Living the Dos Sertoes Dream - Racing 4,500 km accross Brazil

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Bluebull2007, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    Great stuff!
    #21
  2. header

    header Chris

    Joined:
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    Please keep it coming. Whether you realize it or not your thread is becoming one of those threads that are FILLED with those rare rally pictures that are captivating no matter what is going on in them. Atleast they are to me :deal
    #22
  3. Deadly99

    Deadly99 Fast and Far

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    :clap
    #23
  4. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

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    Prologue – The Super Prime

    For those of you new to rally, in order to determine the race start order for the Sertões International rally a Prologue is carried out before the beginning of the competition, on a closed track. The competitors start the race by two’s and timing is considered from lowest to the highest.

    The race start order each day is determined by the qualifying position on the previous day. In other words, the winner of the previous special test gets to make headway, and not the one with the accumulated results. Start order is also in by the following categories: Bikes & Quads WCCC, Bikes & Quads Brazilian Championship, Cars, and lastly Trucks in the same categories. So the last placed WCCC rider will always start ahead of the 1st Brazilian Championship rider.

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    Pic: Webventure.com.br

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    Sorry, I forgot to post these pictures earlier

    I wake up early as usual and strangely enough the first thing I think of is whether my bike will be sorted out today. I chuckle at the irony. I’ve already given up on the idea of testing the bike on some dirt road outside Goiania. I face the fact that it’s simply too late, any crash now would be a ridiculous disaster. I’m just going to have to learn the bike on the prologue circuit tonight at seven.

    All our team riders, including me, are in a ratty mood. We all just want to ride now. This preparation has been going on for too long, our budget is totally screwed, our credit cards are all maxed out, and there has still not been enough time to complete all the preparations, particularly in my case. Worse, none of us are able to draw cash in the stupid banks. The support guys Des, DD & Randall joke that all they say to us these days is “Okay, okay, okay,” because it seems to satisfy us no matter what we say or what they do. It’s true, and it’s actually very funny. The three of us have become like petulant children and to some extent it is justified given how much we have committed –Well, not really- but that doesn’t stop us anyway.

    A couple days ago, Randall and I took the Yamaha to bits and got a 180 main jet and 145 pilot jet installed for the fuel problem in Brazil, moving the needle up two notches as well. But putting the bike together again was a PITA. The pipe from the special air box mounted between the front tanks would not go over the carburetor and there was no way to get fingers in to get it on. Eventually we thought we had it right and the bike reassembled. I took it for a spin but it started bogging about 25 minutes into the ride, before I got to any dirt so I came back. Des told me to relax and took the bike to the Uruguayans to adjust again. The battery had also run flat during scrutiny, so it went over to the Uruguayans camp to have them work on it. Despite all the assurances I am still very tense. I don’t know if my bike is even going to get around the super prime track and that is later today. I can’t do anything about it. Des (rightly) won’t let me near the bike because I need to rest while I still can.

    The support team is also feeling a little put out, because they were severely limited in what they could buy yesterday. There were still so many unknowns, what food to get, how much water, do we have enough mattresses etc. After we all had agreed on the shopping list, Dave went with the support guys taking his credit card to buy boxes, coolers, chairs, table etc. other needed bits and pieces. There was apparently some disagreement as to what should be and would be bought. As a result they spent several hours doing circles in the Walmart loading the trolleys with essential items while Dave, desperately trying to conserve cash on behalf of the riders, moved in behind them offloaded the same items. Somehow they got out of this vicious circle, and returned to the hotel to finish the home-made roof racks for the Fiat Doblo. All 18 tyres had to go on the roof rack, along with the back seat of the Kombi to make way for all the gear going inside. Space was a premium, and the support guys made full use of the last few days to do a great job of packing and repacking so they could get everything in these two ridiculously small vehicles.

    Before you ask why didn’t we go for something better: We had a budget to stick to, and anyway we learnt that in Brazil it is impossible to hire a commercial vehicle without a driver. Having an unknown person registered on the team was simply not an option.

