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Old 09-11-2010, 12:54 AM   #91
SonHomme
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Good luck with finding a new source of income
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Old 09-11-2010, 08:20 AM   #92
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Sorry to hear that, Neil. Maybe you'd want to work at the Erzberg mine, they hold a little race there too?
Thats a good idea, Flood! We can change the design of the mine to make it even more insane!
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Old 09-11-2010, 03:50 PM   #93
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Seven riders did not finish the 3rd Stage for various reason, but they all managed to get to the start for stage 4 the next day, albeit with heavy penalties.

Stage 4 Alto Paražso to DianÚpolis

2km - Initial Liaison
220km Ė Special Stage
292km Ė Final Liaison

Total for the day 514km, and the first day of carnage...






I leave the bivouac just after 07h00, itís a later start, but Iím nervous because my bike is acting weird again, when the mechanics start it, its popping and splatting. ďNo problem, no problem,Ē they say. I look at them disbelievingly and Marcello nods back. ďNo problemoĒ. Okay then, no problem. I tried to use the HID light yesterday and itís drained the battery. Iím not convinced it was charged during the night. Ah well, at least its running. I ride off into the morning freshness.




Itís another beautiful day. Pic: www.Webventure.com.br

I get to the fuel station to fill up and the bike stalls before I get to the pump. Instantly I'm stressing again. Please donít tell me I have bad fuel, or a jet is blocked. I pay the pretty attendant and try to start the bike. The battery runs flat quickly, and I canít get it started again. Shit! My heart is instantly in my mouth, while I kick start the bike and myself into frenzy. I add another dose of octane booster hoping that will have a placebo effect in my mind. The young petrol attendant looks on helplessly. Crap. Maybe I put too much two stroke oil in and now itís clogged the jets. I try to phone the mechanics 1km away. No answer. Des Ė No answer. DDís phone is on voicemail. F***!

Another attendant comes out and helps me push the bike out of the garage. Luckily there is a nice steep downhill to bump start it. When it starts it blats, pops and backfires a bit. I hope leaving all the electrics off will help and circle back to the liaison start. I keep the bike revving high while waiting for my time to leave, hoping that I donít cook the engine as it heats up. Dicey, itís always so bloody dicey. Why does it have to be this way? I look around and notice the other riders, all relaxed, preparing themselves for the day ahead. All I can do is think about whether the bike is going to make it. I wonder whether my race would be better without these worries. Anyway, this is where I am, "Deal With it boetie," I just tell myself. There is no point in worrying, but I canít help myself. Itís very draining.

Finally I get my time card and am waved away. Those first two kilometers to the start of the special are so nice, so cooling and peaceful. My fogged up goggles clear out and Iím still on the move. With the start of the special being on the edge of town there is a large crowd of about 300 spectatorsí just in front of the start, cheering people off. No-one except competitors and officials are allowed onto the road; excited children and adults run and stumble through the undergrowth on either side of the barbed-wire fence lining the road to get to some better vantage point ahead. They are totally stoked on the dust, the smell of fuel, flash-looking bikes flying past, you can see excitment, wonder and even racing madness in some of their eyes as they look on at us.





My turn comes up to take the line. I take a deep breath and prepare myself for the road ahead. Pic: www.Webventure.com.br

The lights go green and Iím off into thick dust hanging between the tall clumps of bushes lining boths sides of the road. I shoot past are groups of people dotted about, screaming in excitement. A little further on I see three guys running off the road to get away from the oncoming bike. They have nowhere to go and charge into some brambles like escaping antelope as I go roaring past. I smile to myself, feeling the adrenaline of the moment, and sharing the exhilaration of these spectator nuts.

The groups of spectators quickly thin out, and apart from the odd photographer Iím alone again on the dusty road. Itís a odd feeling being out there alone all of a sudden. I've found that generally, itís only a small amount time cases that one spends time riding with or near someone else. Yet I feel a strange kinship with the other 67 Bikes and 15 quads out there somewhere. I imagine them all pushing along their own bit of track, some still back at the start waiting their turn and others pushing into the dust of the riders ahead of them looking for a gap to pass.

Those of us who ride recreationally know its a great time to unwind, but the only time you have time to do this on a rally is when the cautions in the road book are far apart. The first part of the special is just like that, separated by sections intense concentration. I realize my mind has been wandering, not a good idea because it means I've been riding slower. It makes it easier to miss the next waypoint or worse, a danger caution, so I snap back into what I am doing. Watch the road; pick the best line, the fastest line, the safest line. As soon as it looks okay, glance at the road book, check the road again and glance at the ICO.





