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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #280 on: November 07, 2010, 10:20:19 pm »
You are watching the right fred, its just me... :P
 

Sorry about these unreasonable delays folks Ė Especially after committing to deadlines, I have no excuse. The truth be told, being jobless has suddenly brought up a whole bunch of new priorities! Finishing a report like this appears to be harder than doing the rally itself! Letís continue:

The Cytomax rehydration powder mixted in with a litre of water perks me up tremendously. I pile through a small bunch of bananas. And then another litre of water. Water is the best thing in the world  when you are dehydrated as I am. The last time I drank anything must have been five or six hours earlier and I have been riding all afternoon and evening without it. Iím too tired to attend the daily briefing, anyway it finished before I got in.

Iím still a little stunned that I actually made it. Missing the cut-off time by a couple hours means I will have picked up a five-hour penalty but Iím still in the race. Brilliant. Pity about my left knee, which is really sore. But the knee-moania is reduced somewhat by my success in finishing this stage despite major problems with the bikes navigation tower. Des tells us that one of the sponsors ĖGillette- have setup a complementary shaving centre for us.  A shave sounds like a great idea so I drop everything join Dave.



The pretty Gillette girls have everything a man could want: Clean water and shaving gear.

Sometimes a shave is a really wonderful experience. This was one of those. It was a bit odd doing it in front of fifty spectators though.

I limp back to the bivoac and prepare for Day 8: Eat a monster dish of pasta, find a hose somewhere to shower, fill camelback, fill riding gear with energy bars and boosters, drink some more,



prepare and pack our concoctions of 2-stroke oil and octane booster, eat another monster plate of pasta, and get on with the road book.



We pause for a team photo. Left to right: Dave, Des, Yours truly, DD, Phil, and Randall. The mechanics are noticeably absent because they are hard at work on our bikes.



You can see in this pic that the strain of racing for days and days is affecting DD as well. All of the support guys are pretty tired.

Sleep is a luxury. DD was a tremendous support to me. As a fellow South African, it was great to have someone yakking away to me in Afrikaans. As small a thing as this is, it makes the otherwise totally alien experience of rally easier to deal with. Itís hard to be on the support team, apart from having to baby a bunch egotistical riders, you have your own race: Hundreds and hundreds of kilometres along a longer, roundabout route to get to the next bivouac each day.



The fact that we are using budget support vehicles means plenty of stops, this time to wait for the engine to cool down!

On arriving at the bivouac the guys in the first vehicle have to jostle with other support teams for an area big enough for our others vehicle, the Uruguayan truck and itís trailer. DD is usually first on the scene every day, which is good because his presence commands attention. This means we usually get a reasonably ďniceĒ place to hang out in. Then itís a case of putting up tents, the easy up, tables and chairs, preparing the maintenance tools, food, and energy drinks for the riders when they come in. Later they assist us by finding out our start times and positions. The support guys also have to get up really early in the morning to break camp and get on the road as soon as possible. Any delay will mean that they will be caught behind the plethora of other support vehicles and trucks, which have to be somehow passed en route to the next bivouac.



Dave has time to get a massage from Randall, our team medic, nutritional and fitness coach.

Phil and I are both so late so we have to get on with our road books. Having just finish 500km of hectic riding we have to prepare another huge road book covering nearly 700km we need to do tomorrow, the longest day of the rally. Itís going to take hours and Iím getting really sick of marking road books.



Iím tired and I canít seem to find a way to mark them so that it makes it easier.







Interest in what we are doing keeps us going somehow and Phil and I take turns explaining how it works or signing autographs. Itís nice to have all the attention but itís very distracting and to be honest we can do with some peace and quiet.






Result-wise for the stage I think I had one of my best days. Things we smooth on the course, and despite losing time in my off and checking out my disintegrating nav. tower, I was able to keep the pace up until the end of the shortened special. Had I not wiped out, I think I could have come in somewhere in the upper teens for the stage. But the real drama happened in the 300km liaison after that when I was forced to limp along at a ridiculously slow pace and resulted in a fat penalty.





