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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #300 on: November 10, 2010, 06:48:52 am »
Perhaps this is the right time to make mention of the guys from Brazilian photo company Webventure who go out there every day to take these awesome photographs.
 

They are all top guys, passionate about what they do but were also chilled enough to have a beer with us before the rally.




I must say it must be a great job: Following rallies and taking awesome pictures, seeing some pretty amazing and exciting stuff, surrounded by a exotic and beautiful landscape




Quite high risk too, often the guys would be out there on the outside edge of a bend trying to get that ultimate shot. I would ride past cameras attached on the end of long sticks hanging over the road. Sometimes I spot one in a tree or river from time to time but most of the time, unless it is really obvious I donít see them at all.






To get these photos the guys have to basically stay five to ten hours ahead of the field. The route of the rally is naturally closed to all from the time when sparrows begin to fart until the last rider is in. This means that all their travelling has to take basically take place allong appalling roads in the middle of the night, with some camping rough in the bush after that so that they are in the right spot for the next day.







I think it takes a toll on the boys, but Iím sure you agree with me the results make it really worth it. Andre, Ivan, thanks again for the awesome work you produced!

Back to the story:

Ivan, stops taking pictures in the river and helps me to get my stalled bike out of the water and up the bank. He offers me some words of encouragement and pats me on the back like an elder brother. Grateful for his help, I manage to kick start the bike easily enough once itís out of the water and set off, still breathing hard from the effort of all that pushing. It takes a good ten minutes for me to recover and during this time I donít risk pushing it too hard. The sun is already high in the sky and I dry off quickly.

Itís getting really hot already and its only 10 am! Fortunately the route after the river is quite fast and I get into a great rhythm and cool off a little racing along these narrow and fast straights, broken only by the odd mata burro or curve. These sections are pure perfection for me, you know, that feeling when it all comes together and you are in unison with the bike.



I feel the bike beneath me, just gliding and sliding over the sand, there nothing to disturb my utopia, nothing to interfere with my thoughts. Everyday life is so far removed now, the only input are from anomalies in the surface ahead of me and I feel like I am flying. I switch my ICO to check my speed and I realize I am flying: 150km/hr! Awesome.




Better keep your head screwed on straight, Ringdahl.


We cross through in to a section of mountains with lots of criss-crossing tracks and the navigation gets a lot more difficult. The trees here are awesome, it looks like we are in Eastern Zambia again with all these big Acacias about. I take wrong turns twice, both times losing quite a bit of time trying to get back onto the right track. It highlights either an inability on my part to mark the road book well and, or, more likely, my lower level of concentration thanks to yesterdayís epic. I'm aware that although Im not tired or sleepy, I feel fatigued. I think about the snowball effect that Charlie always talked about, and shake my head as if to deny that it is happening to me. But it is and there nothing I can do about it at this stage except to just survive. The last three days have been really hard for me and its beginning to seriously affect me despite months and months of heavy training. Focus Neil, just focus. You have broken the back of this thing...almost. You're on Stage 8! Wow, thats's awesome! We have all made it, are we going to beat the odds and be the first rookie team that gets all three riders to the finish. I start thinking about Dave and Phil and wonder how theyre doing and if they have what it takes to finish. Then I stop. Concentrate on the bloody road, you stupid f*****g  fool!




Riding for this amount of time continuously really does something funny to ones head. The riding and navigation becomes something you start doing without thinking at all about it. In some respects this is good because what we normally find challenging or exciting on a ride just becomes another obstacle, but it can also be a bad thing because you get lulled in not thinking about what youíre actually doing. It becomes automatic; I look down at the road book and there are the all too familiar tulips and numbers need computing and calibration with my ICO. They determine my very future, but after miles and miles the obvious risks somehow fade.




The road is open and wide with big, sweeping curves. Its great fun. I continue without incident and I start deluding myself that I'm Alfie Cox. Before I know it I look up from my road book and I'm see myself going into a corner too fast. Way, way too fast. Too late. I lean into it and stamp on the outside foot.

Now I'm power sliding out of control at at least 130km/hr on a left-hand corner that I would normally do at eighty. What happens next takes only a second or two, but time slows completely, I see the end of the rally right here. I see helicopters, and stretchers and drips. My first reaction is to slam on the anchors, but I flinch at that. It will just flip me and result in more pain. I'm surprised at myself. What the f...  Too late. Here goes.

