Tuesday, June 16, 2009
New British motorcycle manufacturer? Take a look.
Caminha, Northen Portugal was the venue for the 2009 Goldwing Club of Portugal Treffen.
1017 ks from home according to the sat-nav on the bike. Having never been to a Portugese Treffen we decided to give it a go. Having heard several stories about it we booked in for the camping and all the meals. This is the only Treffen that caters for you if you want it.
We set off with the trailer in tow and headed for Madrid expecting a 10 hour trip. I have noticed that since the credit crunch or crisis as they call it here, the roads are a lot quieter now. We had a quiet trip and as we hit the 700ks we noticed a big drop in the temperature and the clouds were getting very black, it started to rain and the temp went down and down before hitting 8 degrees. We rode through a few showers and arrived at the camp site after an 11 hour journey.
The camp site was OK, looking a bit on the tired side but we soon found our pitch and put the tent up amongst the many wingers that were on site. That all sorted it was a quick shower and down to the bar. A very small bar but anything will do after the trip. We chatted to the wingers that were there,from many different countries. Had a meal and retired to bed.
Up and about the next morning was the plan, into the town of Caminha for coffee and toast and a walk around. What a lovely little town it was, very colourfull in the main square with its many cafes and shops. The weather was not very good but we had a good walk around,found the local super market, stocked up and made our way back to the site, parked the bike and walked the short distance to the beach, sat down ordered a coffee and within 5 mins we were hit by rain and boy did it rain, this turned out to be the pattern for the whole weekend, heavy showers and sunshine. Friday night was into a marquee on the local football pitch, a 200 metre walk away for a typical Portuguese meal, roast pork and rice with salad. A few beers,in fact quite a few beers, a stagger back to the tent and a good nights sleep.
Heavy rain fell during the night and it was still raining when we got up. During a bright spell we got on the bike and headed back into Spain to a town called Pontevedra, a big town with lots of shops (bad choice) after a bit of lunch it was back on the bike and headed for Caminha. Petrol is 24 cents per litre more expensive in Portugal so we filled up before the border. We also took note of all the overhead gantry's displaying that there was a campaign on about speeding motorcyclists in the area and saw a few unmarked Guardia civil cars on our way back. Saturday night was presentation night and we were all transported by coach to a local town to a very nice hotel for a very nice meal. There were 17 countries represented at the Treffen, France took the top spot, Spain came in 3rd ( I think ) A great night and we got back to site about 1 am. Sunday again was a wet day and we rode into the town for the parade of nations. A manic 20 min trip around Caminha, lots of locals out on the streets to see the bikes as normal. Back to the marquee for another meal of Portuguese food, a few beers and off to bed.
Monday morning at 2am we were hit by a severe thunder storm, heavy rain and wind saw us both holding on to the tent and we were lucky not get blown away, some tents did on site and a large branch came off a tree onto a camper, luckily nobody was injured but a very rough night to say the least. At 6 am during a lull in the weather we packed our soggy belongings into the trailer and set off for home. Torrential rain for 3 hours on the way, forcing us to pull over at one stage, the rain stopped and we encountered 80 /90 kilometre winds for the next 4 hours, very poor riding conditions but we carried on and it took us 14 hours to do the 1000 + kms home.
Despite the weather we both enjoyed our first Portuguese Treffen and found the people friendly and really enjoyed their company and their food. Next year is still on the coast but further down the south of Portugal, we will be booking in for that one. 202 bikes inscribed for the weekend and the Portuguese club were pleased with that number. Not a big Treffen but a good one.
Next week sees us at the Spanish Treffen in Lloret de Mar. So watch this space …
Ride safe, Steve and Lorna.
Monday, June 15, 2009
For once I was glad I wasn’t at the track alongside the 88,500 fans that watched the Catalunya MotoGP. There is no way I could have got the view that the BBC gave me watching Lorenzo and Rossi in the most closely fought race of the season. Valentino Rossi commented on Jorge Lorenzo taking pole position for the race that maybe if he had gone to the toilet before the final qualifying session he would have been on pole instead, it was that close.
And the race didn’t disappoint as they duelled with each other wheel to wheel for 25 laps. At 200 mph down the straight Lorenzo passed Rossi with 13 laps to go and still they stayed locked together. With 3 laps left Rossi took the lead back from Lorenzo and they then both went all out for the win. Rossi was out to re-establish his pride having been beaten by Stoner and Lorenzo in front of his home crowd at the Italian MotoGP. Lorenzo wanted to show his home crowd that he could beat the Doctor.
For a couple of the corners it was sharp intakes of breath for the viewers as it looked almost certain that their desire to win was going to leave them both face down in the gravel. The superb Yamahas kept their grip and on the last corner of the last lap Rossi nipped through to take the victory. As Rossi commented at the press conference - “Mama Mia”!!
Stoner, suffering with some sort of bug, came in third battling to hold off Dovizioso. Capirossi had a great result coming in 5th ahead of the injured Pedrosa.
The overall results show that there are now three joint leaders of the MotoGP World Championship – Lorenzo, Rossi and Stoner – now that’s what you call close.