Saturday, 28 November 2009

Roof of Africa - Day 3

Just in on the Roof of Africa race ticker

On corrected times the official winners of the 2009 Roof of Africa are:
Chris Birch (New Zealand) on a KTM
Rory Mead (New Zealand) on a Yamaha
Jade Gutzeit (South Africa) on a BMW

They've got this morning's start times for all competitors up too... no start time for Igor. I don't think he managed to finish yesterday :-(

Only 56 of 243 competitors managed to start this morning.

Roof of Africa - Update

Igor started yesterday's stage from hell at 06h54. He was still going and passed through the first checkpoint at 10:30... looks like he was one of the last through who didn't retire.


Friday, 27 November 2009

Roof of Africa - Day 2

I don't know if Igor started day 2... I hope he did. The 'Live Results' on the Roof of Africa website aren;t quite 'Live'. Probably "live' in African time.
No pics of the brudduh yet, but some pics of the days racing:

From the sporadic race ticker: "15:43 - only 5 competitors have passed through the Ha Fochane Service point 20 km from Ramabanta." They started at 06:00... this is about half-way!

Is this racing? Mabe the organizers are taking the 'extreme' enduro a bit far if only 5 competitors can get 1/2 way after nearly 10 hours of riding on day 2?

This is pretty serious shit these guys have to get through. At what point does it stop being fun? It needs to be a challenge.. but not impossible.

From the race ticker less than an hour ago: they are cutting the day's stages down about half-distance so that more people finished and will be able to start tomorrow. Tomorrow's stages will be cut down too. Sounds like the route-makers got it wrong.

No idea if Igor is still in the race. Sounds like they lost most of the today.

We like Julie

Thanks Church of Choppers for the pic

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Roof of Africa - Day 1

Today is the first day of the Roof of Africa. Staged in the 'Mountain Kingdom' of Lesotho, this is Africa's toughest enduro and the final round of the newly formed World Extreme Enduro Championship.

This year a few international stars like Bartosz Oblucki and Chris Birch are taking on the local pros and some of the former winners in Lourens Mahoney, Jade Gutzeit and Daryl Curtis.  My brother, Igor (No. 157) is giving this gruelling event a go too!

Couldn't find any shots of Igor, but here are a couple from the Roof of Africa website:

The day started off with 'Around the Houses'. A special stage around the streets of Maresu...

... a fast and furious crowd pleaser. Flat-out through dusty streets on knobbly tyres! Scary.

Only minutes after finishing this stage, the competitors start the first time trial... 80km across some rather bike-unfriendly terrain...

The Roof of Africa website promised live timing and a race ticker... but it's crap. There is no mobile phone coverage in Lesotho... and I guess no-one brought a sat-phone along. So, I don't know how the brother got on. I hope he finished and will get to start tomorrow!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Friday, 20 November 2009

Scottish 3-day Trial - Day 3

Enjoyed a lazy morning, full scottish breakfast and helped split and stack logs in the sunshine. Therapeutic. Makes me want to move to a small-holding so that I can split logs on the weekends. By midday we had headed off to a local unused bing quarry for some more free trials riding.

(Trials On!)


(...and wheelies!)

The weather was kind, the surrounding scenery stunning, the climbs steep and high, the drops scary.

(Mike thinks about the drop... but only for a moment... )

(Ant getting up one of the big climbs... easy, peasy... )

(...I make it up too)

(Jack Jr. conquers a big climb on the wee fifty!)

(Brilliant weather)

(I make an attempt on a challenging climb with and turn and lip at the end... )

(... I falter at the turn. "Who is your friend?"... "Momentum!")

We just cut about till sunset. Up, down, around, wheelies and skids. No-one bothered us, just me, my mates, a couple of bikes and a quarry. Fantastic practice for Erzberg!

(Mike makes it look easy...

...he grew up riding this quarry)

(Ant getting some air!)

(Trials on! Yeah!)

Rounded off the evening with some great home-cooked food, beers and war-stories around an open fire. On Any Godamn Sunday!

Looking forward to the next Scottish trial!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Scottish 3-day Trial - Day 2

(Five trials bikes wedged into Mike's van... space for a few more!)

Saturday we met up early with Alan (a friend of Mike’s) and by 08h00 we were heading out of Peebles toward Edinburgh. The mission was to get from Peebles to Mike’s Dad’s house on the outskirts of Edinburgh - 40 miles as the crow flies across forest, streams and hills. The weather was rubbish: 6.5 degrees and rain.

(Jack and Al in good spirits before we set out - Al's so handy on a bike he only needs a traditional Scots helmet!)

We cut through farmland, wilderness, forest and streams. It was wet. Very wet. Coming down a hill, sliding front and back wheels, we hit a hidden bog at the bottom. The tall, thick grass looks and feels pretty even, but then the front wheel would suddenly drop into a foot-deep stream that’s hidden in the grass.

(Party on! All larfs before the going got tough)

Mike was the first off… followed a few seconds later by Ant. I ride past Ant spread out in the wet grass. “Alright?”. “Yeah.” Clump! My front wheel disappears into another hidden stream and stops dead… I go over the bars and land in a heap in the thick, wet grass. Doh!

