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Old 05-12-2010, 01:28 PM   #151
JMo (& piglet) OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfakoo
Where are you ???
Pictures, story, etc...
soon...

x
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:51 PM   #152
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Is it soon yet?
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Old 05-12-2010, 03:30 PM   #153
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greatest yamaha build thread evaahrrr
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:39 PM   #154
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:40 PM   #155
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One of thegreatest yamaha build threads evaahrrr
Fixed
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:47 PM   #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfakoo
Where are you ???
Pictures, story, etc...



Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet)
soon...

x
Tease
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:21 AM   #157
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What time does soon happen, congrats on your finish
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:29 AM   #158
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Don't worry, I'm uploading a few photos now... I'll try and get the story going this evening...

I dunno... You lot wouldn't make very good Jedi's...

Patience!!!

J xx

ps. In the meantime:



Yeah... it kinda got a bit like that...
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:44 AM   #159
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Nice!!
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:31 AM   #160
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Very late getting on board here, good job and thanks for the call in's Jenny.
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:00 AM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skibum69
Very late getting on board here, good job and thanks for the call in's Jenny.
No problem - although I think there is one missing... I called in on the Saturday morning with the final results, but that hasn't been uploaded yet?

Anyway, I'll try and get everything uploaded later on this evening...

J x
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:12 AM   #162
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That photo is sweet! So you spent most of the rally on your back tire? Was ANYONE able to catch you?

Glad you finished and looking forward to the full story/pics!
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Old 05-13-2010, 02:19 PM   #163
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Geeebus it's a Yamastatue!



Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet)


Yeah... it kinda got a bit like that...
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Old 05-13-2010, 03:18 PM   #164
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OK peeps, thank you all for waiting while I catch up on some seriously needed sleep!

So, here we go...

It seems like a lifetime ago, but having delivered my bike to Patsy's (Desert Rose Racing) on the Monday (26th), we loaded the truck and trailer on Tuesday, ready for an early start on Wednesday morning:



Because of all the travel problems to and from the UK in recent weeks, I'd elected to ride down in the support truck with our mechanics Zippy (Clive Town) and Bernie (Wright), together with Bob Jones who had flown in from Canada, complete with a Meca'system 525 as hand luggage!

With a squeeze, we finally got everything in - 5 bikes, countless wheels and tyres, plus all our riding gear bags:




Because of the potential off-road sections to the bivouacs, the boys had elected to take the double-cab Ford F350 truck they use on The Dakar, and tow a box trailer to transport the bikes as far as Tunis (as it turned out, they took the trailer the whole way). The rear of the F350 is racked out for tools, spares, generator and compressor etc, but it means there is limited space for riders personal belongings - we got a Pierre Henry box (80 litres) each - that's for everything - spare parts, personal kit, bedding:



This time I elected to bring a huge (I didn't realise quite how huge until I blew it up!) inflatable mattress [rather than a regular thermarest] in an effort to preserve my aching back - it took up loads of room, but it worked a treat!

At least Piglet got his own space in the truck!




Early Wednesday (28th April) morning, we hit the road - this would be my view for the next 1000+kms across France:



To stave off boredom (and hunger), I was charged with making lunch for everyone en route:



The Bobster (Bob Jones) tucking in!




We stopped overnight in a services on the French autoroute, and rather than stump up €70 a room, we got out the tents and camped on a nice grassy knoll... the next morning we were up at 6am again, and on the road - getting to the ferry port in Marseille in good time to see all the other support teams arriving... once on the ferry (afternoon and overnight) we had plenty of time to relax...


Zippy, Bernie & Bob

The [Tunisian] boat over was great - and we even had free meals (courtesy of the NPO organisation), and spent most of the time in the bar/s, enjoying the cheesy entertainment!


