Wednesday 30 December 2015

Happy Christmas

Cyril Neveu, winner of the first ever 
Paris - Dakar Rally in 1978/79 on a Yamaha XT500

Season's greetings and all that stuff to one and all....

Things have been a bit quiet on the rally front as House moves and other stuff get in the way, the rally bike hasn’t even made it to the new house yet as the garage is still full of boxes, so it’s currently stored at a friend’s place.

Around now I’m usually preparing for the Dakar Rally, using the great coverage that is available on the ADV Rider forum:

Unfortunately BT can’t connect up the phone line (and therefore provide internet access) at the new house until the 5th of January. So at the moment I have to rely on my fast dwindling mobile data allowance and the not very consistent free BT WiFi available at the house. Luckily it will just about stream Eurosport player so at least I can watch the highlights from the first few days of the Dakar until normal service is resumed!

I have also been contacted by a fellow Dakar enthusiast in the shape of James Budd, who writes for the blog, with some great historical information on the first Dakar in 1978/9, check out the blog…

Monday 7 December 2015

Now there's a surprise!

After my one race in the UK this year and my 11th place out of 11 entrants in the Rally Class at the Hafren Rally, I nearly didn't bother looking for my overall result when the final positions in the All Terrain Rally Challenge were published on Saturday.

So imagine my surprise on checking the results that I got 13 points at the Hafren, that equates to sixth place..... surely some mistake?

Then I remembered that back at the beginning of the year we had to register for the championship to score points, this I assume was to prevent people who just did the odd race from affecting the overall results. I had always intended to campaign as much as the series as possible so had registered. Unfortunately events conspired against me and I couldn't ride at two events I had entered, the Ryedale Rally and the Pikes Peak. And a few others I had wanted to enter just didn't happen. 

So imagine my complete surprise when my 13 points had landed me tenth place in the championships, not bad for one mediocre race result! Obviously only six of us at the Hafren had registered for the championship, hence my result. OK so tenth place out of ten registered riders in the class may not be anything to write home about but heck I'll take a "top ten placing" anyway I can.

The bike has been stored away at a friend's place ready for the house move, which we still don't have a date for so it looks like it could be a few weeks before I get out on it again. At least I have the Dakar Rally to look forward to in January, only 26 days to go!

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Plans for 2016

The Rally season is over and 2015 was certainly a bit different

My first overseas rally

My first navigation rally

My first experience of riding desert sand and dunes

Only two rallies competed in 2015 but…

My second longest year of racing with 8 days of racing, only beaten by 2012 when I competed in six rallies and raced for ten days in total.

So what’s in store for the winter and beyond? 

Well first I’ll have to get the house move over and my new garage set up. The bike is pretty sorted as the Hafren won’t have taken much out of it but it will need a very good clean and there are a few jobs that need doing.

Over the winter I will sort the wiring and put a light switch back on the handlebars, so I can run it in “enduro mode” with a small headlight unit and without the navigation tower and fairing, that way it can easily go in and out of the van without any modification.

During the Hafren Rally I noticed the speedo wasn't working. This wasn't surprising as the plug on the sender on the front wheel got broken in Morocco so doesn't latch together. I had thought I'd fixed by sticking some heat shrink tubing around it but clearly not. I have purchased some micro plugs so a better repair will be done.

The tyres will do me for a few trail rides yet but will need to be replaced for Portugal, luckily I still have a brand new tyre on my spare front wheel. The mousses in both wheels will get checked and re-lubed as necessary and I’ll get round to replacing the bearings in the spare front wheel.

So apart from any service needs during that time e.g. brake pads, chain and sprockets, oil and filters that should be it, the harder work will be to sort out the navigation gear….

When the bike fell over in the garage a few months back it ripped one of the wires out of the back of my RNS TripMaster so I’ll have to try and identify where they fix to and get the soldering iron out!

I could replace it but cost apart (about £250), RNS is a one man band (aka Tony Schattat in Germany), so they only seem to get produced in small batches from time to time and no one seems to have any in stock at present. 

The alternative is the ICO Rallye Light but that has a reputation for not being water tight and suffering from condensation, so although the "industry standard" for trip meters, maybe not so good for use in the UK! 

Also ICO have announced a new improved model, the Rally Max that addresses these issues but it won’t be launched until the the Tuareg Rally next year and  that starts on the 5th March 2016 so not much use to me as the Tour of Portugal starts a day earlier on the 4th March, so it looks like a repair is my only option at the moment.

Also you may recall that the road book switch gave up the ghost on the Tuareg Rally, or more correctly the wires to the switch failed. As the cable is far longer than it needs to be, I will pull it apart, look for any obvious breaks and chop that section out and re-solder it together at a more appropriate length! If that fails I'll just have to buy a new one, at least they are a bit more readily available! 

So just a few things to keep me busy then!