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Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:48 pm

Dear Almosters

this morning was great to see that many Intermediates at the meeting point. At this level you meet with people who had already shared many drives with you and it's always fun catching up again and remember the special experiences and emotions lived together. Also, in events like this you realize how much relevant is our Club with many drivers spread across the different levels thumbsup

Since our Marshals treat us very well, also in this case nobody was left behind and all the waiting list was invited to the drive. Therefore we had enough Interm drivers for 2x full fledged convoys. @Booy , the Marshal who organized this drive, delivered the briefing at 7.30am sharp and assigned the lead to @Agalon and @Scorpio . I was expecting he'd have split the convoy base on seniority as Inters but this was not the case: @Booy distributed the experts and the newly appointed like me in equal share. I was with @Agalon , having @KareemK 2nd lead, @giorgio sweeping and @Rashidjass floating. The other interesting rule which was new for me was that each driver in the convoy shall have supported the driver ahead in case of problems or when stuck.

I mentioned in my other drives I like to drive at the front of the convoy to enjoy less damaged tracks in the sand but this time I wanted to stay at the back. This because with many expert Intermediates in the convoy the back was a better position to watch and learn

The "Gravity" drive clearly was not aimed to teach how to fight gravity .. rather it was a great gym to polish side cresting skills and deal with gravity in the form of steep climbs and narrow descends down from the crests. In fact @Agalon did push us into many climbs and descends

The program was respected in full and our leader managed to keep the speed so high that we had no issues with overheating although the 46 degrees in the air grin

All the drivers did a great job with 2nd tries in the average but only one pop out

One thing we have to improve is the radio communication. During the 2nd tries there are some drivers who forget to mention their name therefore I could not understand if this was happening to someone ahead or behind. This might lead to some unwanted circumstances

I had a lot of fun and no issues therefore I feel I made a further very little step in the direction of learning safe and rewarding drives

Thanks to @Booy and everybody else who supported this drive, like @Rashidjass , @Agalon and @Scorpio . Also thanks to everybody else for the great company

Finally kudos to Gina, my Pajero, as she did run smooth and gave me another day of fun
Gianluca (aka Loca)
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Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:26 pm

I was really really looking forward to the drive for a couple of reasons.
1. Thanks to @Booy for having a “Waiting List” convoy and actually letting us come to the drive with the support of Rashid, Agalon & Scorpio. (Fyi - the forum is not letting me tag people from my phone)
2. I am coming back to a drive after 2 months with Almost4x4 so you can understand my rusty hunting skills for the drive.
3. Some suspension tuning and new tires so was looking forward to see how it performs

A 6AM wake up and 7:30AM start. Weather was still surprisingly coool considering last few days in the city have been gruesome with the humidity. Arrived at 7AM, deflated and met everybody. Always nice to see the 2nd family.

Booy started the briefing by telling us that convoy will be led by our new explorers Scorpio and Agalon. So the drive at this point became more interesting since Nobody knows what to expect in love
Scorpio gave us a nice briefing telling us about the Dunes in Al Faqa’a area and how should we react. We were going to climb from both the soft side and the hard side.

So the drive started. Johanna was the 2nd lead followed by me as the 3rd.
We got dunes of all shapes and sizes. I saw Scorpio going on a big one which had a climb but was flat on the top. I also saw that the sand was loose so I am like hey “Powerrrrrr”. Get on the top and “ fhewwww” - all 4 tires in the air and a nice smooth landing. Rade told me it looked pretty coool. LOL - still no wings on the car and i filled it up with petrol instead of Redbull , I had to tune myself on how much power am I putting to the ground.

So I did and a few more crests later boom I am stuck!!!! Windows are open so you can imagine the nice sand shower I got.

Booy gave a couple of tips but I was out of luck. It had to be a pull! So out of the car I was and the rope attached. Thanks Booy!

So a very important point here. The Human brain hates embarrassment and usually after 1 stuck you will tend to do something stupid. I knew that so it meant I am going to be more careful now and not start pushing it more.

