Chapter one: Ebay and the Nose Job
So i’d paid the first entry for the Dakar and was helping my boyfriend to sell his daughters KTM on ebay. Whilst checking on how many bids it had had I had a quick look at Yamaha 450’s and there it was a hardly used 450 for sale for a bargain price. I put a bid on it and thought i’d see how it went and I got it. Of course I was abit unsure of whether it was the right thing or not but my mind was put at rest when i went to pick it up from Leeds and the guys house was prestigne with lots of shiny cars in the drive way. He had only trail ridden it twice and each time he’d been out a friend had fallen off their bike and broken their collar bone. I think it had scared him off abit and that coupled with his wife wanting an expensive nose job he decided to sell it. After chatting to him about the Dakar not only did i get a bargain but he also decided to sponsor me. Nice !!!!!
Chapter Two: Petrol tanks, exhausts the Pyrenees and Morocco
So i had a nice nearly new ali framed Yam and what I wanted was a large front tank and a side tank. ( I have ridden with this set up on my steel framed bikes in a couple of rallies and on the trip to Timbuktu). But, no one sells a large plastic front tank for the ali frame (were talking 26 litres) DAMN!! I really didnt want to go down the low slung exhaust route as to me it makes the bike look and feel massive so after some investigating I got in contact with Alec from Core Racing who told me that the Safari Tanks had blown out a 15litre front tank to a 18.5 litre and had tested in on the Australian Safari with a 10 litre back tank. Ok i’d have to have a low slung exhaust but it seemed to be the only option. Kindly Alec offered to lend me the tanks and some Cyclone lights for the Dakar ( i used the cyclone headlight lamps for the 24hr Dawn to Dusk and they are really good and easier to use that the trailtech set up).
We used the front tank for the Pyrenees and Moroccan trip which you can read about in my earlier blogs.
When we got back to low slung exhaust had arrived from Meccasystems. EWWW I really didnt like it. I had an email from Alec with some pictures of the Australian rally bike and they had made a middle section of the exhaust and some bracketts for the silencer which meant it wasnt low slung. My ex boyfriend makes racing car exhausts, he’s still a good friend of mine and agreed to make the same set up for me. He’s just set up a company called co-built that are making custom made bikes, check out their website it’s cool!!!!!
Chapter Three: Spare bike, broken down Van and the Sheffield indoor enduro
I’ve bought onto Desert Rose Racing support package for the Dakar, they have loads of KTM spares and it would have made sense to go on a KTM. After toying with the idea and testing out a few with Patsy, I decided to stick with what I know and go with the Yam, even though that meant having to buy a spare bike to take as spares. Geriant and Dylan from the Yamaha Off Road experience helped me out abit with the spare bike. If you haven’t experienced their off road school up in Wales, you should! I did it about 6 years ago and it was fantastic.
It’s along way from mine to their place nr the West coast of Wales, i was heading up to the Indoor Enduro in Sheffield after as my boyfriend Chris (Salty) was competing so i was on abit of a tight schedule. Picked the bike up fine and was one the next leg of the journey when the clutch went on my van in mid Wales on a single carriageway on a corner in the dark. Bollox!!!!!!! Luckily right behind me was the AA and even though i wasnt a member he towed me to a safe parking spot where i spent a couple of hours trying to work out the cheapest way to join a recovery company and get up to Sheffield. Finally Chris had to add me to his cover and i then had to pay £2 a mile after the first 50. Not what I need a big recovery bill, plus a broken down van. I only had 2 weeks left before the bike had to be shipped from Le Harve and I had arranged to go up to Wales testing the bike with Si Pavey and to get some fairings and bracketts made by my friend Phil from Caerphilly Class Customs. Anyways made it up to Sheffield and it was a fantastic race to watch. My van only had 2 weeks MOT left and I was going to scrap it anyway so I gave it to Chris’ sisters boyfriend to do with what he wanted, bunged the spare yam in Chris’ van to get back to London. Oh yeah forgot to mention that i also had my KTM in it which wouldnt fit in the van so had to leave it in Derby to pick up the next day.
Whilst at the enduro i was chatting to my friend John who is making rally kits and he said he had a front fairing off a 690 KTM made for the Safari tanks which may fit my Yam. That would save alot of time if it worked.
Chapter four: Driving, Test ride and the Caerphilly clan
Hired a van the next day bunged the rally bike in it and headed back up to Derby to pick up the KTM, Met John on the M1 who gave me the 690 fairing,back to Oxford to pick up the exhaust then onto Wales to Phil in Caerphilly as he was going to make some bracketts for the fairing etc. Phil runs a company in Caerphilly called Class Customs and i turned up with my bike and a 690 KTM fairing. I asked would it fit and his answer was “I’ll make it fit”. He did a fantastic job and also made a couple more brackets to add strength to the exhaust and the bash plate.
The bike was getting there. Took it on a test ride with Si Pavey, in the cold and wet – Not at all S. American weather (i hope). It was obvious the suspension was way too soft but that was Ok because Kiwi (Dr SHox) is a mate and said he’d sort that out for me.
To come….. Kiwi’s magical mystery tour in France, being held by the police in Dover, Phil’s epic drive and Kate and Tams cycle from Carslile to Lands End. ( I am just about to leave to cycle to Euston station to catch a train to meet my friend Kate in Carslile who is on the John O’groats to Lands End cycle ride, we are planning to be in Lands End on the 1st Dec. Bloody Mental)