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150.000 km

Posted on 25/09/2019 at 10:37 pm by / 0

In January 2010, my SV and myself celebrated 100.000km together, we had covered them in less tan 5 years.

Life is like a twisty and bumpy road, and the following year, we were leaving Barcelona to go (together) to live in Paris. Although Paris is “glamour” for most people, it’s not the best place to enjoy motorbikes as it’s ALL FLAT, you have to ride for 400km before you find some twisties. So that while living there, the yearly kilometres average went down quite a bit.

In spite of not using it every day, it was when living in Paris that we went furthest away with our bikes until now:

Ireland for our Honeymoon trip –which would change our lives- (click on the pics to access to the corresponding posts)

and the following year to Czech Republic, 

and Austria..

We also had some opportunities to discover a little bit of France, mainly the East part:


and Les Vosges:

area that I didn’t know at all.

In 2015 we moved again, this time to Ireland. During the first year or so, we had good opportunities to keep knowing this beautiful country, with areas we didn’t know yet, including the one where we now live:

East Cork,

West Cork,

Gougane Barra,


The Vee,

North Cork,

And also some longer holidays to visit co. Antrim

and Donegal.

From mid-2016, the kilometres then became almost nothing, with the birth of our daughter Emma. In 2015-2016 we did about 5000km, and since then, I’d say about 500 lol .

Anyway, what’s important is not quantity but quality, and even if we didn’t take the bike as much since the 100.000km, we have discovered more distant places with very different people.

So finally, on the first Saturday of September, coming back from having breakfast in Ballyhoura Mountains,

my SV and myself celebrated our 150.000km together.

Since 2010, apart from usual servicing and tyres changing, this is what we did:

-Before leaving Barcelona, we changed the clutch. It was not giving any problem, but it was “just in case” as we didn’t know when we would find a trustful mechanic again.

-On our way to Paris, I changed for the first time the battery. We changed it again in 2017, for lack of use of the bike and probably excess of humidity around.

-For our honeymoon trip we bought a Givi topbox and Givi rigid saddle bags with SV-MOTECH frame, very handy for long trips.

-I changed the rider seat as the padding had been damaged during the ferry trip. I also changed the screen as it had been scratched in 2005, during my stay in sweet Marseille…

-When we arrived in Ireland, I had to change the exhaust seal, as it had completely fallen apart.

-The only recurrent problem I had with the bike in 150.000km was that when it rained A LOT and for a long time, some water would get into the front cylinder sparkplug cavity, and after a while the bike would run on one cylinder and stop. When we arrived in Ireland we changed the sparkplug cap. In the following long trip we did to the North, we had some rain on the way back and I had no problem. Last month on our way back from the Munster 100, Juan rode my bike for 40km under heavy rain and the bike showed no issue.

So given that I don’t use the bike too often, and that when I use it I now try to avoid rainy days, I guess we won’t have the problems for many years now. Lol

-During our Holidays 2016, the bike was refusing to start every now and then. In Ballymoney they diagnosed a fault of the starter motor and told us how to start the bike when that happened as they didn’t have the spares for repairing. When we came back Juan bought the little parts inside the starter motor and repaired it. Working perfect since.

-We removed the heating grips that stopped working a while back, and we put back the original grips. If I’m going to use the bike to do max 500km per year, I don’t think I’ll take her out when it’s too cold outside anyway LOL.


After 150.000km I’ve still no intention of letting her go, I’m still very happy with her and no recent motorbike really attracts me. So even if I only use her for 500km per year, when I do go for a spin I really enjoy every single kilometre.


So now I suppose it will take us a few year to get to celebrate 200.000km, but the objective is just enjoying with her every single kilometre, on nice twisty roads, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and with the best company!




Road Races

Armoy 2017

Posted on 11/10/2017 at 10:47 pm by / 0

This past year I haven’t been very active with the blog as I have been many months without taking the bike. The cause of it was of a little human being who was growing during 8 months and then landed in our lives mid February. Emma, a gorgeous little girl (of course! 🙂 ).

So the bike stuff was temporarily put apart, and between nights without sleeping and another nights without sleeping, we didn’t find any energy to go to the first road races of the season. Apart from the fact that we thought that she was a little bit small to take her on walks across the fields under the rain (which happens pretty much in road racing in Ireland…).

But finally we decided to give it a go when the stars finally got aligned, probably because of the luck of the Irish. We had thought to go to Armoy, or well, we had thought that it would be very nice if the road race which was our first one could also be our daughter’s first road race. While we were thinking about how to go to watch a road race with a 5 months old baby, 2 things happened:  they reopened the Pub that had been closed for about 2 years in Armoy’s village, and this pub “The Armada Inn” was now also offering bedrooms as “Bed and Breakfast”. I contacted them but they were full. A couple of months after, for whatever reason, they had some rooms available again. We didn’t think it twice, it was our opportunity! I called and booked a room for our short holidays. A room with some space for a travel cot, and with a view to the circuit! Better than a 5 stars VIP Pass!!!

We arrived on Thursday afternoon, on time for the classic bikes show. We also had some time to spend in the Club shop to buy some merchandising, as the one we had from our first year were quite worn out… We also bought the programme. And we had a nice chat with 2 of the Club ladies who minded the shop.

A little bit later we had our first “Irish Stew” in the village coffee room, very good and at a good price too.

After that we went to the room to watch the parade lap of the classic bikes. Emma seemed to like it.

On Friday morning, after the typical “Ulster Fry”,

we went for a walk to the paddock. It was a little bit muddy because of the showers, but it would get worse later. We went twice around the paddock but couldn’t find Andy Farrell’s team.

But we did meet with Yvonne Montgomery who was recovering from her accident in Skerries at the beginning of the month, she was walking with crutches but was talking about racing at the UlsterGP 15 days later (!!!) .

We saw a few racers like Davy Morgan and Michael Dunlop, but I had forgotten my camera in the B&B and with the phone the result wasn’t too good.

After the second round we went back to the village where we met with a very nice couple from Barcelona, Spain, Montse and Randy, who had contacted me and who were coming to Ireland on holidays on their bikes, and were also taking the opportunity to watch their first road race. We had a coffee and a nice chat until they left to find a place to spectate before the road closure.

And the practice started. What a privilege to be able to follow all the practice sessions from the bedroom window, without having to worry if the baby needed eating, changing, sleeping, or whatever… She took her nap as usual (even with the classic bikes practice going on…), she had her lunch watching the bikes by the window… I think that without this option we wouldn’t have enjoyed much. We had bought ear protectors for babies and they didn’t seem to bother her at all…

The practice sessions went on, starting with the Newcomers. This year Patricia Fernandez from the United States was a newcomer in Armoy.

