The Hafren Dirt Bike Club was formed in 1979, initially set up to create a practice facility for people interested in both motocross and enduro in Mid Wales. The club started doing a few smaller events such as MX, Hare & Hounds and Multi Lap Enduro’s. After talking about it for many years the club began running the Hafren Rally.
Dave Logan from Ride Unlimited has entered this rally with his BMW F800GS. He is going to share his experience with We Buy Any Bike as a Guest Blogger!
This Sunday I will be competing in the Hafren Rally in Wales, the race is held at the Sweet Lamb Motorsports complex. It’ll be my first motorbike rally as I have only ever competed in mountain bike races before, so I am trying to prepare as best I can for what is ahead!
The rally involves navigating through a number of timed Special Stages which are linked by normal roads or trails are known as ‘Liaison Stages’ to form a loop. In some rallies these are also strictly controlled by times as late arrival to the Special Stage incurs penalties. The rider with the shortest final time of all the Special Stages is the winner.
Probably the most famous Rally or ‘Rally Raids’ is the venerable Dakar or Paris-Dakar as it used to be known.
Before it became too dangerous in Africa and moved to South America. Desert Rallies rely on very precise navigation using a paper map contained in a rotating viewer called a Road Book and usually some very sophisticated GPS and compass equipment. They do use Navigation equipment in some UK rallies but the Hafren is more of an Enduro event for big bikes where the directions are marked on the route with flags and tape. This is going to be an ideal event for a first timer as I can’t imagine trying to follow navigation notes and work out where I’m going as well as ride the bike yet!
As it is a race the bikes need to have some specific modifications. As they must endure high speeds over rough ground for long periods of time, and be able to handle well.
Luckily my BMW is already quite modified. I use it for offroad adventuring and it has an MST navigation tower and fairing. High mudguard, Excel rims and the necessary frame. Fork reinforcements that are needed to deal with the abuse of riding offroad.
I have quite a few things to sort out before I get to the start line.
To race, I need some different clothing so I have been sorting that out first. I’m basically using motocross racing gear consisting of body armour under the vest, a Jersey and waterproof Jacket on top, lightweight gloves and separate knee guards under my trousers. My normal helmet, unfortunately, would not pass Scrutineering. As they must have a Gold ACU sticker on the back to say that they are safe for racing in the UK. But, luckily I have a spare that will do the job!
I also need to swap my Mitas E07 50/50 tires that I use day to day to my offroad tires.
I use a Mitas E09 Dakar on the rear and a Mitas C18 on the front for proper offroading. This is a pretty extreme combination for an adventure bike but the extra grip in loose. Wet conditions is needed as the BMW is so large and heavy. It does make for some interesting road handling characteristics though!
On my recent trip to Spain
I got a chance to do a lot of higher speed trails. This is something that you can’t really do in the UK and I absolutely loved it. That was in ideal conditions. However, the bike felt great but I think it will be very different in November in Wales. With the size and weight of the bike, it really struggles as soon as the ground gets a bit wet. So it will make the event very interesting if it’s wet.
I needed to replace my headlight anyway. So I have made a short video to go along with my blog post so take a look:
Next step will be a service and suspension setup!