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Thread: The Wife takes on Chlamydia. A South American Retrospective

  1. #49
    Chasing the 2016 Dakar Race: Intro and Overview

    Here's a bit of info about what the first half of 2016 would hold for me. Firstly to follow the Dakar for a (long) ways, then take a cruise to Antarctica before the minor case of riding all the way from Ushuaia to Cartagena.

    By way of an introduction, here's another screenshot from my gps tracklog

    This part of the route takes me from Santa Cruz de las Sierra in Bolivia to the Altiplano at Uyuni and then chasing the 2016 Dakar race via NE Argentina (the prettiest and least commercialised part of the country, in my opinion) to the finishers' podium at Rosario. A bl00dy long way in not a long time. So many hours at 55mph, half of it with a very badly mangled left knee. Thank God for the highway pegs and front saddle bags so that I couple ride with my leg laying straight out on top of it.

    I'm going to divide this part of the report into multiple sections (pretty much by the day), as I have quite a few shiney pictures to show.

    The official 2016 Dakar map. The web link is at Route: Dakar

    Please note this is the 2016 event won by Toby Price, not 2017, where Britain's Sam Sunderland showed the rest how it was done....

    A few taster pictures:

    Drifting around a curve at the Salar de Uyuni

    Hanging with the Bolivian police

    Malle Moto, luxury style. Having tomorrow's road-book marked up for you, while you clean the airfilter. I had sneaked into the overnight bivouac at La Rioja

    The Top 3 bikes at the podium at Rosario. I also bullsh!tted my way into the VIP area at the podium in order to be in the right place to take this and many other pictures

  2. #50
    As I've currently too much time on my hands, I downloaded some video editing software and cut together these 2.15 minutes from watching the '16 Dakar at the Salar de Uyuni, a place you can return to a thousand times, without it losing its mysticism. I'll post some still images tomorrow.

  3. #51
    Images from the '16 Dakar Race at the Salar de Uyuni on the Bolivian Altiplano

    Actually just a few pictures of me, Chlym, Nick and his bike on some salt

    I hooked up with Nick from the UK via Facebook. He was on his own trans South Am journey, but with a slightly different itinerary (did I actually have an itinerary?!... Looking at my tracklogs, I don't think so!), so we only rode together for a couple of days. A fun time and we were able to meet up again down at the Fin del Mundo in Ushuaia.

    As you saw in a previous post when I was at the Salar de Uyuni a month or 6 weeks before, there’s a big Dakar monument near the "original" Salt Hotel. The Bolivians and more to the point el Presidente Ivo Morales are utter bike and Dakar nuts. The Bolivians, and also the Argentines, are hugely enthusiastic about this event. And they have the security apparatus and strength of governance to prevent the shenanigans that caused the event to be moved from north and west Africa in the mid-2000s.

    Nick and I joining the locals for a photo.

    Many found Chlym to be more fun to sit on for a picture ;-) They have that appreciation for the Japanese utterly shagged-out look, carburetor and growling loud pipe! Fuel injected Austrian shiney high tech just doesn’t create the appropriate image on their Facebook, or when showing the pictures to granny back in La Paz, Sucre or Cochabamba.

    Oh and the clouds looked ominous…

    After a night camping on the Salar…. Turned out nice again! Time to intercept the race

    Just one more portrait!

    …Race action pictures to follow mañana, honest!

  4. #52
    Finally some race pictures from day 6, the second of a 2 day marathon stage at the Salar de Uyuni, the huge salt lake on the Bolivian Altiplano

    For information, there haven't been and won't be for the next chapters of this RR any BMW "Goaty" pictures and words because I never followed the race on said "Ex-wife" and in 2001 the Dakar race still finished in Senegal's capital city in West Africa.

    I did watch a day of the 2005 edition in the dunes at Merzouga in Morocco though. I was there on a clapped out Honda Transalp rat bike. Morocco TBSdotCom A couple of '05 pictures, where they still rode 650cc size bikes include:

    Jean Azevedo of Brasil, my mate Geraldo Lima's rider (he of the spectacular crash picture in post 13). Every time I come to watch him race, he's a DNF! Maybe I should be paid to stay away!