The next morning, it was the typical African chaos once we'd left the port of Tunis for our rendevous hotel, where scrutineering and the first [Super Special] stage on the beach would take place the following day:



This was an illustration of the Super Special stage, that would decide the starting order for the following day:



The hotel was none too shabby either, not that we had much time to enjoy the facilities:



As we were busy prepping and testing the bikes all afternoon:



Once all the riders were together and the bike unloaded, Bob and I took a quick wizz up the road to make sure everything was running smoothly, and to top up on fuel for the following day...

cont.
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Old 05-13-2010, 05:01 PM   #165
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Scrutineering was at 10am for all the Desert Rose riders... not only is there loads of paperwork to do (Licences, medical certificates, deposits to be paid), but you also have to collect your GPS and Iritrack units, plus your number stickers - then you get just 45 minutes to attach them (and make sure they are working correctly) and present yourself for scrutineering:



You can imagine I got a bit of a panic on trying to get my stickers as neat as possible - these things matter you know!

By early afternoon, the five of us were ready for the Super Special, and so nipped off for a spot of lunch...




4pm and things started to get a bit hectic, with everyone lining up for the start of the SS:



As it turned out, because of the crowds, and the number of [public] vehicles parked on the beach, the Super Special was not timed, rather a 'parade' lap for the photographers and spectators - it was bloody hard work in the soft beach sand!



After the SS, everyone parked up outside the hotel, and got an early night - the first bike would be away at 5.30am the next morning!


Lopez and Rodrigues' bikes were very tasty!


The next morning (Sunday 2nd) was the start of the serious stages - in at the deep end with a 241km liaison, a 180km special, then another 165km liaison to Douz - fortunately there we'd have one more night in a hotel before 4 nights of camping in the bivouacs...



Throughout the north of the country, the event was widely publicised, and it was great to see many spectators turning out to cheer the competitors on:



The first couple of days were relatively easy going (terrain wise) - a lot of rocky and sandy piste tracks, although the navigation was very involved... Sadly James West who was running well in the championship crashed out on the first day Special, and had to retire with a broken wrist.

I was mindful of what Zippy said to me: "ride around 80% of your capabilty, and leave plenty in reserve", and certainly I took it easy those first couple of days, which I hoped would pay dividends later in the week...

However, I suppose it was inevitable the bike would go down at some point:


Although quite how I crashed on a totally flat piste I will never know!


The first bivouac was in a godforsaken corner of the southern Tunisian desert, still, we made a pretty decent camp:



The next day (Tuesday 4th) was a long loop of 265kms out into the desert and back to the bivouac. Soon after we started, it blew up a shocking sandstorm, making navigation very difficult unless you were bang-on with your IMO and roadbook - fortunately I kept on top of it! I caught up with Don [Hatton] and we ended up riding together for the next couple of days:




My airbox after that sandstorm!




The Desert Rose Racing team tucking in!



L-R: Bob Jones, Natalie & Don Hatton, Yousef Cummings, Bernie, Zippy and Johan Puype (3 times Dakar rider).

I think this was day 4 - a massive 280km special stage...



This was also the day Yousef blew the engine on his rented KTM... a huge disappointment as he'd finished the previous two days in 9th position overall, and was looking at a top 10 finish for sure... however, he was surprisingly stoic about the situation - all credit to him!

Zippy waiting to unload Yousef's bike, at about 9pm:



They would be up until gone 1am fitting a replacement 530 engine... this was the old one the following morning:




Despite building the bike in a rush, and hardly having any time to test it (and none off road), I'd had precious few problems with the bike, other than a few bolts coming loose in the initial couple of days. The front fender had caused a few problems, vibrating like crazy and catching on the tyre and the downtube on full compression - so initailly Zippy attacked it with a saw (eek!) in a effort to cure it... However, after that 280km shocker, the front brake hose had also come loose, and caught on the front disc, the wave pattern cutting through the braiding! Fortunately this happened right at the end of the special and it was only a couple of kms into the bivouac:



Zippy then set about the fender with a drill (yikes! - that cost me €211 you know!) to beef up the hose fixing, and replaced the broken line - not pretty, but sorted for the rest of the rally!




Meanwhile, Piglet did his best to keep everyone updated via Rally Raidio:



The 5th day would prove to be the real killer... with Yousef now out of contention for a top place [and having to start right at the back of the pack], he elected to ride with the rest of the Desert Rose bunch who were wallowing somewhere towards the rear of the field... The final two days promised some serious sand and dunes, and surely enough, just 25kms into the special, Bob Jones' KTM clutch finally cried "No more" and left him stranded in the dunes... fortunately he got a helicopter ride back to the Bivouac or else he might have fried out there!

