View Full Version : Wahiba Challenge 2009

11-15-2009, 06:38 AM
This is an annual event held each year comprising of a east west crossing of the wahiba desert in Oman.

The start point is given prior to the challenge, then there are 3 way point stops the first day and 2 the second.

each following point is given as you reach the marker.

Ie you can't just miss the intermdiate points.

This year were 20 teams of 5 trucks each, mostly jeep wranglers, with a few Prados- Cherokees- Patrols and LC's thrown in.

One team is just landrovers in old ex Omani army vehicles.

This write up is about the guys you don't see when you compete in these events....the backup crews.

Having recently taken up desert enduro on a CRF450X, the local group has taken time out to teach me and look after me on the trails.

This weekend was payback time !

Transport 450kg of gear for 5 people to a way point in the middle of the desert.

The following is a short trip report

Smelly Bikers support team report !

GPS Track data
Day 1 Mintrib to Camp
41.6 miles in 2.26 hrs - main track
1.4 miles in 2.03hrs- dune maze
4 Miles in 1 Hr- open valleys and scrub
47 miles total travelled

Day 2 Camp to Mintrib
14.9 Miles in 1.3 hrs following the scub valleys North
30.1 Miles in 3.41 hrs still following and searching for a route out, with pillow dune mazes always between us and the track
45 miles total travelled

Worst section speed 0.68 miles per hr

The first day was using the main track down and then 7Km cross country to the camp,


After the track we turned North east and headed cross country into the dune maze

where stuck became a 50 meter issue

This section became a constant parade of sand mats, shovels and tow ropes


The lighter lead jeep made easy work with twin detriots lockers and 35" tires, especially this last one...with the open camel grass valley in front of us

The heavy Patrol just drove through the crests, not bothering to get stuck or go around

11-15-2009, 06:45 AM

Next in up to his axles was the first jeep who tried to rescue Richards Prado.
It took 4 sand ladder applications to get him free again.
Next stuck was either Steve in the jeep or Paul depending on who’s view it was, the Nissan self extricated using about 6 applications of sand ladders, 6 ft at a time to the crest.
Not sure how Steve got out as were still digging out the Patrol
In or around this time Nelson also dug himself a comfy hole for the FJ.
This horrid section was blurred into rescue trudge rescue with a vehicle sinking on every other dune.
The lack of pictures just shows how NOT enjoying ourselves we were, the organizers jeep’s disappeared
On the horizon and we were left to ourselves.
Nelson almost rolled sideways when he misjudged a dune top corner, the tow out by Steve almost resulting in a ugly re-arrangement of his shiny body work as the truck slipped further sideways.
We could only see Nelsons lambo style door opening above the dune 2 further along from our dune crest view.
Once out of the dune maze we hit parallel sets of dune faces to cross
Steve led the way blazing some ruts and generally making it look easy- for the lightly loaded jeep, especially as it was the last dune before a camel grass valley and some easier going


The group entered this section as strangers and left the far side a slick vehicle extraction team
With everyone working together to free the vehicles in a full group effort, even the ladies pushed, pulled and dug in the sweltering heat.
The next section opened up to valley floors, camel grass and steep ridged climbs with no major issues
other than the odd stuck on the crest demonstrations by Richard, which continued throughout the trip.
This 5 km stretch was completed with no real issues just lots of luggage hitting roof’s and items of kit generally re-arranging themselves around the trucks.
The campsite was just inside another dune maze and with 100ft of entering 3 off us proceeding to dig ourselves some nice deep parking spaces.



Sundowners opened and beverages being downed


The bikes loaded and ready to go the second day


The trip back trying to avoid the pillow dunes was a full 30KM off road north crossing of the desert,


The sand patterns ruined by our passing only to reform behind us with infinite changes on the next breeze to pass their way


The easy riding camel grass valleys would end the dunes start again and then steep slip faces down into another valley, every 3-4 KM

With the heavily loaded vehicles the break over and swift descent was worthy of a fairground ride
With sweaty palms, shaking hands and a quick prayer to Buda the commitment over the edge
was completed.



We hit 6 off these slip faces on the return trip, each one hand my hands trembling

our slow progression was inversly matched by our fuel consumption which was horrific

I kept doing fuel -time and distance calcs in my head and was constantly checking the other vehicles.

We had 1 20ltr jerry can between us and a sub tank full in the Prado, due to the distances I'd chosen not to fill my subtank due to the weight, a decision I was rapidly regretting.

Luckily after rising out of 1 dune bowl we found ourselves only 650 meters from the previous days tracks and we made the decision to cross it rather than continue anoth 15 k across the unknown.

The Prado lost his front bumper, his rear was dimantled and one rear mud flap trim also departed from the vehicle.

The FJ sufered a severly dented crash plate.

But we all made the road, we walked sections, posted the co drivers for directions and plowed our way through, to stop the vehicles in safe areas.

the lessons learned from the previous days carnage and the lighter vehicles were an added boon.

My empty light was on as I left the desert for the nearest road

The heavily loaded Nissan Patrol used 90lts of fuel for an average of 1.02 miles per ltr !!!!!

is that a record ?

11-15-2009, 10:26 AM
Track showing way in and way out !


Lat 22°13'28.57"N
Long 58°52'51.80"E

centered in google earth

11-15-2009, 03:45 PM
Awesome scenery!!!! Now, that is a desert!!!!

11-16-2009, 05:09 PM
i love desert driving. thx for the pics & story.

Stan the Man
11-18-2009, 10:41 AM
I love driving in the sand. That stuff looks a lot softer than what we have here though.

11-18-2009, 11:25 AM
Glad you like the pic's it was an adventure and my first time in a real desert.

Some sections are relatively easy, where the slip faces are and bowls the bottoms are quite hard and then as we went north the dunes gently started again with camel grass etc.

The dunes with zero camel grass are the soft ones, they were a nightmare to cross in the heavily loaded vehicles.

If you google earth it you can see the slip face valleys as a U then look north and you'll see the dunes build before the next bowl.

We had fun but next time I'll be going lighter, with less gear and more gas !