Thinking about it now, I probably picked up some heavy penalties for speeding as well, seeing as most of the time I was unable to navigate by road book. Very disappointing, embarrassing even to see how far behind I am behind the leaders, but then I am comforted that this is my first rally and I am still on target to getting a finish. Also guys Like Coma and Casteau ride at speeds most of us consider to be insane. They have nothing to lose, they get paid to ride. Guys like me have to go back to work after this rally. You donít get paid for being in hospital after all!

Phil and I werenít the only one to epic.



Eduardo Lara was the guy who broke his chain three times today and still managed to limp in on his KTM520 after his inadequate field repairs somehow held together. I passed him all three times, but in the end he still finished well ahead of me in 26th position despite picking up a penalty as well.






Perhaps most impressive was Moara Sacilotti, the leading female pilot on the rally who came 35th on the stage and ahead of Phil & I overall at 32nd overall. Respect.




I think she also had problems today too because she picked up 3 hours of penalties as well. The number of DNFís in the race increased to thirteen. But she is the Brazilian heroine allright. Everyone loves her chitzpa!

I finish up my road book sometime after twelve. I feel for my mechanics working on my bike. When they first saw my bike when I came in, they looked distraught but instead said ďNo problemo, No problemo! We will fix it.Ē I have to look at my bike again and see how they are doing.






There is no way I will be able to load my road book tonight. Marcello assures me he will see what he can do, but he is not sure. It needs a miracle all right; there are no spares, so I start praying.

« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 11:57:46 pm by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline Harry the Buffalo

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #281 on: November 07, 2010, 10:24:35 pm »
Subscribe
Having "GUTS" means being "SHIT" scared and still winding the throttle!!!
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #282 on: November 08, 2010, 12:48:20 am »
STAGE 8 Balsas - Teresina

178km - Initial Liaison
183km Ė Special Stage
292km Ė Final Liaison

Total for the day 653km



I donít sleep well, and after a few hours lying in my tent worrying and just talking to God, I decide to get up.


In the pre-dawn this is what I see.

My heart leaps because even from here the green glow of my road book backlight can be seen! Itís seems to be working! Marcello, Ivan & Fernando are all zonked out, they have been working flat-out on my bike for seven hours.


But somehow they have been able to piece the wreckage together. Theyíve certainly been quite ingenious, scrounging sparkplug sockets for the vital missing spacers and doing a bit of aluminium welding. I am so happy I hug them.






As the day breaks and people begin waking up, Randall joins in with the final preparations while I shove breakfast down and try to drink another two litres of water.


As I get dressed, Iím feeling tired, but now is not the time. I need to focus on the day ahead.

The liaison is another mind-numbing morning session that saps our strength before we have even begun racing. The good thing is that my navigation tower is holding up well, it looks and feels very solid. Iím really pleased about this.





The start of the special starts on a rocky and narrow road but later opens out onto faster road, winding up a mountain.



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Offline zetman

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #283 on: November 08, 2010, 12:52:08 am »
Hey Niel bly jy nog aan di gang skryf pappa skryf 
Hou die Tyres op die Grondpad...
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #284 on: November 08, 2010, 01:17:15 am »
Holy Shit boet.......!
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #285 on: November 08, 2010, 01:23:40 am »
Ringdahl..?  moske lidt dansk i dig ?   ...I'm married to a Dane.

Can't wait for the next installment.

Yeah its Norwegian actually, but Im third generation Souf Efriken now.
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Offline Kamanya

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #286 on: November 08, 2010, 01:52:28 am »
How did we ever manage without zipties before they were invented?
I wonder where that road goes? And that, has usually made all the difference. Appologies to Mr Frost

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Offline Dustdevil

Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #287 on: November 08, 2010, 02:48:06 am »


I was looking at this pic thinking to myself "Neil, you are taunting fate over here!!! having your weight so dead on the saddle almost hanging of the bike on the inside looks like dangerous stuff."
The back end might come out more impressively this way but then do you want to look impressive or do you want to be faster and safer through the turns?

Listen to me, giving advice and I haven't even raced an endure before in my life. But seriously this is one thing I have tested to the max, I always go into any turn on the pegs no matter what the speed. I always shift my weight onto the outside peg with my upper body way out almost next to the fairing no matter what the speed. This just puts me into the habit of weight shifting even when the speed does not justify it. It needs to almost become a subconscious action.

