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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #360 on: November 14, 2010, 02:05:37 am »
Standing next to this broken bike gives me a feeling of complete and utter defeat.

This is a great loss, a tragedy in the light of the amount of effort I have put into this event. I am totally dejected. I feel like I have been robbed. I ask God ďwhy?Ē even though I know I do not have a place to: It is by His grace that I have gotten this far. I thought I was prepared. I was prepared, physically, but I guess I am lacking the mental fortitude to do this. I think of the Dakar. Itís so much harder than this. I suppose I need to be grateful that I did not blow eighty thousand dollars and get to the same point there. Not that this has been a cheap exercise by any means either. To have spent so much money on the bike, and then on the race only not to get to the finishÖWas it worth it? What can I take from this experience? I guess God wants to teach me how to make the most of a bad thing. The way I feel right now isÖI feel like maybe this whole rally thing was not for me after all. I guess Iím not tough enough. Iím a pissie. No, thinking about it Iím not a pissie. Others would have stopped with a broken foot. I have pushed on, with a broken foot and torn ligaments in my other leg. My body has taken a hammering all right. Do I still want to do the Dakar right now? Absolutely not.


I watch the lead car come over the top of the dune, it ramps in the air and almost rolls down the dune. These guys are having fun, but theyíre taking a bit of a risk riding like that on a liaison.

 
I try to be philosophical about it, as difficult as it is: I guess what I can take from this whole is that we should never give up, we should die trying. I realize I should not give up on this bike now either, I still have opportunity. But what do I know about the clutch anyway? How do I fix it out here in this desert? I donít even have half the tools on me for crying out loud. I slump back down next to the bike depressed and disappointed and watch other bikes riding by. I see Maria Lopez come past. What a legend. Look at that. She is hard core, and she is a woman. I what her riding, not overly aggressive, just cruising along, she seems very consistent. I guess thatís the way to do it.


Finally a big pickup filled with organisation officials comes past and stops next to me and my stricken machine. I must be out of the race now. I stumble to my feet in vain hope. They ask me what is wrong. I tell them I think itís my clutch. The driver starts my bike and says ďOh, yes. Just wait a moment.Ē I wait, and watch him distractedly as he goes to his pickup and returns with some spanners. He fiddles about a bit adjusting the clutch. Why didnít I think of this? The answer is obviously apparent. I suddenly have a glimmer of hope. I am not thinking properly anymore. He starts the bike again and retests. ďVROOOM, VROOOM,Ē and a wall of sand flies out into the air from behind the bike!


Woohhoo!! Its working!! Forgetting my foot I hop in excitement and end up lying on the ground again, but despite the pain Iím overjoyed. I struggle back to my feet and hobble over to the guy and give him a big hug. I cry with joy. ďNow donít touch the clutch once you let it out, there not much left,Ē he instructs. I nod energetically at my new angel, hug him again and get on my bike. To me this is truely a miracle.

Nervously, I pull away and take a long loop on level sand to build up speed before I attack the next steep dune. I am away.




I come over the dune and blast past another group of photographers.




even though I am back in the race, I do not feel like celebrating at all. Iím nipping too much that the clutch is going to die in the deep sand again, or that I crash. I just want to get to the finish.



The ride takes me through this set of awesome dunes, and down onto the beach. There is no-one else about, just one car in the distance in front of me. I belt along the harder packed sand on the edge of the surf and time my weaving carefully in and out of the waves, thinking of that amazing bit of dune riding along the Angolan coastline. This is obviously a lot easier, and without the same risk of life, but I treat the sea with respect all the same, I can still end up in the water. This is faster than ploughing through the thicker sand on the edge.

After about 15km of riding along the coast, the route turns inland and onto hardtop. I take a deep breath. I have made it, I hope, so long as the clutch holds out. I start to relax and follow the rally car in front. Everything is going smoothly until we reach this police checkpoint. Iím just passing through when I hear this loud whistle. I guess I should pretend not to hear it, but I donít. A policeman walks up to me. He looks like Tom cruise in uniform with his fancy dark glasses in the movie Top Gun.  Oh shit.  He is a cop with an attitude and a chip on both shoulders.  He asks me in Portuguese where my number plates are. I donít have any number plates, my number plates are my race number, as per international FIM requirements. ďsorry,Ē he says,Ē you cannot ride that motorcycle on these roads, itís against the law. What?

Iím stumped. We have gone through dozens of similar police checkpoints and have been politely waved through every single one. Except for this last one. I try to protest, but he instructs me to park my bike and proceeds to wave down the next rider as well for the same offence. There is no point. I am not even surprised, it seems I am not destined to make it to the finish and limp over to some shade to sit and relax. After a while, there are about eight or so bikes and also two or three rally cars as well. Apparently they donít have the required number plates on the front of the vehicle, so theyve also been pulled off the road.

