End Of An Era

So in the absence of an announcement of any release date for the RX Vision, I’ve sold the R3: part-exchanging it for a new Abarth 124 Spider which has now arrived at my dealer.

I’m keeping the personalised registration, so it’s getting transferred over and in the meantime, the RX-8 has been assigned a new registration number and the plates went on today.

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Order! Order!

So having expressed an interest in buying an Abarth 124 Spider, I signed up to see if I could attend a proper test drive session: not just a quick trip around the block, especially as my local Abarth dealer is based in central London!

I put £1,000 down as a deposit and was told initially that I might be able to get one at the end of September 2016 in my chosen specification: San Marino 1972 Black and not in the Heritage trim (i.e. no matt black bonnet or boot like you see in the promo videos) as I don’t think that metallic and matt blacks would go well together. The option pack that was coming with was the Bose speaker upgrade so I was pleased with that.  A few days later, I was told Abarth UK would be in touch about a proper drive: a track session at Silverstone. That was the good news. The bad news was that they’d also accepted an order for the same car at the same time. The better news was they had another San Marino 1972 Black non-Heritage coming in sometime around the end of October/November with the Bose pack but also with the Visibility pack (rain sensors for wipers, and lights, rear parking sensors, automatic LED headlights and daytime running LEDs), so the price went up but at least I had one lined up, subject to a satisfactory hoon as I was worried about such a little 1,4L engine after the (officially-rated) 2.6L engine in my RX-8 R3.

I was going to be at some friends’ wedding over the weekend of 6/7 August and they managed to fit me on Sunday 7th in the afternoon on their weekend at Silverstone.

After a lap in the LHD version driven by the instructor, we swapped seats and off I went. Within a couple of laps I was drifting the Spider: really controllable and sounding lovely with the Monza exhaust!

Image courtesy of Abarth UK Abarth 124 Spiders in Pitlane Abarth Badge Vintage Abarth 124 Spider Image courtesy of Abarth UK Abarth 124 Prototype Test Drive at Silverstone Me Chasing Down a Competizione at Silverstone Vintage Abarth 124 Spider

This made up my mind so the next question was finalising the finances, including the part-exchange of the RX-8 and transfer of its personalised numberplate, 2000 RM.  I’d also been told that they’d had an updated delivery date of the end of September again for mine as well.

So I went into the dealer, Motor Village Marylebone, to sign the papers and drink their coffee and the deal was done!

Eurothrash 2016: Normandy, Brittany and the Pays de la Loire

So with another girls’ weekend in Newquay ahead of Alison and none of my riding mates able to come with me if I went anywhere, I decided I’d head to a part of France I’d never visited before, so I thought I’d head to Le Mont-Saint-Michel.

I looked at the “Ride” magazine guide to France and some of their suggested routes around there and the Atlantic coast and booked a couple of other overnight stops at the end of a couple of routes, sight unseen.

I booked a Eurotunnel crossing with their Flexiplus fare so that I could be as pressure-free as possible on my way back with the longest leg of the tour. After a 4.30am start, I turned up in plenty of time and was waved straight through and onto a train waiting to leave. They even gave me my own personal carriage 🙂

The Sprint GT and an empty carriage

The Sprint GT and an empty carriage

After around 560km I arrived at my hotel, having had to talk my way around one of the barriers stopping entry to the town without a code – which I had, thinking it was the code to the hotel’s own carpark (which they don’t have). Thanks to Accor’s loyalty plan, I’d been able to check in early so I spent the afternoon wandering around the actual Mont-Saint-Michel with its narrow streets and steps. Perfect for pushchairs, apparently…

I decided to walk back to the hotel as the queue for the bus was very long and after dinner came back out to take some more photos as night fell. Here are some photos:

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My next stop was at Quimper. I’d found what was supposed to be a four star place to stay without really realising it was a campsite and that there weren’t really hotel-type rooms in the accepted sense in the Chateau itself. Worse than that was the 5.00pm check-in. I messaged them to see if I could check in earlier but hadn’t heard back before I set off so I enjoyed the lovely roads and stopped at Guingamp for coffee and lunch:

2048-RHMP-Eurothrash-1146 2048-RHMP-Eurothrash-1144

I checked my emails to find I could check in earlier after all, so off I went. I arrived around 4.00pm and checked-in at Reception, rode around to the chateau and couldn’t find any way to get in. After 45 minutes, i was lucky enough to find someone who could point me in the right direction, by which point I was a sodden, sweaty lump thanks to the hot day and a full set of leathers.