    Somehow, as a team we collectively pull together and made an effort not to let personal frustrations get the better of any of us. I think we are doing pretty well under the circumstances, we’re all hopeful that once the rally starts things will relax a bit. At least the support guys have been incredibly helpful and bundles of joy and laughter; it lightens the riders dark moods a little.

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    We go to the riders briefing at 11am, and are handed our road books for the first stage. Splendid! Pic: Webventure.com.br

    The English speaking competitors put on headphones and listen to the translator. We are introduced formally to all the officials. After the route is briefly discussed and described as a shakedown ride by the clerk of the course, the race doctor stands up and delivers a great safety talk. He touches on the benefits of bringing one’s own headache and anti-inflammatory tablets. The medical station is for serious emergencies, and is not a pharmacy. He emphasizes his point by holding up two huge syringes with large, hideous-looking needles 20 cm long. The brown one is for anyone with a runny stomach, the baby-puke green one for headaches and aches and pains. It brings down the house with laughter. We are also instructed on emergency procedures and communication during the rally. First bike starts out at 07h00s on Stage 1 tomorrow. Tonight results will be published at the start at 06h00s. They tell us to enjoy the show tonight and wish us a safe and enjoyable prologue and rally. We applaud. [​IMG]
    #24
  5. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

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    I have an early lunch with DD and the guys and then take a nap. It’s my first moment of proper rest since I got here.

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    Pic: Webventure.com.br
    At 4pm I return to the box area where the atmosphere is a carnival one.
    By the way can you spot our killer Kombi support vehicle in this pic? :deal There are plenty of pretty girls wandering about, photographers everywhere and lots of people from the general public trying to get in to have a look. Bikes are revving up and moving to the park ferme. This is it, the waiting is almost over at last.

    How far the Uruguayans have got with my bike? Not far at all I think, but then what do I know, it looks the same to me. Marcelo says “Todos esta bien, no problemo no problemo,” everything is fine. It´s okay they reassure me, and hand the bike to me to take to the park ferme where the bikes will be left until the start at 7 pm. It starts okay, and the light works but they warn me not to use it, the stator is unable to produce enough voltage to power everything on the bike. They will re-wire it tomorrow after the 1st stage and install a new regulator, the stock one would melt on the upgraded stator. I look at the mechanics, bewildered. I have no idea what they are talking about. They nod back at me and pat me on the back.

    I get on my bike and ride it to the park ferme. The atmosphere is thrilling. Hundreds of people mill about taking video and snaps on cell phones and cameras. Some of us pull wheelies and pose big-time on our flash machines. Girls in tank-tops scream and jump at the sight of us on our machines. We weave out of the box area into a mad traffic jam around the park. It’s great to slip through on our bikes. The din is incredible. Little roadside shops have sprouted up everywhere selling curios and fast food.

    Absolute chaos abounds until I arrive at the park ferme, where again I am met with strict control.

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    I am allowed into a large fenced-off parking area, sterile of people and I park up in the one of long rows of bikes near the edge and turn off everything.

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    My bike is one of the last in before the cutoff time of 16h30. Guys on the outside gaze covetously at my bike and its characteristic design. They ask me to pose for a picture. I oblige willingly, before being chased out of the area by an official. Nearby the local radio station is broadcasting live from a vehicle overlooking the track. Huge speakers boom out an excited voice calling talking about the event.

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    Pic: Webventure.com.br
    Helicopters full of pressmen snapping pictures buzz around like angry mosquitoes. I’m beginning to feel what it’s like to be a hero and I haven’t even started riding yet!

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    I meet up with Phil and Dave and we walk the track. It doesn’t look too bad at all.

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    A huge flag has been setup off two cranes over the track


    I return to my room for another short rest, a meal, a couple of calls and to dress for the start.

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    We walk kitted up to the bikes around 7pm. Now if this is not an advert for Acerbis gear, I dont know what is! [​IMG] The air is electric with anticipation. Crowds walk with us to fill the stands. There is time for us to go into the VIP area and have a glass of water, served by awestruck waiters.

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    Phil & Dave are also a little pensive. Their Brazilian championship numbers are 44 & 45, the last bikes on the list. The reverse start order for the prologue means they will be among the first bikes out there after the Brazilian quads and Sertoes Series bikes. Other VIPs come up to us and ask to take photos of us. We oblige happily, but battle to look relaxed and smile over our nervousness.

