Well, leg 1 is done and dusted.
Robert arrived at the checkpoint well before the cut off point
He lost no points at the scoring and got what he feel is a good score given that he had a relaxing ride – bike issues apart. The scores will no doubt be announced in due course on the IBA IBR pages and it would be wrong of me to post them here, but you may be surprised at some of the people who have not scored as well as him …..
Over the course of the first 3 days he’s managed to take almost 15 hours of rest breaks and tells me that he feels good and not too tired – unlike many of the other riders ……
The day 3 ride itself was good – perfect weather and the bike initially ran fine. As those of you who have his Spot link will know, he passed through those famous “country music cities” Nashville, Jackson and Memphis and he says that he needs to come back some day (well, Mr Koeber – extend your break next year and you could ride to them with me !!!!!!)
He even managed to pick up BP’s that he hadn’t originally planned to do
But, the “bad” news is that the bike has again given problems – I knew he should have used a Triumph …….
As he crossed the MIssissippi and the bike cut out – again. He was already riding with the tank filler cap open in case it was an air lock but the bike wouldn’t start
He got himself off the highway, and a friendly Harley rider (is there such a thing ? I thought all Harley riders were “bad-ass mutha-f*ckers” Lol !!) stopped to help. Whilst he was unable to help, he at least directed Robert to the next gas station. Robert has noticed that the problem doesn’t happen if the tank is full ….
At the road side, he gave the bike a quick check :
He filled up quite close by was on his way but didn’t use the auxiliary for the remainder of the day
As the main tank capacity dropped to 1/3 full, the bike sputtered again – so he now fills up every 160 miles to keep the bike running
Given the temperatures (32C) – which actually is not that hot given what he’s about to experience – he has concluded that the problem is probably vapour-lock, due to the heat. There’s little he can do about it, other than try to find “cooler” routes. If the aux tank works, then he can switch to putting petrol at 450 km instead of 600km which is the only thing that helps. He has also discovered that the flow from the auxiliary tank was obstructed which was probably soft tubes due to the heat, but he has managed to get it flowing again
Given the huge range of BP’s available, he should be able to re-plan a route to keep him out of the real heat of either the Mojave to the west or the deep south to the east of Texas – but that obviously isn’t good for scoring – HOWEVER, THAT IS UNIMPORTANT. THE SOLE OBJECTIVE IS TO FINISH AND ANYTHING ELSE IS A BONUS. If Robert finishes in last place (and he won’t), then this rally is a success. Nothing matters other than to come back to Europe with his 3-digit number. There will be other opportunities to show the USA what he is capable of …..
This next leg may present a few challenges with the bike – it will be the hottest of the 3 legs and so ALL Robert needs to achieve this leg is to score enough points to still be on target for a finish and most importantly, still be in the rally by the end of the leg ……
So, let’s leave on a positive note …….
Robert says that the Pan is so much more comfy to ride than the XBR – not shit, Sherlock !!!