Kleintafelberg 4x4 14 - 16 August 2020

 

In the midst of lockdown level 3, 4x4 Cape members ventured out to the Klein Tafelberg 4x4 trail situated between the towns of Aurora and Redelingshuys on the weekend of 14 to 16 August 2020. 

 

A collective total of 18 club members and 4 guest undertook the trip to the West Coast in search of the great outdoors, some good company and to live the 4x4 route. 

 

Situated in the Sandveld area, the trail offers a mix of sand and bits of rocky terrain that offers the 4x4 enthusiast a really great experience. After a drivers briefing, members and guest undertook the trail on the Saturday morning with it offering early challenges to participants. With some overnight rain, the ground conditions, in particular the sand, offered the thought that the route would be less of a challenge than that if experienced in the hotter summer months. Save to say that the ride was better but did not allow one to be fooled into the thought that it would be any easier. Strip away the top sand layer and behind that, the course woke you up to the need for higher levels of concentration, appropriate tyre pressures and gear selection.

 

 

Early recovery of one vehicle (stuck in the sand) paid testimony to the challenges this course brings and not too long thereafter, another vehicle recovery (a concentration lapse) had members in observation for a short while. Some interesting new twist to the route made the experience more exciting to those who have previously driven the route and for the newbies, a great challenge. 

 

Conditions over the trail on the day saw a mixture of overcast weather, some sunshine and light rain over the +- 20km route, making the venture out an interesting one. Some time spent at the crest of the route had members talking through the challenges and readying themselves for the return leg back to the campsite.

 

An early Saturday evening collective get together around the boma saw members enjoying good company around the fire with meals being prepared, generous laughter and good banter around the day’s events. Late nights chats, the heat of a fire against chilly weather was a reminder of what 4x4 Cape is all about.   

 

Sunday morning brought some welcoming sunshine, some goodbyes and safe return travelling to city mayhem.  

Club Lessons:-

Take it slow;

Only one voice at a recovery;

Ensure that you have the right tyre pressure;

This is 4x4, not 4x2;

Choose the right line;

Recovery gear is a must in your vehicle;

Have fun.

 

Day’s Stats:-

Six club vehicles + 1 other on the trail;

Time spent on the trail – +-3,5 hours;

2 Recoveries;

Weather – cloudy with intermittent rain and sunshine;

Trail conditions – moist sand.

Outrekpad4x4 Training 17 October 2020

Outrekpad – 17 October 2020

 

Picture this: an overcast Saturday morning, a stretch of 4x4’s of all shapes and sizes lined up and a group of guys and gals together (within acceptable social distance of course, wink). Some sipping on coffee, others just chatting away. Yes, these are the Saturday mornings the 4x4 Cape Club live for; and this particular morning we were all anticipating our adventure at Outrekpad. For many of us it was our first time on the track, which can always be a bit daunting when you are not sure what you should expect. Although, knowing we were in the capable hands of Craig Parsons put our minds at ease and excitement soon took over.

 

As we gathered under the lapa to go through the safety briefing there were a lot of impatient adventurists wanting to hit the road, but wait – take caution and soak yourself with bug spray because there are some nasty goggas here, such as the horsefly! Then, let the fun begin!

 

The track is not something I will describe as incredibly technical although there is some water crossings and muddy patches. Unfortunately, we were not challenged enough in this area though, due to the elusive rain the last week. So, mostly it was playing in the sand, a couple of hardened muddy tracks, and two or more steep climbs that challenged a new model Jeep and seasoned Amarok. 

 

As the sun broke through the clouds the driving fun was coming to an end and the other fun started – a good social around the fire, some cold drinks and lekka braaivleis!  

 

What another awesome day out with the 4x4 Club Family! 

 

Outrekpad4x4 - Recovery Training

Jakkalskloof 4x4 20 March 2021

Jakkals kloof 4x4

 

Saturday 20th March  the trail started at 9.15am after a drivers briefing.

Leading the pack was a visitor to the club Chad with Craig accompanying him.  Colin and Heather next with Russel and Ashley behind and Lindsey as the tail gunner.

At the start of the trail we spotted wildebeest and springbok and a giraffe.  These were the only animals we spotted on the trial even though Lindsey tried to convince us all that he had spotted a leopard.  This had us all looking to 5 ‘ o clock only to realise that he was joking even after claiming to have taken a photo.

The sand trail wound its way through the scrubby bush down into the valley and dry river bed where we proceeded to drive through donga obstacles, or better expressed as hairpin bends on a slope in the bush.  We all got through this part ok and proceeded to an obstacle called the Longdrop which was not a toilet break.  Continuing along the river bed looking for snakes and birds the convoy had to stop because Russel thought that he had punctured tyre.  Fortunately for Russel it was a false alarm and all he needed was a little more air in a very deflated tyre and we continued on our way.  It was at this point that Russel requested I mention his name at least 30 times in this write up.  Russel I will try.

The trail took us out of the river bed by passing a couple of water holes which were parched waiting in anticipation of the next rain season.

