Station KTM 690 On Your Radio Dial: Rock Steady

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by slidefighter, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Peel, Isle of Man, Thursday, 1 June, 2017: The weather has been a bit up and down here the last week+. A couple of practice days have already been lost and today is no different. Nevertheless, one practice session went off without a hitch and yesterday they got in a few laps at least before the ceiling dropped and blocked the mountain part of the course. Today has been a bust too, unfortunately. Here's a bit of race bike eye candy for those who haven't made it here yet:

    This is Raul Torras Martinez, the rider for Martimoto. He's on a new Yamaha R1M (sweet!) in SuperBike and is also riding an ER-6 Kawasaki in SuperTwins. His race number in both of the SuperBike races will be 81, if you are following along. Great guy, he's super fast but only speaks three (or maybe four) languages. Wow! He is now another of my Spanish friends, as I met him and his team owner Martin through the guys I rode with last summer. As you can see, I like to hang out with the fast crowd. I'm wishing him and his team owner the very best of luck!
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    The sidecar "outfits" are really intriguing. Here is the "unit" for the French, all female team of Estelle LeBlond and Melanie Farnier (race #22). These things are engineering marvels. They are all 600cc machines (this one is a Suzuki). With rider and passenger aboard, these things are pushing 900+ lbs. That is a lot of load for a 600cc engine. On track you don't hear them throttle back very much, they seem to be either wide open or on the brakes hard. Not really my cup of tea, but to be honest they really are spectacular to watch.
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    Michael Dunlop is on a Suzuki this year (this one). He is already ripping the course to shreds with it. A lot of riders appear to be very smooth on the course, but Michael just hammers...
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    This is David Johnson on Tuesday on the 1000cc Norton going like a freight train at Barregarrow (and sounding like it too!). He's doing 122 mph here (one of the guys on the embankment with me had a radar gun). This is actually a pretty steep downhill with a couple wicked turns at the bottom. Some riders were scraping their left shoulders on a garden wall at the turn at the bottom of "lower Barregarrow" (many have extra padding/protection) just for that. There were sparks coming off the wall, just like knee sliders...
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    Some of the "Spanish Crowd" at Ballaugh. My great friend Juanjo got there early and got us a good place at the barrier.
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    Jamie Coward on a 600 Honda over Ballaugh Bridge. Almost no two guys seem to take this jump the same; some were landing nose first, some flat, and some very nose high. Jamie looks to be just about right to me, but what do I know? A couple of guys were clearly much faster through Ballaugh than the others, landing twice as far down the road to the left---far enough that they were having to turn very quickly to make the quick right-left that follows the bridge. Yes, they cut it this close...
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    The races don't actually start for another couple of days, but I think they're going to have to work some more practice in somehow...


    Lee...
  2. kalonji

    kalonji nihilism or nothing

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    He's ALIVE!!!


    Wow, what a great time Lee!!
  3. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Hahaha! Barely! The Clerk of the Course has had to be pretty innovative this year with the (very) changeable weather we've had. Tomorrow has been rescheduled for practice and qualifying all day with the first 1000cc Superbike race (re)scheduled for Sunday. I'm up and off early tomorrow for the famed (but expensive) Creg-Ny-Baa where I'll be all day. Hoping to get some good photos to share...
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  4. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Peel and Creg Ny Baa, Isle of Man, Saturday, 3 June, 2017: Staying in new digs for the rest of my time on the island. This is "The Bothy", a separate building on the farm where I'm staying, built in the 1700's, I'm told. In the middle upstairs is my room and on the right my bathroom, and on the left, the neighbors!
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    Meanwhile at Creg Ny Baa: Hutchy, absolutely ripping on the Tyco BMW. He and Michael Dunlop are pretty much in a class by themselves.
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    The "Michaels"---Dunlop and Rutter. These two have both won a LOT of road races over the years.
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    Guy Martin looking quite stylish on the new Honda Fireblade:
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    Traffic jam at the "Creg":
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    Raul Torras Martinez taking a slightly wider line on the Yamaha R1M. There seemed to be two basic lines through the Creg; take it out wide and turn fairly sharply for the inside track, or ride it a bit deeper into the corner and round it off a bit more. Creg Ny Baa features the hardest braking on the whole course as it is downhill after a long, fast run over the mountain.
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    The Birchall brothers in outfit #1 (not shown) have been leading the way throughout practice, lapping at around 115 mph+, but the two French ladies here in #22 (in front of another competitor whose name I don't know) are turning in 109 mph laps themselves, well ahead of some of the all male teams. They were very fast through here, well inside of the line being taken by the outfit following them.
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    All this was practice and qualifying. Tomorrow will see the first of the six TT races, starting with the 1000cc Superbikes!