Don, Yousef and I ended up riding pretty much together during that stage, although we got separated once in the second (larger) dune field... I'd dropped the bike a couple of times, and mindful that I didn't want to cook the clutch like Bob had, was making a mess of cresting the dunes, often cough stalling just before the top, and either getting bogged, or else struggling to get the bike started again... and inevitably the battery gave up, so I had no option but to kick start the bastard, in 40°C heat!



I spotted Yousef and Don a little way away and gave them a wave, and Yousef came over to give me a hand - boy you should see that guy spin a bike round on the rear wheel to get it out of the sand! He explained that Don was having a tough time on the 690 in the soft sand and the midday heat... we ended up riding together, dune by dune, and both Don and I were exceptionally grateful for Yousef's seemingly unlimited energy!

We eventually made it to an intermediate CP that the medical team has set up to replenish riders with water and food... we had all but timed-out already on this stage, so we took the opportunity to rest for 15-20 minutes, and Johan also joined us at this point.

From them on, the four of us took it steady, trying to conserve energy for the rest of the stage:



Youself's bike was running very low on fuel, so he turned it upside down to get the dregs out!



Don meanwhile took this as the perfect opportunity to have another rest!

Eventually we made it to the CP and refuel, and it was an easy last 40kms before the final liaison back to the bivouac:

Don


Yousef


That night was another late one for Zippy and Bernie, who fitted a new clutch into Bob's 525 - fortunately we were parked right next to the meca'system truck that had a mountain of spare parts on board!



Not sure if this was late evening or early morning, it was all becoming a bit of a blur now!



The final day saw all 5 Desert Rose riders back on the stage, with another day much the same as the one before - dune field after dune field, together with crossing two chotts - dry (or not so dry as it turned out) lake beds, and then more dunes... only compounded by the mother of all sandstorms, so you couldn't even see the tops of the tunes as you crested them - scary!

I ended up riding alone for the whole stage as Yousef and Don shot off in an effort not to time out again that day...

To give you an idea, the Thursday had 140kms of mixed dunes, sand spits and rocky piste, followed by 40kms of easy piste, and a maximum time of 4h20m to complete it.

The final (Friday) day had 137kms of mixed dunes, sand spits and rocky piste, two lake beds and more dunes, but only 2h45m to complete essentially the same distance, but in tougher terrain, and as it turned out, significantly tougher weather!

I imagine the organisation do this on purpose to ensure a marked gap between the top riders and the also-rans, with only the top guys able to comfortably finish the stage without a penalty... As it was, Don & Yousef riding together the whole way managed to finish the stage in 2h43m30s - with just a minute and half to spare!!!

I on the other hand, aware how easy it would be to mess it all up on the last day (and mindful that there were potentially championship points at stake here, so a finish was imperative!) elected to conserve energy and took it easy, therefore made few mistakes, but ultimately timed out again, and thus received another 2h penalty, dropping me down to 22nd overall... Infact up until the last two [dune] days, I'd been finishing well (as high as 19th on a couple of days), and was on target for a top 20 finish... ah well.



That evening at the prize-giving ceremony, not only did I win the #1 female trophy (by default I must admit, being the only female moto rider in this event), but I also got a medal for 3rd place in the 450cc production class, and indeed currently have 15 FIM world championship points, currently putting me 10th overall* in the 450cc class - which I can't quite believe!!!

*That will all change after Sardinia in a couple of weeks of course... but hey, I'll enjoy it while I can eh?

As for the Ladies championship - for FIM points to count, there needs to be three (or more) riders in a particular category, and unfortunately in Tunisia, there were only two women (the other was in the Enduro cup), which means my potential 25 points are on hold until I enter another round, with three or more ladies competing...

So, there is a new goal!

And a whole lot of work to undertake on the bike, but that will be a story for another time,

for now,

toot toot!

Jenny xx

Official results for the Oilibya de Tunisie rally 2010 (moto):


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