    Tragically Andy Caldicott of Australia was killed a couple of days later :-(

    Francisco Pallas of Venezuela, 53rd

    Marc Coma of Spain, Winner

    Back to 2016...

    Amand Monleon of Spain, 10th in Rosario at the Podium

    Laia Sanz of Spain, first woman finisher at Rosario

    Ivan Cervantes of Spain, 16th

    Paolo Ceci (ITA), towing his boss Joan Barreda of Spain, whose engine had expired. Honda, to put it politely, suffered from major "reliability issues" in 2016. This was the year Honda "had to win". Factory teams including HRC, Honda South America, Honda Brasil and Honda Portugal started. A lot didn't finish.

    And again, KTM got the top 3 finishers (3rd was a rebadged KTM = Husqvarna)

    Adrien Metge of France, 11th

    Patricio Cabrera of Chile dnf. Woohoo, the only Kawasaki in the race!!

    Pedro Bianchi of Portugal 69th, failed to keep up with his girlfriend (Laia Sanz)... I like his style: MX boots are old and scuffed, rather than the shiney gear most of the riders were wearing.

    Cristian Espana of Andorra, DNF. Those Suzukis! Hope the DNF wasn't because his bash plate eventually fell off!

    Mr Scott Bright of the USA, 53rd. No relation! You can tell; he know how to ride properly! :-)

    The local competitors got a particular welcome. Walter Nosiglia on the 6th quad home. He owns a Honda bike shop in La Paz and is a bit of a celebrity in Bolivia. Goaty did an oil change in his shop in 2001

    David Wijnhoven of the Netherlands, 54th. Briefly chatted to him in Rosario. Great bloke

    Chris Cork from the UK, DNF on day 10. On the night he was forced to sleep out in the desert, I had sneaked into the bivouac at La Rioja and his mechanic told me he was expected "later on". It was already 10.30pm! Good luck for your next attempt at the Dakar!

    Another Suzuki, belonging to Sebastian Cavallero of Peru, an eventual DNF. They should really bolt those bash plates on properly! He'd clearly had a crash and the front of his bike was all messed up. I'd like to say my cable ties and Nick's piece of webbing got him to the finish of the stage. :-) We saw him again the next day at Turpiza where his bike had been fixed more proficiently!

  5. #53
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Ooop North & Darn Sarf
    Amazing RR Chris. Every page makes me more and more envious
    The only man ever to get his work finished by Friday was Robinson Crusoe

  6. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Frost View Post
    Amazing RR Chris. Every page makes me more and more envious
    Many thanks for the kind words, buddy.

  7. #55
    Day 7 of the '16 Dakar, night of the 8th and morning of 9th January 2016, near Turpiza, Bolivia

    When following the Dakar, it’s important to find out about road closures occurring the night before the next stage. Often the access-road to the viewing point is also part of tomorrow's race track, so you have to arrive there the night before and in plenty of time too.

    Nick and I rode back across the Salar towards Uyuni town and the next viewing point, maybe 80km (?, I really can’t remember) beyond Uyuni town, near Turpiza. A (4x4) car full of (drunk) Bolivians from Santa Cruz (the ones in the green/white flags in my last video) asked if they could follow us back across the mostly flat and featureless salt lake. Local knowledge and all :-)

    In Uyuni we ride along a bit of the trail from the stage finishing line towards the bivouac and got overtaken by some race cars.

    The police were already out on the way to Turpiza, ready to close tomorrow’s racetrack and we made it to the next view point just before dark. The question: Where to camp, especially as we’ll have to leave a lot of stuff and the bikes unattended tomorrow? Why not befriend the local police and pitch our tents next to theirs?

    An attempt to shoehorn another Goaty picture into this bit off the RR. In 2001 I did once sleep at a police station in NE Peru when I couldn’t find any accommodation in that particular hamlet. Just asked nicely…


    Letting the local police have a sit on the bikes. Nick carefully holding on to make sure the guy doesn't drop his 690.

    Hangin' with t'lads

    It's cold, so we'll just torch a few bushes in the desert, thought the policeman. Hope my tent doesn't burn down, thought Chris....

    Possible Biblical connotations ( ) , or just keeping warm? The temperature drops dramatically at night at 3500m above sea level...