Ludo Boinnard pumping it through a river. Pic: www.Webventure.com.br





Yours truely on the same crossing. Pic: www.Webventure.com.br




We wind through some hills, crossing the odd river and the road opens out at around kilometer 50 to a broader, faster road that has been poorly maintained.




Pic: www.Webventure.com.br

There are some nice fast straight bits, separated by ugly dips, sharp curves erosions and bridges. Iím loving it and back into the groove, pushing the little Yamaha to its limit. Once again, I wish I was on a 690, I can't squeeze much more out of the little Yamaha 450. I come tearing around a corner, anticipating a double caution marked in the road book: The curve tightens suddenly and chicanes around a deep, ugly erosion gully that cuts off the natural line of the curve. A bike is standing at right angles in the road perhaps 20m beyond. Breaking hard, I see a rider in blue sitting on the ground about , next to his helmet, holding his leg. He has clearly broken some bones, and he grimaces as he gives me a thumbs up. An organization official is there and waves me on, itís okay I donít have to stop. I am going slow enough to see he is devastated; there are dusty streak marks down his face, the poor bloke. He clearly missed the caution in the road book, hit the erosion hole, and high-sided hard. The bike looks pretty bad too. There is no doubt he is out of the race. Man, just like that.

As I accelerate away, the reality of what I've just missed hits home, I feel his anguish, and it really upsets me. I have already experienced what itís like to be faced with the prospect of being out, itís absolutely gutting. Thatís what this guy is experiencing now, and I empathize, big time. You always hear about the crashes, you know itís dangerous, but when you are caught up in the racing it is so easy to forget how fast you are actually going and how easily it can all come apart. The experience is exacerbated a few minutes later by the approaching helicopter, clipping the trees tops from on its way back from the lead riders. Thatís his rescue flight. Acutely aware of the risks, this sobering experience reminds me to be careful, and I adapt my speed a down a little. Suddenly itís not that fun anymore. I push on though, because I know to shrink back is not an option. Pissies will never be heroes. After 15 minutes Im cruising again, only much more aware and alert than I was earlier.




Pic: www.Webventure.com.br






Ludo Pic: www.Webventure.com.br





Deni Nasciemento, who is 3rd overall giving it hammer & tongs Pic: www.Webventure.com.br





Phil Pic: www.Webventure.com.br


Soon Im gunning it again, enjoying the thrill of this high speed road. I come into a triple caution a bit too fast and brace for the coming impact of the dip. WHAM!! The suspension bottoms out and flicks up again, bending both my feet upwards. It feels like my toes have been folded up against my shins and ripped off at the ankles. I bellow and puff in pain but manage to keep the bike under control. I bite my lip and take deep breaths, sitting down but maintaining the same speed. I just need to work through the pain.

After 20 minutes I'm feeling better and have worked out the basic cause of this error of judgement. Its the same reason why Daniel Goulet from Chile crashed earlier: Fatigue. We are losing concentration because we have been pushing it for four days, straight. This is where the all training really begins to count. I've been feeling tired at the end of each day but I haven't been totally bushed, which is good. Thanks to the heavy training, my recovery period is quick -About an fifteen minutes each day after strenuous excersize- but I know fatigue is still building up in me. I cannot imagine what it would be like for someone with little or no training at this stage. The long stages and connections everyday definitley takes its toll on the body, no doubt about that. It's as if we were riding to Vryburg from Johannesburg every day, on dirt. I remember riding back from the Boegoeberg bash last year and feeling zonked out for a couple of days after that. Back then I wasn't fit. But now, on the fourth day running, its catching up with us. Couple that with a little dehydration, some lack of sleep and the results come out in the wash.





Dave zipping along. Pic: www.Webventure.com.br





David Casteau Pic: www.Webventure.com.br



The course becomes tight and more technical for a while, before opening up again, but the dangers are still lurking. in one place there is this triple caution, another erosion, in the road book on this narrow, straight farm track. Its fast, and I get up to a high speed along it, slowing about 100m before the caution. It turns out to be a monster donga or hole about 6m deep and 10 m wide cutting accross the track in such a way that its quite hard to see. The route deviates around it and as I go past I look down into it and see two officials trying to drag a bike out of it. Holy Moly! That poor guy. He is nowhere to be seen...


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Old 09-11-2010, 04:09 PM   #94
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Old 09-11-2010, 04:41 PM   #95
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Keep it coming....please.
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:57 PM   #96
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You said it right!

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Old 09-12-2010, 03:15 PM   #97
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Ha, the exact same thing happened to me. Sold the company and a month later and the new owners thought I would look a lot better spending of time on the patio (w/beer):). Unless your stuck for cash don't rush back to the land of the working.....I highly recommend the patio!....at least for awhile



Quote:
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Thanks for all the ecnouragement guys! Its very cool.



