Globe-riding record breaker Nick Sanders has reached Singapore in his epic rush to claim the record for fastest land circumnavigation of Earth. But it hasn't been easy going for the Yamaha R1 rider.
He was delayed by torrential rain over the Carpathian Mountains, had a frustrating six-day wait for his bike at Mumbai customs and a harrowing ride across India. His quick dash from Bangkok to Singapore means he has now finished three of the seven stages of his journey around the world. We wonder if he registered for MCN's summer mileage competition (see link, right)?
He is now setting off on stage four - from Perth, Australia.
The first three stages covered 5533 miles in 162 hours - so he is 800 miles behind his 1000 mile a day target. With the toughest part of the challenge - India, now behind him, he remains confident he can make up lost time and reclaim his record.
The first stage of Nick's adventure began on May 22 with a ceremonial send off at the BMF - at which he was joined by MCN's James Tindall.
Tindall rode with Sanders for much of the first European leg of his journey - and reports of how tough that was have appeared in our weekly paper; MCN.
The clock started in Calais, from where Sanders travelled to Paris, down to Lyon, Monaco, towards Geneva and then up to Regensburg and on to Prague. From Prague his route took him to Bratislava, Budapest and then across Romania and Bulgaria before reaching Istanbul. In three days and five hours, Nick had travelled almost 3000 miles across Europe!
This first stage of the adventure went relatively well, despite the sleepless nights, torrential rain storms in Romania and a very close near-miss, when a bus overtook him and he missed an oncoming truck by inches. But the second stage through India from Mumbai to Calcutta was even more challenging.
After a frustrating six and a half day hold up in Mumbai as he waited for his bike to get through customs, Nick knew stage two was going to be tough. “Any journey across India is amongst the hardest in the world and is undoubtedly dangerous. In my experience riding a bike here is the most dangerous motoring activity in the world.”
With the temperature in India at around 45°C during the day and one night only dropping to 31.5°C, Nick suffered severe dehydration and sun stroke before heading north up to Calcutta on, as he describes it, “the worst road in India”. With an average riding speed of around 17-23 mph he pressed ahead, riding through the night trying to make up precious time.
After reaching Calcutta Nick quickly got his bike into customs and took a flight to Bangkok before setting off on stage three of his journey to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur. Nick was looking forward to this stage because of Malaysia's good roads and he finished this 1200 mile ride in exactly 24 hours.
Having already made up 200 miles, to reduce the burden of time already lost on stage two, Nick said “I knew India was going to be bad, and I had factored it in. I am confident I can make up for lost time in the next few stages and get the record."
At the time of this dispatch Nick was due to take his flight to Perth for the fourth stage of his journey, which will take him from Perth to Darwin, down to Adelaide via Alice Springs and further east to Sydney. By the end of stage four, Nick will have totalled almost 11,000 miles.
To follow Nick's progress and read his diary entries from the trip, visit his website www.motochallenge.com