The weight on the outside peg will provide more traction and will in fact prevent the back wheel from braking that easy, but more importantly once the back does come out you are on top of the situation with perfect control. Trying to recover from a out of control slide with to much of your weight on the saddle and the inside of the bike will call for a nerve wrecking moment or two and can at worse be fatal.

The next step would be to have your upper body to the outside of the bike but getting the pressure down on the inside peg as you enter the apex of the turn. This will brake the back out easier to line the bike up quicker for the exit out of the apex and then shifting your weight to the outside peg to gain control of the slide once the bike is pointing at the exit of the turn. This style of riding is only for the gutless and fearless and as you put it "paid riders with no wife's and kids." It allows them to go through the turns at much greater speed than would normally be possible but takes great courage, precision and concentration. Locking the back wheel also forms part of this technique and further help to step the back end out more and faster but weighing the inside peg is still crucial here if you want to make the bike slide sideways.

Forgive me for putting up advice here, but it would be nice to hear your viewpoint on this and I am sure you must have some kind of input and advice on how the pros are doing it.
 

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #288 on: November 08, 2010, 02:57:48 am »
How did we ever manage without zipties before they were invented?

Actually the zipties never helped on this occasion, they lasted less than 15 minutes. One guy borrowed me a huge one (one cm wide) and it held for about an hour. The only thing that worked was that tow rope, and failing that duct tape. Hoving said that I found zipties indispesable for zillion other little isses all over the place (more on that later).
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #289 on: November 08, 2010, 03:09:56 am »
I was looking at this pic thinking to myself "Neil, you are taunting fate over here!!! having your weight so dead on the saddle almost hanging of the bike on the inside looks like dangerous stuff."
The back end might come out more impressively this way but then do you want to look impressive or do you want to be faster and safer through the turns?

Listen to me, giving advice and I haven't even raced an endure before in my life. But seriously this is one thing I have tested to the max, I always go into any turn on the pegs no matter what the speed. I always shift my weight onto the outside peg with my upper body way out almost next to the fairing no matter what the speed. This just puts me into the habit of weight shifting even when the speed does not justify it. It needs to almost become a subconscious action.

The weight on the outside peg will provide more traction and will in fact prevent the back wheel from braking that easy, but more importantly once the back does come out you are on top of the situation with perfect control. Trying to recover from a out of control slide with to much of your weight on the saddle and the inside of the bike will call for a nerve wrecking moment or two and can at worse be fatal.

The next step would be to have your upper body to the outside of the bike but getting the pressure down on the inside peg as you enter the apex of the turn. This will brake the back out easier to line the bike up quicker for the exit out of the apex and then shifting your weight to the outside peg to gain control of the slide once the bike is pointing at the exit of the turn. This style of riding is only for the gutless and fearless and as you put it "paid riders with no wife's and kids." It allows them to go through the turns at much greater speed than would normally be possible but takes great courage, precision and concentration. Locking the back wheel also forms part of this technique and further help to step the back end out more and faster but weighing the inside peg is still crucial here if you want to make the bike slide sideways.

Forgive me for putting up advice here, but it would be nice to hear your viewpoint on this and I am sure you must have some kind of input and advice on how the pros are doing it.


I hear you bro, and I agree with you completely.  I also prefer to stand on corners, but in this case this corner was particulary sharp, requiring a MX-style turn. What you can't see is my leg kicking the ground on the other side, I think in this case because I did in fact use my leg to keep the bike from low siding.

If you watch the Stage 2 bike vids of the 2010 Dakar on youtube, you will see the boys turning like this in the muddy conditions, so its great for that. The only other time I would sit on a turn is if its very tight, or when your foot is broken and you cant stand as you will soon read about.

I have found on the very sharp turns this method is the best for getting around a corner with a minimum amount of time. If I had done it standing, I would not have been able to do it at the speed I was going at, but mush slower. I've wiped out on hairpin turns standing both on my training bike and on my 800GS. Mostly I think I was going to fast, and the lean angle on such a tight turn does not allow much for error (you go down really really fast!). But had I been sitting I would have been able to save it with the foot. On wider corners it always makes more sense to stand turning  for the reasons you have mentioned. A powerslide is also great fun!