The next obstacle we arrived upon looked easy enough so after some assessment Chad took the lead and got his Ford stuck.  His rear bumper got caught on the rocks leaving his car in a situation which took a team effort of trying different recovery ideas to get him out.  Russel tried to pull him out and this did not work so Lindsay stepped in with his Toyota Fortuner and pulled him out and he took the bypass.  Colin and Lindsay both took on the challenge and succeeded in getting through.

After this we took a slow drive up out of the river bed and up to the lookout point.  Here we stopped for a while and admired the view of the surrounding country side. Kleintafelberg 4x4 and the sea in the distance easily identified.

Finally it was time to return to camp where after some R&R the other 4x4 route was selected.  This is a rock route behind the camp. Colin split his new front left tyre through the rock section. Time for an emergency spare to be fitted and back to camp we headed.  Heather was on alert as we came into camp and Colins puncture did not go down very well. Fortunately within minutes a spare tyre was fitted and the vehicle ready for the homeward trip the next day.

After all was said and done we gathered around the camp fire at the boma for a time of laughter and geleskap.

Fun time was had by all.

Thank you to the organisers for another great 4x4Cape Weekend.

Atlantis Dunes - GPS Skills Training 17 April 2021

4x4Cape Atlantis Dunes through the eyes of Squirrel

Let me start off with saying, usually motorbikes and 4x4's dont mix, like surfing and motorbikes, like cyclists and motorbikes, cops and motorbikes and the list goes on. Not to sure why though.

Atlantis is one of my happy places, I purchased a season pass for the bike in February and I will admit, I have been getting some serious value for money out of the annual pass. 

Since the revamp of the entrance to Atlantis, everything there is so much more convenient, you can buy your day or yearly permit at the on-site permit office. The parking area is a well-regulated, bin free area.

After officially joining 4x4Cape in December last year, I have felt blessed to be part of this more relaxed group of 4x4 enthusiasts. Everyone is down to earth and genuine. That is what made it rather difficult to ask the organisers of the Atlantis outing if I may attend on two wheels opposed to four. 

Surprisingly this amazing group of people were very open to test the idea. 04:30am on Saturday the 17th of April 2021, I found myself sipping coffee trying to wake up for the adventure ahead. Started loading bikes onto the trailer, ensuring all the protective gear was packed and headed off for the dunes just before 6am. 

The 4x4Cape event only started at 9am, but why would I leave so early for the dunes one might ask? That is simple, around 10:30 am, when the sun starts getting overhead and the shadows of the dunes start disappearing, the contours of the dunes all seem to blend into one. This makes it extremely difficult to see the drop offs and gradient of the approach angles.

We arrived at the dunes just before 7am with a bike behind the car. Waited until 07:30 when the main gates opened. Then queried why they only opened the gate so late. They pointed out that in winter times, the gates only opened at 8am, this was news to us as with the yearly permit, one could get into the parking area and onto the dunes an hour before the permit office opened. 

After much back and forth between ourselves and the rangers (it seems the rangers are all new and have not been informed of this concession for the annual permit holders) we were on the dunes, carving up the dune faces before the rest of the group with the 4x4's arrived. Just had to get the speed fix in. As always, headed off to my favorite lookout location.

 

 

As 9am rolled up, I pulled into the parking lot, leaving my other riding buddies to do their thing. I saw a few familiar faces. Walked over and started greeting them. A few minutes later, more of the group arrived. Standing there head to toe in MX gear, it was starting to get warm. 

 

 

When Graham arrived, he handed me a pink radio with extended arial and hand held receiver so I could stay in contact with the group. All this while the unmistakable sound of deflating tyres filled the air.

 

 

 

While in the parking lot, we confirm the radio channels to use, we were informed to meet on the dunes for the briefing. When I walked back to the bike, the 4x4s were all lined up being inspected for alcohol and other items not permitted on the dunes. Hopped on the bike and headed off to the briefing location. 

 

 

 

We had some first timers to Atlantis and man, was I jealous of them. I can still remember the feeling of going down the first steep dune, crazy feeling and one never experiences that feeling again. It seems as though one would need to push even harder, but the question always remains, at what cost. We don't want to damage the vehicles as for most of us, these are our daily drivers. 

 

But I digress, back to the day at hand.

 

Getting to the meeting spot seemed challenging for some. Strangely a Prado was having a real challenge getting to the debriefing location just a few meters in from the entrance to the dunes themselves. Tony jumped into the Prado and showed the first timer to the dunes just what a Prado is made of. 

 

It was like herding cats trying to get everyone together for the briefing, this must be due to all the excitement of the day ahead.

 

Once we settled, the briefing commenced with the safety factors for the day. Then the curve ball, the hidden gem which none of us were expecting. We were rather unprepared but gave us a good indication as to what we should all have, no matter what 4x4 route one is on. 

 

 

 

 

We were lit into 2 groups, two team leaders and experience of drivers were split equally. Group 2 moved from Channel 1 on the radios to Channel 2 in order for direct communication with the group, respectively. 