The trees in front for me loom threateningly as I break off onto the shoulder of the road. My sphincter clenches and tries it's best to hide. Riding instinct kicks in and I find myself wrenching the throttle big-time. I can't believe what I a doing. Im about to crash and I'm absolutely wringing it's neck. Unbelieveably, the bike sweeps on and on along the shoulder and after a couple of seconds I find myself speeding down the road, quite untouched at the same speed I came into the corner. My heart races and it feel really good to still be alive. F*** that was close. It must have looked really awesome.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 06:52:40 am by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline Dangaboy

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #301 on: November 10, 2010, 07:00:10 am »
Man! Jy mag maar!! Dink jy lewe my en elke dude met 'n bike se droom! Hel ek sal my huis en alles verkoop om so iets te kan doen!!! Thanks vir die report! Doen die brein goed!!  :mwink:
Wassie eknie!!
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Offline TornadoF5

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #302 on: November 10, 2010, 08:58:35 am »
and then.......!

Always outnumbered, but NEVER outgunned.....
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #303 on: November 10, 2010, 09:03:17 am »









Refuel zone on the special: 15 minutes neutralization time.


Iím no Alfie Cox, my riding skills are nowhere even close, but despite the earlier butt-clenching moment, I still cling to a ridiclously vain hope. Consequently, I manage to low-side the bike about twenty minutes later, again coming too fast into a corner. I am too hard on the brakes this time and down I go, at least not at high speed. Itís not good because my bad leg is under the bike and I battle to pull it out. Not very nice but I come away with only few scratches only, thank God my leg is still working even though my twisted knee hurts like hell. The navigation tower modification is also holding up great, dare I say it, better than the original. Why to go Marcello. But this is no time to be congratulating mechanics, I have a special to finish. I limp around to and swing my bad leg over the bike. It is swelteringly hot, perhaps the hottest day we have had. I unzip the front of my jacket to allow more air in and gulp down some water before setting off, encouraging myself that I only have 50km to go.



One of the many little streams that we cross.




I havenít covered ten of these, when my chest starts to burn like hell. It takes me about a minute to realise that a hornet or something has somehow flown in there and now getting squashed under my ballistic jersey. He is not happy with the situation and neither am I. I puff out my chest in hope of squashing him, but he anticipates the move, dodges over a bit and starts to zap me some more. I have no choice but to stop, dance about and rip off all my gear and camelback to get him out, much to the mirth of a group of nearby spectators. Bastard hornet. I guess the group watching must have understood because they were all hooting when I was finished.









When I get to the finish Iím really pleased with myself. Iím home early and there are no problems apart from an easy liaison. The race official offers me ice-cold water which I graciously accept.  Then he tells me there is something leaking out of my bike. What? I thought I had smelt fuel in the last twenty minutes. I leap off my bike and I see a hole in the fuel line from my front left tank. A steady sream of fuel is pouring onto the road. Holy shit!

I whip out a leatherman and cut the fuel line off, fold over the hose and tie it off to seal it.  This of course does not stop fuel pissing out from the other end, due to the back pressure from the other tanks. I sort this out by closing the main valve to the tank, but not before in inadvertently pulling out another fuel line and pouring more fuel onto the ground. Freaking hell. It takes me a couple more minutes to plug the lines back in again. By now Im sweating and panting like a pig. I figure I had better check at the fuel lines on the other side of the bike. I notice that one has moved out of position and is nearly melted through on the exhaust. I have been literally riding on a bomb since my crash when it must have moved! I rig a complicated setup with string and duct tape to keep it out of the way, but not before pulling one of the hoses out again. What a drama class; it stresses me immensely and I donít enjoy the 292km liaison to the city of Teresina at all.




Teresina is a big place, but despite this, the bivouac turns out to be bloody awful: There must have been some kind of mix up because we end up having to make camp on the island in the middle of a double-lane road that has been shut off for us.




There are zero facilities, guys are crapping behind their tents, trucks and generally behaving like animals. Perhaps its because we have been roughing it for over a week, I don't know. Then we are told the briefing tonight is to be held on the other side of the city, an hourís drive away. Des tells us itís the organiserís sick way of showing us that we are not through the woods yet. There are no vendors to get food from so itís a good thing we have our own backup cooking facilities and water too. Despite all of the unpleasantness, everyone is upbeat and happy, there are only two days left.