The female racers weren’t many this time as Yvonne was injured, and Veronika couldn’t go on with the Irish season after Cookstown. But Melissa Kennedy was there with her Moto3.

The practice sessions were stopped at time because of the rain,

and also there was a red flag because of spectators in prohibited area.

Forest Dunn & Andy Farrell

Adam McLean

Forest Dunn

Michael Dunlop

After the practice sessions, they started with the races, the first being the Senior Support won by Adam Lyon *29, second Joe Loughlin *150 and third David Howard *4.

Then there was the first Supersport one, which was stopped a first time because of an incident (without consequences) involving Paul Jordan and Adam McLean.



Then it was restarted, but stopped again after a few laps because Michael Dunlop’s engine blew up.

As it was late and the road had to be checked and so, the race wasn’t restarted. The final result was given later, won by Derek McGee 86, second Davey Todd *174 and third Christian Elkin *8.

On Saturday race day we had an early breakfast and also a nice chat with the amateur photographer John Condie. Then we waited for the road closure.

The races started and followed as this:

Junior Support: 1- Joe Loughlin *27, 2- Marc Ironside *151, 3- Glenn Walker *44

Moto3/125: Christian Elkin *8, Adam Mc Lean *56

Supersport 2: 1 Michael Dunlop, 2 Derek McGee, 3 James Cowtown *52

Classics: 1- Ed Manly*66, 2- Wattie Brown *10, 3- Barry Davidson *40

Open 201-1010cc: 1-Michael Dunlop, 2- Derek McGee, 3-William Dunlop

Lightweight: 250cc Neil Kernohan *109 and Brian Harding *59

400cc: Darryl Tweed, Callum Laidlaw, Seamus Elliott

Poor Paul Gartland *28 got several times black flag over the week-end because of his exhaust pipe…

Supertwin: 1-McGee, 2-Adam McLean 3- James Cowtown

Senior Support: 1-Joe Loughlin 2-Adam Lyon 3-David Howard

Race of Legends: 1-Michael Dunlop (seven times in a raw), 2-William Dunlop 3-Micko Sweeney

Adam Mc Lean

Derek Mc Gee saving his back tyre

James Cowton

McGee, William Dunlop, Micko Sweeney

Melissa Kennedy 

Michael Dunlop

William Dunlop

There were also a few showers during the day, which always make it difficult for the organisers. Even though, they were able to complete the full programme and end the races around 5pm.

We met a couple of times over the day with Montse and Randy, one of them it was during a race, and I got so nervous for not being able to take pictures that they might have thought I was completely mad…

After the last race, we had an early dinner and then said goodbye.

We left the next day after breakfast, while outside they were working hard to take away all bales and protections and give back to the village its face of 360 days a year.

Of course we first took a lap around the circuit, Emma’s first lap ever around Armoy circuit! 🙂

It was so great to be able to watch the races from the room, with such a small baby I don’t think we would have enjoyed the races from the usual spectating places, even with the car close by.

Next year she will be bigger and even if we will have to change some things in our way of spectating, I think we will be able to watch races not from a “Mega VIP” place.

In any case we were very happy to be able to watch Armoy road races this year, and that Armoy was also Emma’s first road race was very special.

It’s also funny that now I have a baby, I can see that there are many people who go watch road racing with their children, even quite small. There is a future for road racing spectators for sure! 🙂

See you in 2018!


Road Races

Ulster GP 2016

Posted on 21/08/2016 at 11:53 pm by / 0

Last Saturday was our first time at the Ulster GP. The Ulster GP starts on Wednesday with Practice, follows on Thursday with the so-called “Dundrod 150”, and finally on Saturday are the “big races” as Ulster GP. As we couldn’t take any day off, we left on Friday after work and arrived in Belfast around 9pm.

As we didn’t know the circuit nor knew how it worked to pay an so, and we didn’t have anything booked, we woke up early on Saturday. We shouldn’t have worried because it is organised much like the national Road Races. I mean that you can pay your ticket where they close the road, and BUY A PROGRAM. It costed 25£ per person (includes Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday) and the program 5£. We arrived around 8h am, found a car park close to the paddock, not quite cheap but very well situated.

Our friend Mark from Skerries had sent us a map of the circuit with several good view points to watch the races.

After parking the car we went tot the paddock. There were so many teams that it was difficult to find the “small” ones. We tried to find Yvonne Montgomery, without success.

We had a look around the big teams also, and met with the nice couple we had known in Armoy during the NorthWest 200, and also got across Baylon, the photographer of Irish race photography. The truth is that the world of Road Races is a small one, and as a big family. We have only been to a dozen of races and every time we meet with known persons (who remember us also). I love it.

When we were leaving the paddock we also went across Mark from Skerries, and then went to The Quarries, one of the points he had recommended. We were lucky enough to find a spot just behind the fence. It is better to arrive early enough if you want to get a good spot, mainly if you want to take pictures.

It was sunny that day but the temperature was quite low for being August… well, something quite usual in Ireland in general.

After a short while they closed the road and the day started with the races: Superstock, Supersport, Ultralightweight/Lightweight (125/Moto3, 250GP, 400 & 450cc). There was also a Superpole and a parade lap with Bruce Anstey with the la YZR 500 (there is no graphic proof of that, he was too fast lol).

For the first 2 races the big screen in front of us didn’t work. Then it got fixed.

Then the day proceeded with Superbike, Supersport, Supertwin and Superbike final races.

Michael Dunlop

Derek Sheils

Dan Kneen

Hutchy & Dan Kneen

Rob Barber

Hutchy, Dan Kneen, Michael Dunlop

Conor Cummins

Xavier Denis

Bruce Anstey & Michael Dunlop

Bruce Anstey

Dani Cooper & Bruce Anstey

Davy Morgan

Fabrice Miguet – MIG

Most of the races were quite close racing, with many overtakings. It was quite amazing to see them on the Quarries bend. The day went by without any major incident and with a new circuit record by Ian Hutchinson who did a 134.089mph lap (the previous record was by Bruce Anstey who did 133.977mph in 2010).

It was definitely Hutchy’s day as he won 4 races: the 2 Superbike races, 1 Supersport race and the Superstock race.

There was another record broken by Patricia Fernández (from USA) for the fastest woman rider at UlsterGP, with an average speed of 118.264mph in Supersport.

The previous record was held by Maria Costello, who was racing in Superstock and Supertwin.

There were other women: Veronika Hancocyova (Czech Republic) in Lightweight and Supertwin, Melissa Kennedy in Moto3, Yvonne Montgomery in Lightweight, and Sarah Boyes in Ultralightweight (I have no picture of her)

Yvonne Montgomery

Veronika Hancocyova

Melissa Kennedy

We stayed at the same fence all day. The truth is that it was a good point to see some good race action, take pictures and follow the race on the big screen (when it started working).