  8. #56
    Turpiza race bike pictures and video

    A quick fast and dirty video, not made with love, but still… Why am I panting. No air at 3500m...

    Just a little experiment with making an animated gif. Sorry, I’m bored at home at the moment. Even flash animations have been superseded because they won’t run on Apple devices and were good for getting viruses onto your machine. Here is the top lady Laia Sanz, again.

    Now loads of race bike pictures. Taken in the order I took them. I struggle to edit the number down any further. And this thread is pretty much a personal and public diary anyway, so why not? ;-)

    Toby Price, Australia, winner

    Kevin Benavides, Argentina, 4th

    Xavier de Soultrait, FRA, dnf

    Olivier Pain, France, 22nd

    Armand Monleon, Spain, 10th

    Ivan Cervantes, Spain, 16th

    Fabricio Fuentes Bolivia, 38th, getting some air!

    Jun Mitsuhashi, Japan 56th. Japan’s only m/c competitor. On a KTM!

    Sjors van Heertum, Netherlands, 51st

    Julio Quiroga, Argentina 66th bike and Alexis Hernández, Peru 8th quad

    Enric Martí, Spain, 77th

    Jose Garcia, Spain dnf on the only BMW in the race. More about him a subsequent chapter. Here he still looks happy….

    Sylvain Espinasse, France on a 125cc 2 Stroke Husqvarna! And he reached the podium in Rosario!!! Serious respect!

    Yesterday’s Suzuki Man… Gone are the gaffer tape, cable ties and webbing. And the bash plate is bolted on properly…

    Chris Cork, UK, dnf

  9. #57
    Turpiza to the Bolivia/Argentina border: Must ride far and fast to keep up with the race!

    Very tragically today one of the race buggies hit and killed a young Bolivian boy. What a crying shame!

    It was time to break camp and say my goodbyes to Nick. His route was different to mine. We met again at the Fin del Mundo in Ushuaia.

    He went west back to Uyuni town. I headed east towards the main road and then south to the border with Argentina. As a Dakar chaser there are many miles to cover every day.

    The following video is self-explanatory… :-)

    After dropping down from the mountains it became dryer and warmer.

    Interesting rock formation

    Upon arriving at the main (paved) road there’s a traffic jam. I ride to the front. The road is closed until 10pm as it’s currently being used as a liaison stretch for all the race vehicles and their backup teams heading to Salta in Argentina for a rest day. Bollox! It’s 5pm now and gets dark at 8 or so. Ok, sob story = marginal BS story…. "As I’m on a bike I need to ride only in daylight as it’s dangerous to ride in the dark". The policeman believes me! And I’m through! It must be that cute innocent face I have :-)

    No difficulty in working out what this guy does for a living!

    I was overtaken by several race trucks, with friendly toots from them. Also overtook one truck that sounded severely sick. If they could get to Salta they would have a day to fix it. Hope they did. Coming into Villazon, the border town to Argentina, I can’t say how many spectators thought I was a racer… In my dreams!

  10. #58
    And a second video, as only one video allowed per post, to go with the above (as per the forum roolz!)

    And friendly locals at my hotel….

  11. #59
    Salta to Belen

    After a good night’s sleep at Villazon, I slept in too. Should be an easy day as the Race was having a rest day at Salta in North West Argentina, where I had already visited in November. Oh no… I can’t calculated in the 5 or 6 hours to cross the border into Argentina. It hadn’t occurred to anyone in the Bolivian immigration service that as they hadn’t let anyone apart from racers pass the day before, there might be more people today… And all those people following the race too. And from 1 til 3pm, let’s only have 1 person stamping passports as there rest are out to lunch. All part of the fun, I suppose.

    So I crossed the border at about 5pm. The 5 hours I planned on taking to Cachi situated on the Ruta 40 to intercept the race took 9 hours! I had to eat, find fuel and riding mountain dirt tracks in the dark isn’t possible at 55mph! I slowed it right down. Best to arrive alive! I got to where the road was closed pre-race at 2am. Lots of Argentines still partying!

    In the morning, I met a couple of Dutch people supporting one of the race teams. In a rented 4x4. In the back a brand new ktm450 engine amongst other spares. Should any of their team have a problem, a car would get to them much quicker than the big lumbering support truck. They gave me a cap and some water to drink as my supplies were dry.