We also still have lots of the usual spectators visiting us.




I do manage to get my bike washed by group of fire fighters who come by on their engine. The mechanics are really happy about that. Working on dirty bikes is always unpleasant.





Iím really not happy with my result for the day. I spent too much time picking myself up off the ground, staring into space on the stage and fighting hornets instead of riding. Still we are pleased that the penalties from yesterday late arrivals seem to have vaporised, and my position overall is up to 30th and 7th in my class. I know I can better this.

Itís good to see my friend Kuba Przygonski up there in position No. 3. He got there by consistently coming fourth almost every day. And of course Iím pleased that Dave and Phil are still doing well. Phil is getting really frustrated with his bike electrics. Itís been the third day he has been riding without a road book. Heís done amazingly well under these conditions. Iím not sure what the problem really is.




Coma has been riding like a nut on his 690 as usual.



He is naturally pleased with his performance, I don't think he has been going at his limit; but he just has to hold it together to get this one under his belt.







David Casteau is currently running fourth overall. Pretty impressive stuff.



Here he shows a young fan the ropes.

By the time we are back from the briefing itís late and I still have to do my road book. I get to it and end up having another late night. This time Iím using road book markings I picked up from Marc Coma himself. I was lucky enough to sit next to him during the briefing so I had the opportunity to look at his system of marking. Itís very different to mine, and I like it instantly. Iím going to give it a bash on the road tomorrow.






I canít believe it  - Only two stages to go! Only two stagesÖ




Work continues all night as usual, this time with vehicles test right past our tents! Make for another restful night Ė not.




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Offline Diesel & Dust

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #304 on: November 10, 2010, 09:10:14 am »
At the risk of repeating myself (again)  :3some:

This is awesome - Thanks for the effort :thumleft:
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Offline funacide

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #305 on: November 10, 2010, 09:11:02 am »
Frikken awesome, one of those reports that you want to finish so you can know what happened but also don't ever want to finish cause it is so kewl...

Thanks for sharing and PLEASE keep it coming
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Offline Gat Slag

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #306 on: November 10, 2010, 10:32:55 am »
Bef*k!!!  :thumleft:
 

Offline Dustdevil

Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #307 on: November 10, 2010, 10:37:02 am »
This is not just a ride report, this is epic.
It's like an insiders view of what really goes on inside these rally's. Charlie Boorman and Elixir Productions have got nothing on this story of yours.   
 

Offline roxenz

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #308 on: November 10, 2010, 10:40:46 am »
Man! This is epic!  Leaves me with post-traumatic stress disorder just reading...
 

Offline Kamanya

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #309 on: November 10, 2010, 10:53:31 am »
And what was the difference in Coma's marking of his route book to yours?
I wonder where that road goes? And that, has usually made all the difference. Appologies to Mr Frost

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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #310 on: November 10, 2010, 11:10:05 am »
STAGE 9 -  Teresina Ė Sobral

71km - Initial Liaison
245km Ė Special Stage
138km Ė Final Liaison

Total for the day 453km



The mechanics crash in our tents for an hour of rest when we get up. Itís a great day. Day NINE!!! Wahooo!!


The boys are pretty spaced outÖ








Everyone is upbeat, joking about and relaxed despite hardly any sleep (again) and, more importantly, that we have been warned that this stage will be one of the most technically challenging of the whole rally. We figure that once today is over we will be almost assured of victory.









Marcello doing the evil eye thing at five. He checks to make sure that my GPS is charging correctly, it has been off for a couple of days now.




Meawhile one of the Uruguayans comes in and tells us he got lucky last night. We are all to scared to ask with whom...
:imaposer: :imaposer:



Then he decides to give us a demonstration.  :laughing4:  :laughing4:

Lets just say I think we were all at that point where you're a trifle hysterical from lack of sleep.



Clearly something happened to Mauro in town last night and seeing his is still beside himself, and his road book has not been marked, Marcello kindly does it for him.




I find out at number ninety nine that my fuel lines have not been sorted, and quickly manage to slip into my comfort zone: Surpervising. ::)  But after yesterdays experience at the finish I'm not thrilled with the idea of becoming the Sertoes very own "Ghost Rider". Just as well its a later start than normal.








Finally I get away.

The liaison ride from Teresina is uncharacteristally short and it seems like in no time we are at the start of the special on the edge of a village.



