Moto Piston Rally, Northern Spain - Oct 2011

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Moto Piston Rally, Northern Spain - Oct 2011

Postby HoveActually » 09 Nov 2011 19:15

Attended the above event (Web site at ) on my 1978 31/2 Strada and had such a good time I'm going back in 2012.
Pleased to say the old girl never missed a beat in ~700miles and didn't burn or leak any oil, unlike most of the Brit bikes.
Mind you I still haven't cracked starting her 1st thing; obviously a dodgy technique, but once started, she never fails to start 2nd kick thereafter.

Day 1 - Brighton to Portsmouth for ferry to Santander; get bike out of garage with luggage loaded. Rucksack on, Helmet on, Gloves on, start kicking. Wife appears to see whats taking so long; remove gloves, helmet, rucksack and coat to allow kicking to continue at lower temperature - mine. Wife wondering if I'm having so much trouble in my own driveway, what's it going to be like at 6000' in the Picos? Finally away after several neighbours came out to observe my antics - how embarrassing

Portsmouth Ferry Queue
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Day 2 - Arrive Santander in the dark and follow 100s of other bikes off the ferry to sign on at Hotel Santemar. Organisation pretty good & I'm quickly signed up, exchanging lots of Euros for a goody bag containing everything needed to take part in the Rally + teeshirt, hat & several souvenirs of the event.

Day 3 - 1st opportunity to prove lack of navigational skills. A warm up for the 'big one' tomorrow and a 140mile ride thro fantastic scenery & on wonderful twisty roads. Following a road-book, duct taped to the tank, is clearly not a strength of most participants. To say I (and thank goodness many others, including local Spanish lads) got lost a few times would be an understatement. This despite the organisers putting up bright orange arrow heads at every junction showing the way! Nevertheless most of us found the morning refreshment and lunch stops where we recharged our bodily batteries by mostly talking a load of bull???? to each other. The piece de resistance was the enormity of the navigational error made upon leaving the lunch stop. Turn right for petrol then double back to get back on route - of course not. We all carried on for about 15miles and wondered why so many bikes were going the other way. The leading bike in each case thought oh, they must know where they are going so initiated a U turn which both groups followed blindly - so we all see each other again. Eventually back tracking to the lunch stop where one of the organisers is tearing his hair out at our incompetence and points us in the right direction. We've now lost so much time, many head back to Santander on any road going that way. Not a good omen for the 5000 curves, 300 mile 'big one' tomorrow, where there will be no bright orange arrow heads marking the route.

Lovely roads & scenery
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Day 4 - the big one. Starts misty & drizzly, with low cloud at altitude, so no surprises then! We set off at 08.30 in number board order! I hate to admit it but I managed to tag onto some people who obviously knew what they were doing so got to the am checkpoints & lunch-stop without mishap. Pity I lost contact pm since I went astray again and missed a checkpoint so never got my medal - thats why I'm going back next year equipped with road-book reader. It wasn't quite dark when I made it back but I'd proven that duct taping bits of A4 road-book to the tank is not a good idea, especially if its wet!

5000curves, 300mile route
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Day 5 - a gentle 65m ride-out (navigational skills improving now it doesn't matter) precedes the obligatory visit to the bike fair / jumble sale, Spanish style. Fantastic if you own a Bultaco, Montessa, etc, but not quite so many bits available for 'foreign ironmongery'. Then we have the street racing to keep us amused, impressive stuff, but maybe not quite in the same vein as the hill climb of previous years, but the 2 Morini boys going hammer & tongs were exciting to watch.

Day 6 - another gentle ride-out (70m) and back for lunch and another visit to the classic bike show / fair but didn't spot anything to buy. By this time I was starting to run out of steam so didn't manage to make the visit to the organiser's Club House for the free beer. Maybe next time!

Oh the thing I forgot to mention was the (very modest) eating & drinking in the evenings and level of bull???? that seemed to increase exponentially as the evenings worn on.

Day 7 - time for a last short self guided ride on lovely twisty roads before heading for the ferry port to join the massive queue to board - it was dry & sunny so plenty more opportunity to practice rubbishing each others machinery.

One thing that impressed was the number of Brit bike riders who carried bits of cardboard to place under their bikes when we stopped - how responsible is that?

Definitely an event to rank with the very best. Who's coming next year?
Last edited by HoveActually on 16 Dec 2011 17:44, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 30
Joined: 02 Aug 2011 13:31
Location: Hove, East Sussex

Re: Moto Piston Rally, Northern Spain - Oct 2011

Postby Gedge » 12 Nov 2011 18:37

Not sure my GP will be eligible but I would definitely be interested in coming and spectating...sounds great and a real pity that you missed out on the medal..better luck next time :)
Posts: 151
Joined: 27 Sep 2008 23:43

Re: Moto Piston Rally, Northern Spain - Oct 2011

Postby MoriniMike » 17 Nov 2011 18:50

Nice to read your account of the rally. i think we met at some point. I was on my "old brit" Norton dominator from '58. I rode down from Copenhagen did all the runs including 5000 curves, got my tankard, and met up for the beers at the clubhouse. :mrgreen:
I may have dropped a few dabs of oil but after completing the 6500 kms in 10 days without missing a beat the old girl deserved the 1/2 liter to top up. :lol:
Next year i hope to do the same trip on my 78 3.5 sport.
Thanks for the pictures.

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Joined: 08 Mar 2011 17:42

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