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    Pic: Webventure.com.br

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    We have made it to the start! It’s quite an achievement in its own right and we toast one another with our cups of water.

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    The event kicks off with the national anthem and followed immediately by a breathtaking fireworks and laser display.

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    It’s pretty impressive. The first quads go flying out while the crowd of perhaps 25,000 people go absolutely nuts. It’s very contagious. Brazilians are clearly exceptionally passionate people. I line up with all the riders to watch the first bikes as well. The crowd is roaring in approval and excitement, a Mexican wave following the riders around the track.

    One poor guy cooks it on a corner and low-sides and spins out beautifully, almost face-planting as he goes down. The crowd bellows some in sympathy and others with delight, while he bravely leaps up and tears off again like a man possessed.

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    Dave and Phil look at each other and are off to the start. I smile as Phil, in his element waves at the crowd. They hoot with approval; he has won their hearts instantly as the DJ yells over the intercom about the “Dois Americanos Phil y Dave!!” They shoot off and make the two laps without mishap.

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    I decide to go to my bike and warm it up, riding it up and down in the Park Ferme with the light off, to give the battery a boost and to warm it up. Well, that is my theory anyway. I take my position in the line and wait for my turn, turning off my bike and pushing it forward.

    Being in the world championship means I am riding with all the expert riders.

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    I’m racing with this Chilean guy Rodrigo Caballero, he looks like he should still be in school! I fool myself into thinking he will maybe be a walkover. Ludo Boinnard has No. 110 and is starting behind me, with guys like David Casteau, Dimas Matthos, Ike Klaumann, Kuba Przygonski, and Marc Coma with Ze Helio just behind them. Holy crap! Ludo just winks and gives me a thumbs up! He must have seen the whites of my eyes. I grin and wish him all the best.

    We roll the bikes forward gradually to the top of a 20m ramp down to the course without starting engines. The two rows of two bikes waiting at the edge of the track with engines running, and then one row is waved onto the start.

    It’s our turn to go down. I switch the ignition on. Nothing. Darn. Check switches. No light, no fans, nothing. I try the starter. Nothing. F***!!! I notice my HID light switch is on, I can’t remember which way is on or off now. Has it drained the battery? F***, didn’t I turn it off? I was sure it was off, I must have bumped it on somehow. Is it off now? Shit, I hope so. Not to worry, just take it easy Neil. You can still kick start the bike easily enough. Check fuel valve. Okay, its on.

    Kick, kick, kick, kick….kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick...nothing. F***!!!!!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Kick, kick, kick, kick, I’m kicking my ass off and nothing. I stop, breathing heavily and wonder if I’m going to have to pull out, when Ludo comes forward and suggests he push me down the ramp. I wheeze a thank you, and off we go.

    Change into 2nd gear okay clutch out. Nothing. I roll down some more this time getting a bit more speed, clutch out: Nothing. Shit, I only have 5m left! I roll on gravity paddling as I go nearly flattening two camera guys as the bike bursts into life at the last bloody second. Holy shit.

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    I’m sucking air like an oxygen thief as I barely stop the bike on the edge of the track. Once I’m sure the engine won’t die on me when I idle back, I ease off on the throttle. The guys in front of us wiz past on the first lap. I’m too scared to let the clutch out in case I stall it. I rip on my goggles with my right hand, but they’re so steamed up I can’t see jack shit. I can clean them but I need two hands. No way I’m risking that now. I don’t yet know the sweet spot on my clutch. I think I’m in second still so I kick down to first. Check all support circuits and lights are OFF. Not ideal, but this is survival, the stadium floodlights will have to do.

    Then I notice the bloody photographer trying to get a close up of my face. Well the photo will just have to be crap. I’ve got more important stuff to worry about right now. I can just see some of the track through the goggles with one eye. Once I’m going I know they will clear. I have 30m to the start, let’s hope that’s enough.

    We are waved onto the track and I charge off, stalling the bike. Oh F***, this is it. I’m going to have push the bike off the field in front of thousands of freaking spectators. There nowhere even to push it, I’m on the track. The shame!

