Our plan was Tanzania. John was born there, had biked from London to Cape Town solo, & knew the trails. So in 1995 we flew his Super Tenere to Nairobi & spent an eventful time biking around to check things out, only to find out it couldn’t happen as they required us to invest a minimum $250.000 & put it in a local’s name!! 1996. Back to Andorra to kick-start (Hondas 😊) our vision to make off-road biker’s dreams into a reality.
START UP – No website, fax, mobiles, GPS or sat phones. Brochures had to be printed, & volunteer lickers to seal them in envelopes to post. Our office was the kitchen table & our workshop was the garage.We had the princely number of 5 new Honda XR400s, an elderly Toyota HDJ60; and a flatbed trailer. Two months later & we had 7. The most we owned at one time was 26 for one of our Dakar tours, & 115 in total over the years to 2005.
The first 2 years were just tours in & around Andorra and then in 1998 we started our Trans Spain to Portugal & back, Beach Run to the Med & back, & our Moroccan mountain & desert adventures. There was no one else offering off-road tours in Morocco then.
I remember driving the 4×4 alone (no Hussein in those days) across the desert from Merzouga to Zagora (now a well beaten track but in those days still virgin desert) with just a good compass. Frequent regroupings as no communication between us possible. Our GPS were natural landmarks.
In 2000 the DAKAR winner Cyril Despres was moving to Andorra but had no-where to garage his bikes. He contacted us, & for 2 yrs+ his rally bikes & mecanic Seb joined our hondas in the garage. Riders would get a bonus meeting him, & on some days he’d stay for a drink with everyone in our garden.
During the years we have had many adventures – flash floods in a gorge; freak snowstorms; 30hrs on a desert “island”; & more. We still do have them, but there is always a Plan B & we always get everyone home. That is one of the reasons so many of you keep coming back for more!! .
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