Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sophia summits Sani Pass

The Great Sani Pass Vespa Adventure
Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five
Day Three: Sophia summits Sani Pass

This is what we have come for, the Sani Pass. Four Vespas: Marlene on the PX 150, myself on the ET4, Charlie on the PX200 and Magda on the GTS 300; all eager to conquer the pass in the middle of winter. As I prepared just on the other side of the border post I looked at the daunting mountain towering above me I wondered why others hadn't attempted it before as it kind of looked easy.

But easy it turned out not to be. Well it was until the last 2 km of hairpin bends which was just ice. A mini bus taxi had got stuck the day before and was now blocking the pass in the hairpin bends with a couple of 4x4s also stuck and they had to stay overnight. A queue of 4x4s lined up the pass waiting for the taxi to be moved out of the way while we whisked pass them sometimes with a narrow ledge between the vehicle and certain death. Every one of the waiting 4x4ers cheered and encouraged us up the mountain. Despondently Charlie and Magda both stopped at the iced up hairpins. Charlie's bike was giving her compression problems while Magda on the much larger GTS 300 had a 180 degree spin on the ice in the hairpins and facing the cliff edge was shaken. Loaded onto the support trailers they had to wait until the pass was cleared.

Marlene and I both on 150cc Vespas just chugged up to the top, well more like slipped and spun our way to the top. The larger bikes such as the BMW and KTM all battled and two even got so stuck that they had be left on the pass until tomorrow. As far as we know this is the first time a Vespa has made it to the top of Sani Pass from the bottom and in winter nogal.

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