Start of the Tuareg Rally: an impression of the first day:
Le Mans start
I had a real good start, driving behind Oscar Polli, laying in third position. Marc Smith was leading. After a couple of minutes I could pas Oscar and we where swapping places a couple of times.
At CP 2 and CP3 I was in 5 position, I was told by the timekeepers. At that time I was driving in a very controlled way, took no risk at all.
A kilometer or so after CP3 a photographer from the organisation took some pictures at a medium size water hole, so I drove through to get a nice picture.
About 500 meters further I saw a car crossing a big water hole (70-90 meters wide, 70-90 cm deep) and there the shit happened. I followed the car without thinking about the risk of going into the water hole. I was driving to fast, the water was spraying all over me, no problem, I liked that. After 30 meters my bike stopped running at one third of the waterhole. A second bike just behind me made the same mistake. His bike fell over, got down under water, but he could pick it up real quick, started it and could drive on. My bike did not start anymore, I tried for 5 minutes and called Rainer Authenrieth to send me his crew to get me out of this nasty situation. From that moment on there were no bikes or cars passing the water hole (of course). After 20 minutes (guess) a big truck came with 2 helpers and 3 minutes later the bike was safe. We tried to jump start, no result. I took of the saddle and both front tanks and took of the air filter: it was 100%WET. Shit… Then I saw water in the air filter box, even WORSE. Shit, shit… Try to start without air filter, no result. Demounted the spark plug, thanks god we have no electrical problem, the sparks where there. After mounting the spark plug, we tried again. I was almost giving up, but thanks to my 2 helpers I tried again… and yes, this time the engine was giving some positive sounds but still not running. So after trying again and again, another she was running. This whole procedure took us about 90 minutes (guess).
Don’t drive into the water if it is not really necessary. In the desert, this should be possible.
After mounting the air filter, tanks and saddle I started to drive again. Now I was in the racing mood, overtaking a lot of bikes. Nice feeling, but because I was in racing mode, I used a lot more energy than when I drive economically in rally mode. In the end of the very hard stage, with many soft dunes, I ran out of energy so that the last couple of kilometers where even harder than all the almost 6000km of the Africa race. In this first stage I picked up the big heavy bike at least 20 times, probably even more then 30 times, I did not count. This could also be the reason for my insured right forearm. Like I wrote, it hurts a lot, I will start driving and hope the pain will be forgotten by the adrenaline production of my adrenaline driven body.