It was a long night of cursing myself for forgetting my mattress and I accumulated maybe four hours sleep, but that wasn’t going to curb the day’s excitement.
First job was to head off to RSM motorcycles to have new shoes fitted to the T7. Tyres seem to be in short supply and they had managed to source me a Motoz RallZ for the rear, and Greg Yager brought up a Pirelli Rally for the front.
I was impressed with the great service at RSM. I was offered a free coffee voucher for a local coffee shop, and the use of their demo Kawasaki Z1000 to get there – awesome! Good marketing? I had several people walk up to me at the coffee shop and enquire about the bike, well done RSM.
Upon returning to RSM I thought I’d have a look at their motocross boot selection, something I’d never owned before. Greg and Abbey had made it clear in no uncertain terms that the road riding boots I arrived in would offer little lower leg protection. The young and very skilled salesman showed me a pair of Gaerne Boots, excitedly declaring he had my size in stock and how lucky I was.
I tried them on and was convinced there is no way I could ride a motorcycle whilst wearing these medieval torture clamps. Did I mention the young lad was a good salesman? He said all the right things, “They’ll loosen up”, “They’ll last ya ten years”, “You can’t put a price on safety” etc,, etc. A quick call the Greg and he kept it simple, “Just buy ‘em.”
I relented and said to the salesman, “Okay, sold,” to which he quickly replies, “Just letting you know they aren’t cheap.” Foolishly I had seen the price on the box of a different pair of boots, $199, which seemed fair for boots. When he muttered the words, “Five – ninety – nine”, I felt air leave my lungs and my hand quickly retracted from my wallet. Once I regained consciousness, I justified the expense in my head and haggled for a better price, $550. This proved to be my best purchase of the trip, more on this later.
On the way back to the showgrounds I managed to talk my way into a booked out motel, I was so excited, no sleeping on the ground for me tonight.
It was great to meet the incoming Tenere riders, hear their stories and see how they had customised their bikes. Several riders asked about my ride so far as they had seen photos on various Facebook groups.
I’d heard the name Stephen Gall mentioned a few times by the RideADV crew, a motocross legend being five-time Australian Champion. He would be participating in the Rally as Yamaha’s ambassador and there was excitement about his arrival. I’m embarrassed to say coming from a road riding background, I’d never heard the name, but was looking forward to meeting him.
Bikes rolled in throughout the day and the RideADV team were busy at check-in with registration, collection of rider’s GPS, determining if rider were standard or advanced routes and scrutineering of bikes.
We were meeting at a local club for a welcome dinner this evening, so I headed back to my motel room to check in and prepare for dinner. It was a huge relief that we were fully supported for the rally with a massive Mercedes truck that looked like it just rolled out of Dakar, carrying our gear.
Dinner was included as part of our registration, so needless to say there was 100 per cent attendance. It was a great social night meeting riders and of course Greg provided the official welcome offering an insight of what to expect over the next four days.
There were several prizes awarded, one being “Longest Travelled” to the rally. I was quietly confident my two thousand plus kilometre trip had me as the front runner winning maybe a cap, RideADV T-shirt or set of steak knives. I was shocked when Greg announced Teknics had donated a Stage One suspension kit – wow! Cheers guys, I can’t wait to send my suspension off for the upgrade.
We all left the club early knowing tomorrow would be a big day. I was still full of excitement on one hand, but also terrified that I was out of my depth. Too late now Mark, suck it up and get ready!
Day 6: Total km – Maybe 10? Highlight – Meeting the Tenere riders. Must do – A group ride to meet other riders.
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