It was over around 5.00pm (actually with a red flag), the truth is that the races were quite intense and thrilling, and even with some breaks between races, the day went by very fast.

We had a great experience at the Ulster GP, as it is the same family atmosphere and organisation as the National ones, adding the best racers together, on a longer and faster track (the fastest).

The truth is that next year it will be difficult to chose between Armoy and the UlsterGP! There are only 15 days between the 2 and it is difficult to go to both… we’ll see!

This year unfortunately the UlsterGP was the last road race of the year in Ireland, as the Loughshinny Club announced they cancelled Killalane Road Race which used to close the season mid-September.

It’s a pity, we hope they will solve the problems and will come back stronger next year, with Skerries and Killalane.

This is it for our 2016 road racing season, See you in 2017 and beyond!


Road Races

Holidays 2016 – NorthWest 200

Posted on 25/06/2016 at 11:23 pm by / 0

Our Holidays 2016 started HERE.

On Tuesday it was the first Practice day of the NorthWest 200.

We woke up early, had breakfast and went to the circuit following the GPS, which took us through the Dark Hedges- not a soul there at that time of the day.

We arrived to the circuit and parked on the car park of the Golf next to the paddock. We went to the paddock where we had a look at the bikes of all the different teams. There were also a few racers who were getting prepared: Hutchy, Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, William Dunlop, Maria Costello, etc… After a first round we tried to find Antonio Maeso, who was back to a road race since his accident 2 years ago at the TT, where he almost lost his knee.

For who doesn’t know who is Antonio Maeso, he is one of the very few Spanish riders who raced in the Isle of Man since the FEM doesn’t give anymore licenses to race there since Santi Herrero fatal accident there in 1970. Antonio races under English license. You can follow him on his website: http://www.maeso.eu/

Antonio Maeso – Thursday practice

After asking around and another round we finally saw him going through the technical verifications with the bike, and we followed him to his stand to say hello and wish him good luck.

After a while they closed the road and we went to the grandstand from the paddock, which is at the end of the finish straight, in front of 2 bends. Though from there we couldn’t see the starting grid.

The day was sunny with some cloud from time to time, and this seaside breeze a little fresh, enough to keep my jacket on and put my hat on (down on ground level it was much warmer).

Practice time started with the Newcomers first (if I remember well)- the ones who never participated before- in reduced groups behind a leader, usually a confirmed racer. Then followed with Supersport, Superbike, Supertwin and finally Superstock.

Malachi Mitchell-Thomas

Michael Rutter

The Marshals

Michael Dunlop

The day went on without any incident until 2 minutes before the end of the last practice, which was ended with a red flag.  The accident involved Ben Wilson, who resulted with a bad leg injury (when publishing this report, he is still with rehab).

We went back to the paddock and after a round to see if to have a bite there or outside, we decided to go back to the parking, take the bike and go to Coleraine for a bite, then buy some food and back.

On Thursday, the morning was for Practice and the afternoon for races. We left early to take seat before the road closure. As the ticket gave access to any grandstand around the circuit, we went to Metropole bend. From the grandstand we have a good view over Metropole corner, then a short fast straight and then farer away, “Church Corner”. We stayed there all day, taking pics during Practice, that ended around 2.15pm.


William Dunlop

Michael Dunlop

Ryan Farquhar

They opened the road then for about 3 hours. We took advantage to walk around the merchandising stands and buy some drink (which was less expensive than in the paddock, but we had brought our food anyway). When the race hour got closer, the grandstand started to fill quickly. Until it was completely full, not an empty seat.

They started with the Supersport race, which was quite intense, with many overtaking on the long straights of the circuit. We could follow the action on the big screen. Alastair Seeley won the race, beating Robert Dunlop record, with 16 NW200 races wins.

Then started the Supertwin race, which was stopped after 2 laps because of a fire in the garden of a house close to the circuit (a burnt barbecue…), and the firefighters had to act quickly.

Ryan Farquhar & Dani Cooper

Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, Adam McLean, James Cowtown, Danny Webb

Around 7.45pm the riders were on the grid again for a 4 laps race (I have no pics of the second part as the sun was too low for my camera).

After 2 intense laps with many overtaking between Ryan Farquhar and Dani Cooper, there were red flags out and the ambulance went out. Ryan Farquhar had fallen and Dani Cooper couldn’t avoid him. Both ended up in the hospital, Ryan with many injuries, including broken pelvis and ribs and some bad internal injury, and Dani with a shoulder injury. (When publishing this report, Dani is fit again, but Ryan has been through very tough moments and with a long way to full recovery. But he is quite optimistic and confirmed that his team will be racing next year).

After a long while without information, and with too many people walking around the circuit while the road was still closed, we were finally able to get back to the bike and get out when road opened again. There was a beautiful sunset on the ocean, but spirits were too low for taking pictures…

Saturday was the big day, Race day. We woke up early and arrived to the circuit around 8.00am. The roads closed at 9.30am so we went for a walk around the paddock.

If you go to the NW200 with your bike, think about taking something to put under the sidestand of your bike, some car parks are not for bikes… the Golf parking is part of the Golf, so it’s grass all around, and it’s better to be ready…

The teams were very busy and there was a long queue for the bikes technical verifications.

Then we went to the Grandstand we had booked for the Saturday.

With the “Grandstand” pass you can access to any grandstand around the circuit on Tuesday and Thursday, without a reserved seat, first arrived, first served. Then on Saturday you have your seat booked on the grandstand you chose. We were on the so-called “Start-Finish” grandstand, where you can only see the Starting grid (and the podium if you are enough on the right side), as the “Finish” line is far behind big containers with all the Television, Race control and so, so we can’t see it bar on screen. (I think there is no actual grandstand in front of the Finish line).

We were on the second row from the bottom, which is quite down taking into account that on the front of the grandstand, there is the area reserved for disabled persons, with wheelchairs, and depending on where you are, you can’t see too well the starting grid. But we had a good sight on the podium.

If you chose this grandstand, it is better to take some row from the 4th row and up, and from the middle to the right (facing the podium). But not too much on the right hand side if you want to see well the starting grid… When you book the tickets it’s impossible to see what’s the view from the seat.

The day was very sunny still, but there was a chilly breeze coming under the seats on the feet (where the sun didn’t get). But we did not complain, this was the first NW200 with sunshine in 10 years…

They finally closed the road and the races started. The truth is that watching the start is really impressive, all the grandstand is vibrating with the roaring of the engines, thrilling. The rest of the races is mainly seen on the screen and the small bit when they go through the double bent at the end of the finish line, this is a nice view when they are all grouped together, and it can be quite “funny” when some rider misses the bend and does some motocross…

Also it is interesting to see how the teams and the racers get prepared before the start.