    Praying, I get the kick-start lever out and first kick the bike is running again. I’m stunned.

    I scream in 1st up to the blurry figure at the start line. My vision is still crap. At least I can see the timing board. Amazingly, there are still 35 seconds left to calm down. The official tells me I must do the longer outside loop first, after the first loop, suicide switch onto the inner loop and complete the second round. 15 seconds.

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    I instruct myself to take deep breaths and relax. Please God don’t let me stall again. I’m so distracted I miss the green light and young Rodrigo appears in my peripheral vision. I zoom off hot on his tail before splitting off on my loop.

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    It’s a soft, deeply rutted track with really sharp curves. No problem, but I find second gear is longer than on my KTM back home, not that much torque so I am forced to take it wide. The next corner is better because it’s a left hand one and I work the back brake sliding the bike around. A small jump in front of the crowds who cheer the South African, one of the few foreign pilots. The course is not hard but I’m battling to get used to gear ratios and I’m peaking at the wrong places, at one point get into third too soon and miss a gear completely going down and scream along a straight in first. What a drama class.

    I get a nice power slide on the last curve and some air on the finish ramp before taking on the second loop.

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    It goes a little better, and despite my poor performance I don’t see Rodrigo anywhere, wow I must be in front. I start enjoying the ride, I can see a bit better now, I can hear the crowds cheering me. The jumps are very small but I manage to get a little air. The springbokkie and I are going to make it. I get to the finish and follow the route out of the stadium only to see Rodrigo pulling off after accepting from a small prize from a rally girl in a lycra suit for winning our bout. Hahaha! Time to eat some humble pie. It all seems over in a flash. I am thrilled as I ride back around to the box area. It’s nice to be out on the road cruising along after all of that, even if I have no light. I stick close to Rodrigo, I don’t want to be hit by a car now.

    I later learn I was out there for only 00:01:59.10, Rodrigo was exactly 15 seconds faster than me. He came 24th while I managed 53rd out of 68 riders. Dave came in one second faster and got 51st position while Phil took it easy and came 66th with a time of 00:02:21.30.

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    Marc Coma takes it easy and came 12th, seven seconds behind the leader, with Ze Helio coming second and Brazilian Felipe Miranda winning with a time of 00:01:27.10.

    Frankly, I am just glad to finish. I get back to Marcelo and tell him my problem. He would look into it. I get back to see the first cars tearing the track and danger tape up, very impressive.

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    After watching a couple more cars and trucks I leave for the hotel and an early night’s sleep after calling Mrs. BB and Rallyraidio. Tomorrow was Stage 1, we would be starting the real rally in earnest. I want to make a strong performance.
    #25
  6. WHYNOWTHEN

    WHYNOWTHEN where are the pedals?

    Joined:
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    AWESOME!!!
    That was so exciting. I had to read it out loud to my fiance. She was bummed that this is all you have so far. Keep up the good work. :clap :clap
    #26
  7. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

    Joined:
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    Holy crap man, thanks so much for putting this together - fascinating and very inspiring!


    :clap:clap:clap
    #27
  8. zenjen

    zenjen Go Outside

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    Thanks for taking us along on your Dos Sertoes Dream Ride.

    This behind the scenes look is exceptional.

    I am hooked like a fish!
    #28
  9. MotoMind

    MotoMind Long timer

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    Your writing really captures the intensity of the moment, thank you!!!
    #29
  10. desboon

    desboon Adventurer

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    This is going to be a great thread. Neil is a great guy and a talented writer/story teller. We are in for a treat !!

    Des
    #30
  11. mcgovski

    mcgovski Adventurer

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    I was reading the latest post, and my wife asked me what was wrong....I must have been squirming around....your story is stressing me out!
    Great stuff
    #31
  12. vwnate1

    vwnate1 Old Idiot who still rides

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    This is an amzing event , thank you for sharing it with us :clap .
    #32
  13. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    Great writing style man. You bring the reader right into the action!
    #33
  14. ArthDuro

    ArthDuro quarantined

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    I must say man, I knew I would enjoy reading this
    but wow, I am truly impressed by the detail
    and getting all that detail on a story I just followed from a far
    is freaking fantastic.