    Another map someone showed me

    Despite the slog down the highway, it’s always possible to stop for a quick picture

    Up early after 3 hours sleep

    Antoine Meo, France, 7th

    Paulo Goncalves, Portugal, one of the favourites, dnf

    Gerard Farres, Spain 8th

    Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, 5th on the first Yamaha home

    Emanuel Gyenes, Romania, 14th

    Milan Stanovnik, Slovenia, 79th riding Malle Moto. That means you ride all day and then maintain your own bike at night! The ultimate respect! A bit of the fairing missing from the bike.

    You can always tell when one of the famous names is going to pass. There’s a helicopter above. In this case Stephane Peterhansel

    7 times winner on a bike and this year his sixth win in a car. I give you Mr Dakar…

    Erik van Loon, The Netherlands 13th car

    Carlos Sainz, Spain, dnf this year. I was in the bivouac at La Rioja when he was towed in. A 2010 winner and 29 stage victories

  12. #60
    Belen, Argentina, Day 9 of the 2016 Dakar Race. Just about staying on schedule

    Before leaving the viewing position at Cachi, I jumped off a 5 foot wall and twisted my left knee, again. Ouch! I don't have a left cruciate ligament anymore from a previous motorcycling mishap. My party trick is being able to hyper extend it, kind of like Monty Python's Ministry of Funny Walks, except it puts me in excruciating agony. Not nice. It again, became really swollen. Bollox.

    I managed to hobble around to pack up my tent and set off. I wear full technical knee braces when riding from the previous knee event, so doped up on pain killers and anti inflammatory tablets, I could still ride.

    The Ruta 40 that was now really carved up, in particular because the race cars and trucks had left the dirt road badly rutted. I overtook most of the cars and motorcycle spectators who had set off ahead of me too At Cafayatte the pavement started again, which was a relief as I was able to stretch my leg horizontally forward on the front saddle bag that held my wet weather gear.

    I intended reaching Belen, which would have involved a couple of hours of night riding. Shortly after passing a small town and with the sun having just set, I was welcomed with the sight of a wicked electric storm in the distance. Upon getting closer I entered a “100% humidity job” ( = a wall of rain). Stuff that for a game of soldiers; I'll return back to the last town, even if I have to shelter the night in someone's doorway, I thought.

    I asked a couple of people walking up the street if there was somewhere I could stay. They really had never met a British person before! Would have stayed to chat, but had to pop some more ibuprofen first and I really was hungry too! One of the things with being marginally proficient with a gps unit is that if everything goes to plan, I don’t really talk to many people as there’s no need to ask directions. Now, with this change of plan, I actually had to speak with someone! Heaven forbid! Very different to 2001, pre-gps and digital maps/ mapping file sharing websites.

    There was a small hospetaje in the town that welcomed me and the bike was even allowed in the owner's garage. The people were so trusting, I could have ridden off at dawn the next morning without paying, but that wouldn't have been right. So I just left the agreed rent on my room table and still hobbling, wheeled the bike out.

    The ride to Belen was clear and fresh and things warmed up nicely. I ended up at the bridge over a dried out river bed at Belen in the late morning. People everywhere. Wow! I parked up the bike on the pavement (American = sidewalk… In England we drive on the road and walk on the pavement) and immediately got chatting to a couple of Harley Davidson riders from Scandinavia (Per from Sweden and Antti from Finland) on their own Trans Americas trip.

    The following pictures are pretty much in the order they were taken. There were a lot of comings and goings under the bridge (racing) and over the bridge (to/from the bivouac) of race cars, quads, buggies, bikes and race trucks. I really lost any overview of what was going on.

    A Toyota race car getting close and personal to the spectators

    Alain Duclos from France on a Sherco who was 42nd overall

    Robbie Gordon giving a photographer reason to jump out the way!

    Laia Sanz being chased down

    Chlym offering shade to a weary spectator

    Me and Per getting interviewed by a local TV station!

    5th truck, driven by Ton van Genugten from the Netherlands

    Number 132, Spain’s José García Domínguez's bike and only BMW in the race, strung out below a helicopter heading back to the bivouac. Usually this sight makes your stomach churn because it means an injured (or worse) rider. Jose was fine and just got lost, so he pushed his emergency button. For him, zee race voz over!

