So after a run down on how the bike survived the Tuareg Rally, how about me and my riding kit....
Actually no real issues at all, normally if I had spent nine days in those conditions, I'd have run the risk of severe sunburn but being wrapped up in bike gear all day long, all I had was a little bit of peeling on my ears and the top of my head despite the Spf 50 I was wearing when not on the bike. The problem was that you put some on in the morning but it just wears off due to sweat and friction with the crash helmet lining. I took to keeping a spare buff in a pocket to stick on my head when stopping for more than a couple of minutes.
Again it mostly performed excellently. My main kit was:
Crash Helmet: Acerbis very light and very comfortable, no issues at despite being filled with sand on more than one occasion. And as the liner is removable and washable, cleaned up very well. The only small criticism was that the peak could do with being a little bit longer.
Goggles: Oakley Crow Bar, again excellent performance, given that I had three pairs but only got to use one all week. I used a grey tint lens that seemed just about right for the conditions and certainly protected me from flying rocks when required....
Neck Brace: KTM branded Leatt. Never worn one before and difficult to assess how well it worked but certainly when I head butted the navigation gear on day two dropping into the muddy river bed and cartwheeling off the dune on day four, I could have done my neck some serious harm but walked away unscathed on both occasions. It was comfortable to wear and not as restrictive as I feared it might be.
One problem with a neck brace is the gap above it, not an issue in the heat but on the chilly morning starts it was a bit crafty. Solved by wearing a buff, again very effective and easy to wash through.
KTM Rally Jacket: Specially designed to fit with the neck brace and an excellent bit of kit, the only small criticism? The clear pocket on the left hand sleeve for your time card was a bit too far around the side of the arm and made it difficult to check times etc without unzipping it and removing the card... I did say minor!
Body Armour: Leatt, excellent protection, very comfortable, designed to work with the neck brace. Also very hot at times but that's the trade off for good protection.
Gloves: BMW Motorrad GS Enduro Gloves. These are the second pair I've owned and I really like them, actually designed as a road glove but in a motocross style, so lightweight, well vented but offer good protection (palms made of Kangaroo leather) and very confortable. After seven days of riding I had some very minor blisters starting to appear on my palms but that's all.
Rucsac: Kriega R15, very comfortable, was able to carry four litres of water without really feeling the weight and very well made... enough said.
Trousers: Klim Dakar, very comfortable but did suffer a bit, I managed to burn the right leg on the exhaust a few times, a seam on the lower leg gave up altogether and small holes got worn in the left leg and the left had pocket but again very comfortable and fit very well over my....
Knee Braces: Pod K300, I've worn these for the last three and a half years of racing no issues apart from losing a bit of skin off the backs of my knees where the straps chafed.
Base Layers: Nike Pro Combat, very comfortable and very easy to wash out in the shower, dried very quickly so ideal to negate the need for taking loads of kit.
Boots: TCX Pro 2.1 Again I have been wearing this since I started racing, comfortable, very supportive and after seven days racing nearly knackered.... the linings are very worn, the water resistant bellows on the front have several holes in, the right hand sole is badly cut up by the serrated brake pedal, the right hand boot has melted on the exhaust and a few of the buckles have lost some trim. Think I might have to invest in some new ones.