Im in mining, well I was in mining until today, because I just got my letter of termination, we sold the company to someone else. Now I need to find another way to make money for perhaps the Pharoahs or DC and later maybe the Dakar in 2012....

Im without work right now and all I can think about is the Dakar.

Seriously, I plan to try and stay in Peru (awesome riding!! ) and see what I can scrounge up running some or other base or precious metals mine.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:45 PM   #98
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Ha, the exact same thing happened to me. Sold the company and a month later and the new owners thought I would look a lot better spending of time on the patio (w/beer):). Unless your stuck for cash don't rush back to the land of the working.....I highly recommend the patio!....at least for awhile

Thanks for the advice, JB. So youre no longer doing ropes and stuff with Mike?

Are you going to get back into the rally scene? Would be great to go riding with you again.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:46 PM   #99
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Pic: www.Webventure.com.br





Pic: www.Webventure.com.br





Phil not far from the bad erosion Pic: www.Webventure.com.br



I’m so glad I saw that hole on the road book. The last 70km of the special becomes a lot faster again, interspaced by a series of terrible log bridges radar zones and small creeks.
Even log bridges are not so bad any more, unless they are long. In most of the cases the faster you go the better it is, because you can keep your line, but if you make a mistake it’s almost certainly going to be a stretcher case.





I never got any good pictures of these bridges, but here is the one that took out hotshot rider Rodrigo Caballero last year.

Quite a few were actually quite good as well, and some of them were radar zones, so we had to go slowly over them anyway.





Marc Coma going over a bridge in a radar zone. You can see he is looking around. Pic: www.Webventure.com.br


I end up close to a quad in this radar zone, he slowed a little inadvertently allowing me to draw alongside him, so we ride together for a while. Now you need to know that though I am friendly enough with the guys off their quads it is quite the opposite on any special. I had been lumped with three quads since the beginning of the stage and I was tired of eating all their dust. The day before two of the barstards had roosted me badly and forced me to stop to avoid taking myself out in their dust. There is no way in hell I was now going to let this guy get in front of me again, I can see the next bit is going to be a fast bit and I am going to get in front. We look at each other just before the end of the radar zone, and think the same thing. GO! We both wring the necks of our bikes. The crowd whoop at us as we accelerate past them.

I get the inside of the first right hand curve as we hit fourth and I burst ahead over a hard road surface covered in marble-sized pebbles. I feel the bike power slide to the left and I let the back wheel go over a bit further, its soft, and I know the poor guy is almost definitely getting a mouthful of roost. Poetic justice. Okay I admit it feels delicious. There is no time to look back and I gun it, keeping low and fast, to stay ahead. I’m really racing now. Urgently looking for the next caution, I see it’s a bridge, a double caution indicating holes in it. No way in hell am I going to slow down for it. If that quad catches me now, I will be done over big time.

There is a bit of a ramp at the beginning and I manage jump the whole thing. Exhilarating. And the next one as well. This is really splendid riding. I end up doing about 50km pinned like this, oil pissing out of the filtered breather and all over my left boot. At one point there is this long bridge, like the one in the picture above, only it’s a good 15m long with a couple of pillars in the river supporting long, twisting sets of tree-trunks a car width apart, set in twos. There are three pairs of logs set end-to-end for each car wheel to go on, separated by a yawing gap in the middle. The left side is relatively straight and about half a meter wide so I decide to give it horns and hit it at high speed in fourth gear. There is a drop-off to the tree trunks which I ramp, bounce the bike off the first trunk clear over the centre pillar in the middle which juts above the level of the logs. The bike lands neatly on the second two logs but bounces up again propelling me forward over the bars. I wrench the throttle and come down on last group of trunks at a bit of an angle but the spinning back wheel saves the day and I zoom onto the white gravel road on the far side. This all happens so fast, there is virtually no time to be shocked at what I’ve just done because I’m back up to 145 km/hr in no time. Almost immediately, I find myself power slide through the next sweeping curve, and it stays like this for miles. Even on the straight bits it’s challenging but fun high speed stuff, the bike bucking and swaying, like a springbok beneath me in the sand and gravel patches.

After the terror of the log bridges I find the mataburros to be quite tame, almost friendly in their familiarity. Except the last one which has been broken by a quad. There are a couple of planks sticking up sideways like javelins threatening to skewer one of us. I’m shocked by how dangerous this is, there is just enough clearance to make it past on a bike, the only way to get across is to jump the mataburro because of the hole created by the missing planks. Shortly after that I pass an official on a bicycle coming the other way, I guess to fix it. Good on him.

