Again the stage was reduced because of difficult terrain and the mountain-section was excluded. The trucks didn’t start att all, instead they went directly to Valparaiso.
Annie’s riding was very good. Overtook many bikers, place about 50. But then got unlucky again: the shock absorber broke (is changed already 3 times!), the front fork leaked oil into the break, so stopping was impossible. Fell several times and lost much time; finished as 60. Seems to have bad karma, jinxed with trouble… Anybody who knows voodoo? Some white magic could help.
But the atmosphere is really fantastic! Never experienced so much enthusiasm among the spectators. Had no idea that rally is so big here. Several riders are south-americans, so it’s fun to have the rally here. It’s crowded everywhere, along the route and around the bivouacs – all ages from kids to oldies, parents showing up their babies to us, begging for autographs etc. The Latins are real party people.
All support makes one feel excited and strong despite all hardship. Now it’s time for a shower and then rest.
Half of the race is done and 71 bikers have abandoned. Annie’s total is 79.
Posted by Sis Eila
There was a route modification for this stage due to the difficulties of the 5th stage. Many contestants had problems and finished very late, or even stayed the night on the track. They were wet, cold and tired having not slept. So the departure of the special section was postponed by two hours. Yesterday’s stage has been neutralized – that means no time limit – so all competitors have been authorized to start today. Because of an impassable river ford the special was reduced to only 178 km.
The track was shorter, but still quite tricky. Annie had good speed in racing, overtook many bikers. Felt all right and happy at finish. Position 86 on this stage. Though must find out why 52 min penalty…?
/ Posted by Sis Eila
For now I’m happy to be alive! At 358 km the front mudguard was torn off, maybe caused by a big stone. It got in the wheel and tore off the break cable too.
It was an abrupt stop, I flew over the bike and crashed the front of the helmet. I barely saved my teeth, nose and eyes. But didn’t break my neck.
I fixed the bike and struggled on. The last part of the stage was like hell – sand with vegetation, and rain and hail. But I made it to the finish, after 12 hrs as 121st.
Watch the video (available only for a limited time)
Posted by Sis Eila
Annie finished with position 54. This stage with over 380 Km of special seems to be one of the more difficult ones, including difficult terrains and a navigation.
At the Bivouac in Neuquen after stage 4:
Annie told she had some problems with the engine start and her motorbike stopped. She asked a couple of drivers to help her, but they were also extremely tired. She lost more than one hour because of this technical problem, although she was riding very well – she said. “I will never gain back this hour” she said…
Annie also explained me how dangerous it is to overtake in the sand. Every time by overtaking, motorbike drivers put their life at stake. It’ s a real challenge.
I arrived in the bivouac of Neuquen, and still have no information about the race and on how Annie is doing. Fingers crossed this stage has no unexpected surprises for her.
“The big delay on this stage was because I helped a crashed biker (he then must quit the rally). Before this I was ranked 35. Probably I’ll get back the lost time.”
/ Note by Sis Eila
I met Annie this afternoon immediately after she arrived to the bivouac. Her position after SS1 was no.41. She said she wasn’t very happy with herself. She mentioned she did too many mistakes. Many People cheering, many 90 degrees fast turns. Because she was late this morning at the start, and lost some additional time refueling, she got caught by the dust cloud of the competitors. “Tomorrow is another day” she said. I could see the frustration on her face, but I’m sure tomorrow she will be happier.
A chaotic morning. Short of time on the liasion because of trouble at the fuel station. So I started as 110 instead of 93. I overtook many riders in all the dust. It’ was very dangerous, couldn’t see anything. Many others had accidents.
But I had a good flow and the engine is strong. Several top bikers damaged the tyres, but I had no problems. Though the oil pressure worried me. Luckily I found the reason: a hose was squeezed, so I fixed it.
A very good rally start: finished as 41!
/ Posted by Sis Eila
Everything is always hectic before the start. From the tech scrutineering in le havre my exhaust was to noicy, so i had to order en new silencer from KTM and bring it to Buenos Aires. Befor tech control her I had to pass admin control and get all the stamps in the control bookelt when passing all checks for documents etc. i was all ok until i had to show my racing license… where had i put it. i had it in my racing folder before at home in sweden and now it was gone. track back in my mind… oh no, i forgot it in the scanner at home because i scanned it as back up on to a usb stick, and then forgot the original in the scanner. disaster, because no license = no start! luckily my sister could go to myplace and send it from my computer to my hotmail, and then i could show my mail to the licens controllant…
after this i had to pass the exhaust check. the new silencer was within the new regulation of 96 db and was mounted with an extra “pacifier plug” to make it even more silent. downside on the plug was that the engine felt very tired. so i took the chance of running it without the plug and test if i could pass – and i did. so now i have the right sound and right power!
after this i parked the bike in the “parc ferme” outside in the big “Dakar City” festival area. big crouds of 80.000 meeting and greeting as i passed on the bike.
in the evening i was invited to the KTM pressmeeting with the official factory team, all superstars Cyril Despres, Marc Coma, Jordi Villaoms and Alain Duclos. And me! We answered questions from newspapers and mingled with guests. I felt proud to be invited to this event.
on friday we have the riders briefing at 11, and at 16 the ceremonial start at the podium will take place. Annie
Finally I managed to create a Blog, which I will use on a daily basis for communicating with everyone who is interested in following my adventures in Argentina. Follow me during the race! I just landed in Buenos Aires with Stefano Levi and Tina Meier on the same flight, and am very excited about the next days.