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michiel kerkhof
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Posted: 16 September 2014 at 2:35pm | IP Logged Quote michiel kerkhof

European Tour 2014 Rally Report
This is my very first rallyreport so please forgive me for it's amateurism on layout etc.
I will try not to bore you too much with details of what road to where etc but will include some pictures along with my thougtprocess during the rally.
After getting good results earlier in the season(6th in ButtLight7 and 2nd in BritButtLight 2014)I was really keen in trying for a good result in the 1st European Tour.Never afraid to ride big miles anywhere I finally could show my long time experience and knowledge of European roads so once we got our rallybooks in hand I first read it properly and followed my initial thought(usually the best) to ride down toCroatia via a couple of bonii where there were some big points to be had.Also came in handy I knew where a ferry was crossing to get on peninsula island above Zadar.First stage gave us 36 hrs to finish on top of Passo Tonale and the goatpath to Lago Bianco on Passo Gadua,start however was to a castle Linderhof in Ettal Germany where 2 pics had to be taken in a park....knowing the rallymasters this was going to mean a long walk in pretty hot conditions and I calculated 45 mins to bag this one....which turned out to be bang on as after 50 mins I was back in the saddle on my way to big bonus 2 a restaurant in Plomin,Croatia for 3550 pts where 1 also had to take a meal and picture it...I also used my 30 min restbonus there once the food was served and paid for.from then on it was simple sit there and twist it all along the coast of Crotia which is beautiful riding and pick up smaller bonii on the way down....Once at ferrydock I had to wait 20 mins to board and sail and to my surprise met up with Finnish colleague going same route,we stuck together for the big Seagulls bonus in Novalja.After bagging it we soon separated for some reason and I rode on to Zadar to picture the Porta Terraferma,had done my 1st SMS bonus on the way down and took the off restbonus of 3 hrs in Zadar...got a start receipt at a 24/H gasstation then started looking for a room closeby to sleep for 2 hrs or so,unsuccesfully as all were fully booked,so I chose to sit on a busbench next to my bike and dose off a little....only to find out there were 2 discotheques nearby producing enuf noise to keep me awake so after 3 hrs I got my 2nd receipt and back on the road...to Ljubovic just outside some 75 km of Zadar.Had to picture the city sign(guess total inhabitants of the town is 5!! road was twisty with hairpins and abt 1,5 mtrs wide....tricky place to stop and turnaround as I had to but managed to do it without tripping the bike.Next bonus was Europe's largest Chimney in Dobovec,Slovenia in daylight again.Got there at 07.00 in thick fog and heavy traffic but still very much on schedule.In my plannings I take the time from bonus to bonus by Garmin,add 15 mins to bag it and add 15 mins gas/toilet stops every 4 hrs which works pretty good in practice.Always arrived at or just before my planned timings...when nothing went pearshaped anyway,more on that in leg 2.
Got the pictures of the chimney though they dont really show the length of the chimney due to the fog.Next was Lubljana,capital of Slovenia where a bunch of frogs had to be pictured on a bridgerailing.Easypeasy with the rallybook pics at hand so bagged that 1 quickly and took off for the final bonus of leg 1 on top of Gadua where Chris and David B were waiting to be photographed with the Jesus statue,the Lake and the mountains as well as me and my bike.That all went well and off the path I went again picking up a bonus for slopewarning sign(nr of degrees 16% can be multiplied by 10 for bonusvalue(this was the highest I had seen inleg 1) filled the bike up with gas and reported myself to Frank at CP1 our hotel.Scoring started as soon as you were ready for it..new system for me is I write all details during ride in rallybook(odo+time)then do a scribble list before I write it all down readable form on the scoresheet,doublecheck all pics are OK and reported myself.Leg 1 gave me 40849 pts..waited for the meal and the rallybook for leg2 and chatted with other riders of course trying to find out competition scores,by the time I got back to my room with rallybook I kind of figured I was doing OK at least in top 10s,started reading leg 2 immy looked at Baltic capitals(hi pts)also high points in Spain circle and Greece,difficult to say which route would be the winning