    Please keep going with equal enthusiasm
    and thank you
    #34
  15. gagnaou

    gagnaou Long timer

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    This is great :clap
    #35
  16. stevesmith50

    stevesmith50 n00b

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    Thanks so much for the report.
    #36
  17. Chilipepper

    Chilipepper Baja wannabe

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    I devoured your other thread and now I'm loving this one! Keep at it man this is one of my dreams too.
    #37
  18. Bluebull2007

    Bluebull2007 Adventurer

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    Stage 1 Goiania – Caldas Novas

    34km - Initial liaison
    133km – Special
    36km – Final Liaison

    204 km Total


    I am up at 05h20, unable to sleep anymore. I hit an early breakfast and feel bad immediately afterwards. Must be the nerves. I don’t normally eat breakfast, but I know it’s bad and I will need breakfast every day on this rally. Might as well get used to it.

    I go down to the hotel basement to look at my bike. I heard Des bring my bike back from the box area about 2 am. I’m hoping they fixed that electrical problem. At least the battery seems charged. Not much else I can do but go and get ready. Again. I´ve packed and repacked so many times I forgetting where I have left stuff, like my leather man.

    DD is up and wishes me all the best, what a guy: He even bought me some safety pins with little blue baby ducks on them to attach my bib to my jacket. I look at him with a jaded smile while he sticks to his story that they were the only ones he could find for me. I think it’s his way of having a good laugh at my expense.

    I make my way down the elevator for the last time in a week feeling as if I have left something behind. It’s a strange feeling, I’m embarking on a 4,480km journey and I have left my luggage behind. The support crew owns it now, and will be carting it all over the place after us. All I have is my helmet, earplugs, what I’m wearing and my camelback. Admittedly my jacket pockets are filled with two-way radios, Rastro devices, a bottle of octane booster, energy bars, my cell phone etc. I have left even my wallet behind; instead I’m carrying some cash with my phone and my international driver’s license in a sealed plastic bag.

    I get on my bike and start it first time. Wow. That’s nice. Let’s hope it stays working. I do not to run my HID light, because we now know the bikes stock stator cannot produce enough voltage to supply the rally equipment on the bike. I have to conserve power and hope the battery lasts. Marcelo and his crew will “upgrade” the stator when they have more time tonight at the end of the first day. I’m not happy that they were unable to help me before, but at least the bike is working okay this morning. So far. The threat of mechanical/electrical failure makes me anxious, but there’s nothing I can do now except give it up to God and hope for the best.

    I cruise out into another brilliant day. There is not a cloud to be seen and the sky has a deep, clear blue colour to it. It’s not cold at all but there is crispness to the air that makes my heart sing. I arrive at the McDonalds – Yes, the start of initial McLiaison is next to a McBreakfast. Well, it is supposed to be. I don’t see anyone.

    Okay, no need to panic – The first bike goes out at 07h00 and its only 06h35, but surely there would be someone out here at this time. All I see is morning traffic. I decide to ride over to the box area, about 500m away. Ah, there they are, a group of about 30 bikes standing around, and a couple of race officials. Yes this is the place. I spend the next hour standing and sitting around, looking at the nice bikes, watching more guys arrive and chatting casually to a couple of other pilots looking equally nervous.

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    Pic: www.Webventure.com.br The start turned out to be at the top of the road between the circuit and the box area (you can see all the cars lining up in this photo).

    The results have been posted on the back of a bus stop/station and a small crowd of men jostle to see where they are positioned. Eventually I get in there and I’m horrified to see that I came 53rd, my only redeeming factor being that I still get to start in front around forty other pilots thanks to my world championship category. I’m hardly a contender but the status sure has its benefits. So on the start list I find I’m only 25th . Awesome. My start time is 07h35 and 09h35 at the start of the special at kilometer 33.78.

