, TKC80’s, were also firmly gripping the sand. The back end felt a bit squirmy on a couple of occasions but I could have pushed a lot harder

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You can only do so much riding around in circles before boredom starts to take hold. So our attention turn to other things we could try our hand at. You on a beach, what else is there appart from sand? Rocks! So that’s what I threw the bike at next.

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It’s been a while since I tried doing any technical riding like that but the skills learnt in Wales at the BMW Offroad Skills course soon came back. Although I did have to keep putting my feet down, and at one point got the bike stuck on a rock under the sump guard so that Dave had to come rescue me!

And so the fun came to an end. With nothing left but to ride back up the slipway off the beach. Although I was rather surprised to find a van full of Policemen (and women) waiting at the top. Were they waiting to arrest us for breaking some law we were unaware of? Thankfully not – but that didn’t stop a momentary adrenaline fuelled panic with visions of soap being dropped in the showers!

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About The Author

Adrian Ritchie

Aidy has been riding motorbikes since just after he left university in 2003. His first bike was a 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750 bought for £1000. His second bike was a Suzuki GSF600 Bandit, bought for his adventure to Norway in 2005. Two years later he sold the Bandit to Shane (for him to learn on) and upgrade to a BMW R1200GS... which was promptly trashed one month later by a SMIDSY. Having had the R1200GS repaired, Aidy has spent the next three years giving it a damn good thrashing off-road. 2011 saw the R1200GS take to the remote tracks and desert pistes of Morocco... it managed to keep up with the 650 enduro bikes that make up the rest of the group and made it back to Guernsey in (mostly) one piece. In January 2012, he traded in the R1200GS for a new R1200GS Adventure, planning to use the Pegaso 650 for off-road racing. However, the lure of smaller enduro bikes proved too strong and in April 2012 purchased a BMS G450X