GTR Rally 2007 "Ride without Limits"

Pictures can be seen here

I couldn't attend all of the 2007 GTR Rally due to a paucity of vacation days but I managed to get there for 3 nights and 2 days. To add to the novelty, this year I wasn't riding a GTR1000, rather my new 1400GTR "Vivian". I left work on the Isle of Dogs, London on Wednesday @ 16:00 and headed down to the Channel Tunnel to catch my train. On this 60 mile stretch I was blasted with pouring rain and a 30Mph side wind and arrived in Folkestone with a soaking wet left side but managed to catch an earlier train than the one I was booked on.

Once in Calais I headed for Brussels and my sisters apartment, arriving @ 21:00 local time. Somewhere between Brugge and Brussels I finished running "Vivian" in and could finally open her up but was too tired and wet to care. After a couple of hours in the tumble dryer all my riding gear was dry again and I had had a couple of beers and was relaxed.

I left my sisters @ 09:00 on Thursday and headed onwards via the E40 and E314 into Germany, where after falling into old habits I took the A4 to Koln and then the A3 towards Frankfurt, even though I had planned to take the E45 south. It's strange the tricks your mind can play on you when you aren't paying attention. :-) I behaved myself on the A3 staying below 120Mph in the unrestricted sections and being a good boy in the restricted sections,.... mostly. <LOL>

At Frankfurt I took the A45 north, then onto the A66 to Fulda and the B roads (B27, B279, & B19) to Mellrichstadt and arriving at the Hotel Sturm ( at 15:00. Nobody was about when I arrived but after I checked in and had a shower people started trickling in from the days ride. It was good to see several "old" faces and to meet a few new faces. The evening was spent catching up and chatting about the new and old GTR's. At this point I would like to say that I can heartily recommend the Hotel Sturm to any riders who are in that area. They are a motorcycle friendly hotel, have bikes artistically arranged here and there inside the hotel, the rooms are good, the food is excellent, there is a pool and a spa and it's not too expensive either.

Bernd, being the genius that he is, had organised a silver 1400GTR loaned by a local Kawasaki dealer for everyone to ride. They took turns and so far as I know there were no fights over whose turn it was. <LOL>

On Friday Bernd and Uli took us on a tour of the "Alkali Mountains" of the region. These are mountains of waste product from several salt mines in the area. What is weird about these mountains is that they are white when dry, but brown when wet. Makes for some very strange scenery. They are also bloody HUGE. The route of the ride I can't comment on as I was busy learning how to handle "Vivian" in the twisties but, apart from the REALLY bumpy road that battered my backside to a pulp, it was a great ride through spectacular scenery and on good, empty and FUN country roads. Uli led my group at a brisk pace and I got to test out the 1400GTR to my limits, but nowhere near the bikes limits. After 15 years on GTR1000's I have a lot of unlearning/relearning to do. Lets just say that she corners, accelerates, and stops way faster that I can cope with,... yet. Give me time though! ;-)

Arriving back at the hotel @ 17:00 we all had a beer and sat around waiting for the "slow" group led by Bernd. Well, ya can't expect him to hustle that K1200LT around like Uli does his ST1300 <LOL>. Yes, both groups were led by non-GTR's and our group was tailed by Axel on his FJR1300. Most of the rest of us were on GTR's though. All arrived back safe although Mika had dropped his GTR during a U-turn and had broken his pannier antler and poor Marja had a bruised ankle that got trapped between the pannier and the ground. Walter worked some of his magic on her ankle and she seemed to recover ok. The drop had happened during the tour and she had stuck with it to the end. Must have hurt though! Daan decided now was a good time to synch his carbs but when he took the tank off, petrol was gushing from the petrol tap. He decided that it could wait until tomorrow, if necessary after the tour. Richard & Renate arrived with their brand new 1400GTR (only 300Km on the clock). I spent the first part of the evening in the hotel basement bolting the 2 pieces of Mika's antler back together again so he could ride with his panniers. The repair lasted well and he got home fine with it intact. He tells me he may just paint the repair black and leave it as it is. The rest of the evening was again spent in good company with excellent food and beer.