I ride in style through the flying finish, feeling on top of the world. I think this has been the best riding experience of my life. It was really, really fantastic. I need to take it easy from now on because the bike has to last. It’s probably quite low on oil now, and it’s hard to change gears because there is so much oil all over my left boot.




Ze Helio did better today too. Pic: www.Webventure.com.br


After knocking a whole in his BMW’s oil cooler yesterday he lost all his oil and his engine. I think he just took the 2.5 hour penalty and just started again this morning. Of course he would be out of the world-championship, but not the Brazilian championship. He started behind me and blasted past me about half way through the stage. I think he passed something like 30 guys today. He really is an awesome rider.




Pic: www.Webventure.com.br



The long liaison is unbelievably hot. Riding through air that actually burns my face little. It is hellish. I have to stop every 50 km or so to have a drink and cool down. At the one place I stop at seems remarkably similar to any little dorp in the northern Cape. Only the bottle store is not as popular. It is uncanny, I watch a car cruising past with some young guys looking for talent in it, but it’s pumping out music that sounds like Kurt Darren – I kid you not – in Portuguese! No way, I tell myself. Way. Where is DD? He won’t believe me.

Everyone out in these parts seem quite poor, but lacking nothing. Not as desperate as you see in Africa. People have been waving at me going through all the little towns, talking to me at the refuel stations.


They take photos too of me, of my bike. All the time. I’m getting used to it. They such nice people, it’s so refreshing.

Eventually I make it to Dianŗpolis, a friendly little platteland-type town, full of relatively poor, yet excited Brazilians. They’re always excited.


I’m tired but very happy to be here. Pic: www.Webventure.com.br




It was an awesome stage today. Pic: www.Webventure.com.br

I’m and not the only one to be happy.




Marieta Moraes is over the moon at finishing this tough stage. Pic: www.Webventure.com.br

She is a heroine in Brazil.



It has been a long day out on the road too for the support guys.

I look for our camp and cars in our bivouac and find only DD, jealously guarding a piece of ground from the other support crews still coming in. The Kombi is still out there on the road somewhere.






The Uruguayan Sprinter’s trailer came off and rolled on route. Luckily they were able to put it all back together again with duct tape, and Marcello was road-side welding a new tow bar on. WTF??

Phil and Dave rock up about an hour later and are really happy to be home too. They found it tricky too.


We get a rare moment to relax and take in the moment.

We shower in some stables that afternoon, its a pretty rough setup. Randall makes us some pasta tonight becuase we are concerned about the local food quality. I get to talk to Kuba Przygonski at the briefing. He tells me there were five of the front guys who "jumped" that huge 5m erosion, you know, the one I saw earlier in the day with the broken bike being pulled out by two officials? I can't believe it.

He just nods back and says "Yes, only Marc Coma went around it, he was in front and saw it. The rest of us were riding in his dust and I saw it too late. Two of us including me broke our bikes on that jump, but we were still able to finish. It was terrible. One guy crashed but that was behind me. He is out with a broken collarbone." Holy moly, is that all? These guys are riding gods. Way, way out of my league. There is no way I would have survived something like that.



Ludo comes into the briefing as well, with a brave face, having to be picked up by the helicopter after crashing. Heartbreaking. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. He's a hero to me.

He later writes:
as you know, I had a good crash a couple days ago.
This is all my fault, I was riding very good, the best in a few years and was surprising myself. I always felt in control and smooth.

The day before, I had some gasoline problems that got me passed by a couple guys and then the bike started to work again but there was so much dust that I chose to play it safe and stay behind them for the remaining 40 miles of the day.

The next day, I started in 14th and was riding real good real soon. Then I found Jaime Prohens from Chile and one of his buddy, both stuck and crashed down in a big hole/erosion.
One of them had a broken leg so I parked my bike and helped them. I did activate the emergency beacon for them and grabbed my radio to alert the organization. My two buddies Dimas and Tagino who were starting after me, stopped for a mn and then kept going as we didn't need them.

Once all was set up for the two Chilenos to wait for the helicopter, I did get going as well.
I caught Tagino really quickly and then caught Dimas a bit later. I stayed in Dimas dust for like 80kms, but instead of playing it safe like the day before, I did a stupid thing. I got frustrated for slowing down so much and decided to pass Dimas. We were only 20 miles from the refuel so I could have just stayed there and just pass him then. Instead, right after a radar zone, he was so close to me that I chose to go for it. He was finally at striking distance when in the next curve, he hit the brakes really hard cos' it was a curve kind of closing in toward the end of it and I found myself in a big cloud of fesh fesh sand dust, not seeing anything. Once the vision cleared ok, I was on the edge of the trail about to hit a huge rock.

