The start

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After the Lake Como attempt the repairs all completed we went to Bricks for a meal to meet the Amicie di Lambretta.  Amongst them were the English team of Howard, Mike, Malcolm and Colin. Howard and Mike are riders and Malcolm and Colin drive the backup van. They agreed to take Akiko and me along as well so we were all set.

The next day (start day) we packed and loaded the van and then while Ron and the others went Idroscala for scrutinizing we stayed at the B&B and waited until they returned as we were going, once more, to Bricks for a final meal.

We left Bricks aroung 10pm and proceed to the start all a bit uptight as you would expect. There were a lot of people at the start and so the Big adventure began. The first day was from Milan to Zola around 347km plus 60km to the Hotel.  Many people in the villages watched as we passed by even though it was after 2am. At the first check point we had lost Howard and Mike and we spent an hour waiting for them and then decided to go on. They had decided to skip the first two check points and as it turns out Howard skipped the last one as well. Words were had and all should be good from know on.

The leg from Spilamberto to Monteombraro was very mountainous and beautiful and dangerous. We saw a car being pulled up from over the side of the mountain. Not one of ours thank goodness. However one of the riders was hit by a car during the night and bike was badly damaged as was her leg, but she is up and about.  At each stop we were feed food and drinks, a very welcome thing.






Day 6, Matera to Taranto

A treat today, start was at 12:40 pm for me and only 150km for the day.

We called in at 2 or 3 places along the way till our final timed stop.  At the final stop all the bikes lined up for a group ride into Taranto which was about an hour away.

Once we all arrived at the main sea side road that was bloked off for the race end each of the bikes was lined up and alowed to go as fast or slow as they wished to finally cross the line.

The race was over and we were all fairly knakered so after checking in at the hotel down the road we had a rest before dinner and presentations.

I was lucky enough to get 3rd in my class (350cc sport class) so get a bigger trophy than the rest.

And that’s it, then end to an epic race.  Its really a marathon.  300 – 400km per day on challenging road is hard work made even more exhausting by the high temperature and humidity.  I have heard that the race is legalised madness – it is, its mad.  Imagine 250 motorbikes and support all decending on a small town for 2 hours then disapearing in a cloud of smoke, noise and no regard to traffic rules and you get a sense of what its like… Madness.


Day 5, Paestum to Matera

Well today was the final full day of riding of the race and what a long day it was.

As always a quick going over of the bike prior to going and then made a start at about 8:45.

Not long after the start it was into the mountains/large hills for a fair few twisties and a maountain pass to boot then a stop at about 10:30.

From there it was into some very remote parts of italy and about 5 hours of up and down, left and right.   It went on and on and on.

There was a stop in a place called Anzi which is at the top of a hill which very cool and then off again.

On the way out of Anzi the bloke in front of me didn’t see the arrow and went the wrong way, easy to get lost.

Into another town at about 4 ish for a time check then off again in the heat (it has been over 34 the whole time).  While at the town I heard and saw an emergency helicopter and I thought that was not a good sign.  Sure enough, on my way out I see the couple in the Messesschmidt 3 wheeler have gone around a hairpin to tight, hit an on coming car and flipped over.  They do not wear helmets so it was a bit of a mess as you can imagine in a convertible.

Shaken, I slowly made my way to the last timed stop of the day and then on to Matera, over 300km again today and in the heat it is hard work. 

The reception in Materas main square was very good and then it was on to the hotel just down the road.  A quick shower and a beer then in the bus to the hilton for dinner.

Dinner wasn’t served till 9:30, there were a lot of grumpy tired riders but it eventually turned up.

Finally to bed at about 11:30 – knackered as always.


Day 4, Latina to Paestum

Sorry for the delay in getting these posts up, 350km on a bike in the moutains makes for a hard day..

Todays leg was really really nice but long. It first went to Terracina on the coast and continued along that way for another 30 km for our first stop.

The route now cut inland and started on the twisty mountains for another 200km, up and down, left and right.

The final checkpoint ended up getting cancelled because most of the group got lost (but I didn’t) and then at 4:30pm started the last 70km to Paestum. The final route took us over a mountain of over 1000m, the air is so cool up there in under the trees.

You never know what the quaility of the hotel will be but the one in Paestum must be 4 or 5 stars, it was unbelievable!

A couple of people came off today but no major injuries.

Day 2. Pisa to Principina





Well a reasonabl start hour today at 9:15am but by7 then it was stinking hot and humid so I guess I’ll find something to winge about regardless.

The route took us to the Vespa (Piaggio) museum in Pontedera which was very cool. After that it proceeded in landinto the country side where the whole of Italy seems to be sunflower, hay or vineyards.

The highest point was only 400m today but the road up was full of hair pins, very tight but good fun.

It then went back over to the westcoast of Italy to a place called Marina de Cecina for lunch.

It finished at the hotel here in Grosetto which is about 100km North of Rome on the westcoast.

Pics to follow

Day 1. Milan – Pisa





Started the first day (well actually night) at 12:44am.

The first days leg started at milan’s Idroscalo (their rowing lake next to Linate airport). Plenty of lightning throughout the night but didn’t get rained on.

The legs are broken into stages – each one of different length, the basic idea is that you need to start at a predeffined time at each of the stages which means you need to finish each leg on time.

It was a bit of a worry riding at night but once you get with a group of rider it was ok.

The route is marked by stickers placed on signs or lamp poles so as long as you keep an eye out for then as you go you are fine.

After perhaps 5 hours of riding we started on the very twisty Lagurian mountain range (did the Cisa pass at 1000m!) and found our way to Lucca. From Lucca we then went to Pisa.

The mountain part was fantastic, beutifull views of valleys and mountains.

Pics as always of som eof the places on the way.

At the start



We have all arrived at the start and waiting for inspection.

A couple of picks to prove it….

==Update August 2010==
It was sooooo blooody hot that afternoon. The problem with Milan is it gets hot and humid.

Plenty of bikes turned up that afternoon (I think there was about 220 bikes that started) – they arrived in all sorts of ways, ridden (like we did), on the back of utes, trailers, vans etc.

At about 6pm the nbike inspection scommenced which is to say a bunch of poeple started forming up behind wheer the inspectin takes place. It was one of the better lines of people I have seen in Europe with some sense of order and not to muitch pushing in.

The inspection consisted of…. start it, lights work, quick look over by the staff and that was it, no horn check (to many bikes would have failed I think), no real concern for oil leaks or stearing head slop, I guess it was up to you to take responsibility for your own well being – I have to say that this is a fine mentality to have and one which I approve heartily of. The inspector initials the head of the bike frame, gives you your pack (consists of race number bib, stickers, T-shirt, magazine) and you are free to go.

I was still shitting my self and just wanted to go get some sleep for the night that is soon to start.

They had a band playing at the start (rock band) which was very loud and made it hard to speak with fellow participants but its tsopped at about 9pm.

I drank a lot of water that night trying to keep my hydration up.

At about 11am after trying to sleep in the van (unsuccessfully) we all got changed into riding gear. I was going to wear a full leather riding suiot and jacket but it was still to hot so I went with the draggin jeans and jacket which were cooler.

At the start time (midnight) it was still very warm