(Al doing a stream crossing in style! I just rode through them.)

We did some cool stream crossings, big hill climbs and crazy descents – tricky in the driving rain on wet grass! Then Jack’s wee 50cc twist-‘n-go bike failed to start. We couldn’t sort it so Alan towed Jack a few miles to the nearest road and then to the next village. That was the fastest that wee bike had ever gone!

(Stopping for a bite to eat out of the wind and rain)

We leave Jack in the town to be picked up and head off toward Edinburgh again. The weather turned worse and the rain was driving at 45 degrees in the howling wind with raindrops the size of grapes and some hail.. The earth under us was just water-logged grass and mud. We’re about 2/3 of the way to Edinburgh. Going down a big hill, out the corner of my eye I see man and bike cart-wheeling down the hill! Ant hit a hidden hole, front wheel just stoped and he has a big one over the bars. Moments later Mike lands in a hole the size of a car!

(We attempt field repairs on Jack's bike. Poor design on the wee bike let us down... the carb and airbox were full of grass, mud and water!)

We stop to check is all’s alright and a quad approaches from the top of the hill. The quad is the local landlord. He’s pissed off. He’s been chasing us for about 3 miles. The first thing he tells us is that he doesn’t like motorbikes and that we must get off his land. He was in no mood for discussion, but Mike and Alan try. He having none of it and is quite irate. Then Alan’s bike doesn’t start – water in the electrics. The farmer tows him a bit before we sort it with WD40. Our last conversation with the farmer was:
"Cross my palm with silver."
"How much?"
"One-hundred pounds"
"We'll give you twenty..."

(Leaving Jack in the village - Ant dressed warm and waterproof... I was soaked and cold! Notice the real kilted Scottsman waiting for the bus.)

We don’t see a way through to Edinburgh without going on the farmer’s land so we decide to head back to Peebles… cross country of course! We have a wicked ride back in double-quick time, only water in Alan’s carb slowing down.

(Getting Al's bike going again)

By the time we get back to the van it’s stopped raining, the sun is shining and we’re knackered. A brilliant day, despite not completing the mission – rounded off with beers, a home-cooked meal and the day’s war-stories with friends around an open fire. Nothing better!

Scottish 3-day Trial - Day 1

Went up to Scotland for the weekend on a ‘Scottish 3-day Trial’. Mike, Antand Jack (Mike’s apprentice) drove up on Thursday night with the trialsbikes. They spent Friday around Peebles doing jumps and trialsing around…I was at work Friday and flew up that evening to join them for day 2 and 3.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Second Opinion

Not happy with my wrist, I found a orthopedic surgeon in Sheffield "With particular interest in wrist trauma and reconstructive surgery following wrist injuries". Perfect!

Had my wrist x-rayed and he checked it out. He said the plate and screw job was a good 'un. All the bone has knitted a-ok and there's no further damage. The pain could be one of the screws protruding and I should give it some more time and work on the mobility.

Peace of mind. This reassurance has been great and I've started my physio exercises again... with a vengance. It's all in the head, man!

Always get a second opinion. Worth it... even though I haven't seen the bill yet!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Iron Man of Daytona

My brother Igor in South Africa did a 6 hour 'Iron Man' harescramble on the weekend at an off-road venue called Daytona.

After a few hours he has a little lie-down and a rest on the track...

... well rested, he gets back on the bike and wins the race outright!

Well done Chief! Funkin' brilliant!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Knighter!

Just went over to Dave Kneen's website ManxPhotosOnline to give him a 'thank you' for some awesome shots he got at the Manx GP of the Wee Monster and the BAMF. Dave's just done a photo shoot with David Knight...

...some great shots of the 'Iron Man of Enduro'...

... these shots show why he's multiple enduro world champ and won the British Championship again this year... on a privateer Kawasaki!!

When was the last time Kawasaki won anything?

The Manxman has said that given the time and opportunity he'd like to have a crack at the TT... the man is pure talent and would probably win it too!

I wonder if he knows about the flat-trackin' at ShorttrackUK?

Monday, 2 November 2009

Goin' Sideways!

Had a good day in the clay yesterday with Mike and Ant. Down at the farm for the last time till March - we only get the field for 9 months of the year. The bikes scare the game-birds away during winter... and that ain't good for huntin'!

I had rained and was slippy, but the track soon cut in and there was lots of grip and a bit o sunshine. I started to get into it... the four-fiddy was on form and we were going side-ways. A lot!

Man... why is going side-ways soooo much fuckin' fun?!

The fires of flat-trackin' sure aren't out. I want to get back into it next season. Gotta sort out a Thunderbike. Two options here:
i) a tasty Co-Built Framer - some moolah but the tool for the job
ii) chuck a few pound at the 'ol Flat-track Monster and try not to let it kill me - cheap but a heavy old pig and probably uncompetitive

Right now I'm swaying toward the Monster - it's just a larff... innit? Besides... the amount of enjoyment one gets from racing seems to be inversely proportionate to the amount of money one spends on it.

Either way... got to speak to Anthony at Co-Built...