Our road trip to the Italian dirt bike ISDE `86 (part two)

Will we ever get to the Italian ISDE?

After the episode with tISDEhe Swiss customs men and the lack of fuel in the Alps, the next challenge was to try to get some legal diesel fuel and get on our way to the ISDE event as soon as possible; Tempus Fugit.

Back in the eighties, you could get fuel 24/7 in the UK and the European mainland by inserting some paper currency into an automatic dispensing machine fitted beside the pump, but this is 1986 and there were about 3 trillion Italian Lire to the British Pound; now I’m not suggesting for one minute that this has anything to do with anything, but there we were, the two of us wandering round and round this diesel pump at an all night Italian garage, in the middle of the night trying to stuff money into it, but do you think this flippin’ machine would accept its own currency? No way, not without a fight. We tried inserting a ten thousand Lire note into the machine every which way possible but no joy, so we tried another with a different value. Nothing! Grrrr. So we tried the first one again and bingo, fuel at last. Don’t you just hate bloody contrary machines?

The things you do on your way to an ISDE event!

By this time we were both feeling a little tired due to the fact that we had dispensed a lot of nervous energy and had gone without sleep, but we pressed on regardless towards our rendezvous with the others. However, some times the flesh is weaker than the mind, so we thought that since we could see the first rays of dawn peeking through, we would park up and take a break.

We selected a wide grass verge, bumped up over the kerb and parked up. Out with the fold-up deckchairs, the camping gas cooker and boiled some water for a cup of tea (I mean how English is that eh!) We had bought some food back in France, so there we were having breakfast by the side of the road, in Italy with the sun beginning a new day. About this time, the early morning traffic was starting to increase and we were getting some weirISDEd looks from passing truck drivers, hadn’t they ever stopped for a coffee or a Vino? Well yes, they probably had, but it’s highly unlikely that it was on a traffic roundabout at a busy intersection. You see, we were so tired that we were completely disoriented and hadn’t realized exactly where we had parked. It’s little wonder that we were the recipients of some very peculiar looks. In our defence, it was a very big roundabout, so it was an easy mistake to make, although, impartiality might not be my strong point here.

The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful; we arrived at our destination, rested up, and then got on with the task of registering for the event. On reflection, the road trip to this particular dirt bike ISDE was almost as exciting as the event itself.

The ISDE event.

As I mentioned in the first instalment, the race itself was pretty good, I seem to recall that it rained a lot of the time and we all got very wet, but on a brighter note, I broke my own record by:

1) Changing both front and rear tyres

2) Replacing the air filter

3) Dumping the engine oil

4) Lubricating the control cables 

5) Generally checking the bike over, ready for the next days race, all in 10 minutes! and still checked it into parc ferme on time. You gotta be a reasonable mechanic as well as a good dirt bike rider to succeed in the ISDE.

Long Live The Dirt Bike!

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