Michael Dunlop

In any case, personally I would recommend to book another grandstand for the Saturday, where there is more action, and maybe watch the Thursday afternoon races from this one (though I guess they fill in quite early for Thursday, and it might be quite boring to follow all practice from that grandstand on Thursday morning).

Anyway the races were quite intense, particularly the Superstock one. There was some red flag and some delay out of the organisation hands, but the first 3 races (Supersport, Superstock and Superbike) were very interesting and nice to follow (on screen).

Superstock Podium- Hutchy, Hickman, Seeley

The fourth one, the Supertwin one, was stopped with a red flag. The first two racers had gone through the bends before us, and the 3rd one, the young fella Malachi Mitchell-Thomas did not follow. Then we saw Jeremy Mc Williams, who was in 4th, coming in and get directly into boxes after the red flag. Something might have happened with Malachi 🙁 . They informed that there was an incident and that the medical team was working there. It lasted quite a good while and it was worrying. We were together with the Spanish couple we had met at Joey’s Bar on Wednesday. After a good while they informed that the rider involved in the accident did not survive to his injuries 🙁 . They didn’t give the name at that moment but we knew too well who it was 🙁 .

Malachi was 20 years old, he came to racing through Supermoto, and had made his road racing debut in 2014. In 2015 he won the Manx Grand Prix Senior. In 2016 he had a very good season start on the Irish roads, with 2nd in Supertwin, winning in Supersport and Superbike and finishing 2nd of the Grand Final at the Mid-Antrim. Then in Tandragee he followed with a 2nd in Supertwin, 3rd in Supersport, 3rd in the Open/Superbike non championship and 3rd in the Superbike/Open championship. And in Cookstown, he won the Supertwin, finished 3rd in the first Superbike race and 2nd in the second Superbike race. At the beginning of the season he had signed a contract with Cookstown Burrows Engineering Racing Team, and his youth and happy smile in the paddock had already left a big impression on the fans all over Ireland.

This sport gives so many sensations, but sometimes it’s so cruel. He was 20 years old… We will have to think that he went while realising his dream and being happy. Rest in Peace Malachi.

They cancelled the 2 remaining races, and after a short wait for most people to leave, we also went back to the bike, with very low spirit.

Personally and without taking into account the circumstances of the race day ending, if you have to go to only one road race in Ireland, this is not the one I would recommend. At least not if you want to have a taste of the atmosphere of all other road races of the Island. It is much more like a short circuit race from a spectator point of view, you are quite further away from the action (though much closer than in most circuits!), and it’s not cheap either. Well, it’s not compulsory to take a grandstand seat, you can walk and seat around the circuit for free outside of the grandstands, but then you have to know and chose well where to spectate from, as the circuit is very long and it is complicated to move to another place once roads are closed.

The good thing is that you can see most of the most famous road racers and some BSB racers, who usually do the TT (Mc Guinness, Hutchy, Hickman, Dunlops, …), and most don’t do the “National” ones, and maybe have less pressure than in the Isle of Man, being more accessible.

At the end of the season maybe I will be able to give a broader opinion on which race I would recommend best in case of only going to one…



Holidays 2016: Antrim Coast and Glens

Posted on 25/06/2016 at 10:48 pm by / 0

This year we had our holidays in May. The plan was to spend both weeks in Ireland, one in Northern Ireland, and the other in the North of Republic of Ireland, Donegal. We planned the dates to coincide with the NorthWest200.

We left on a Sunday morning after a day to rest a little and prepare everything. With the stuffs packed the day before (for the first time in many years), we had breakfast with no rush, and while I finished packing and put some order at home, Juan was mounting the luggage on the motorbikes.

Finally we left around 10am. Around 10.15, we stopped to fill in the tanks a few kilometres away. After filling, I want to turn on the bike. Nothing happens. I have the dziiiiiii noise when I turn on the key, but when I push the starter button it makes tactactac… and doesn’t start. We had something similar happening a few years ago in Cuenca (Spain), and by then it was my anti-theft chain under the seat that was producing a short circuit with some cable and blew the fuse.

We took out the chain, and after a while, the bike started again, and we finally left around 10.40, close to 11.00am, our usual time lol . We went on the motorway most of the way, with 3 or 4 stops to fill the tank and/or eat/drink. At every single stop the bike started without any problem. Just before 6.00pm and 520km later, we arrived to our destination, in Armoy, where we would spend our first week, in the same place where we stayed during our honeymoon travel.

After unloading all our stuffs, we thought about going for dinner in Ballycastle, on the coast. I turned on the key, tried to start, but then again, NOTHING happened. Again the same problem! After checking for a while all cables and fuses, we decided to leave it to the next day and go for dinner… walking, as I didn’t have a bike and Juan’s is single seater since he changed the exhausts… So there we went…

After dinner and buying some basic stuffs in Armoy’s shop, we went back. On the way back I thought that when we turn on the bike, the lights are on, and lately we had a problem with a connector of the lights. So maybe this had something to do. So we would try to turn on with full beam lights. When back to the bike, while I was looking for a torch, I heard the bike started 🙂 . Well then, the problem is not solved but it looks like the bike starts from time to time. If not, we have a problem as we are 35km away from the NorthWest200 which we came to see, and public transport is “kind of” limited around… So let’s see what’s happening next. This is the end of a first day full of surprises, we have no clue why the bike stopped, why it started again close to home and on the way, and why not now. No logical explanation but at least we made it there, this might be “The Luck of the Irish”…

The next day we took our time to sleep as the bike should start, and planned to go for breakfast in Armoy. Juan tries to start the bike, but the battery sounds weak and the bike doesn’t start. Now we have 2 problems, the whatever problem and the battery that now is weak for asking more than usual…

Finally it started and we went to Armoy but the place where we wanted to have breakfast was closed. So we followed to Ballycastle, fingers crossed that the bike still starts. We had breakfast in the café of the hotel in the sea front.

We went back to the accommodation to take a bagpack and nets and went to Coleraine to pick up the NorthWest200 tickets. I forgot to take the indications to get to the ticket office, and for some reason I thought it was in Coleraine, on the road to Portrush (the circuit is a triangle connecting Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush), and it is quite long (not fit for walking it!). After a few loops around Coleraine, we stopped to ask to a lad with a Joey Dunlop tee-shirt, for sure he would know! We followed the indications, and we had to stop again for asking. But we were not far away as we were surrounded by protection bales, grandstands and signs on next chicanes and bends 😉 . Well at last we found the ticket office (which is in Portrush, not in Coleraine) and picked up the tickets. We also asked about the parking facilities and if they knew about any Suzuki dealer around, but were told to look on the internet… On the walk back to the bikes I almost bumped into a bearded man on a mini electric bike… it was Bruce Anstey lol .

