Arrived well at the finish of the European Tour 2016
I am back in the hotel room and I am waiting for my scoring. I arrived well at the finish in time. That is the most important thing, a clear improvement over the ET2014.
These were some intense 6 days. I’ve ridden 7860 km (4885 miles) in 5.5 days and have seen 14 countries. The name “European Tour” is well deserved. I have taken two ferry boats and two Eurotunnel trains. I have visited 66 of the 400 bonus point locations. I was soaked and I was sweating. I pushed my bike uphill on an Autobahn. I had moments of frustration, panic, and content but above all I was in a very good mood most of the time.
My plans worked very well and I could get the points I wanted to visit. In the end I chose a route from Stuttgart to Brno via the Alps, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. I was caught in a heavy thunderstorm and could not dry my gear for 1 day, riding damp to the checkpoint. From there, I chose the route to Ireland as it seemed to provide much more points and offered rest breaks on the ferries. I had not been to Western Ireland on a bike in 28 years.
But before I was trapped at the Eurotunnel where I lost more than two hours due to broken trains. Luckily I could still catch the ferry boat from Fishguard to Rosslare in the night. On Wednesday, I visited many points all over Ireland and did the rest on Thursday morning before I crossed from Northern Ireland to Scotland. I visited the Eastern coast around Newcastle and headed south via Leeds. I adapted my plan, crossed the Eurotunnel at midnight and spent the next rest break in my own bed. On the last day, I picked smaller points in Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany before I headed for the finish. It was 40 km to go to the finish when the bike that went so well during the tour stopped on the Autobahn and wouldn’t start again. I knew it was a petrol problem, but I tried to push the bike uphill to the nearby exit. When I needed a break, I tried to start again, it would fire and I would go very slowly to the finish. What a drama! I discovered that it is an under pressure problem in the fuel system, maybe a blocked tank vent, but nothing serious. But it was enough to start panicking, because I had done so well and now I would drop out???
Luckily I didn’t and this time I am a finisher! Unfortunately, my mates and strongest rivals John Young and Giel Kerkhof dropped out of the rally like I did in 2014. John had a broken final drive bearing and Giel bent his front wheel rolling over a kerb. I can only understand their frustration too well as this happened to me in the 2014 rally. The did excellent routes and it is a pity to miss them at the ceremony.
In one hour, I will be scored and I hope I will keep all of the many many points I have gathered, they seem to be a lot….
At 7 p.m., there will be the banquet and the trophy ceremony….