I catch up with Vincente de Benedictus, a Brazilian Dakar legend and we chat about his plans to do the Dakar again in 2011.
 





He has had a good run in the Sertoes, and is just "Enjoying himself and treating it as a training ride."  :eek7:
Its an education so see how relaxed he is. Dakar must be a lot tougher than this, or he is just one of those hard core special forces guys who get kicks out of riding rallies where there is pain and suffering.


I think about myself. I'm feeling okay, I'm still pretty fatigued, but its stayed the same the past few days.  My left knee is really bothering me and I am favouring my right leg quite bit more as a result. I have more than enough reserves to do this stage today, and for the first time on the rally I am not totally nervous.

My time comes up and I am off without further mishap. What a pleasure. My bike is working, all the instrumentation is working and Im riding again. I can do this.



The first section is a nice fast section of good road. As Skinny likes to say: "Flat taps, pappie"








But the road soon enough gets quite bit narrower and everything slows again to series of short runs with sharp turns of generally rough ground. I notice that I am taking left hand turns a little bit wider than normal, and Im not sure why. Its almost as if I am running out of road everytime. Perplexing as it is I assume its just fatigue and try to focus on technique a bit more.














I end up dicing another guy for a while through an area that apart from the odd palm tree, increasingly looks like farms in the Limpopo province somewhere. We take turns over shooting turns, but I notice immediately that my road book is much easier to read. This new system of marking is working! I'm making less mistakes, definitely and I eventually get ahead of him.


I'm enjoying the ride and my pace is up but Im not overdoing it by any means.








Then the unthinkable happens.

I get to an unexpected and unmarked 45 degree left-hand turn onto a track between two fences with tree stumps as fence posts. It does not surprise me all that much because I see the turn coming, but Iím still moving quite fast, perhaps 80km/hr, I end going into another power slide a little too wide. Suddenly I'm decidedly anxious as the bike is now too close to the barbed wire. I am just thinking about the wire ripping my leg open when I feel a white-hot wave of pain in my right foot as the bike kicks violently out to the left.

Bellowing loudly into my helmet, I somehow control it and pull over as fast as I can brake. I nearly go down but Iím in too much pain to care. I know immediately what has happened - I have connected a fence post straight-on with my foot. I also know itís serious because, swinging myself off the bike on my good foot I find I am quite unable to put any weight on it at all. The pain is unbearable and I nearly drop the bike trying to get the side stand out with my hand. Bawling like a child I hang over my bike to get the weight off my foot. I donít know how I stay in this position, just trying to engage and cope with the pain.

This is it. My rally is f****g over. Oh my God. My foot. Please God, let my foot be okay. Please, please, please. Oh God, oh God. Itís so f*****g sore.  


I open my eyes and look down at my foot peg.





Oh my God, Oh Jesus, if thatís what the peg looks like, what does my foot look like?

I hear an approaching bike. I stand up. What do I do? I can hardly see through the tears. I look around. Thick bush surrounds me. No way a helicopter can land here. Youíre not going to get a helicopter here, Neil. The bike comes into view and slows. I donít what is worse the latent pain or standing on this freaking foot. This is not good at all. I look away from the rider and raise a thumbs up. He drops a gear and speeds past, probably thinking I just have a technical fault. I have not even taken my helmet off. Im not waiting for a freaking ambulance either. I guess I just have to.

Dammit this is terrible, Lord, especially after all this, having come so far. After drowning the bike, after all those other problems, now this. Must I just accept it, what are you trying to teach me here? I try to put a little weight on my foot. The pain is unbearable, I must have smashed all the bones, it feels shattered. I look at my foot and try to stand on it again. I grunt and bite holes in my lips. ďF*** no, no this, not now, not so close to the finish. Please Jesus help me.Ē I try repeatedly to put weight on my foot and each time I scream. It is like some kind of sick game. Me refusing to accept what has happened and each time getting a very rude awakening. Itís too much.  I lean over my motorcycle and howl at the ground long and hard, ďNOOOOO!!!Ē

Another bike comes past and I go through the motion of waving everything is okay again. I can call a rescue team easily enough on my radio, but I donít want to have people around me, no one near me, I just want to suffer and deal with this alone. Oh GodÖWhat about all those following me? Theyíre going to be so disappointed. What about the Wilddogs following on the internet, what about the ADVriders? There are so many who have wished me all the best, so many who are living this dream through meÖ They will understand I suppose. They will get the news tonight I will expect. Itís not that bad going out with a broken foot, itís a valid reason. I burst into a fresh bout of sobbing. They were all so keen. Theyíre waiting for news right now.  Maybe some of them have seen that Iíve stopped on my satellite tracking. I donít think I can take letting them down.