We asked to 2 men about the dealer, and they told us to ask to a man with a van selling road racing stuffs. He was very kind to look into the program for the name and address of the Suzuki dealer who sponsors the NW, in Ballymoney, and told us that it was just in front of Joey’s Bar, so we couldn’t miss it!

I forgot to mention that there was a heatwave over Ireland, that had started the previous day, we were with short sleeves at 7.00pm, which is not usual in Ireland, less in May. And for some reason, this was the first time ever that we go on holidays without our summer gloves. And the winter gloves, mainly in the villages, were becoming quite unbearable.

We arrived to Ballymoney and went straight to Joey’s Bar and yes, just in front of the bar there was that huge Suzuki and Ducati dealer: Millsport Motorcycles. We got in and explained the problem, and they told us to leave the key and that a mechanics would have a look after lunch time.

So we took advantage to go for some refreshments at Joey’s Bar, while looking at Joey Dunlop’s RC30. After a coke and cleaning the visors (that’s the problem with the heat, all insects are flying to their death on the bikers visors), I was going for a second round when I saw by the window that a mechanics was taking down my bike back to the yard. So there we went and the mechanics told us that this was not an electrical problem, nor a battery problem. This was the starter motor that got stuck from time to time. He showed us how to unblock it if it happened again. They couldn’t change it as they didn’t have the spare part, but he told us that it could wait for us to be back home, as the bike would not let us down for that, we could follow with our trip without worries.

As they didn’t want any money for the diagnostic and the solution, we bought each a pair of summer gloves, as it was quite dangerous to ride like this anyway. I also had to take off the jacket lining. Then back to the bikes we stayed a while chatting with more people from the dealer who were happy to see a SV with 145.000km 😉 , they probably don’t see one everyday.

Then we went for a place to eat, which we didn’t find in Ballymoney so we went back to Ballycastle, where we had a fish&chips on a terrace on the seafront. Then we had some rest on the seaside, there were bikers and bikes everywhere. We did some basic shopping for the night and the following day (so basic that we forgot half of the stuff) and went back to the accommodation, happy for having the bike problem temporarily solved.

Tuesday was the first day of Practice of the NorthWest 200. For the NW 200 report, it’s HERE. Tuesday was Practice day, Thursday was Practice in the morning and Racing in the afternoon, and Saturday was Race day all day.

On Wednesday we had planned to go back to the Ballymoney dealer to change the back tyre of Juan’s bike. We didn’t change it before going on holidays as we knew that it would get squared on our way after 500km of straight line…

We couldn’t wake up early but we finally made it to Ballymoney “between showers”, without getting wet. While they were changing the tyre we had a look around the shop for the bikes, and I sat on the new so-called SV, which has so few left of mine. It looks half mine, the tank looks half of it (probably more comfortable?), and the frame is the Gladius’. The back seat is very small, probably even less comfortable than mine. All has been lost of the nice wasp silhouette of the original SV. The only positive thing in my opinion is that it has a lower and narrower seat, so I get better to the ground… But I defo keep mine!  They also had one beautiful original SV for sale, in blue and white painting, beautiful. If I needed a second bike I would buy it straight away!

Then we went to Joey’s Bar for some refreshment, sitting outside in the sun. After a good while and for the second round, Juan came back with a Spanish couple from Tenerife, Laura & Víctor, who were coming to the NorthWest200 for the second year in a row and were also taking some time to visit Ireland.  We stayed there chatting for quite a while and another round of 0.0’. Until we decided that it was time for a bite. You might not believe it but in the meantime in the sun, I got some suntan… or got a little bit sunburnt actually… After picking the bike we went to the parking in front of the museum, and tried a café next, but they only had sandwiches and similar. But the very nice barmaid told us to go to the main street, that there were plenty of places to eat properly. So we ended up the 4 of us in a pub, where we spent a good while.

Then we went back to the car park to say goodbye, and a group of French bikers arrived, and we started to chat also. They also came for the NorthWest200 for the second year in a row. They wanted to go to the museum but it was closed by then (I think it was already 6.00pm…), so finally they headed to Joey’s Bar and we said goodbye to Víctor and Laura.

Friday was also a sunny day. After a quiet breakfast we decided to take advantage of this glorious sunny day to go for a spin with the bikes. At the dealer, a client had  advised us to take the coast road from Cushendal and anticlockwise. So I prepared an itinerary from Armoy to get to Cushendal through the nicest way. The truth is that there is a mount above Armoy that always grabbed my attention, and I was curious to know what was up there. So I checked the map and planned the itinerary through that mount.

And there we went: the fact is that the itinerary was also well indicated on the road, even though it was easy to find with the map. We soon found a narrow road in the middle of the mountain, surrounded with brown turf fields, and not much more. The road was good but we had to be careful with some loose gravel from time to time. Then the road went through a softwood, and then more turf fields. In Ireland they still use the turf as a fuel, it is taken out of the soil, cut in long and narrow prisms and let on the ground to dry.

We then stopped for enjoying beautiful view over the valley.

On the way down we found sheeps and lambs on the road, and then the coast on the horizon. The way down came quite abruptly to be honest, and we would find again this kind of roads of very sharp slopes… why make the road longer with bends… 😉

We arrived to Cushendal and to a carpark after the village, then went back to the village for a second breakfast (on that side they call the Irish Breakfast “Ulster Fry” but it’s much the same kind of nice full breakfast!) on the terrace of a hotel. Next to us was another biker who started to chat with us and ended up giving us many tips on roads to take that day and also in Donegal for the following week… Then we chatted with another biker who was on a trip with his son, and finally we headed for the road again.

We followed the advice and proceeded to Cushendun and then to Torr Head. The view from the road was amazing, the road is narrow but in very good condition (only some loose gravel from time to time), with sharp slopes upwards and downwards, and hardly any traffic. There are many places to stop to take pics without obstructing the scarce traffic, and in some others we had to abandon the idea of taking pics as it was impossible to park the bikes without them falling…

We tried our way to Torr Head, but as we arrived to the “village”, a driver coming that way informed us that the road was quite bumpy and bad for our bikes. So we parked the bikes and went for a short walk to check… We did well, there were a series of bends on a sharp slope, that looked quite worse than the Stelvio… So we took a few pics of the beautiful views and followed suit…

Then our “guide” had recommended to go to Balintoy Harbour, and so we did. It is very small but with a large car park and a bar with a terrace, ideal for the bikers rest with great views. We just took some pics and went away. There were bikers everywhere there too.

We went back to the main coastal road, which is very nice but with much more traffic, and a few bikers whom I don’t know how they are still alive with that kind of riding, overtaking on upward slopes without any visibility and other similar dangerous riding.