    There is some kind of delay, and eventually I see the front guys leaving. I see Marc Coma and the other big shots standing around, looking relaxed. He arrived at 06h59, so he’s clearly in the know who is who and where he stands. I guess his support guys have their own copy of the results. Eventually they leave and my turn to get ready draws near. I’m glad I have taken note of the two guys numbers before me, all I have to do is wait and watch for one of them. Eventually No. 117 appears and he gets his time card. I approach the officials, they check my number and hand me my time card, after writing in my time. I can leave in one minute. I return to my bike and prepare to leave. We are leaving the start of the liaison in one-minute intervals.

    Finally I am waved to go. It’s a strange feeling for me, to suddenly be riding by myself after the super prime and all the activity. I see no other riders anywhere as I reset my ICO (rally odometer) to 00.00 as I swing past the lamp post outside McDonalds. The road book guides me onto the highway south west out of the city and its pretty easy ride out. It’s such a great feeling to be out riding. We have to stick to the speed limits here, and most of the traffic is moving faster than that, making things a little bit hazardous. It's not so nice being passed by big old 18 wheelers, when I know I can hit 150km/hr on this machine. I stick to the inside lane and cruise along close to the emergency lane. After a while I notice the trucks and cars are actually slowing down to have another look at me. The hoot and wave. People are taking photos of me on their cell phones. I’m feeling a little self conscious, but I hold up my hand in a victory sign for them anyway. They love it. It feels like everyone knows what this is about.

    A little further out of Goiania a KTM 990 and an 800 GS blast past, then they pull over on the verge. I wave as I cruise past at a leisurely 90km/hr, and they wave back. Soon enough I am aware of the bikes behind me again, and this time they escort me, perhaps the last 15 km to the start of the special. What an honour. It's Tuesday morning, but it feels like a Saturday outride, it's really really special. I am more relaxed and confident because the bike has been running fine so far -The jetting must have been sorted out by the mechanics after all. All I have to worry about is the power situation and that seems to be holding up fine so far. I figure so long as the bike stays cool, the radiator fans won’t turn on and the stator will only have the road book, GPS & ICO to worry about. The latter two don’t draw much power at all, and I can’t think the motor on the road book is that big a load on the bike.

    We turn off the highway, and I am escorted by the two DS riders through a little village and onto a red dirt road. The similarity of the grasses, trees, and the blood-red colour of the dirt makes it feel like I’m riding in Africa. It’s bizarre.

    After a couple of kilometers we arrive at the start of the special. I’m confused to see Dave and Phil’s bikes there, with neither of them to be seen. Strange, I know they are starting about half an hour after me, but they have arrived before me. I hope they did not come here directly and not pick up their time cards. It later transpires I am right. They also never found the start, and assumed they just had to go on. So they both pick up a penalty later on for not having a time card. Somewhere in front of me I can hear a motorbike pulling flat-taps from the start into the wilderness. Every minute its another one.

    I have 20 minutes before my time. The waiting is the worst, I’m nervous as it is and now I have time to think about it and it feeds my apprehensions. I have ten days of racing ahead of me. Ten days like this. Ten days of pressure. I start to realize how much this whole thing is a mind game. I remind myself that my goal is to finish, only finishing, and that I would be a fool to think that I will perform well against all these professionals and serious-looking rally guys standing around me. They all seem so relaxed, greeting one another, patting each other on the back, and cracking jokes with one another. Wow, these men are so hard-core. What the hell am I doing here?? I’m so out of my depth it’s a joke.

    "Just relax", I tell myself repeatedly. Think of today, the goal is just to get through today. Its only 140km away after all, like my daily training trips to and from the enduro events. I can do this. I will do this. Yeah. I pray.

    It’s time for me to get on the springbok and go. I hold my breath, as I hit the starter. It turns but does not want to take, so I help it with the kick starter. She fires on the second kick, easy enough, she sounds good.

    [​IMG]
    The officials check that my Spot tracker is working properly and permit me to move to the final check. Its that orange thing centre bottom of my picture half out of the picture. It has two little blicking lights that tell us it tracking fine, apparently.

    [​IMG]
    They take my card again and write in my start time, only 3 minutes away. Two riders are ahead of me, a minute apart. They take their turn at the start line and roar off. Draw up to the start line, advance my road book and check my ICO matches with the start.

