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06.07.17 – Race Day 4 – Fiuggi to San Giovanni Rotondo ~ 345km/215miles.

A later start today for the support team, leaving after all the motorbikes. We were told during dinner the previous evening that the start would be delayed by half an hour due to a ladies bicycle race. This news was greeted with a round of applause and was immediately nicknamed ‘The Girls in Lycra’!

We waved off Jan-Willem (8:50) Bjorn and John (9:20) before setting off with the vans. Again the route went through the most amazing landscapes and through numerous hairpins up and down hills, through villages with narrow streets perched on top of hills. We just had to stop to take photos along the way.

We are following red arrows automatically now. Today’s route – 345km – went from Fiuggi to San Giovanni Rotondo, the bikes starting from 8:30 onwards and arriving at the hotel around 18:45. Due to our later start we passed the first stop and continued to drive to the 2nd stop, Sessano del Molise. At this point we received a phone call to say that Jack had broken down on the Ducati. However, it appeared that Jack’s bike started again as we could not find him along the route. At Sessano the road had split into two: left for bikes and right for other vehicles. We obviously missed this stop, as Jack phoned us from there whilst we were 48 miles ahead.

We grabbed a quick sandwich and drink in the shaded garden of an inviting bar we happened to have stopped close by to and decided to split up. Clive was to return to pick up Jack, load the bike in the van and then go straight to the hotel at the next overnight stop. I would continue to follow the route in case of further trouble. A quick lunch break at the Kelso stop, where I caught up with Bjorn and John. Amazing pasta and very welcome cold drinks on offer. Just passing Castelnuovo John broke down on his Gilera Saturno with a suspected blown head gasket and was loaded into the van. We set off at warp speed to San Giovanni Rotondo.

Again a good hotel, motorbikes and vans parked in the garage. John’s Saturno was off-loaded and several phone calls later, there was hope that it could be fixed tomorrow. In the meantime Bjorn arrived having had a little spill at low speed: fortunately nothing seriously damaged, only a foot peg and his pride. After cleaning and greasing Jan-Willem’s Settebello’s chain we went up for dinner and met very nice Japanese and German table companions. Dinner was accompanied by a live opera singer!

Cyrille Labeij.

Footnote: Les has arrived back in the UK. Unable to participate in the MIlano Taranto due to a knee injury.