The idea was to go to Portrush, and take some pics around the circuit and then go to the paddock. We didn’t think that EVERYBODY else had exactly the same idea… All around the circuit and the starting grid straight were packed with bikes and cars in both ways. We were lucky and found to park both bikes just in front of the podium.

We left the bikes there and went for a walk around the paddock. Many racers were there: Dean Harrison, Michael Rutter, Davy Morgan, Alastair Seeley, Lee Johnson, Michael Dunlop and then Hutchy signing autographs. I also took advantage to buy Liam Beckett’s book, “Full Throttle”, about him Robert Dunlop. A book I highly recommend.

After a first round we stopped for a refreshment next to our neighbours from the accommodation, who were a very nice couple and who happened to be friends with Tyco BMW team owner. But after another while chatting with an old man who couldn’t stop criticising every single racer, we left for another round. It was then after 7.00pm and we went back to rest.

Sunday was farewell time, we said goodbye to the nice couple, who offered us a CD from the music band where he used to sing/play.

While I was still packing, Juan was trying to put the luggage on the bikes while he was chatting with everybody who was stopping to talk about the races 😉 . Finally, as usual, we left at 11.00am, overpacked, mainly Juan. We just saw that my topbox rack was sometimes touching the bike back tail, probably for a combination of overweight and bumpy roads, so we took things out of the topbox and put them mainly in Juan’s luggage… so he was now so overpacked that he could hardly incline in the bends and I had to wait for him after each roundabout lol .

We went westward, to the Northern-West part of the Republic of Ireland. We had booked a self-catering in Falcarragh, co. Donegal. We followed the GPS so didn’t get lost. We came across a rally of Classic trucks, very nice, during a few kilometres.

We stopped by a chance in a very nice teashop after the village of Kilmacrenan, where they served full breakfast until late. They were beautifully maintained thatched cottages, and we could enjoy a full breakfast under Donegal sun.

There was a fresh breeze but it was very nice in the sun.

As it was still early we took our time for breakfast as we had said we’d arrive at 5.00pm…

Finally, after a last road with nice twisties and beautiful views, we arrived to the selfcatering, much earlier but the nice couple was already there finishing the cleaning and painting and we chatted with them a good while.

The place was very nice, with incredible views to the sea and Tory Island, with a nice terrace to enjoy the sun in front of the bikes and with the sea at the back.

A perfect way to start our second week of holidays…

To be continued…


Road Races

Cookstown 100 -2016

Posted on 30/05/2016 at 10:27 pm by / 0

For May Bank holiday week-end I was celebrating my birthday. And nothing better than going to a road race to celebrate it. 🙂

So we had taken our Friday off, and that week-end was Cookstown 100 road race, in Northern Ireland, so there we went.

We left on Friday morning, as early as possible, after searching all the house for our map of Ireland which came with us everywhere since 2013… without success. It just disappeared. Nothing, so as we still have the Tom Tom, it will do for the week-end.

After a few hours of car driving on straight, boring but quite practical roads, we arrived in Moy where we had booked a b&b (having decided to go 1 month before, it’s the nearest we found). We had our sandwiches and left our luggage and went to Cookstown.

For once I hadn’t checked where the circuit was, and it resulted that it is not in Cookstown, but in Orritor, a few miles away. But we were lucky as we saw a panel indicating “Orritor circuit road closed for racing”, so I put Orritor in our TomTom and followed it.

When we arrived the road was already closed, and there was no car park at that entrance (car park is usually a field graciously let by some farmer around during the racing week-end), so we turned back and parked along the road with the other cars, and walked back to the circuit.

When we arrived with the car they were running Classics practice, and by the time we walked back they had started with 600/Supersport practice. We arrived through the end of the start/finish straight line, and the riders arrived at an incredible speed there, thrilling.

We could walk up to the paddock through a protected path on the outside of the circuit. We arrived there after the end of 600 practice. The paddock was divided in 2, a small part on the outside of the circuit, where you could find the village’s shop (where we bought the program), and most important: the pub 😉 . The other part of the paddock was on the inside of the circuit.

Between 2 practices, we crossed the circuit to the grandstand in front of the pub, and from there we watched the rest of practice time and the first 2 races that were ran late afternoon.

I took pictures from the fence, down the grandstand, as from the grandstand the action was too far away for my lens.

Derek Mc Gee

Paul Jordan

William Dunlop

Dan Kneen

Michal Dokoupil

Derek Sheils

Andy Farrell

Malachi Mitchell-Thomas D.E.P. 🙁

When they were going to start the second race, it was already getting late, and the temperature was lower. But after the 2 warm-up laps, they had to delay the race UNTIL A CLOUD WOULD GET IN FRONT OF THE SUN, as the sun was too low and it was making it dangerous on a back part of the circuit. Unbelievable! 😉 The race finally started but was red flagged on the first lap after a rider high sided on the corner in front of the pub. He was unhurt but the race was finally cancelled and postponed to the next day.

After the road opened, we went to the pub to have an early dinner. There were having dinner the whole Mar-Train team with their rider Dan Keen, and at another table, Maria Costello. That’s not every day you can say you had dinner with those people (around! 😉 ).

After dinner and with the village now quite quiet, we had a walk around the paddock, to see if we could find Andy Farrell’s team. Everybody was already in their vans and motorhomes, and we couldn’t figure out where they were, but they saw us and invited us for a chat. We had a nice and funny moment there, as the first time, a pleasure to talk to Andy and his team again. We left early as the car would still be parked on the roadside and would probably be on its own now. Though we first bought some nice Andy’s team tee-shirts. Most road racers have few means to run their season, and any kind of help is much welcome.

We went back to the car, and it was now on its own, and on top of a hill… which could be quite dangerous at dusk/night (of course we didn’t realise it when we parked it with all the other cars around).

After a good night sleep at the b&b, we woke up for Irish breakfast, with another biker from Wales, Max, who also came for the races, and we went to the circuit.

Now the circuit was indicated in Cookstown so we followed the signs and arrived through another road. The friendly people of the organisation indicated where to park (it was in a farm) and also 2 spots to watch the races.

Though we came back to the grandstand of the previous day, which was better to take pics. We were silly enough to leave our fold-away chairs in the car, and of course, on our way to the grandstand, it started raining a little, just enough to get the grandstand wet… we are still quite newcomers for road racing spectators basic outfit LOL. Though our grandstand neighbour, a nice man, lent us a big plastic bag to sit on 🙂 .

The day started with a short blessing, thanking God and asking for his protection to all people taking part. It was quite unusual for us, but it was very nice and natural. Then the racing day started.

For the first race the road was still a little bit damp. It was the 600 Invitation that doesn’t count for Championship. I spent my day between the grandstand watching the races, and down at the fence, taking pictures, when someone would leave some spare room during some of the races.

