From Athens to Gibraltar: stretch it to the max.

During all these years riding a bike we have met several people that eat and breathe motorcycles. They are passionate and basically want to do nothing else than ride their bikes. A lot of those people are famous and everybody knows them, but probably the bigger number of them, are not really well known.

One of those people that have an unlimited passion for motorbikes is Davide Biga. We met Davide in 2010 on a trip to Morocco, and since then we keep on meeting on different places all over the globe. Recently Davide competed in the Athens-Gibraltar Race - a race that takes the participants in 10 days from Athens to Gibraltar over all kind of roads.

Here’s his story:
 


As this is a race for non-professionals we don’t have a truck/van bringing our bikes to the start of the race… so I left my hometown Turin a couple of days before the race and drove all the way down... I took my bike, embarked in Brindisi and travelled to Patras. Once in Athens I was really stoked! I was very eager to start.

The race could not have started better: I completed the first stage on my Yamaha Super Ténéré just behind an Austrian on a Yamaha WR450, a Dakar-veteran who was really set on winning the race. Can you imagine how thrilled I was when I came in second?

Stage two went smoothly too, but in the third stage I experienced some trouble: I broke the oil pan after a jump. Darn. My bike started to lose oil! I managed to finish, asked for assistance and fixed my motorcycle. Ugh.


What followed next was a great trip: Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia proved to be great riding countries. Everyday I rode 600/700 km, slept in tents and had to get up early for the next stretch. A little tiring, yes, but I was well-prepared and never felt too unconformable. 

Driving through Italy was a different story, though. I lost a lot of time riding alongside the Po: we were told that we would encounter sandy roads. No problem. My mechanic and I decided to lower the tire pressure instead of replacing the two tires. I am used to riding on sandy surfaces, so this should have been an easy piece. Alas! Instead of sand me and some fellow twin-riders found ourselves stuck in the mud! As we did not bring the necessary tools to remove mud-clogged front fenders we found ourselves removing the mud with our hands. We had to stop after some kilometers – over and over again – to de-mud the front-wheel, inevitably loosing a lot of time. The result was that I lost more than two hours and found myself lowered to the ninth place in the overall classification and the seventh category.


Needless to say, but I was very disappointed. I did not want to have the same experience twice; I found myself a computer and studied the stages of the days to come.  I noticed that France would become quite an ordeal, since there was a very slow stretch where I would be unable to make up for the lost time. And in Spain I would need my skills to navigate through the ‘special’ stages. But everything went just fine: I felt very energetic when I arrived in Spain and came in first after a special stage in the Monegros-desert. The day after I came in second. I went from ninth to fifth place in the overall classification and third class.

 


Things were going well, until Murphy imposed his law: the stage in Portugal was a hard nut to crack. The track was very sandy, but since I was very focused I managed to get trough quite well. I had moved up a place and was already fourth in the overall classifications and second class. With only three days left, I could see a successful ending, but a fast right-hander decided differently: the rain had dug a big hole in the track; the rear wheel got stuck and I was thrown out of the saddle at high-speed, catapulting me into a barb-wired fence with wooden stakes. Hell! After a couple of minutes another rider stopped and helped me to raise the bike. I wanted to end the race so baldy, but I could not: I had my wrist broken in three places and my shoulder twice… 


More info about the Athens - Gibraltar race: www.gibraltarrace.com

More info about David Biga: www.davidebiga.com and www.sempreinmoto.it/girodelmondo

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