I let the Brazilians argue, beg and bribe, while I just enjoy the shade of his office. The cop is clearly not listening to any argument. He is doing his best to end our rally right here.  The guys give up and start discussing things among themselves. What now? We end up sitting there for nearly two hours. Again I am rescued by some guys in an organization pickup who agree to take two bikes on the back of the vehicle. The policeman makes us promise we do not ride them again. The two of us lucky enough to have our bikes lifted onto the back squeeze in with the guys in front and off we go. I think we drove all of one kilometre before we pull over and unload the bikes to ride on.


We get into Fortaleza, and Iím surprised to see that the streets are not lined with crowds; itís just the two of us battling through heavy traffic, still following our road-books faithfully. Clearly rally is not a way of life over here. We actually recieved a lot more support in the rural areas than anywhere else. We twist and turn for perhaps another forty minutes before arriving at the finish of the liaison, the Stage and the rally.



I am swamped by my overjoyed crew and my wife appears out of nowhere to give me a congratulatory kiss.



I am so happy to see her, she has been amazingly supportive of me, through thick and thin. Without her, I would not have made it.








They have all been worried because I am nearly two hours behind Phil and Dave, there was talk that I had crashed out.







I have a few minutes to take it all in before I go up onto the podium. Iím feeling really quite stunned, it does not feel like the finish I expected it to be. I am so drained from the last few experiences that it doesnít really sink in that I have actually managed to cross the  finish line. But I have.



Medals are waiting.



There are the dancing girls and everything.




DD gives me a flag and takes my helmet.











I ride up onto the podium and raise my hands, thinking of all the boys back home and around the world who have been cheering for me. Iíve just finished a 4,500km race. The second longest rally in the world. Itís a truely great feeling to be here.

Everyone is jubilant and euphoric. I am a little more subdued after all the drama in the field but very, very pleased with the result. It is chaotic, my bike is taken from me and I stumble into the VIP area and start drinking beers in rapid succession in between eating whole plates of finger snacks. Phil and Dave are in too.







Luarent and Mauro have also finished!




As is Marieta Lopez :hello2:




Moara and her brother made it too.



Marc Coma has come first.




Apprently he dropped his motorbike on the podium!  :laughing4: :imaposer:




David Casteu


After the celebrations I report to the medical tent. They make an examination and send me off for X-rays in an ambulance with another quad rider who went over the bars and broke his leg. Four hours after a bit of a run around I find out I have three broken bones in the middle of my foot, all meta-tarsals. Its five weeks in plaster and then a month of rehab after that. Not too bad.


That night we celebrate with a meal but it is not too late a night, we are all bombed and crash before midnight. In a real bed. After a real shower. With proper soap. AWESOME! We all end up sleeping most of the next two days, before recovering to organise bike shipping back to the states. I get it easy, as my foot is broken and I am on strict orders not to do anything so the others guys sort my stuff out for me. Thanks guys!





The results speak for themselves. I am very happy with my result on the last stage in particular, because despite the injury I managed to keep my pace up. I know had I not been hurt, I would have done a lot better. The same goes for the over all results. 8th in the Production class 450 machines, and 35th overall is better than I thought I would have done under the circumstances. I know that

I just want to take the opportunity to say THANK YOU all for following this amazing story, especially those who followed my story online. Its quite true to say that you guys were my inspiration. A special thanks to all my sponsors, I greatly value your support. Thanks also to the guys who helped update the Wilddog & ADVRider forum threads as well. You are legends.

I also cannot forget our team:

Diederik Duvenage,
Randall Fish,
Des MacDonald,
fellow rider Laurent Lazard,
Marcello and his crew, for all the hard work you guys put in to keep us in the rally.
Special thanks to Charlie Rausseo who put together a beautiful and reliable bike. It had its problems, but it got me to the finish, which was better than 35% of the field who did not!

Thanks also to my Co-riders Dave and Phil, it was an education riding with two rally instructors!

Now for the question you have all been waiting for:

What next?

Well, I have had some time to think about it. This Rally changed my life. I loved it and would love to do it again, but I think the real challenge for me now is the Dakar, perhaps the Dakar in 2012, when they start to cross the continent of South America through three or four countries. Rumor is that it's going to start in Buenos Aires and finish in Lima.

I don't have the cash or the support to do it at the moment (especially seeing as I basically got back to Peru only to lose my job a couple of months later), but I have learnt that anything is possible, so I am going to put my mind to it. It's my hope that you all will join me on my journey to achieve this dream.


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/VES-oIQey2k" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/VES-oIQey2k</a>
I will sign off with the official Dos Sertoes video footage, definitely worth a watch. You will see Marc Coma crash his bike, David Casteau drown his bike and lots of other drama.

Again, thank you all very very much!

Neil :paw:
« Last Edit: November 14, 2010, 02:26:46 am by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #361 on: November 14, 2010, 02:26:46 am »
What an inspiration to so many !!

Thank you for sharing and may I be the first to say ..."where do I contribute to your Dakar 2012 Race" ?

Huge effort and we're proud of you !

Ian
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 JAmBer

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #362 on: November 14, 2010, 07:50:29 am »
Fantastic! What a motivation to get on my bike!

Thanks for sharing your story. It's given real insight into the real world of rally for us desk riders.