I realised that I am not able to take pics and follow the race at once. I enjoy a lot taking pics, but then I miss the race action. And also I enjoy so much watching the races… It’s so thrilling. So the ideal would be to take pics during practice and just enjoy the races. Though sometimes I just can’t help taking the camera out 😉 .

William Dunlop

Derek Sheils

Dan Kneen

The 125/Moto3 race was so good to watch, Paul Jordan was on fire. Incredible the pace at which he would go through that bend. And I almost had a heart attack during the Superbike race. The top riders would just fly through that bend, so close to the protection hedge and wheeling out of the bend, just thrilling. I tried to take some video, but it just doesn’t reflect the speed and the action. Still have to work my video skills also lol.

On the fifth lap I was asking how many laps are left because it was just too much action for me 😀 . Juan told me I was shouting, and our neighbour might have thought I was mad or something LOL.

I spent the Supertwins race taking pics at the fence, so I didn’t follow too much of the action, but I just love so much the heavenly sound of the twins 🙂 .

4 women riders were taking part in Cookstown 100 races: Melissa Kennedy in 125/Moto3, Yvonne Montgomery inSupport with a GSXR600 and in 400cc with a Kawa, Maria Costello in Supertwins and Veronika Hancocyova (from Czech Republic) with a Supertwin in Supertwin and Support.

Yvonne Montgomery

Veronika Hancocyova

Maria Costello

The day went on fast, with an accident in our bent, with the rider injured but no broken bones according to the following day updates. Wishing him a prompt and full recovery.

Before Classics race we started to come back to the car. We had to run a little between races, but that way we could try the other 2 grandstands. We watched the 400cc race from the last grandstand before the car park, it’s incredible how fast can go those small (and not too young) machines!

We spent two incredible days, with the best organisation! Many thanks to the Club, the riders for such a thrilling performance, and to the medical team for taking care of them. We will be back for sure!

A very happy birthday at the races!


Road Races

Our 2015 Road Racing season: Armoy

Posted on 25/08/2015 at 3:11 pm by / 0

At the end of July it was time for our “pilgrimage” to Armoy, the Road Race where we had been to during our honeymoon trip (report here). Armoy is in Northern Ireland, about 500km from where we live (on the opposite side of it. In Ireland if you do more tan 600km from South to North it’s because you ended up into the sea…lol).

We had taken some days off so that we could enjoy the event at its most.

We arrived on Thursday 23rd of July, in the afternoon. After a tea/coffee with scones with butter and jam shared with the B&B nice landlady and two other guests, we went to Armoy where we arrived just in time for the bike lap with classic bikes (and not so classic ones). We bought a good lot of merchandising (after 3 races this year we understood that it’s no use buying tee-shirts of the road races because YOU NEVER SEE THEM, it’s so cold that we always have one or two layers above them. So that I bought a hoodie… Next time I might buy a polar jacket ;D ), then we had some dinner and went to the paddock where there was the “Miss Armoy 2015” celebration. We wanted to see some people of the club organising who had been so friendly 2 years ago. And there they were. We had a good chat with them, they were happy to see us again (they thought we would never come back, they didn’t know us! Lol ).

Some riders were also attending the event, having a drink, as Michael Dunlop; while others were part of the election jury (Michal Dokoupil and Sam Dunlop). A nice and pleasant family atmosphere.

After the election we went back to the B&B and stayed a while chatting with 3 Scottish bikers, one race marshal (the woman who counts the laps and waves the chequered flag) and her daughter who were all staying there, and also the landlady.

Friday was Practice day. The organisers had advised us to go to “Lagge Jump” to take jumps pics. There you have to arrive early because there is few space for many photographers…

The bad thing is that there is no close place for eating and drinking, but as other times the Irish Breakfast lasted most of the day and we had some snacks and water. Next time we’ll come better prepared, we look like newcomers!

There we spent all day taking many pics of the jumps. The speed in that straight line (with jumps) is just amazing. I have no word to describe it. A guy, Mark, joined us, and we chatted for a good while. At one point he told me “I don’t know if you look scared or if you look Wow”, but I wouldn’t know either. I have no word. Those men (and a few women) are just impressive, to go at that speed on THOSE roads, which are so narrow, with bumps and whatever, and where any small mistake can have a high cost… Respect!

Traveling Marshal

Doctor Fred Mc Sorley

Michal Dokoupil & Conor Behan

Guy Martin, William Dunlop, Dean Harrison

Christian Elkin & Callum Laidlaw

Andy Farrell & Jeremy Mc Williams

Dean Harrison

Keith Amor

Guy Martin

Stephen Mc Knight & Andy Lawson

Ryan Farquhar

Michal Dokoupil

William Dunlop & Derek Mc Gee

Andy Farrell

Seamus Elliott

Derek Mc Gee

Davy Morgan

Stephen Casey & Brendan Merrigan 

Michael Dunlop

The evening ended with the first race, Supersport (600). It was an amazing one. William Dunlop won it, followed buy Guy Martin and Dean Harrison.

After the race we went back to the paddock to have dinner, and the fact is that Mark is a friend and in the team of Andy Farrell #96. He invited us to come to their camp place after dinner. So there we went although we don’t like to be like “groupies” (we are too old now lol)… We spent quite a good time with Andy and his team, all very nice people. He showed us his bikes (he participates with 1 Supertwin and one 600 with which he runs several races, but he had one broken bearing gear on the 600 and had no spare part, so next day he could only race with the Supertwin).

He showed us an onboard video of an Isle of Man lap (last year Manx GP), with the comments on each reference point for each corner and circuit element (Isle of Man circuit is 60km…). Amazing.

He also told us that he had no motorbike license because it was too dangerous to ride on open roads… 8O.

This reminded me of an interview of Mrs. Dunlop, widow of the late Robert and mother of 2 of the best racers now Michael and William, who was happy that they would “only” race on closed roads because it was too dangerous riding on open roads…

But they are riding at 300km/h on those narrow roads!!!

Well I suppose that these people can’t go slowly on a bike 😉 and that they don’t even know that we actually CAN go slowly on a bike, enjoying the views and those things that some weirdos are doing when we ride a bike LOL.

He told us that when he was riding his bike that fast is when he really felt alive.

This energy they feel I think that’s what they pass on to the public. Their adrenalin is transmittable like. We can see them happy, fully enjoying.

It’s a very dangerous sport but all are quite conscious of the risks and have them assumed.

Some spend some time with doubts about going on after an accident or the loss of a close friend, but most of them finally come back. After an accident most just want to recover as soon as possible to race again.

It looks like it’s stronger than reason, something deep inside, and addictive as a drug.