Dire consequences: another stuck on top of the crest that required a Pull. Thanks Booy!

Now in my head I am like what is wrong... and what was wrong was I slowed down before a crest at the bottom, letting Johanna cross and then I would push it. But the Patrol has a different power band, needs the engine to pick up a couple of revs before it unleashes its true self.
What i was doing wrong was not getting enough momentum to climb and side crest. So I had to get enough momentum and power and leave the accelerator at about 95% of the climb and let inertia drive me across the crest without me flying. On crest - hit it again.
In short - the Human brain was afraid of the embarrassment of 2nd tries. “Hey if Johannas golden Patrol did it - My golden Patrol will as well”.

Beyond this crest all good. Did a 2nd try because I had to fix the momentum and voila the drive continued, temperatures increased but we kept pushing it until 11am when we were at the exit. Most of us followed Booy to the Petrol station with a quick pit on the way.

Thank You to Booy, Rashid, Scorpio and Agalon. It got really hot but it was a sweet drive. See you all back in the sand!
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Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:00 am

Hello Everyone,

Thank you @Booy for arranging this drive and providing the Explorers the opportunity to lead the convoys.

After the briefing by Booy and splitting the group into two convoys; one to be led by @Agalon and supervised by @Rashidjass and the other one to be led by me and supervised by Booy himself, I took my convoy and placed @Johanna as the 2nd lead and @haider alnuaimi as the sweeper.

This is a special area in terms of dunes shapes and formations and provides an excellent opportunity to practice climbing on dunes from both windward and leeward sides and feel the gravity pull. We have small to medium sized dunes with both sharp and dull crests. There is an area in Faqa where the dunes are shaped in a way that if you climb from the soft side then you find yourself on a flat ground after the crest, so you go suddenly from high gravity pull to low gravity. In the other area, you will find long and wide stretched dune walls to practice both side sloping and to learn how to ride on the crest and keep the car on top as long as you can, until the gravity pulls you down.

We had an enjoyable drive with a nice pace. I started off easy to warm up everyone and gradually increased the level; same like the temperature arr. . We had second tries, crested cars, pop-out and many other learning opportunities during the drive and I hope the convoy gained some more experience of the intermediate level and enjoyed the ride. Even though we had cars hearting up you're kidding, right , issues with 4x4 gear, flattened tires and air filter problems, broken bumper, but the convoy was determined to continue the drive yuush . In the last 30-40 min of the drive, it got windy and the visibility was compromised and I started avoiding side cresting wherever, I saw it is not safe :!: . But as an alternative to that, we started side sloping on walls Psmiley and drive continued. Nearly at 11am, when it got too hot to continue I discussed with Booy and we exit the desert.

It was my 1st intermediate lead and I enjoyed every bit of it. Thank you Booy for your continued guidance and feedback thumbsup . Hope you all had an enjoyable morning and learnt and practiced to play with gravity, our friend.

See you soon in the sand..

Cheers 8-)
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Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:16 am

I was second lead for Agalon till my car decided otherwise, he did a track that would put hair on your chest.

Details coming later, stay tuned!
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Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:37 pm

I have been on vacation for 3 weeks and didn't have a off road drive for a while. I was so keen to get on this drive. I also almost missed to book due to time difference but at the end it was all good.

So I landed, went home for a quick shower and hit the road strait to meeting point. I was there while 10+ Newbies were still preparing so I saw some new faces and also some very well known.

When they took off I just fell a sleep until @Johanna woke me up. We prepared cars and in a blink of an eye all intermediates showed up. @Rashidjass was performing some unplanned drifting.

Anyhow we have been informed that we will have some new leaders this time and for my convoy it was @Scorpio. I mentioned in my previous reports that I find @Scorpio one of the drivers that are hard to follow as he uses his car power in a tricky way. So good distance is always a good idea. In any case @Johanna was second lead. Once we started after only few dunes Peter reported a sound and we established that his Jeep has a small problem and he shall not continue. It happens in this sport and especially on those levels that cars tent to brake down.

