Hogsback Rally Raid - Testing the Batt X-Terrain By John Harris – Part 1 of 2
Article by John Harris | Instructor: CountryTrax
As most adventure riders will know, tyre debates have been ongoing for many years, it’s probably one of the most debated topics among fellow adventure riders.
Bike Tyre Warehouse with MotoMedia and Dirt & Trail Magazine
Most riders try to purchase the tyre which will deliver the best mileage, but also the most grip. There is a reason why our Motor GP idols don’t use normal street tyres on the track, and adventure or off road riding is no exception. Being a firm believer in making adventure riding as easy as possible for myself, I choose my rubber based on the venture I choose to complete. When moving to remote places with zero backup, reliability will be key, as I tend to move a little slower given that medical backup may also not be available. There are, however, times when grip means everything, despite the possibility of a sidewall cut.
Grip was one of the main considerations we attended the annual Rally Raid weekend in Hogsback. With a wet outlook towards the weekend, we called Bruce from Bike Tyre Warehouse (BTW) to see what rear tyres he would have available for us. We all had fairly fresh rubber on the front of our adventure bikes, ranging from Mitas E-13s, Anakee Wilds to the popular Karoo 3s. Bruce was happy to give us options, but with a new shipment of the Batt X-Terrains just offloaded, having tested some of these for Bruce in the past, I convinced my mates to try same. A bit of a spot check on whether my perceptions would be mirrored by my friend, just to make sure I knew what I was talking about and was not just a keyboard junkie.
Rally Raid – Day 0
I really do love my KTM 890 Adventure R Rally, but it’s a bit like an ironing board if you do extended kilometres on a day, therefore I convinced the group that we should trailer down to “De Vlei farm”, a hunters paradise, owned by my brother in law, just outside Cradock for the first night. And then taking the trek down to Hogsback.
The hunters’ cabin being solar and gas powered, was a good starting point where we were treated to a game drive and sundowner on my brother in laws Unimog. This also allowed us to pack a bit smarter and ensure that most of the duplicate tools were removed amongst the riders.
Our solar power drained out around 21h00 if I recall correctly, but this did not stop the festivities from continuing through the night.
Rally Raid – Day 1 (De Vlei to Hogsback)
Having been very involved with the logistics of the trip, I was demoted to being the logistics guy, arranging accommodation, fuel stops and acting as the group mechanic, while Pierre Ackerman took over as the route captain and planned a really good route for us.
The route comprised eleven passes, known to man, but not to us. Riding was mostly twin and single track roads, with shorts bursts on open gravel highways and even less tar. As a person who plans most rides I go on, I learned that we should give other adventure riders a chance to do some of the planning. Pierre did an awesome job of the route and I believe I would not have planned a better route myself.
We crossed some amazing scenery, crossing the likes of the Swaerhoek Pass, Tarka-Botha Pass, Tarka Pass before joining the N10 just outside Mortimer.