one at a glance.So I tried out several ones and then dropped Greece because 1. I'm not familiair with the area really and 2. you would have several time consuming bordercrossings which are not good for your nerves...Looking at Spain I just could not get me a route which worked as far as timerestrictions were concerned and had in the back of my mind Baltic Big Point Route all were anytime bonii+ it would give me a chance for many more countrybumper stickers(which were a bonus during the rally on a cumulative basis 1 st sticker 500 pts,2nd 750,3rd 1000 and so on) and there were several bonii along the way which I could bag if I would not lose too much time in traffic(my only worry as my last visit to these countries was way back some 15-20 years when roads were horrible and dangerous)Anyway I was running out of time to plot alternatives(23.30 I finished working on them)slept for couple of hours and was ready to depart at 05.00 sharp alongside were Roberto and John Young which was the top 3 I found out at the door downstairs.I wanted to leave asap as it was over 100 km to the motorway on mountain roads which can slow you down very much by intensive traffic....I was down at the Tollbooth in 1 hr,10 mins exactly on my way to bag 5 capitals for a combo extra of 25Kpts.the individual bonii were pretty high in points as well and I started with bagging the Vienna Prater big wheel in citycenter of Vienna.All these centerbonii would slow me down I had calculated aforehand and good I did so as it took quite a bit of time in all 5.After Vienna there was a little deviation to pick up the Austerlitz memorial which gave a nice 4100 extra for 20-25 mins of work,then onto Warsaw for the Chopin Statue in a park(walk again?) and the Kolumna Zygmunta in the center.Both were easy picks and off I was again,direction Vilnius in Lithuania.Then things went pearshaped for awile.....in a traffic jam of some 5 miles I was filtering between cars and had to swerm around one car which was zipping into lane 1 so I did and hit a little gutter on side of the road,tried pulling out frontwheel before backwheel landed in same gutter and lost it so ever so gently I went down to the right but while i was fighting to keep bike up I was too late lifting my legs up and thus got all of the wheight of the bike on my rightfoot which was twisted a bit as well and now stuck underneath the floorboard....Help was immy given and 30 secs later I was sitting on bike again guaranteeing all helpers there was nothing wrong with me and off I was again.Then the 2nd malheur happened a few hours later,it had gotten dark by now and foggy,very foggy here and there.I have my Garmin bluetoothed to my helmet tru Sena MRH10 works great but when battery is empty she very softly warns you and immy switches off.I then swith the empty battery for the full 1 which is on a tankbagcharger at all times so I never shud run out)I had not heard her warning me and was concentrating not to hit anything in the fog.Then the signal came...off road,recalculate?,OK I said and immy a route came back.....small roads but not that crazy.....went on for awhile until I hit a town called Kosotka where I found a gasstation with light...and an automatic machine so I could load gas, get sleep bonus done (by now it was abt 2300) and a hotel cross the street(only 1 in town) so stopped to check hotel swap battery get gas etc....did get new battery on helmet old one in lap when sending my SMS bonus 2 out saw another message on my phone...thought about that for 2 secs then moved cross the street checking the hotel(he claimed full very unfriendly and no car in front of building) so I turned around and back on road....Garmin not speaking to me....I feel with glove no battery on helmet....felt in lap nothing so I had lost the battery at/near that hotel....5 mins to ride back...searched the area for 15 mins no luck....no battery for next 2,5 hrs/rest of rally....continued the road and get to border with Lithuania...Schengen so shud be OK...heard a big yell...someone came running out of an office...took me a couple more secs to come to a stop by which time he had drawn a weapon! and seriously shouted....wanted my passport and dokuments of bike.What was I thinking of doing??...on my way to Vilnius....It was the Belarussian border however...Garmin found anothe route but via Belarus and without a visa no chance of course..I explained my situation by smiling friendly and talking slowly and he calmed down,together we found a few spots/roads on Zumomap directing me back to correct road....so I arrived with some delay in Vilnius at 03.30 