 

We were then handed a piece of paper with some weird numbers on them. We (not the biker, me) were assigned a GPS location and informed that each one of us would need to navigate to that specific location. Turns out, most us:

 

1) did not have GPS's; 

2) did not know what GPS coordinates were 

3) no clue how to convert the various forms of GPS coordinates.

 

Once we were over that challenge, we headed off in our two separate groups off on the adventure. I tried my utmost to not be in the way of the 4x4's, trying to keep a safe distance while also trying to get some good shots with the GoPro. 

 

 

We went up dunes, down dunes, around dunes and just more dunes. Leading seemed to be a lot more challenging and stressful than one would think. I would try to get a general idea of where the group was going, head off to a vantage point higher up and film. Everyone followed a single file as we do in groups. 

 

 

At one stage, the leader of our group went left around a dune with a soft, sharp right up a hill. This proved to be challenging for our leader, it took more than one attempt to cut the tracks through the super soft sand to get up and over. 

 

 

Second up was one of our first timers in a Jimny. After several attempted, he opted for an easier route to get over. This was the right decision, though the Jimny is more than capable in the dunes. General rule is, after 3 attempts, move on.

 

 

One of my pet hates is litter, not the kitty type. As a smoker, I always take the cigarette butts home with me. As one can see the image below, a piece of glass was picked up on the dunes. There have been all sorts of trash left out in the dunes. Great thing is, the 4x4s are usually open to take it out with them as there is limited space on the bike. Well, most of the guys. 

 

 

 

The rest followed suit around the dune, right up and over. A few 4x4's have to take more than one run up but everyone made it through the fluffy sand. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One this which I really do like about this group of well-groomed hooligans is the fact that they (we) take safety seriously. When approaching a new obstacle, its always best to step out the vehicle and look at the challenge at hand. A nice steep dune might seem like a simple, first gear, low range, using the engine braking while going down. This can be really daunting for the lesser experience drivers but most exhilarating at the same time. 

 

Bearing in mind that things can go wrong at any stage. When the vehicle starts going sideways down the dune, while the adrenaline is pumping through the veins, one can quickly forget to give the accelerator a little nudge to get it back in line. Never mind the fact that there is minimal feedback on the steering wheel while descending the dune. So, you think your wheels are straight but actually not. With time on the dunes, this does become second nature. 

 

With the sun beating down on us, I was getting rather warm in all the MX gear, so had to take a quick spin every now and then to try to cool off for a bit. One of the down sides to riding the bike is that the climate control is handled by the weather around you and you can't just pop on the AC to when it's too hot. Small sacrifice for being so free on the dunes. 

 

 

The objective for each GPS location destination(s) was to take a group photo of everyone with the vehicles to have evidence that we made it to the correct location. At times, this was a bit challenging to line up all the 4x4's in the soft sand. Though, thus far in the day, no one had to pull out their recovery gear yet, even though the sand was super soft. 

 

 

 

 

As the day went on, so more and more obstacles were tried, within everyone's comfort levels (and some, outside their comfort levels), up and around dune obstacles, up and downs all while the communicating efficiently on the radios. Though, it can be slow going getting everyone through safely, the sun was getting higher and the contours of the dunes were disappearing. It was reaching the time I usually start to head off the dunes but the troop soldered on making sure they get the adrenalin fix in.  

 

 

 

All this time I had been trying to keep a safe (what I assumed the 4x4's would consider safe) distance away. Suddenly I had a brain fart and decided to test the waters a bit and to get a bit closer keeping to what I thought a safe distance would be. Surprisingly, no one raised any concerns or asked me to rather backoff. 

 

 

 

 

I won't lie, doing such slow speeds on a bike was a challenge in itself however, the paddle tyre on the back of the KTM 350 worked its magic and was able to chug along without bogging down. That left me with only one choice, to follow more vehicles around obstacles. 

 

 

 

Once everyone had their chance, we headed off to the next location.  

 

 

Mr Jimny (Werner) leading the way to GPS destination, taking what he had learnt during the course of the day and putting it into practice. Always great to see.

 

 

Once we conquered the next location, it was time for the group photo. At this stage, the sun was reaching over head, the heat was starting to really take its toll, even with the CamelBak, trying to keep hydrated, it was getting a bit much. Decided to do the sensible thing and call it a day. Really sad to not stay until the end but one always needs to listen when your body starts saying, I think we have had enough. 

 

 

Said my goodbyes, thanked everyone for a different experience and headed out to the exit of the dunes. Once there, I saw one of my riding mates had also decided to head out, the heat, the sun, the snow blindness and the early start is nothing compared to just how amazing one feels out there in the dunes. The freedom, the beauty and fresh air makes life worth living. 

 

 

 

To sum up, a great day was had by all and the photos just don't do justice as to how steep the dunes are. The experienced sand drivers looked after our first timers. The best part of all was the fact that we only left our tracks and a bit of air pollution behind so the people after us can also enjoy the un-spoilt terrain. 

Thank you to the organizers of the day!