    Lee...
  5. kalonji

    kalonji nihilism or nothing

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    Have you gotten/smuggled any Dr. Pepper over there? Still looking like a great time. Where I'm sitting ain't so bad either.
  6. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Justin: Should be great weather for the first race today. The opening Superbike race goes off at 2:00 this afternoon. I figure it will be Hutchy or Michael Dunlop unless bike problems or traffic get in the way---anything can happen here though, so... I'm watching from the top of an old London double decker tour bus set between the Creg and the grandstands---a great view. Like at many courses it is hard to find a spot that affords much more than a somewhat fleeting view of the racers. The appeal of the Creg is that there are many hundreds of bikes and race enthusiasts there. The vibe is all bikes and racing (and oh yeah---beer!). For those who don't know the TT, todays is the second most important race of the whole TT event. The "Senior" which is the last event of the week, is the most prestigious of all six of the TT races but it is actually identical in format to todays race: Same riders, bikes, and the same number of laps (six). But a rider can win nothing and manage to win the Senior and end up a very happy camper. It's a BIG year for any rider who doubles them up! Several years ago, Ian Hutchinson won both and in fact five of the six! He didn't ride in the TT Zero race for all-electric bikes, making it the only one he didn't win.

    A couple of injuries in yesterday's all-day practice: The worst (I think) was Lee Johnston whose bike was absolutely totaled. And then it caught on fire. He got off pretty well himself though, facial stitches and a broken tail bone. I don't know, but I seriously doubt he'll ride---no way, I don't think you can nurse a broken tail bone around this rough (at speed) circuit.

    And yes thanks!, I am fully stocked with Dr. Pepper, the "Bothy" even has a little fridge! Party at a friends house this evening after the racing and late practice for the sidecars and the TT Zero bikes. I'm expecting a pretty good day.
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  7. kalonji

    kalonji nihilism or nothing

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    Try to dodge any flying motorcycle parts that may be coming your way! Broken tail bones are no fun. I wouldn't think riding with one would be possible in that setting either. I'm gonna have to catch some of these races on the tele.
  8. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Isle of Man, Sunday, 4 June, 2017, Creg Ny Baa: The first race is in the books with Ian Hutchinson winning and Peter Hickman second and Dean Harrison third. Hickman was actually faster on the road but Hutchy's pit crew was a bit faster. They refuel twice and change rear tires twice in the six laps here. They normally don't change the fronts but since they are required to use gravity refueling systems, even the faster pit stops take nearly a full minute. Michael Dunlop had a mechanical failure early (after setting fastest lap at over 131 mph) and Guy Martin went over the handlebars even earlier (unhurt, they say).

    If you haven't been here, you may have heard of the iconic turn at Creg where I was all day, but have you seen inside? Here is a sample:

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    A look at the outside, approximately as the riders see it just prior to rolling in---they would be very hard on the brakes here. Craig Neves crashed into the air fence just to the right of the tour bus on the second lap. He was clearly in trouble 50-75 yards back up the course and for whatever reason just couldn't get it slowed down enough to turn it in. Head on into the barrier and over the handlebars into the grass between the fence and the left hand end of the blue grandstands on the right:
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    Here he is afterwards, none the worse for the wear:
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    Looking up the course (steeper than it looks) and down the course (also steeper than it looks). These two shots were (obviously) taken before the start of the race. They change traffic over the mountain to one-way several hours before the start of the race. The Course Marshalls have to remove (and replace) the traffic control lights/signs and cones a couple of times a day. There is even a portable traffic light. In a couple of the racing shots you can see green X's painted on the roadway delineating where the cones go:
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    One of my favorite teams is Radcliffe Racing which is sponsored by Radcliffe's Butcher Shop in Casletown, Isle of Man. I just love it that a fully local effort---run by a butcher's shop---is out there competing with factory teams. Lost my program so I can't remember this rider's name, but he finished in (or pretty close to) the top 10, I believe:
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    This is (I believe) Bruce Anstey on the Padgett's Honda. Gives you an idea of how much they still have to keep leaned over and turning hard to avoid the barrier even after passing the bulk of the turn at the Creg.
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    Here is my friend Raul Torras Martinez on the R1M again. He finished a very respectable 30th even after very little practice due to bike issues and weather. The cross-plane crank in this thing and its racing exhaust combine to make a glorious noise. Raul was knee down in this turn every pass and appeared to be pushing very hard all the way to the end. As you can see, I had a telephoto lens with me today showing clearly the scuffing on his front tire all the way to the edge.
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    And finally, here is Hutchy on the last lap, out front on time but still overcooking it into the Creg. He had to stand the BMW up in the middle of the turn, hammer the brakes, and lay it back down again. As you can see, these photos are sequential with the shutter on auto (3-4 shots per second, I think). The green X on the road in front of his front tire in the first shot is the same one as the X after the rear in the second shot. That's how quickly he picked it up and laid it back down again. Look at how much he sat up to get it slowed down in the second picture. He slid right to the air fence (where Bruce Anstey is in the shot of him above) and actually waved to the crowd as he powered away. The race was still very close at that point so it wasn't a last-lap wave, more like a "sorry for the drama" wave. He won by only 5 seconds in an over one hour and forty-five minute race--- Awesome!
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    Lee...
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  9. Timmer

