Robert sent me an email earlier today – except I didn’t receive it …..
So, I’ve just had a lengthy phone call bringing myself up to date with what is happening. I should point out here, that I had to make the call and so yet again, that damn German has suckered me into paying …… This posh restaurant he’s taking me to at the end of all of this had better be bloody good !!!!
Anyway, at the end of day 9 he finds himself in Nebraska having covered 650 miles today (that’s Tuesday in the USA). He’s some 1300 miles from the finish now and expects to be somewhere around Chicago this time tomorrow.
Once the bike is in top gear (5th), it runs just fine but each and every time he stops to top up the bike and/or empty his bladder, then getting the bike through the gears back into 5th is a real problem.
He says that he is starting to feel weary and his knees are hurting. That will be nothing more than the fact that now is he just limping the bike back and not under pressure any longer, the adrenalin is leaving his body.
We also agreed that the format of this rally has been particuarly tough for the “Hopelessclass” bikes. In 2011, I got a finish with somewhere around 8500 miles. We reckon another 1000 miles, at least, is needed to be a finisher for the 2013 event. Not a problem on a modern bike, but a real problem for the “Hopelessclass” machines. I notice, for example, that it already looks as though the 1978 XS1100 may not make it either – albeit for other reasons than the mere performance of the bike.
But that’s just the issue – riding a Hopelessclass bike puts so much stress on both the machine and the rider, that the likelihood of something going wrong is just multiplied many times over compared with the riders on modern machine.
What I am pleased to say though, is that he has spent the thinking time as he makes his way back very wisely – he is already considering what bike he will buy to use in 2015 – Pepa you were right !! You obviously know him so well 🙂
The other thing that he has said is that the gearbox failed as he was following the other Belgian “immigrant” riding in the rally, Michiel Kerkhof at a speed above what he’d set himself as his limit. Typical – a German blaming a Dutchman for his problems ……. 🙂 🙂 Us British of course are above all of this squabbling between you Europeans …….. Thank goodness for the English Channel ….. 🙂
He has asked me to pass on his thank to all of the readers of his blog (actually MY blog !!!) and all of the kind comments that have been posted. He says reading them form time to time has given him great pleasure. I have to say throughout the 2011 IBR, I received a constant stream of text messages that always gave me a lift when I read them. No mention of what I’ve written though I notice … 🙂
Robert agrees with me that the expeience of riding in this rally has been invaluable. Without the risk of sounding condescending, the experience of riding in the IBR is something that you simply cannot really explain – you either have ridden it and therefore understand or you haven’t and you don’t. Robert will get to the final checkpoint of the rally, of that I’m sure. No he won’t have enought points to get the coveted “3” digit IBA number, but he will have something actually as valuable – the experience.
Yes, it will hurt for the two years between the end of the rally and the start of the 2015 rally. However, at the end of the 2015 rally as he collects his finishers award at the banquet, with a top ten (at least !!) placing under his belt, it will all be forgotten …..
With apologies to the former “Governator” of California, in 2015 “He’ll be back” !!
Right, I’ve got a days work ahead of me now ……
See ya !!!!