Slowly though the haze, I become aware someone has come out of the bush to see what is going on and is standing near me helplessly looking on. While I understand I have been making a helluva lot of noise, and the reaction is normal, Iím instantly angered by his presence.
 
ďŅEstŠ tudo bem?Ē he asks quietly. I avoid his eyes and ignore the question. I am too ashamed to be a pathetic loser. The bastard, what te f*** does he want with me? What canít he leave me alone? Others have finished the Dakar with broken feet. Maybe not smashed feet but broken feet. Itís my right foot. I can ride without a brake. I canít stand. Well f*** that. F*** this pain. Lets see if I can still ride. I have nothing to lose except more pain. I swing my leg over the saddle. The pain is pretty freaking heavy but slightly less than earlier. I bite my lips some more, hawk loudly and spit into my helmet. I donít care. This is all just too much. I rummage around in the pocket above my knee for one of those squeegee, orange, energy-burst, gel sachť thingy's, tear it open and suck its contents into my mouth. It steels me a bit and provides some very much needed glucose to my system. I toss the wrapper onto the ground, angrily, defiantly.

Thank God the electric starter works. The bike growls to life. I look his way and say in Spanish ďEstoy f*****g duele mucho pero no hay otro optcion, siga defrente!Ē I f*****g hurt a lot, but donít have another option but to go aheadĒ.

I drop the gears, pull away, and almost immediately break into another fit of sobbing. The bike wobbles dangerously in the deep, soft sand.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 06:52:34 pm by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #311 on: November 10, 2010, 11:20:06 am »
And what was the difference in Coma's marking of his route book to yours?


Boet, I was thinking about how to describe that and it's not so easy and would probably detract a bit from the story.

Also, its kind of a trade secret. I need a competetive advantage somewhere after all! 

But the next time we have a beer, ask me and I'll show you.
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Offline IDR

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #312 on: November 10, 2010, 11:43:03 am »
mate - this is riveting reading....

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Offline ThinkMike

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #313 on: November 10, 2010, 11:55:17 am »
No No No No Noooo. You cant stop it here????

I can  / maybe cant imagine the shit flooding through your mind. This brings back a similar emotions I went through, but certainly not with the Impact and consequence you were living through.

When I was at school, I was recovering nicely from 2 consecutive left / right shoulder breaks that had kept me off my bike and out of MX for a few months and was on the road to recovery. Showing a bunch of mates how I could stand on the seat and wheelie, I went over backwards. I knew instantly as I hit the ground, there was big problems with my left ankle (you cant run at that speed). But that absolute dispare and anger that I was hurt again - Dunno who I was fooling but I WOULD NOT accept it. Got to my feet and walked over to where my bike ended up- each step so much pain I was almost throwing up, biting my lip and saying fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you this is not happening, its not broken, it will ease up soon -  Haha yeah right!!

Keep it coming I just gotta know what transpires!!

Fantastic writing Neil!!!!
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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #314 on: November 10, 2010, 12:11:26 pm »
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.

DD, I'm no expert, but I do know you'll struggle to do that on the HPN - it works well on lighter bikes AND part of the technique is getting your tenders right up against the tank, even the bars if you can. But what do I know, hijacking this brilliant thread!!
 

Offline Gat Slag

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #315 on: November 10, 2010, 07:13:55 pm »
Nee man, dit klink k*k seer... Bliksem!!!
 

Offline Sir Rat

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #316 on: November 10, 2010, 10:43:53 pm »
Shees nou het ek lekke gelees. Nog asb!!  ::) ;D
 

Offline cca

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #317 on: November 11, 2010, 03:15:17 am »
ROLL OF HONOUR  :3some:
 

Offline Nevar

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #318 on: November 11, 2010, 08:32:04 am »
subscribe
 

Offline funacide

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #319 on: November 11, 2010, 10:12:39 am »
WE WANT SOME MORE PLEASE!!!!
KTM 1190 ADV R