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Jul
08

6 hours

We left the café on a Sunday evening in August, girls on board, with the intention of making it back to Le Mans in one hit, we had tried this before and failed miserably but what followed was a fast, never to be repeated trip. 
 
As we neared Antwerp on the ring road a V6 Mondeo on UK plates joined us, we up’d the pace to leave him in our mirrors and didn’t bother slowing down.
 
A fuel stop later saw us re enter the autoroute and maintain the earlier speed and so the day continued.  As night falls the speeds do not. 
 
An enforced stop as heavy rain falls, luckily we were at services when it hit.  Taking the opportunity to take food and drink on board, we watched as rain falls and lightening strikes around us, thunder rumbling back and forth, jibbering about the ride so far and anticipating the miles we have left.
 
On one of the legs between fuel stops we averaged a ridiculous speed, running out of fuel on the slip road into the next services showing only 69 miles on the trip since the last fueling, 22mpgs.
 
The darkness welcomes us.  French motorways unlit, tarmac bathed in light from two GSXRs.  Riding centre lane, repeater discs show us the way, in our peripheral vision either side, merging into solid lines at three figure speeds. Think Millennium Falcon leaping into hyperspace.  Punch it Chewie!
 
Lightening fractures the night sky, on occasion riding through stair rods of rain, but showers never last long at these speeds.  Our measured distance apart would find one bike in rain the other dry, is this what the weather man means when he refers to local showers?
 
The passage of the journey consumes us, exhausts howl, wind roars, adrenalin flows, wired, we keep the throttles pinned, The French spec GSXR is almost flat out, mine has more to give but its not needed. Yet.
 
Paris and the Peripherique pass in a blur of concrete, tarmac, tunnels, street and neon lighting.  The big city behind us sees us on our homeward leg, speed increases, anything lower appears to be slow enough to dismount.
 
Cool night air feeds fuel hungry engines, mixed with litres of sans plomb turned into brake horse power and forward motion.  Engines now a few degrees off melting spin beneath us in a whirl of metal and oil, rev counters buried in their upper reaches. 
Is this how the endurance racers feel?  They don’t carry passengers or luggage, there’s no room to tuck down behind the fairing, wind rips, pulls and tugs, leathers and helmets, bodies ache and begin to tire but for once the brain is firmly awake.
 
The toll booths of the peage hove into view, the speed abates.  The last few miles.  Time to be careful.  The air of a summers night gently envelopes us, only minutes before the same air has been trying to separate rider and bike, now it wraps itself around us, welcoming us to familiar ground.
 
The gravel crunches beneath our tyres, we park and switch the engines off.  The silence deafens us.  I expect tiredness to hit immediately but we are so hyped from the miles we raid the fridge for food and beer, eating, drinking and chatting into the very small hours.