    An interesting view from above, of a racer’s cockpit. At a pub meeting in England of a certain brand of motorcycle many years ago, I asked the owner of a very large displacement bike if he knew what all the buttons on his dash and bars did, and if he pressed them all at once, would the bike explode No chance of such disrespect when you’re confronted with someone who is the real deal!

    Little and large? A 125 2 smoke from France and a 450 4 stroke from Peru. I think it must be the angle the bikes are standing as both riders (according to their profiles on the official Dakar website) are of similar size/weight. Both reached the podium at Rosario

    The bikes may not have been too reliable, but the Honda ladies were the prettiest!

    Giving Chris Cork from the UK a wave on the way back to the bivouac. He seemed distracted.

    Per and Antti and their HDs on the local campsite. Top lads

    Not sure what this can-can is supposed to achieve, but you can see I’m not weight bearing my left leg! On the right of the picture is Joshua from the United States who was cruising around on a BMW (800GS?) if I recall correctly. The guy on the left: I can’t remember for the life of me where he's from or who he is. In the background there's a 950/990 KTM, so I assume that was his bike. Muy bad!

    We ate well that night. There was a fruit and veg salesman on the main road who also sold fresh meat. Joshua’s superior Spanish persuaded him to cook us an asado. A great night over beers and chat!

  13. #61
    The Bivouac at La Rioja, Argentina

    The previous night's festivities meant I rose late. And it was raining. The others were already gone, but we had said our farewells the night before. I had decided to just head for La Rioja, the next night stop and try to get into the bivouac, as with my dodgy knee, I wasn't up to riding anywhere technical in order to see the race live.

    The Mini backup team waiting at the end of a special. Not expecting anyone soon... Here I also spoke with one of their head honcho types (In a flash looking car made by the same company) about getting a pass into the bivouac. His attitude came across as "Jog on fella, no plebs allowed" (The older you get the better your mind reading skills... )

    I did meet a couple of chaps on bikes from La Rioja and they said they could get me into the bivouac as they had contacts with a (Japanese car) race team. "See you at the gate at 6pm".

    So, after putting up my tent at the municipal campsite, coincidentally diagonally opposite the bivouac gate, I headed there for 6 to meet my new buddies. They either weren't there, or we couldn't see each other. Bollox. In the time I was there waiting at the gate and trying to call them, I had plenty of opportunity to observe if there was any chance of getting in, either sneakily or with BS. No chance. The security were on the ball.

    I went for a walk and near a carpark to the right of the main entrance, the fence surrounding the site looked a bit shabby. So after some food and when it got dark: A backup car for one of the Argentine quad-riders or bikers stood next to said fence. The racer was receiving physio. He and his physiotherapist were more than happy to lift the fence up enough for me to crawl under (on the way in and out)... In fact they were highly amused as it was "what a local would do". I was in and had an ID bracelet from a mate from a few days previously too. The wrong colour for La Rioja, but in the dark, nobody would spot the difference as long as I kept a low profile The pleb had got in...

    So, some impressions....

    Full strip down

    I found Chris Cork's (UK) support team and spoke with Scott Spears, his mechanic. Chris was expected "later". He ended up sleeping out in the desert for the night and the race was over for him. Gutted!

    I also stopped by the Honda works teams/ Honda South America encampment to see if my mate Geraldo Lima from near Sao Paulo was there, but as Jean Azevedo had retired after his spectacular crash on day 2 (See the picture in my Brazilian section on page 1 of this RR), he had no reason to still be there. Shame.

    I think this is #11 Jordi Viladoms, second in 2014, 4th in 2012. 17th this time. Definitely at the KTM factory tent though. Without a bike number I'm not so good at recognising competitors.

    The malle moto guys deserve the greatest respect. Ride all day and work all night. Here is Manuel Lucchese working on his bike, while the lovely Lucie marks up his roadbook for tomorrow. Ideal!

    David Wijnhoven, #124 checking today’s results

    Talking heads at the Peugeot garage doing what they do best. Possibly discussing where Carlos Sainz is…

    Carlos had been leading the overall standings. Here he’s being towed into the bivouac with a blown engine = dnf at the podium in Rosario

    In very late, but still in under his own power. And at the podium at Rosario. Well done Nicolas Billaud of France!