    [​IMG]
    There is an electronic beam across the road at this point. In front is a board with the time and a countdown clock. Thirty seconds.
    Fifteen.
    Ten.
    Five, I rev up and lean forward.
    Four,
    Three,
    Two,
    One,
    Go! The back wheel spins and the bike pitches forward, in seconds I’m speeding along a narrow track. It’s tremendous, almost too good to be true - I’m riding in the Sertões rally!

    I’m surprised how many spectators there are along the track for the first twenty kilometers or so. After that it’s just me and the bike. I’m not riding all that fast, because I am following the road book and don’t want to make a mistake. It takes some getting used to and for me it’s makes rally really challenging.

    [​IMG]
    For now it’s a series of lefts and rights with a couple of dangers like these thrown in to keep us on our toes. Quite scary stuff.

    [​IMG]
    They call these cattle grids mataburros or donkey killers. Most of us later agree they can be rider killers too, thanks to the gigantic holes in the middle of some of them. Some of them are missing rails, or are in a really poor state of repair. Where I can I jump them at high speed.


    [​IMG]
    A series of anti-erosion humps in the road are perfect for a bit of air time. The photographers are having a field day.

    [​IMG]
    They get some pretty awesome pics (these are somewhere else on the 1st day). Pic: www.Webventure.com.br

    [​IMG]
    Pic: www.Webventure.com.br
    I'm low on this one because I notice I can squeeze another 10-15km/hr out of the springbok if I wring its neck and keep the air resistance down.

    I manage to relax a bit as I get into it, and I start to enjoy the ride. The road is fast but has some really sharp turns, T-junctions and twists past the odd farmhouse and burrow interspersed with mataburro’s and every now then a small creek or bridge to negotiate as well. I am battling to keep up with the road book, you know to keep it scrolling and to read all the tulip diagrams on it; it is very detailed and the distance between them is short, which means I was moving it up very fast. As a result I miss a couple of turns and at one point, lose about 10 minutes tearing off down the wrong track realizing my error and backtracking again. I am angry with myself for this, but it’s all about concentration; I’ve forgotten how much I have to concentrate.

    So I slow down and start again, pushing the pace only when the distances between road book waypoints are greater than 400m. In some place waypoints are less than 100m apart and this is where it becomes more difficult because unless I modulate my speed I don’t have time to look down and I miss things. Not good. It’s a game and you start to second guess yourself.

    [​IMG]
    I nearly overshoot another turn and stall the bike in the process, losing more time. I hear a motorcycle hovering like a wasp behind me so I let him pass; though I don’t realize it, its Vincente Benedict, a fellow ADV rider inmate, and Dakar 2010 finisher. Legend. We end up playing cat & mouse all day.

    Following him, I slip into that bad habit of not paying attention to the road book and soon enough we both miss a left turn. He realizes first, but I gain some ground on him anyway. But don’t pass him. Darn! A bit later, his bike kicks up a lot of dust and I pull back, preferring to lose him than crash in the blinding red stuff. I had a bad crash a couple of years back chasing a quad like that, and I’m now terrified of dust. Kuba Przygonksi, a world-class Polish pilot was chatting and reinforced the value of doing this last night when he kindly gave me a couple of pointers“Whatever happens, if you’re in dust, rather stop if necessary till it clears enough to see. That’s what I do.” Great advice. I was so chuffed that knowing this was my first rally, he took the time to talk to me about some of the dangers and things to watch for.

    [​IMG]
    #38
  19. SonHomme

    SonHomme Team F5,⌘R FYCYFF

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    558
    Location:
    Lower mainlands, BC, Canadia
    I'm not easy on the compliments usually but with the way you write, build tension and explain along with the pics, this all narrative, once completed, should be a book.
    Who knows, it might help you finance other rides :evil
    Keep it up my friend :clap
    #39
  20. SonHomme

    SonHomme Team F5,⌘R FYCYFF

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    558
    Location:
    Lower mainlands, BC, Canadia
    Could you share with us a review of your Acerbis koerta full pressure suit please?
    I am toying with the idea of getting one but would like to know comfort, ease of move, wear and tear, pros, cons, etc and who better to ask? :D
    Thank you
    #40