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Afternoon Fewbie Plus Desert Drive - The Scorch Trials (P.2) - Dubai - 31 Jul 2022


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14 minutes ago, Ale Vallecchi said:

Hello @Thomas Varghese. Please join the drive tomorrow. No problem opening up the waitlist. I'll increase the RSVP to 11 so you can sign up if you wish. Thanks

I'm in 

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The drive which I could not click a single picture. The initial stages were plagued by refusals, stucks, and pop out. As the center forward, me and the sweep @Ashok chaturvedi was tested to the limits. It was fun though as the track was very challenging. That was the 1st half of the drive. Probably made less than 15 or 20 km in 2 hours. After the professor @Ale Vallecchi took a coaching class everybody got into action. 2nd half was more challenges but very fast paced. Very few refusals and good to see the cars zipping past all challenges. 

One thing which caught the attention of the Marshal was even though everybody is fewbie plus class very few have the required recovery gear. Its the essential life saving tools of an offroader. A recovery rope and shackle is an essential part of the gear just like a compressor, shovel, flag etc instead of hoping someone else will have it. Please make sure you carry these in your car and well secured so that it doesn't jump around in the boot. Talking about shovels please carry a proper one which is long enough to atleast reach the center of the car from the side and not the fancy spoons which are useless in a recovery. A wooden board and a proper hydraulic jack should be also in your tool box. Atleast with the next promotion you all will be Intermediate and then it will not look good if you are lacking in any essential gear. The club is not asking everybody to lift their cars or fix a winch. 

Apart from small hiccups in the beginning it was a super duper drive. Me and @Ashok chaturvedi thoroughly enjoyed it. The track was superb. Another thing I noticed in todays drive was the short wheel based Jeeps were getting crested which is very rare and Ale explained how its nearly impossible for those jeeps to get crested. Even after Ale's briefing the Jeeps got crested again. I noticed from behind how and why they are getting crested. You are suddenly trying to criss cross without riding the ridge for at least 2 or 3 meters and don't have the momentum for that maneuver. Don't worry it will come to you naturally if you practice it. I also started like this and learned from my mistakes from the briefing by the able Marshals of @Carnity. So don't feel I am pointing fingers at you all but only reminding you to remember what the Marshals teach you. 

See you all in the sands soon. 
 

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Thanks all for a great drive. I did have a chance to snap a few pictures at the back. The golden hour helped a lot to capture the magic of the desert.

@Ale Vallecchi Great route and lecture, I enjoyed both very much, @Thomas Varghese, @Ashok chaturvedi thanks for all the support!

See you soon on another dune!

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@Thomas Varghese @Ale Vallecchi@Gertjan

@Prakash Anoop@Imran Kashif@Haitham Khattabplus others in the convoy

Apparently the area we ventured into at the beginning of the drive was super soft, technical and it required some tight and sharp maneuvering, the hiccups started almost immediately after we left the harder track between the pylons to the soft part. The weather in recent weeks has be very windy and dumped a lot of sand over this patch of desert and the car simply sinks in sand. The past two consecutive week the terrains has been near the same,  soft and we have seen on an average many more recoveries than the norms.

Despite the briefing at the start of every drive by our expert leads and Marshall it seems that the basics tend to get soon forgotten e.g. distance between cars, sticking to the track, not fighting gravity and never stepping out without the radio etc etc, one must adhere to such advice for own sake and for others as a lot of time is squandered in recovering cars. 

I am particularly concerned when some fewbie, fewbie plus and even intermediate drivers who dont carry the basic recovery tools. I admit that some of these drivers have dual use cars like using the same car for work/ off road and dont get the time to load stuff prior to the drive.  Judging by my own experience they will have much greater confidence if they come equipped with their own recovery stuff and by which, they can lend support to their fellow drivers. 

Overall the drive turned out to be quite fascinating yet I missed my usual sighting of wildlife which I find abundant on our dear Ale drives. We did have one driver in the convoy who was the shutterbug ( very unusual of Thomas not doing the same), I request him to please load a few fotos here. 

A big thank you to Thomas for always stepping up and carrying out the recoveries , same to dear Ale for your kind guidance and support on near every drive that I have been with you and I am sure other feel the same. 

I may a missed out few names but wish to continue thanking everyone who chipped in when needed, please do check that you have your recovery tools... before going off-road. 

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Mine is a dual use car. I carry all the basic tools required for offroading 24/7 in my car not because I am going to hit the sands in just mentioning a drive. All tools are properly secured in the boot tightly and I don't have to worry about them flying around or rattling. I carry them because you never know when you need a jack or a rope or a compressor even on road also. Plus I can always assist anyone who has a flat tire or a dead car. 

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The Scorch Trials Part 2 - Drive Report

"If you find all your roads blocked, He will show you a secret way that no one knows" - Rumi

A most challenging start, perhaps the most difficult one I had so far as a leader, tested the mettle of the convoy from the very moment we entered the sand, just at the end of Lisaili's camel track. That stretch of dunes is notorious for being quite tight and soft, but this time the change of weather of the past days had greatly softened and sharpened the crests, adding some soft sand to the bottom of the alternating bowls. This made for an unusually irregular terrain, where the convoy kept getting stuck, for an impressive total of 15 times, requiring 1 and half hour to sort them all out, over a staggering short stretch of 600 meters. 

The reasons for the stucks were also partially to be found within the convoy itself. I will highlight the main ones. First of all, lack of distance between cars, causing problems to those following the drivers with refusals (or stucks). Secondly, some hesitancy with building or maintaining the right momentum when exiting a bowl, or while riding a ridge, which caused some slipping off the ridges, a pop-out, or the inability to exit the bottom of a soft sand bowl. Lastly, I noticed the occasional tendency to force the way onto the ridges, even though with little room to maneuver, especially with short  wheel based cars, causing a few cars from getting crested, in the typical transversal position due to counter-steering onto the ridge. I trust that by reading the report, and especially by going over the drive in one's mind, all will find it in themselves to recall each mistake, and bring to mind the proper remedy, for the next drives.

The second part of the drive, once exited the technical area, was the exact opposite of the first difficult part. After a very useful break, the convoy regrouped, and proceeded through Lisaili, toward the sabkhas near Murqaab, and back into the Lisaili tall dunes, with perfect unison and coordination. Ridge riding and criss-crossing were executed perfectly, and virtually no incidents took place (other than a quickly solved pop-out). 

In spite of the initial slow start, the day ended with just less than 51Km covered, in 1:42 hours of driving, over a total of 3:37 hours, at an average moving speed of 28Km/h (14 Km/h total).

Thanks to @Prakash Anoop for his first Second Lead (just remember to perfect the safe distance from the leading car), @Thomas Varghese and @Ashok chaturvedi respectively in Center Forward and Sweep position, and to @Imran Kashif, @Haitham Khattab, @AlexM, @Shaker, @salah2u, @Amr Aydin and @Gertjan for joining the drive.

See you all soon in the sand again.

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