    BAS Trucks of the Netherlands supported half a dozen riders. ALL got to the podium at Rosario. Well done to the riders and the backup team!

  14. #62
    And finally, Villa Carlos Paz and the Podium at Rosario.

    Thanks for bearing with me on this one, that is my presentation of the impressions of following the Dakar race that happened in Bolivia and Argentina in January 2016. I like watching motorcycle racing and my new favourite is this race, along with the Isle of Man TT. If you fancy yourself as a dirtbike rider, get yourself entered. I won't be!

    In order to give my aching bones a rest, I missed the leg to from San Juan and headed straight (literally) to Villa Carlos Paz...

    Did the Romans ever colonise Argentina?

    Without following the race I would never have made it onto this pleasant campsite near Villa Carlos Paz and the opportunity to hang out with some pleasant locals.

    Near Villa Carlos Paz, I met a couple of chaps from Turkey (Tolga Basol @ridemust) and Australia (Again, I can't remember a name). I do recall the starter motor on his Triumph was donald-ducked and I re-messed my knee trying to give him a push-start. We met at the barrier the police had erected on the only (not part of the racecourse...) sideroad to an official viewing area. We found a workaround (ride-around) but were held up again by another checkpoint, where minibuses were demanding silly money for the 3km drive to the track. Jog on, and whatever the Spanish for jeune maties is.

    What to do? Why not head east to Rosario in order to see Podium festivities tomorrow. Sounded like a damn good plan to me. Long, hot, straight highway. At 55mph, mmmmh. Nice!

    After another session of night riding and not much sleep on a loud campsite 30 miles from Rosario (anything closer was full, because of the Race) I teamed up with Yvette and her fella (I'm useless with names!) from the UK, also on a KLR, and headed into Rosario.

    I bumped into a race team I'd met in the bivouac a couple of days previously and they gave me a wristband to get into the holding enclosure behind the podium where the race teams/ mechanics etc gather. When their rider/bike/quad or drivers/car ride/drive up into the podium, they run up in order to get into the pictures and celebrate with their team.

    So I officially self-designated myself as their "team photographer". The problem was that when they ran up, I was still stuck behind them, so no pictures were possible. Another cunning plan was called for: Convince the security chap that I had to run through the tunnel under the podium in order to get to the other (front = VIP area) side so I can take the necessary pictures. When another of "my team's" riders rode up, the backup crew ran up the podium and after more pestering (Polite Pester Power does work... ) I ran through the tunnel to take the "designated" pictures.

    Now I'm in the VIP area and have taken my pictures. Nobody is telling me to return back, backstage. It's nice here. Free food, a free bar and the best views. So, keep the hand attached to the wrist with the wrong coloured wristband in my pocket and hang out....

    Backstage: The other Mr Bright, Scott -No relation- he knows how to ride...

    Backstage: Laurent Lazard from Uruguay and his daughter. A cute picture.

    Backstage: Laia

    Front stage: A happy Bolivian: Fabricio Fuentes 38th

    Top 3 bikes: Toby Price, Australia (KTM) - Stefan Svitko, Slovakia (KTM) - Pablo Quintanilla, Chile (Husqvarna = rebadged KTM)

    A happy Aussie!

    Gate crasher...

    First car: Peterhansel and Cottret, Peugeot

    Manuel Lucchese and Lucie from Italy, 3rd Malle Moto and 44th overall. A lot of respect!

    Father and Son Fernandez from Spain!

    After about 4 hours in the VIP area my wristband and I were spotted by security and asked to leave. "I was going anyway, thanks guys". Free food, free drink, saw the truck, car, quad and bike winners: A good day out...

  15. #63
    Slabbing it to Buenos Aires

    My good self on another not mountainous, non curvy bit of slab heading towards BsAs, as are lots of race teams (in order to ship home), here I’m being overtaken by truck #515, Kazakhstan's Artur Ardavichus, who came 11th

  16. #64

    And a 2016 Dakar highlights video. Much better than my offerings, but I suppose a helicopter, a drone and an access all areas pass gives them an unfair advantage

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