There were two more days to go and I just wanted it over. I was like an automaton: there was no happy, there was no sad. I was too tired for emotions anymore.
I had to get up at 4:30 am to make my start time for the 205 km liaison. I was actually starting to get used to waking up at these crazy hours. It was probably better that we started at that hour since we had to ride through the heart of the city Bamako.
I was woken up at 6:00 am by someone shaking my tent. It was one of the organizers and he said that the airplanes were leaving soon and that I needed to pack my tent before it was torn to pieces by the propwash.
Sometimes things can get lost at CMG (never noticed that myself – Ed. Emeritus Lorenzo), and the BMW K1200LT vs Honda Gold Wing comparo was one of them.
There’s currently four STs out there; The Ducati ST3, the BMW R1200ST, the Honda ST1300 and the Triumph Sprint ST (1050). We aimed for getting all four but ended up with a very usable three – the Ducati having to wait for another day …
The sun was only just rising as I set out on the liaison to begin the stage. Today’s Special was originally going to be 656 kms but after the fiasco of a few days ago they decided to shorten it to 400 kms, followed by a 340 km road section to the bivouac in Kiffa.
The 2006 FZ1 gets a whole host of updates, with the motor surprisingly being taken from the current generation R1 – surprising because roadster bikes always seem to be a generation back from their super-sports brethren.
At the end of the day as I chugged along the Blue Ridge Parkway, meandering through the sweeping turns amid flaming orange trees, a beating motor and thumping exhaust below me, I actually got it. The bike was meant to do this. This was fun!
On seeing the bikes for the first time, I wondered if the Yamaha designers were inspired by the art deco style of architecture from the 1920s, as can still be found in Miami or Napier in New Zealand. Or maybe they sat down and watched the old Buck Rogers’ movies and decided that the (then) futuristic design of the rocket ships was worthy of homage.
There’s not much that isn’t to like about Yamaha’s inline 1300cc motor. It winds up like a sportbike when you want to get fruity, but chugs along all day on the meaty torque if you’re just in happy-to-tour mode.