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The wet road home

Monday 20 October 2003
Path > Magny Cours to Gravesend via Nevers Fontainebleau Paris Calais Folkestone in UK

The hard weekend of work combined nicely with the few celebratory beers at the party last night to leave me wishing for a few more hours in bed. But there was much to be done if I was to make England in daylight tonight.

I spent some time gathering my things and packing the bike. This would be the last time that I would see the lads this year, so I was concerned with finding all of my stuff and making sure that I said the appropriate goodbyes.

Packing the bike was made a little more difficult as it was still sprinkling with the rain that had been with us all night, but I managed to get everything on the bike with the minimum of wetness.

It dawned on me as I packed that the bike had been sitting for a number of days. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I remembered my recent experience in Luxembourg where the bike refused to start.

I knew I would be in trouble as I still hadn't fixed the choke cable, and the battery would be a little low after not charging for a week.

With everything set, I pushed the button, concentrating hard to try and ?catch' it as it almost fired. As I half expected, the bike didn't go, and I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to push start it.

Jason gave me a hand and we pushed the fully laden XJ900 across the paddock at Magny Cours until it fired and coughed into life. I warmed up the engine of the trusty Yamaha before putting the rest of my gear on and saying goodbye to the World Superbike circus for 2003.

The rain was fairly consistent as I made my way north passed Nevers in the direction of Paris, and I realised that I'd left the small but effective, neck warmer that attaches to my jacket back in England...

The rain persisted until Paris, when the traffic of the ring road took my full attention as I battled for space between the cars. Lane splitting is rife in Paris and half of the danger when riding between the cars is looking for other riders approaching from behind at high speed!

I survived without hitting anyone, either two or four wheeled, and meandered north to the Eurotunnel.

It was late afternoon by the time I disembarked in England, and the wind chill was evident as I headed towards the M25 from Folkestone.

It was good to be back in England. I'd spent a good couple of months on the continent and now the end was in sight. I only had to finish some work, clean up and sell the bike and pack before heading home in about a week's time.

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Copyright © Rob Mader 2000, Journal date Monday 20 October 2003