Brake hard on the rear to kick it out as you go into the corner, foot out in front on the inside and gas it. It requires balance and skill (ie. practice to get right) and I wouldnt recommend it to most. Looking at the photo you posted, I would agree my technique needs improvement in that I don't think my weight was forward enough; I was sitting too far back actually you can also see it in that my arms are not in the attack position.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 03:11:56 am by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #290 on: November 08, 2010, 03:20:34 am »
DD, have a look at this pic, also from the Sertoes:



The corner is not even that tight. But look at the angle of the bike. Its because its a tight turn.  Watching the pros I saw many of them going into a sitting position as soon as the turn tightens up. Notice his weight, on the outside, and you are almost not-sitting because you are pushing down so hard with that outside foot.

But on the wider sweeping turns its far better to powerslide standing up like in this photo>



Hope this helps! Thanks for your great comment/question.

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Offline Dustdevil

Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #291 on: November 08, 2010, 03:28:13 am »
One thing that's always impossible to tell in a stills image is what kind of speed the vehicle is traveling at. In this image it looks like you are going quite fast esp. with all the sand and dust flying. But when you look at the angle of the bike and steering it becomes more obvious that the speed must have been very slow but still aggressive enough to make it look quite spectacular.
I must also agree that I have found especially in very loose stuff or sand that a very tight turn can sometimes best be done by sitting down and allowing the bike to almost rotate around the spot where you put your boot down.
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #292 on: November 08, 2010, 03:37:38 am »
DD, have a look at this pic, also from the Sertoes:



Notice his weight, on the outside, and you are almost not-sitting because you are pushing down so hard with that outside foot.




That way of doing it can really take it out of you if the road has many turns. You need to be super fit, tried it for short distances but found my legs eventually cramping from the workout and I also could not shift my weight as quick as when I am standing. Obviously I only stand when there is a turn or blind rise or any section or danger coming up that might need faster reaction and weight shifting or emergency braking.
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #293 on: November 08, 2010, 03:41:07 am »
By the way, the anticipation have grown to great so I had to go look at the final days standings to see if you managed to finish. :biggrin: I will keep it for myself though. :mwink:
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #294 on: November 08, 2010, 04:01:45 am »
Found this little video on YouTube; 


You are the third bike coming past. Fantastic what YouTube have manged to do, a spectator somewhere alongside the road films a bit of rally action and publishes it for the entire world to see. :biggrin:
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #295 on: November 08, 2010, 06:08:15 am »
Thanks to the link DD, its from Stage 9, I'll embed it into the RR at that stage.

Itís pretty hectic stuff at first with some really tight turns, the ones that creep up on you and scare the crap out of you as they tighten up. I manage to overshoot one and end up in some heavy undergrowth. Fortunately the corner is very tight indeed and I can see the road ahead of me through the undergrowth. I open up on the throttle, blast over some rocks and crash through some more bushes to continue the shortcut back onto to the road. Coming out I have that roughed-up feeling as if I have just been in a rugby ruck, bits of bush and creeper trailing off the handlebars and my arms. Three cheers for ATTGAT folks!

It is not long before I come across Zť Helio standing in the shade of an overgrown area, looking very, very distraught. Itís clear he has only just come off; heís had time only to get up and take his helmet off. I slow down, thinking that he had started in front of me today so there was no way anyone had seen this apart from the two of us. He waves me on wildly, his body language is angry and tears of frustration are smeared in the dust on his face. Clearly itís over for him but he seems fine. Confused, I glance down and see his navigation tower on the front of his bike smashed beyond recognition. Shit, the poor guy; I guess his dream of beating Coma on his home turf is now well and truly over. Feeling terrible for his sake I ride on, glad only that I have not yet come to a similar final demise.

Fifteen minutes later I catch up with quad in front of me. Itís really difficult to get past him, because the road is so narrow and twisty. Iím eating a lot of his dust and bitch quietly to myself every time I get too close and then am forced to drop back in thick clouds of dust. I cannot build up my rhythm and its stressing me out. Iím following this guy now some distance off, looking for the gap that has to come up soon. Again I have to stop to let a cloud of dust clear in an area overgrown by thickets.



As it begins to clear I hammer it to catch up with him again. I get up to a good speed and going round the next corner - Holy ShitĖ I see this quad flying straight back at me in my line. We both take avoiding action, missing major disaster by a hairs breath. Thank God we both turned in the right direction or we would have been a goner, for sure. I donít have time to reflect and I almost lose control of my machine trying to recover. I come to a stalling-stop and catch my breath for a minute. My mind battles to come to terms with how close that was, Iím shaking like a leaf.

