when i bought the honda (see: all my bikes ) i decided to try a little enduro racing. for me this was the fulfillment of a dream: i always wanted to try it, but earlier on simply did not have the money.
i started in 1996, and the first races came as a big surprise: i found out that i was not even able to get round the course (riding road bikes does not prepare you for what you meet in the woods!).
after the initial frustration i found a few guys i could join for training (namoto se), and then traded the honda for my first ktm.
in 1997 i started participating in raids. the first one did not go too well, but then i really got the hang of it: i might not be too fast, but what time i lost by not risking too much i won by navigating rather well. the reward: second in the national raid championship.
my first ever rally. i had a lot to learn.
1997 was a good season. i finished runner-up in the national raid championship.
in 1998 i had to prove my previous result was not just good luck. thanks to the new bike – the ktm 620 super competition – was able to finish second in the championship again – but only just. at the end of the year a 4 second difference at one of the races decided. not a big margin.
i started 1998 well – i actually won the first race! – but struggled a bit later in the season.
i still managed to retain my runner up spot in the overall championship.
this race taught me a valuable lesson about tyres. or more to the point what happens when you try to save on a new set and run a used one instead. i can’t remember a tougher race – ever.
i quit racing after 1998. more or less. occasionally i participated in enduro competitions, but rather to prove i can finish then to go flat out. to be honest, that is hard enough.i felt there was too much for me at stake and after one or two bigger high speed crashes i thought i should not push my luck.
i returned to racing in 2012, mostly to try and challenge myself a bit. i also wanted to see if i could still race in a proper rally. after all there is a lot more space and significantly more desert in australia than in hungary.
my first rally was the condo 750 in 2013. i converted the 350 in a rally bike – luckily i had not sold my old tripmeter and roadbook holder.
it definitely did not go badly, i finished halfway through the field and left quite a few bigger bikes behind. don;t get me wrong: i’m definitely not a good rider and generally err on the side of caution, but i appeared to have decent navigation skills and not making mistakes is often more important than outright speed (unless you are a pro).
my real objective, however, was the australasian safari. i decided to participate in 2014, on a new 250 f.i felt the 350 was probably a bit too old at that point to ride such a long race and i also wanted to give myself a shot at category honours.
it was not meant to be. while i was going pretty well until the halfway point i then found part of a ring from the gearbox in the oil. i could have continued but did not want to risk destroying the engine.
it was a very disappointing end to the race, because i had not struggled in any way up to that point.
there is no more safari in australia, but even if there was one i doubt i would race again.
there are, however, really cool mountain bike enduro races these days … maybe i should have a go at one of those …