Wednesday, 12 December 2012

CB650 Cafe Racer

Lovely wee bike by Ugly Motor Bikes

Thanks to Cafe Racer Culture for the link.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Roof of Africa 2012 - part 2

Friday night I slept like the dead, in spite of....' bastard fowl!'
I was bright and chipper at the start, right up until I asked a marshal my start position, only to be told I was listed as a DNF the day before and now had to start 135th or something.....REALLY !

The reality was that I should have started 51st, but due to a timing 'glitch', acknowledged by organizers, and was told at the time to come talk to them after the race....WTF ! Does not help me when I have to fight my way through all the slower riders I had already dealt with the day before up the side of a mountain.....I was pissed ! And even forgot to take my med's.

So it was on.... and I uncharacteristically whacked it from the word go, blitzing my way through slower riders sometimes 4 or 5 at a time, damn the ankle, I was charging!!

Where I encountered riders all switch-backing up a rocky step section, I would plant it straight up the face, where they were all hair-pinning around the end of a trench I would jump the thing, they would all meander thru a bushy stage on the path, I would bash and crash straight thru cross country, foliage caught up in bike and helmet flaying behind. Not pretty but I was getting the job done.

I had a good chuckle to myself on a good few occasions. The best was a horrible angled rock step at the top of a steep narrow off-camber pass called "music box". It was close to the first refuel so there were allot of spectators helping at the step as well as sitting across the valley watching. I saw the drama up ahead and dropped off the sheer rock-face left, down into the valley, over the stream and up the steep spectator littered climb on the other side, missing out all the tomfoolery. To the adulation of some on-lookers who gave thumbs up, and horror of others who gave looks of "hey you cant do that"....just did !

The day wore on with strength sapping sections coming and going and the only real lapse in concentration I suffered was when I lost the front wheel down a very steep, sandy, step off section and fell on my head then somersaulted over the edge down the side of the mountain with the bike landing on top of me...dumb-ass !

By lunch with only 30 km or so to go we knew I would not have a problem making the cut off so started riding a little slower, just getting it home. Then energy started to really fade a little in the early afternoon as I, in my usual haste forgot to eat at the last refuel....brilliant!

It worked on my mind for a while until I came across a mate and 'demanded' food. All he had was a rancid protein bar, good enough. Truth is it was like chewing on a big lump of window putty but it got me there I suppose.

The day and race finish was achieved with the hectically steep, rocky but spectator lined climb "bushman's pass" really took a big effort, but a awesome feeling having them all cheering and whistling you on.

Got home in 8 hours and 44 mins, even taking my support crew, brother Nic by surprise, he was still farting around down in the parking instead of being at the finish taking pics of my moment of glory..... NICHOLAS...!!??

Total race distance 400 km
Total time 18 hours and 35 mins
Position 53rd in Expert class
Silver medal

The Roof of Africa will always remain one of the toughest enduro races in the world, and its an awesome feeling to take on and master all the challenges it throws you. Or at least the experience of throwing yourself and bike at them.... with zest.

Thanks Nic, Enduroworld, Nomadik, ASAP Racing and School of hard rocks.
Bring on Roof 2013

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Roof of Africa 2012 - part 1

A few weeks ago, my brother Igor competed in the 2012 Roof of Africa - one of the toughest enduros around. Here is his story...

Before I knew it the year had rolled around and it was already time to pack and head back to Lesotho to take on "The mother of hard enduro", THE ROOF OF AFRICA ...Crap, so soon!

As in years past I had no time ( or the will ) to put any serious training I mean why suffer all that time before the event and then go and do some more of it at the race, just do it once at the race and finished.

I had only done two races the whole year, the last being with brother Paul (*a forthcoming blog attraction*) a mere two weeks before, but fortunately my work with my club Enduroworld keeps me on the bike regularly.

The event traditionally kicks off on the Thursday morning with the 'round the houses' race. An all tar, 10 km race through the streets of Maseru town. A non seeding exhibition race, so the plan is always not to burn it and rather save the tyres and bike, but this is extremely difficult when there are a myriad bikes overtaking you left and right, so the result, a heavier throttle hand is employed somewhere early in the first lap, good to settle the nerves I suppose.

With the formalities out the way it was off to the hills for the time trial and down to business.
Time trial was 60km long and took a little over two hours. I am abit of a late starter and need a good hour of riding to get into a good rhythm, so half the time trial is over before I even get going, that's just how I roll. Nevertheless I had a clean run, kept it smooth and consistent with my navigation also being pretty much spot on.

Result 90th in a class of about 180 riders, mid-pack, all good.
On the way back to the lodge to take care of bike prep I noticed as I was cooling down my left ankle was getting increasingly more painful and swollen...problem!

It took a bit of a crush between a rock and the bike in the last race but was no more than a niggle for the last couple of weeks, so what is this all about ?

It got worse and worse as the night went on, this worked on my mind a lot, all this work and money and I cant even put my boot on to start the race....bollocks!