    Timmer Curious Adventurer

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    Great photos! What camera/lense combo are you using?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  10. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Timmer: Nothing special, its just a Nikon D3300. I only have two lenses, an 18-55mm "standard" lens and a 55-300mm telephoto. I shoot most everything on full auto focus on landscape. For the "at speed" pictures here at the TT, I usually set it on "sport" and let it take several shots at a time. Just pick the one that is framed best. The 3300 is not particularly expensive but it is usefully light, dependable, and pretty robust. If you let it do it's own "thinking" instead of intervening yourself, you'll get some very nice pictures. Don't forget that with all of the info "in the camera", you can do a lot to customize and enhance any pix you take after the fact. Even the plain vanilla "Photos" app that comes with the baseline Apple iOS suite, will permit you to do quite a lot of cleaning up back at the computer.

    I think there is a more recent version of this camera now, the D3400. Double check but for a traveling camera, it's pretty nice if you have the room. I keep mine in my back pack on my sport bikes and in the tank bag on the 690. Very handy.


    Lee...
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  11. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

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    NIKONusa has the camera n 2 lens kit for $499 0r $399 with the standard, fyi
  12. Timmer

    Timmer Curious Adventurer

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    Thanks, I had a 3300 but it was stolen in Santiago last year when we were robbed. I've replaced it with a smaller Canon p&s so I don't have to carry so much gear.

    Again, great pics!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Timmer: Sorry you lost such a nice camera, one of the hazards of traveling I suppose. Lost my very expensive Rukka jacket in Seville last year, it was taken right out of a "locked" pannier. Anyway, there are so many good cameras these days its hard to pick one. Another that I like the looks of is the Lumix GX80. It's a 4/3 with all sorts of features and is quite small. It has 4K video capability, so its great for shooting action videos and if you want, you can pick single frames from the video as 8Meg still photos---to get your choice of picture just at the exact moment you want it.

    Keep on rolling!

    Today on the Isle of Man: No practice and no racing---the weather has been a bit wild. Rain late yesterday, all night, and well into the day today. The winds have been 25-35 knots throughout with some howling gusts. Great fun for walking about but not the sort of thing they can race in. Trees down on the race circuit and some of the Marshal's Huts have been blown over too! Tomorrow is supposed to be better... The sweepers will be out early, I'm guessing.


    Lee...
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  14. baal.moloch

    baal.moloch I am the one you warned me of.

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    Hi Lee
    Thank you for the RR
    I'll glady take your lodging contacts for TT 2018 as it is always an issue.
  15. RjMaan

    RjMaan n00b

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    Wow, incredible trip and fantastic bike. Have fun.
  16. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Thanks guys! I have more pix and information from the Senior but I have a few things to get done first.

    Baal: I am staying at a farm south of Peel. It's on the central west coast of the IoM and is about twenty minutes from Ramsey and the same from Douglas. It's quiet and the proprietors are very nice and their prices are very reasonable. It's called Knockaloe Beg Farm and is very popular. It's booked well in advance, so you might want to act fast. Some of their clients book early for 2-3 years in a row. Try them at : www.knockaloebegfarm.com for information and at info@knockaloebegfarm.com to email them.

    Glad everyone is enjoying the "ride". I have some reasonable pictures from the Sulby Straight to share but I'm having to work on them a bit since given the speeds, the auto-focus on my camera had a hard time keeping up! I'll get it online this afternoon.

    Lee...
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  17. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Wednesday, 7 June, 600cc Supersport race: I was in the grandstands on the famed Glencutchery Road start/finish line for this one. They are blazingly fast, posting very high lap speeds albeit with little more than 100 hp on tap. Some of the lighter weight riders are particularly quick around the course on these. They are probably faster through a lot of the corners than the bigger bikes.

    But first: An edit with reference to the Radcliffe Butcher shop's entry mentioned earlier, the Rider was Jamie Coward who finished 15th. Couldn't resist driving down to Castletown to find the butcher shop that races against the "factories"! P.S. It's not a chain, it's not a franchise, it's just a (very nice) small town butcher shop! So cool.

