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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Royal Enfield Super Meteor takes on the 5000 Curves

Bob Murdoch and Olive the Super Meteor complete the 5000 Curves.
Bob Murdoch, owner of several Royal Enfields, recently completed the 5000 Curves timed endurance trial on "Olive," his 1959 700cc Royal Enfield Super Meteor.

The 5000 Curves is described by the organizing MCPiston club as "No scores! No official speeches! No sponsor obligations! Sheer riding pleasure! The route is the challenge!"

Limited to 120 motorcycles, it follows "a long, demanding, challenging and feasible route" of approximately 500 kilometers through the Cantabrian Mountains of northern Spain.

Feasible? The club also calls it "daring." And demanding. If you hit a check point before it opens or after it closes, you're out.

Trials legend Sammy Miller, left, welcomed finishers.
"It was a particularly tough 331 miles this year," Bob wrote me, "setting out at 08:15 and finishing in the dark at 08:30 back at the hotel, having got my card marked at the five unmarked checkpoints during their one hour open 'window.'

"Check out www.mc piston.com; you'll see the website of the tiny motorcycle club in the north of Spain that hosts the four-day rally for pre-1980 bikes. Surely one of the best classic bike events in Europe.

"This year was my fifth time and third successful entry in the 5000 'Curvas' that is always on the Friday. A real test of man and machine, man being the generic term, because some ladies revel in the masochism too!

"Toulouse has become the last staging post for our merry group of old bikers each September (two from Toulouse, one from central France, two ride down from northern England and Mike who comes all the way from Copenhagen riding most of the way except for one stage by train) before crossing the Pyrenees into Spain.

The merry band, with Bob and Olive second from right.
"I suppose we must clock over 12,000 miles between us in 10 days. The riding there on old bikes is a real adventure and as exciting as the rally. I usually set the pace with the slowest machine, while the others... usually ride 1970s Triumph Tridents.

"However, next year may be different because I've just treated myself to a Rickman Metisse Interceptor that should thread through those serpentine mountain passes with more ease than the Meriden triples. We'll see.

"After the rally, Olive was ferried back to Portsmouth via Santander, and ridden to Bristol where she now lives, and very much in need of new brake linings and a back tire. I always underestimate how much material those mountain roads scrub off the bike.

Vintage motorcycles take on ancient mountain roads of Spain.
"My family moved back to UK in August. I'm still in Toulouse but will join them in December, when my new job starts back in the Airbus UK site."

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