I proceeded to gulp down handfuls of pain killers and sleeping tabs, which just made things worse, it seemed they were battling each other all night, result: pain and sleeplessness ....the 'bastard fowl' that piped up at 1:30am( outside the front door it seemed) and continued until 'real' dawn at 4:30 helped nothing...Superb, exactly what you want before the big race.

So Thursday became Friday and I was not in a good mood, what with an ankle now the size of a grapefruit and a head full of pharmaceuticals.

Fortunately I could still get my boot on so I was racing, all be it with no movement in that foot, so gear change was going to be a challenge, false neutral being the gear I rode in most of the day...!

The day started slow and deliberate, just wanted to keep the wheels turning and on the right track. My reflexes were a little off due to the pain killers and anti-inflammatory so consistency was going to be the name of this game.

Every gear change was like I was being stabbed in the foot. In spite of this, by the second refuel I was still feeling strong and decided to start pushing a little.

The last stretch was a long one, way up in the highlands in the middle of literally, no where..... This works on peoples minds, most riders are not used to being out alone for very long periods in very testing, treacherous and unfamiliar territory. I am, to a degree and felt comfortable. So I used this to my advantage and gained a good 10 or 12 places. Just kept my pace up and did not stop to rest at the end of tiring sections, but rather kept moving. This also maintains a cooler body temp with air moving over you constantly ( temperatures were in mid 30s).

The section boasted the most difficult and feared section "Big dick pass", a rocky, tight switch back drop of about 300m off the side of a cliff. I tackled it without and problem and felt confident at the bottom and mowed down the last 20km home at a good clip.

Days time 7 hours and 30 mins

Friday, 30 November 2012

Wrenchmonkees CX500 Cafe Racer

Another beautiful machine from Wrenchmonkees... this time created from a Honda CX500...

Thanks to Cafe Racer Culture for the link

Friday, 23 November 2012

ManxGP Vid

Found a vid I didn't realise I had from this year's ManxGP.

The real action starts 3 minutes in... and ends 9 minutes later... :-(

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Friday, 9 November 2012

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

El Diabola

Something scrumptious from the Cafe Racer Culture blog:


my name is Stefano Venier and I make custom motorcycles in Italy, that i actually design in Brooklyn NY where i live from 2005.
My concept is the Remade in Italy I basically bring back to life old glorious Italian motorcycles that are not ready yet for scrap metal.
If you interested on feature the bike in your web site it would be an honor for me, being one of your biggest fan.
I hope you will like the bike, i'm working on 5 new models right now.





Saturday, 3 November 2012

Adventure Speedweek - Day 2

Haakskeen - The 5k Grin - part II


Early in the morning, it was still.
Yeah! That’s more like it.
Many still fell short of their marks, other took to the challenges at hand.

The wait.
The vehicle ahead of you gets the course all clear,
Shifts into gear, and pulls away steadily, as not to break traction on the soft surface.
You start to gear up, turn the ignition, and hit the crank, “wirrr Dong Dong Dong Dong….”
Music to my ears.
The thudding drone of a Ducati Desmo Duo.

There is enough time for warm up, before the course is clear.
Focus, focus on you chosen clean line.
The distance markers, you got to time it right.
Some of us have enough traction- power to flat out in the first 3 km’s, so you have to hold on a bit, and flatten it when it is right, to get it through the gate at the top.
(You are timed on an average on the last 100m at the end of the 5Km strip)
Believe me , some of them buggars need the whole 5 k’s.

The Clark of the Course gives thumbs up.
It is time.
Quick check.
All green.
Visor down and latched.
“Klunk” in gear, blipping of the throttle for the crowds, n we’re away.

Aggressive to start, need to put on a bit of a show.
But soon enough you are , away on moving on down the track.
Focus ahead, settle the feet on the pegs, move the ass back, and put the chest on the tank.
Get comfy.
Watch the distance.
It goes by quick enough.

Steady up to 80%, hold, hold… all feels steady.
3.5 km’s down, roll here flat, at tuck as much as you can.
She surges still, till 95% then bleeds off, still holding, squeezing, squeezing, the marker too soon flashes by, you hold still, just in case.


Shit , the turn out zone is her before I have rolled.
Bwwaaaaaah!……. the sudden deceleration from a flat out twin is quite something.
Slow it down, 2k’s after turn out, we peel off to the left, and do a wide arc round to the timing tent. (250m off the coarse to the left at the 5 km mark)

Some one walks out, as I approach, and shouts 211.
I smile and give a big thumbs up. Whooop whoop.

The goal set was 209.2 km/h(130mph)
Goal reached and exceeded by 1.8 km’s/h
Stock standard Ducati St2 2 valve.
It was great.
One of the few who achieved the speed they set out to.

The pan was more of a hand full than most anticipated.
That is pan racing.
Tar is easy, easy peasy.
Pan is kool. Pan is soul. Pan is not just outright speed.
Pan is unique……….

Have look and see.
An attempt has been made to capture some.
But you cannot rely feel, till you have tasted the dust, felt the sun ,spoken to the people, and felt the silent wind of the Kalagadi blow through you.