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    So, Wednesday's 1000cc Superstock race: Three BMW's on the podium with Ian Hutchinson taking his 16th win, followed by Peter Hickman, and Manx native Dan Kneen taking a very popular third. Stock BMW's go very well here on the island with Hutchy turning in a 131+ mph average on the first lap---from a standing start! Here is Hutchy off the starting line with his brand new Dunlop slick gripping nicely.
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    Here is Michael Dunlop in the pits at the end of the second lap. Tire changes are done without the benefit of specialized quick-change rear ends on these stock bikes. Several riders were penalized for speeding in the pits (60 mph limit). Costs you 30 seconds if you do.
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    And finally, here is Michael Rutter (who won the lightweight race) roaring away after his pit stop (sorry for the poor focus---the camera sometimes has trouble keeping up at these speeds)!
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    Lee...
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  18. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    The Senior: Principal race of the IoM and the one that everyone wants to win/Friday, 9 June: Finally, the weather which had not cooperated well at all for the last two weeks forcing one reschedule after another, finally relented and after (yet again) more delays, the final three races were completed. The first, the electric bike race is only one lap, but they are quite fast. The lack of a real motor sound is pretty off-putting though if you ask me! Here is a look up the fastest part of the track, the Sulby Straight which runs from just past the Sulby Glen Hotel to the big right hander at the Sulby Bridge. As you can see, even this "straightaway" is not particularly straight and certainly not smooth!

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    Bruce Anstey and Guy Martin took first and second on the unbeatable Mugen (Honda Racing Corp) bikes. Daley Mathison, on the Nottingham University entry was third. Guy Martin crossed the Sulby speed trap (literally right here) at 162.9 mph which is faster than the 600 lightweights earlier in the week. Here is Anstey at 162.1 in the speed trap.
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    Next up were the sidecars and I have to say, as much as I didn't think all that much of them last time I was here, they really were great fun to watch. In addition, far and away the most ferocious sounding machine in the whole TT was the number 1 sidecar raced by the Birchall brothers. I don't know how many dB they were putting out but it was literally painful to the ears. Altogether the sidecars are very popular, there were 39 sidecar entries! Here are the Birchalls---they were unbeatable this year (just like last):
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    This is 60 year old John Holden and his rider Lee Cain who came in second. This would be John Holden's 17th podium in the IoM TT.
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    Here are a few more shots of the "outfits" as they are sometimes called. The French female team of Estelle Leblond and Melanie Farrier (#22) moved right up through the field, finally lapping at 109.4 before dropping out due to mechanical problems while in sixth place.
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    Finally the main event, the Senior got underway. I was photographing from a new friend's front yard in the little village of Sulby itself, literally only a few yards from the transponder trigger wires imbedded in the street. Top speeds here are in the neighborhood of 194-195 mph. As before, some are not in focus particularly well because of the speeds involved. Here are David Johnson on the thundering Norton (albeit with an Aprilla engine) followed by Bruce Anstey on an RC211 Honda.
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    Here is Michael Dunlop on his way to eventual victory! You can see the stripes from the timing wires in the road just in front of him.
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    Here are a couple of shots of the bikes after they've gone by where I was standing. You can just see the hard right turn well down the road that marks the beginning of Sulby Bridge (just past the black wrapped hay bale). The racers nail at least four and often five sharp down-shifts from here on down to the turn. The sounds are fabulous!
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    In the end, Michael took first, Hickman second, and Dean Harrison third---all this after Ian Hutchinson went out at the Mile 23 marker on lap two. I later talked to the Chief Marshal who said some of the Course Marshall's reported that Hutchinson's bike did not look to be handling well at all when they saw it go by. He lost the front end, went down, and broke the femur on his "bad" leg. He was eventually airlifted to Liverpool for surgery. Hutchy was by no means the only casualty in this years TT. Very sadly, three riders lost their lives over the two weeks of practice and racing, but in spite of one of the sidecars going off into the crowd at the Ramsey hairpin, no spectators were hurt. My condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones while they were doing what they love to do. These boys cannot be denied---racing is literally in their blood. And, they are very good at it...

    Well, I think I'll call it quits on any more reports for this trip with the last race over and only a couple of more days to go before I clamber aboard the ferry back to Dublin and, after a couple more days, the flight home.
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  19. FranciscoXJR

    FranciscoXJR Caminante no hay camino...

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    Hi Lee! Amazing pictures and excellent report
    It is clear you had enjoyed a lot in both races.
    I guess you don't like it, but you should enjoy a Guinness in their factory in Dublin.

    Francisco
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  20. slidefighter

    slidefighter Gather it up, keep on...

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    Francisco: Glad you are enjoying my reports. I've been very lucky to be able to watch from some very good spots. It takes some doing (and often you have to be very early) to get to the best ones! The Spanish rider, Raul Torras Martinez will be one to watch in the future, I think.

    My best to the boys!


    Lee...