bagged the bonii and started looking for a hotel....again bad luck...all familiar names I called were full...then found a Novotel where a clerc helped me calling round and found me a suite in the Radisson,cost an arm and a leg but I needed some bedtime.6 hrs later I had a fantastic breakfast in me and back on the road to Riga to picture the House of Blackheads and onto Tallin for the Nevski Cathedral.Then on way back to the barn there was 1 more bonuslocation near Riga which would also give me a good opportunity for the 2nd restbonus of 6 hrs which I took in the Riga Best Western,comfortably close to my route....despite all the mishaps I was still reasonably well on schedule so I would try to include a bonus in southeast Poland on way back in Raciborz.after that 1 I would ride to Prague for 1 more and the final 1 of the combo.So I routed Prague via Raciborz and Garmin kept saying impossible to make a route.no matter how many times i tried answer was the same impossible....so I calculated at 1 spot ridetime toRaciborz was 3 hrs and from there on at that same position route direct to Prague was 2,5 hrs....so worst case scenario I would return here after Raciborz and continue to Prague and still be OK timewise for the barn.But was of course convinced there was a road direct as well so decided to go....after Raciborz of course there was a good motorway to Prague saving me over 3 hrs of time....bagged both and after Prague 1 more bonus to pick up in Pilzen and 1 in South Germany and plenty of time to try and gather/find/buy/steal my last bumper sticker for Germany which I could not find untill then....I had gathered 9 stickers out of a possible 11 and had time to visit...I think 8 or 9 gassations on and off the motorway from the Chech border all the way to Stuttgart...no luck whatsoever...I wanted it so bad as I figured it could be the determining factor...anyways...I arrived at the hotel at 03.00 took 2,5 hrs sleep and presented myself shortly before 07.00 at the last bonuslocation the groupfoto at Solitude Castle.Picture taken at 07.15,by then I had heard of Roberto's gearbox probs,John Young told me he had no chance of beating me and I did'nt see the Wellers at the picture site so I was gaining confidence I might have done very well!Back to hotel gathered all my scribbles/pictures/stickers/receipts and went to my room to fill in the sheet.Now in the past on my first IBR last year I had left a lot of points on the table in leg 1 and 2 due to inaccurate paperwork and 2x a bonus I simply had forgotten about so it was not on the sheet and thus no points.....that should not happen again and ever since in all rallies I've done I scribble in the rallybook,make notes on cards/sheets.check and recheck everything before I fill in the scoresheet.Did exactly the same this time but during scoring I had a picture in front of me where Chris could not find the bonus on the sheet!!So it happened again....lost the Raciborz 8050 pts which I'd figured would seal my victory chances!!After the event back in my room I looked at the last sheet which I duplicated on the scoresheet and there it was .All I did wrong tis time was scribble the exact start/finish time of rest bonus before and SMS bonus after that particular bonus on my worksheet...again another lesson learned!!Now was it still enough?? only time could tell,I stayed pretty relaxed during the call out and was already OK with whatever result it would be when last 3 remaining were called on the podium but back in my mind I was furious at myself for giving it away again at the scoringtable....so what a relieve when I finally found out I had won...I was asked for some to say,must have been complete and utter nonsense I have given you all but I meant it.It was a great week spend amongst friends from all over the planet.Thank you all for the cheers and hugs and hope to defend my title in 2016!!

Big Hug to all
Michiel Kerkhof

    



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michiel j kerkhof
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Vikingolly
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Posted: 16 September 2014 at 4:33pm | IP Logged Quote Vikingolly

brilliant Michiel - thanks for the story and great luck with the incidents! Olaf

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Jörgen
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Posted: 17 September 2014 at 6:08am | IP Logged Quote Jörgen

Nice Ride Report, Michiel. My congratulations to a successful competition!!

I put a link in the IBA Sweden Forum.

Jörgen


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