Sandblast rally was an amazing time. In fact I have to say it is the most fun I have ever had on a bike. This is the first rally where I have actually had the DRZ wide open in 5th gear and wanting more. Considering I have never ridden in sand like this before I didn’t expect that I would get that comfortable. I still could use more practice, especially in the corners where the sand really got rutted up.
I think a big part of what helped was I did some upgrades on the bike over the last couple of months. From the pics you can see I have added a Dakar style faring to the front which has an unexpected benefit. By blocking the lower part of my view it forces me to keep looking farther down the road like I should. What is directly in front of your tire is rarely an issue, keep your eyes looking where you want to go and the bike will go there. The other big upgrade is a steering damper, this is a device that is kind of like a shock absorber that prevents the handlebars from turning too quickly. So, if you hit a big rock or a rut which tries to yank the bars out of your hands this tries to prevent it.
It really is an amazing feeling having the bike full throttle in 5th gear and let the bike dance and squirm under you. Just relax and trust the bike. According to my GPS my maximum speed was 79.1 MPH. In the other rallies I have done I never held it at top speed, at least not for any length of time. I think that means it is time to try to get more power out of the bike. In stock form the DRZ400S is fairly under powered but there is quite a bit more potential there. Before the next RallyMoto race I will certainly be looking at opening up the airbox to get more air, and hopefully I can find a good cheap carburetor off of a DRZ400E which is a big improvement over the DRZ400S.
I ended up finishing overall 18th out of 32 entries, 26 of who finished the full race. In my class (limited to 450cc) I was 7th out of 12. I am pretty happy with those results, especially considering I know I am down several HP on all the other bikes.
One of the race volunteers got some great shots of me nearly loosing it in a corner. I am happy to say that I managed the full race without falling over once, but this one was close!
Next up is the Mexican 1000 which I hope to write more about that race and my preparations for it soon. I have a lot more work I need to do to the bike to be ready for that one. It is going to be quite the adventure!