Well, the chat was very pleasant and interesting. Most of the racers (including the most famous) are quite accessible on those small races where they don’t have so much pressure from the teams and sponsors.

Andy Farrell is #5 in the Irish Championship in Supertwin, #12 in Supersport, #13 in Superbike.

The next day we woke up very (too) early to take our seat in Acheson’s Leap, as 2 years ago. We forgot that in Ireland people enjoy the Friday nights in the pubs and they don’t get up early. We could have saved hour and a half of waiting, with 2 showers…

When we arrived the catering trucks had not even arrived, we were the only ones with the organisers LOL.

At last the catering trucks arrived and Juan went for our breakfast…

There was no more rain in all the day, but we are not used to those temperatures. We were wearing a tee-shirt, a hoodie and a polar jacket, and when the sun was hiding behind a cloud we would lose 10 °C and we were freezing.

At last the roads closed and the day started with a very moving speech from Dr. Fred, who was working with Doc John who sadly passed away in July, followed by a minute of silence respected all around the circuit. A really moving moment.

Then the races started and didn’t stop until completing the 11 races of the day.

Amazing Derek Mc Gee

Andy Lawson, 24 year old and newcomer in Armoy and other road races this year, sadly passed away in an accident in Ulster GP on 8th of August. This sport can be so cruel sometimes. RIP.

William Dunlop

Dean Harrison

Ryan Farquhar

Michael Dunlop

Women Power 😉 : Veronika Hancocyova

Women Power 😉 : Yvonne Montgomery

Women Power 😉 : Sarah Boyes

Michal Dokoupil

Andy Farrell

Michael Dunlop, after winning the last race  “Race of Legends”

My favourite races are the Supertwin ones, because the bikes are more even in preparation, there are usually many overtaking and they have such a beautiful sound 🙂 (and nothing to do with the fact that I own a SV650, mine doesn’t sound like that and is certainly not going that fast lol).

We saw many good races all day long. As usual Juan ended up chatting with our “wall neighbours”, which makes more pleasant the “time-outs”.

Unfortunately there were 2 incidents (and 6 red flags), with one helicopter evacuation. But both racers are back home one week later.

Once again we could enjoy a full day of great racing with a very good organisation.

At the end of the race we went to the paddock (already half empty) to say goodbye to the #96 team, and then we went to Ballycastle, a nice sea resort, to have some dinner as we had enough hamburgers for a while… at last we finally enjoyed the sunset in front of the sea, with 2 pizzas… LOL

We went back to the B&B and to bed after a short chat about the day with the 3 Scottish guys.

The next day we got up with no rush and left for home after a quiet breakfast and saying goodbye to our nice landlady.

Next race in 2 weeks… To be continued…


Road Races

Our Honeymoon Trip- Second Week

Posted on 22/08/2013 at 9:48 pm by / 0

After our first Honeymoon Week in Connemara, the following Monday, with our heads full of nice landscapes, we left for about 380km – 6 hours.

In Ireland we were surprised by the difference between one “National” road and another, some are very wide, with enough space for 3 or 4 cars (and surprising when people start overtaking in front of you), and other also “National” much more narrow, but also limited at 100km/hour and I think you have to be mad to go at that speed on those roads 😀 , and with some spare sheeps in the middle from time to time. While travelling from one point to another, we tried to avoid the roads in “white” on our Michelin map and, took the “red” ones as much as we could!

Here we are, on nice roads, heading to Ulster, Armoy, where we had booked our second week. No problem on the road, and no rain. We arrived in Armoy in the afternoon and went to the village to buy something to survive the night, we would go to Ballymoney the following day to do some bigger shopping.

In the afternoon, we visited the Joey and Robert Dunlop Memorial Garden:

Wednesday we took the day to go to do some tourism, to The Giant’s Causeway. Beautiful.

At night, back in the village, there was a classic motorbikes show organised by the AMRRC, club organising the Road Races (fairly well). We had also a quick walk in the village garden:

We received there a very warm welcome, very nice people around, a great night in the pub.

On Thursday we went to Ballymoney Museum where there was a tribute to “The Dromara Destroyers” and followed with a visit to the Museum itself. And finished of course with a visit to Joey Dunlop’s pub.

And at last we got to Friday, practice day.

In the morning we first went to take some pictures to “The Dark Hedges”(that we had seen in Stephen Davison “Between the Hedges” which was kind of a start to us wanting to go to a Road Race).

After a long pics session, and lunch, we went to the circuit. We had planned to go to “Balaney Cross”. But as newcomers, we were walking around the paddock when they announced road closing in 5 minutes, and we did not have time to get there (we saw at the end of the day that some places were accessible from inside…).

So finally, we ended up in Kennedy’s corner, which was not so bad as there was a pub, fish&chips and nice neighbours who invited us to a beer 😉

Guy Martin

We were just impressed, amazed, whatever, by the speed of the riders, on THOSE roads… Just WOW, respect. We spent two days “Wowing”, and people asking “this is your first road race?” 😀

Unfortunately it started to rain heavily at the end of the afternoon, and the organisation decided to stop the practice and postpone it to next day. We went back to the paddock, where we were together with the racers and their motorbikes.

When the roads opened we went back to our place for dinner and get some rest for the big day. 😉

On Saturday we had woken up quite early, to avoid doing the same silly thing as the day before. We  got a good point in “Acheson’s Leap”, nice spot to take pictures of racers jumps…

We had nice chats with the guys next to us while waiting for the races to start.

It started with the practice they couldn’t do the day before. It was sunny with good temperature 23-25°C, with some cloud from time to time.

In this point they were also quite fast, and with nice jumps. It is amazing how close you are to the riders.

At last the races started, 10 in total.

The races are just amazing, crazy, the speed, the road conditions, to be so close to the action, and the atmosphere. It was so great. For me, way much exciting than MotoGP (which is quite boring anyway) or Superbikes, or any other kind of race I have seen in circuits. And also much easier to take cool pics without a professional camera 😉

Wow again.

Now the pics:

Doc John

Guy Martin

Davy Morgan

Andy Farrell

Jamie Hamilton

Rodney Patton & Jeremy Mc Williams

Michael Dunlop

Davy Morgan

Derek Mc Gee

William Dunlop

Michael Dunlop

We were quite impressed by everything, the races, the people, the racers, the speed. We will go for more for sure!

The races ended at 5pm, the roads opened and we went to the village for a pint or three… We talked to many nice people there, and just before going back home a few hours later, we met with Michael Dunlop in the other pub and had a little chat with him. That was funny, very nice lad.

At last, we had to go back “home”…

On Sunday it rained all day, so we just had some rest…

On Monday, we were on the road again, for our 3rd week holiday, 547km and 6 hours according to Google…

To be continued…


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