Still it was nice and ‘authentic’ and I did enjoy my time there:

Parked-up for the night

Parked-up for the night

L'Orangerie de Lanniron

L’Orangerie de Lanniron

L'Orangerie de Lanniron

L’Orangerie de Lanniron

Check-out time was 10.00am so after breakfast I set out for St Nazaire on some more lovely roads, going via Quiberon, which meant filtering along through the traffic queues onto the peninsula. A nice stop for moules and a wave to America and I was back on the road.

Hello America!

Hello America!

Moules Mariniere

Moules Mariniere

I arrived at the Hotel Majestic La Baule and wandered off to take some photos and get a coffee and Coke … and a Cuba Libre.

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The next morning after a lovely breakfast I waved goodbye and set off for home: a small matter of 770km.

The sun's up and it's time to leave

The sun’s up and it’s time to leave

Saying goodbye

Saying goodbye

I made it to Calais in plenty of time and despite the “helpful” UK Border Agency making me remove my helmet – even though he could clearly see my face – which slowed things up, I got on to an earlier train back (see my earlier comment about Flexiplus).

Home and a shower and a coffee and I was almost human after 2002km. I do like the Triumph Sprint GT 1050 and I also like my new leathers: Triumph “Taloc” leather jacket and jeans which are heat-reflective with zipped ventilation to help you keep cool and they’re also weather-resistant/waterproof supposedly. I only had a couple of light showers so no chance to really test that out, but there are inner liners to let the rain run out if it makes it through the leather.

2002km

2002 kilometres

1244 miles

1244 miles

Eurothrash 2015: Harz Mountains

I just realised that I hadn’t posted about last year’s Eurothrash to the Harz Mountains in Germany, so here we are now.

It was a quick blast there whilst my partner was sunning herself in Newquay with her friends. We’d booked to stay with Gregory Niven at his biker-friendly pension – Gregory rode a Kawasaki Versys by then – so Yox (on his Versys), Purge (on his Kawasaki ZZR1400) and I set off to Germany on a really hot day. The beers at Gregory’s place were welcome by the time we got there!

Dinner that first night – as all nights whilst we were there – was at the nearby Zum Belgier with their large selection of Schnitzel:

Tasty Schnitzels!

Tasty Schnitzels!

The next day we went off on a route that Gregory had laid out for us. A nasty front wheel slip on the Sprint ruined my confidence in the OEM Bridgestones, though:

This was what the front tyre looked like when we stopped:

Skid?

Skid?

This was us at our stop shortly afterwards:

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That evening, a somewhat peckish Yox ordered a light snack:

So Yox is having a weiner schnitzel with Bolognese sauce (meat) AND an 8oz steak on the side. Just in case.

So Yox is having a weiner schnitzel with Bolognese sauce (meat) AND an 8oz steak on the side. Just in case.

The next day it was off to Colditz. Except it was closed…

En route to Colditz

En route to Colditz

Still, we got some footage despite my lack of confidence in the tyres:

The next day it was wet; showers throughout the day but in between the rain we were taken for a blast out by Gregory:

2015-07-19 15.59.14 HDR 2015-07-19 15.58.49 HDR

And then the heavens opened. You can see from the footage that I was just not at all happy with the (lack of) grip from the front:

Then it was back home and after I’d switched back to miles and got home, I reckon it was a pathetic 400 miles of rain on the way home rather than the epic Pyrenees deluge…

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No Updates?

In case anyone was wondering about the lack of updates, I should probably let you know it’s all injury-related.  After the calf muscle taking so long to settle down, I’d assumed that following a bit of rest and all the cycling in Gstaad, it’d die down a bit and I could start running again.

And then on the 8th August after a long day starting at 2.30am with a drive to the airport to drop Alison off for her holiday, I tripped walking home from work later that night and I appear to have done something pretty nasty to my left ankle. Here are some photos with my right ankle in shot for comparison:

The same night The next day Compare and contrast

Yes, I should’ve gone to A&E to get it checked out, but:

  1. It’s a long way to St Thomas’ from where I am and I couldn’t walk, so public transport would’ve been a nightmare (and there was no Alison to drive me); and
  2. If it is broken, they’d put it in a cast which would mean this week’s motorbike holiday for me would be off, as would my two holidays next month.

So we’ll wait and see if I can run on it in Fuerteventura next month and if not, I’ll get it checked out in October.

Three Years Later…

Hooray! Blue Rex sailed through its MoT today with not even a single advisory!

Today’s mileage reads as 18,935 miles. August 2015 was 18,869. May 2014 was 18,860. May 2013 showed 16,207.

Euorthrashes on Blue Rex finished in 2013 with the purchase of the Sprint and yes, it did do only 9 miles in 2014/2015…