The next thing I remember is my teammate and friend Ramon Volkart above me, helping me to wake up. Tagino was with him also. It took me a few mn to remember what happened and I had apparently passed out for like 5mn.

They were already on the radio with the organizers and had a helicopter on its way.

I was hurting all over, and breathing was painful. Instantly I knew the collarbone was broken and some ribs felt like they were as well.

We had an hour flight to the next town with what resembled an hospital with very limited equipment but the organizer's doctors were always there with us. Once we finished the complete check up and saw on the Xrays that only my collarbone was broken (badly) , I was given some anti-inflammatory and a ride back to the bivouac.

I was sad to have finished this rally so soon, but I deserve this one completely. I should have been more patient...I was not.
In Rally racing, mistakes can be very costly. Once again, I am lucky to have escaped with only this.

Later at the bivouac, when my equipment got delivered, we inspected my Arai Helmet. It clearly is out of service and I am glad I was wearing this brand as I believe they make the safest helmets in the world. My Leatt brace was broken and seeing the marks on my neck, on my shoulders and on my face, I can say that this device has saved my life for the third time. I have chosen a few years ago to never ride an off-road motorcycle without wearing one and this is the smartest thing one can do. Don't settle for another brand, none of them can deliver what the Leatt does....None!

Cheers all, I'm about to fly out of Sao Paulo back to San Diego, time for Surgery with Dr Murphy to plate that collarbone and my buddies at Rehab United for all the rehab work.


A few days later we learn he/s fractured his collarbone in five places!

We learn that 16 people did not finish the stage, quite few of them injured.


I'm really pleased with the day's result:



I learn I have climbed 20 places on the stage to 31st and came 8th in my class, up four places. Thats more like it! Phil also did really well, climbing 10 places.

Of course looking at the overall results you can see the importance of consistently over my fast days in between slow days. All of us went up today, although Im sure some it had to do with the number of riders who did not make it. This rally was getting serious.

Tomorrow will have a trails section, and is one of the most difficult days of the rally. Lets hope it goes as well as it did today.

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Old 09-13-2010, 01:52 AM   #100
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5 stars without a doubt.

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Old 09-13-2010, 05:03 AM   #101
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You are out of my league now....Mike is still at the rope stuff, I am just no longer his boss. The plans are in the works for a "Rally on the Rock (Newfoundland)". I actually volunteered to be the route master. Talk about being in over your head. Maybe we can get a star like you over to do ours. If you ever decide to pool investors and operate your own mine keep me in mind. Or maybe you could have Neils rally school for dummies in peru...I would sign up:)
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Thanks for the advice, JB. So youre no longer doing ropes and stuff with Mike?

Are you going to get back into the rally scene? Would be great to go riding with you again.
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:41 AM   #102
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:33 AM   #103
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Hey Neil,

Do you know if Dave, Phil or Antonio have a website or posted a report somewhere themselves? As much as I love your pretty little springbokkie, I'd be very interested in hearing how the EXCs faired and what was problematic on them.

Cheers,
Lukas
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:53 AM   #104
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Hey Neil,

Do you know if Dave, Phil or Antonio have a website or posted a report somewhere themselves? As much as I love your pretty little springbokkie, I'd be very interested in hearing how the EXCs faired and what was problematic on them.

Cheers,
Lukas
Hey Lukas,

Apart from the Dos Sertoes 2010, thread I'm not aware of any website they may have. My advice is that you ask them in PM/email about specifics, but generally I can say that their bikes ran pretty well, although Dave had a fork seal problem and Phil also battled with electrics like I did. Actually my Yamaha ran really well; I think the moral of the story is not to use HID/Baja style (Phil's case) lighting unless you are sure your stator and regulator is jacked up to handle it.

Dave had a problem with his carburettor, he wore out the new needle in it , and seemed to battle with fuel for about 3 days. Phil basically had no other problems apart from taking his bike for a swim on the 6th day (Im writing about that now).

Hope this helps

Neil
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Old 09-13-2010, 12:02 PM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LukasM
Hey Neil,

Do you know if Dave, Phil or Antonio have a website or posted a report somewhere themselves? As much as I love your pretty little springbokkie, I'd be very interested in hearing how the EXCs faired and what was problematic on them.

Cheers,
Lukas
Hi Lukas,

I've posted something about how my bike ran over in the other Sertoes thread, so as to avoid hijacking.

Dave

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