I remember Iím still in a race, so I swing round clumsily and following him. As if I did not have enough adrenaline in my body already, its making my body stupid and riding is suddenly hard.  Iím so angry at myself for not focusing on the road book enough. The thing is, when you are behind someone itís you start second-guessing yourself when it comes to reading a road book, and a right-hand turn is easily overlooked because the guy continuing straight in front of you must be on the right road.  I know this but still time and again I get caught by this simple error. Admittedly in case the turn was well hidden, but we had both gone wrong for more than five minutes, so more time had been lost.

I take it easy having narrowly escaped serious injury and knowing full well that others who have made the same mistake may be coming my way. Itís just as well I prepared myself, because within a minute, no less than four guys on top of one another come blasting past me at pace. Its chaos because as each one flies past there is more dust as they all start wheeling around. I am nevertheless to avoid them more easily, but it does not detract from fright each time one comes into view. Each time there is less than a second to react. Itís still one of the scariest moments of the rally and highlights the cardinal rule of never riding against the traffic. The problem is what else do you do it if you go wrong somewhere? Thinking about this I get onto the correct road but lose more time because I overshoot it in my pumped-up state. Iím disgusted with my performance as three of the others pass me in the gap I have left. They have obviously not ridden as far before realising their mistake, no chance of me getting that leading quad for a while now. What a disaster.


The road opens up and we go into a fast section, where I am able to catch a one guy at least. It great fun riding along these roads overgrown by canopy growth broken regularly by some sharpish turns perfect for power-slide posers like me. Iím very comfortable riding at high speeds by now, and Iím loving it. Just as Iím getting into a decent rhythm again I arrive at a wide fast flowing river, filled with photographers. Oh crap it think. I must avoid another epic here. No way am I going to try and ride this, so I dismount consider a line and begin walking it.



It goes well for a while, but in the deep part I slack off on the throttle a little too much and it dies on me.

 


Perhaps I was subconsciously worrying about hurting the engine, I just donít know, but no amount of fiddling about with the starter gets this damn engine going again. I have to push it the rest of the way over large slippery boulders. Wonderful.


I push and I push. Itís bemusing how deceptively difficult pushing a race bike filled with fuel through a river can be. The current is pushing me downstream as I go forward and Iím really battling to keep the bike pointing in the right direction.



Getting it over the big rocks is freaking exhausting. Iím also a bit panicky that somehow water got into the engine. Logic says otherwise but I will just have to wait and see. I make it to the other side only just where I stand and lean against the bike sucking air like a stream train going at full tilt up an incline.



Looking back, I see poor our Uruguayan team mate Laurent Lazard stripping down his bike. Heís obviously fallen in and is now going to have to spend some time drying things out.







Here is David Casteau doing it the right way. I have a pic of Coma doing the same somewhere, so at least Iím on the right track.




Not everyone walks it thoughÖthis is Brazilian leader Felipe Zanol. How he stays on that bike is simply amazing.




But most choose to walk it, and get through fine. Above is Marieta Lopes the other lady pilot giving it gas.







Uruguayan Mauro Almedia showing us the handy shower function of his quad.



A number of cars picked up problems in this river as well.









« Last Edit: November 08, 2010, 04:16:49 pm by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline ThinkMike

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #296 on: November 08, 2010, 08:09:11 am »
WOW!!! :thumleft:
Sorry Babe I am still riding.
 

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #297 on: November 08, 2010, 08:45:41 am »
Die forum gan darem n vervelige plek wees as jy klaar is met die rr
 

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #298 on: November 08, 2010, 03:36:00 pm »
awesome stuff Neil. Thanks!!!! :biggrin:
You either make dust or you eat dust.
KLR 650
KTM 950 Adventure S
 

Offline Rokie

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  • Bike: BMW F650GS / Dakar
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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #299 on: November 09, 2010, 12:38:12 pm »
+1
Dang, how I have been missing this fred!!
and how I will miss it once it's done - thanks for keeping it up Neil - a serious labour of love . . . hang in there
Previously owned:
3 x Suzuki DR 600 (1986-ish model)
2 x Honda XR 200 (1985-ish model)