Offline the_wes

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #363 on: November 14, 2010, 08:01:13 am »
 :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:
 

Offline pieman

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #364 on: November 14, 2010, 08:19:40 am »
UNBELIEVABLE!!!!  Well done BB
 

Offline Rooies

Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #365 on: November 14, 2010, 08:24:07 am »
Neil, all I can say is WOW!

Thank you once again for all your effort in sharing this with us.


Thank you for sharing and may I be the first to say ..."where do I contribute to your Dakar 2012 Race" ?

+100000
« Last Edit: November 14, 2010, 08:26:30 am by Rooies »
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Offline Rooies

Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #366 on: November 14, 2010, 08:27:07 am »
Just one question, when is this report moving to "'Roll of Honour' - Best Ride Reports" ?



AGREED!!!
+1 :thumleft:

uhmmmm, it can only be moved once it's completed...

And now?   :mwink:
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Offline Kreef

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #367 on: November 14, 2010, 08:48:19 am »
Just one question, when is this report moving to "'Roll of Honour' - Best Ride Reports" ?



AGREED!!!
+1 :thumleft:

uhmmmm, it can only be moved once it's completed...

And now?   :mwink:

NOW YES!!! :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

WELL DONE NIEL! This has been a truely amazing read. All the best for the future!
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Offline Would I?

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #368 on: November 14, 2010, 09:01:57 am »
 :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

Neil this was fantastic. Thanks again for sharing so freely..... now get on your bike for the next one, No first start by turning this in to a coffee table book :pot:
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Offline alli

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #369 on: November 14, 2010, 09:20:57 am »
WOW!!!!
Neil, well done boet. What an awesome adventure, you brought the whole experience to life by letting us in on the details, the trials and the personal triumphs. You are an inspiration to all of us.
Looking forward to your RR on the 2012 dakar :notworthy:
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Offline Kenisis

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #370 on: November 14, 2010, 11:06:54 am »
Hey Neil.

Well done, You are a champion, Completing a rally is no small feat! Your RR has put me in two minds on my attempt at the Desert challenge! Sounds dof seeing as it is only half the time and Distance. Never the less i am too far forward now to turn back!

This is the best written piece that i have read. Next time we need  to get you Charlies film crew and make a proper documentry. Its a petty it couldnt be for this rally then the world would see that you are no Pissie!

Cheers
Al
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Offline MOGGIE

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #371 on: November 14, 2010, 12:35:11 pm »
Well done Neil. What an insperation.
 

Offline ChristoffGS

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #372 on: November 14, 2010, 12:45:02 pm »
Thanks Neil for all the effort you've put into sharing this awesome experience with all of us.  Very, very inspirational stuff!  Hope that everything comes together for you and that you will be able to compete in the Dakar in the future.  We're behind you all the way!    :ricky:
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Offline EtienneXplore

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #373 on: November 14, 2010, 01:36:27 pm »


 :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:




Now mods, please move this EPIC REPORT to the Roll of Honour  :deal:


Offline Aquatic

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #374 on: November 14, 2010, 01:39:35 pm »
 :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:
 :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:

If you ever happen to be in Brisbane, Australia. Please let me buy you a beer while you sign a copy of your book for me.

Just plain farking Awesome!!

I am of mere working class stock. But will gladly contribute what I can to your Dakar 2012
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Offline Rokie

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #375 on: November 14, 2010, 03:35:09 pm »
once again, all I can say is:
. . .  :eek7:

you have to mention though about the spirit of the ralley award. when i was a kid i used to want the SA guys on the Camel Trophy to win the spirit award more than i wanted them to win the event . . .

well done also on doing the vasbyt thing with the ride report. what a mission! and a selfless one too!

now that it is over I may well suffer the same syndrome that the Americans did when the OJ Simpson trial was over. anyone know a good shrink?  :D
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Offline g1_

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #376 on: November 14, 2010, 04:46:52 pm »
 :hello2:  :hello2:  :hello2:
 

Offline pieman

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #377 on: November 14, 2010, 05:36:56 pm »
Ek het die saak nou so mooi sit en bedink.  Neil, bloody hell!!!  WELL DONE.  This has been a huge motivation for me personally to get on the bike and enjoy.  I will most definitely be waiting for the run up, prep and RR for the 2012 Dakar.

Mods, move the thread PUH-LEEZE.....
 

Offline Waynan

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #378 on: November 14, 2010, 06:14:58 pm »
All I can say is WOW, you sir are a Hero! One day when I am big I want to be like you  :thumleft:
 

Offline FarScape

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Re: Living the Dos Sertoes Dream: Racing 4,500km across Brazil
« Reply #379 on: November 14, 2010, 06:15:31 pm »
Since the start of this tread in August and having to patiently wait for more every day all I can say is well done. You are the man.

The pictures are awesome and the way you describe your experience kept me glued to the PC.

+1 on the coffee table book. I do believe that there are a lot of other people that will find inspiration from your experience as well.

All the best for the future and just maybe we will meet up on the road some day and I can buy you a beer.

Now can we please get this tread moved to the Roll of Honor tread.
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