On the Saturday I awoke to the sound of the phone ringing. Was I coming on the days tour, organised and led by 2 of the hotel employees. Errr, the tour is leaving NOW and I am still in bed,... I don't think so. :-( After a shower I went downstairs to find that a few people hadn't gone on the tour. Daan was amongst them so we decided to have another go at his tank and carbs. After Anette drove him to borrow a petrol can from a local petrol station we drained some of the petrol from the tank and a miracle happened,.. the petrol tap worked as normal. Must have been some grit caught in the vacuum tap or else the vacuum line was blocked. So, we decided to synch Daan's carbs and then head for a ride somewhere.

After dropping the petrol can back at the garage and a trip to the bank for some money, Daan and I headed east. Our route took us through Nordheim, Wolfmannshausen, Romhild, where we stopped for lunch, then Hildburghausen, Rodach, Heldburg, Gomperthausen, Konigshofen im Grabfeld, Hochheim, Heldungen and back to Mellrichstadt. This was all on mostly deserted country roads and was a fun ride. I think Daan enjoyed it too. He certainly looked like he did :-)

Saturday evening after everyone arrived safely back at the hotel, we had a presentation on the 1400GTR by a local dealer who turned up on his bright green 1400GTR (see pics). I like the lime green (Z750 colour) but I would have left the black bits black rather than use the darker green, but hey, each to their own. It certainly is striking! Bernd made a small presentation about the Irish Tour he went on in 2005 and we all adjourned to the garden for a BBQ and lots of beers.

Sunday and it's time to go home. After many goodbyes I set off the way I came @ 09:15. Had a lot of fun playing with the cars on the B279 but at the end of the A66 I missed the turning for the A45 and ended up taking the A3 back to Koln again. What is it with me and the A3? <LOL> In the section between Frankfurt and Bonn I had a little play with a guy on a ZX12R. we had lots of fun at fairly silly speeds (I peaked at 150mph several times) and just before he peeled off at Bonn, we both stopped for petrol, a short conversation in my awkward German and his halting English, a cigarette each and we were off again. Vivian impressed me with 42Mpg during this high speed run which ain't bad considering that for 3/4 of the tank I spent most of my time over 110Mph. A4, E314, and E40 back to Calais arriving at the Tunnel @ 16:40. Booked onto the 17:50 train but caught the 17:20 one instead and was home for 18:00 much to Ella's surprise as she wasn't expecting me until later.

1400 miles ridden, averaged 45.2Mpg(UK) over the trip and had come to the conclusions that I needed a taller screen, a better saddle, and plenty of time to get used to this VERY capable motorcycle.

My thanks to "RallyMeister" Bernd, to Anette his long suffering partner, and to Uli and everyone else who helped organise and plan this Rally and the tours. My thanks also to the staff of the Hotel Sturm for exceptional service and a great atmosphere. My thanks to Vivian for her outstanding performance during this "getting acquainted ride". I think she's a keeper.

Finally, my thanks to Ella for letting me go on my own (she really just wanted a weekend of peace and quiet <LOL>).
Next year it's Switzerland and Ella is coming too. See you all in Schweiz in 2008!

The Participants;

Hubert Venneker
George (Boomer) Garratt 1400GTR
Reinhard Lenfers & ??? 1400GTR (??)
Ingo Fortmann & ??? 1000GTR
Gie Lambeir 1000GTR
Petra & Raimond Böschen
David Chapman & son Simon GTR1000
Daan Zeydner 1000GTR
Astrid & André Schäfer 1000GTR
Antje Klüs & Uli Norden ST1300
Ria & Hans-Peter Heim 1000GTR
Renate & Richard Reinke 1400GTR
Wolfgang Ziehe 1000GTR
Marja & Mika Pitkänen 1000GTR
Carmen Wetzel & Ralf Holzmann 1000GTR
Dr. Walter Kirchweger 1000GTR
Axel Wittich FJR1300
Marc Kleefstra 1000GTR
Zonnefeld, John 1000GTR
Lars Anebreid 1000GTR
Hans-Ove Görtz 1000GTR
Ad Lambrechts 1000GTR
Sabine und Kurt Mettler 1000GTR
Anette Arrenberg & Bernd Neumann CB600F & K1200LTSE