Once we escorted him out we continued and @Scorpio took us in some very nice areas with different types of dunes so we could practice different styles.

In this drive I believe we could see what we need to work on:

1. Never change the track as it puts you, your car and the rest of the convoy in danger.
2. Keep the good communication and listen to instructions. Failing to do so leads to unpredictable situations.
3. Be aware of the power your car has and once is lost give up. Otherwise rolling stones...
4. Keep the distance for smooth drive.

I have to say thanks to @Scorpio for great drive and @Booy for assistance during the drive. Cannot wait for next one.
Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want
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Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:11 pm

First, thanks to @Booy to let us wait-listed to have another convoy, the hope didn't die during the week!

I was in the convoy led by @Scorpio, and it looked like a challenging drive, especially the approach to the side crests from the soft steep side. My jeep struggled at two places but not yet needed a second try.

Unfortunately I had to abort soon - a strange sound from the bottom of my Jeep announced a issue, that @thiagomachado identified as a problem with CV joint on the drive shaft. Since I didn't know how long it can last before something breaks, I decided to leave the group.

Thank you Thiago for the expertise and for Scorpio and Booy to take the convoy back close to the exit.
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Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:57 pm

Straight Roads Do Not Make Skillful Drivers yuush
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Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:47 am

As mentioned in above reports, we had 2 convoys to let all registered intermediates to benefit and i took the lead for the 2nd convoy.

Idea was to polish the side cresting skills with a continuous and fast flow with a pinch of technical passes and crest riding.

2nd tries have been handled without much interruption as it should be in an intermediate drive. A couple of stucks have been handled nice and swift (2 involves me :)) ) and one pop out at the end as the cherry on top :).

I have to mention @Loca as his performance should be an example to what we always say “it’s not the car, it’s the driver.”

Thanks to @Rashidjass for the support, it is always a relief to have you around, @Solmaz for being my passenger with no complaints :) and all the intermediates for one more nice drive. I had fun.

See you all next time...
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Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:34 am

Agalon wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:47 am

I have to mention @Loca as his performance should be an example to what we always say “it’s not the car, it’s the driver.”
Dear @Agalon, thank you so much ... you made my day in love

every drive with Almost is a learning experience: I watch what You and the other Leaders do and I listen to each and every advise, either coming from the Marshals, the Explorers, the Advanced and any other Intermediate

It's so rewarding .. it's 2nd Family grin
Gianluca (aka Loca)
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Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:38 am


Well all by now should have an idea of how the convoys were distributed, so there is no need to bore you with the same details.

I was swiping on @Agalon convoy which was a mix of old and new intermediates.

Our lead car gave us a new flavor on this drive, that none of the drivers older or new were accustom to.

The difference on this drive was that we were to mount the crest and drive as long possible on it.

The mid to small size dunes were providing a safety net eliminating high risk of potential hazards, while the challenge for the drivers to co-op with the task was above average.

Our lead car change 3 second leads in 3 hours and among the problems that we had was a pop out, several second tries, couple of crested cars and 1 beautiful demonstration of self recovery form @Yazan Ali of what an FJ with it's technology can do when you are using it right. Furthermore @Issa had his first drive with his new engine and new Cooper tires. He was so exited that he drove 1/3 of the track on 2wd thinking that the car sliding was part of getting use to his new tires. Well-done buddy, and @Loca for one more time did it again completing the drive on a excellent note restoring the Pajero reputation for one more time.

On this drive radio communication was flawless and our guardian angel was everywhere via the time traveling technique taking amazing picture ( please visit his link to enjoy)

My overall comment for the drive is that, We have a new upcoming Serif in town and we all need to keep an eye on him as the potential for amazing drives is there.

Note: This is the second lead from @Agalon and i will advice the new drivers that his black list is not one that you want to be in.

Great day in the sand. Thank you @Booy for organizing it. Thank you all support members and drivers and looking forward to see you on the next challenge as soon possible

Until next time stay and drive safe
The Wolf is not concerned with the opinion of the sheep disappearing
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