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Participation to the 31st International Piston Rally,
24 - 30 September 2018
Santander, Spain



In 2015 I took part in this rally in Spain. I enjoyed the rally so much, that I thought it would be a good idea to go again in 2018. Thanks to the Dutch Aermacchi, they arrange the transport for the bikes to Spain and back to the Netherlands by truck. This fantastic event is well organised by the many volunteers of "Moto Club Piston". The route of this rally take you through the Picos de Europa mountain area. "The Base of operations" is Hotel Santemar, very close to the beach. From the hotel it takes about an hour by car or motorbike to climb to 1,200m (3.937ft) in the Picos Mountains. BTW: the highest peak of the Picos is the "Torre de Cerredo" with an altitude of 2,650 m (8,694ft). After my flight the hotel was found easily as I remembered from the previous visit in 2015. On arrival I registered with the pleasant and efficient staff of the rally organisation. They gave me a bag with some souvenirs and also the routes and maps.  

Logo Moto Club Piston
Santander.


Participants had to fix this shield on their bikes.



After the first day, we we arrived at Potes, some 150km's southwest of Santander. We were then sent to three different hotels.

Riding on the Piston Rally is relaxed and is not a competition. Riding about 250~300km's a day. You have to follow the map and an orange arrow which will point in the right direction. Sometimes on roundabouts on the 3rd exit.
 

Your webmaster on the 1984 Kanguro.

 

Hotel in Potes.

The route system handed out on paper.

Souvenir.

As soon as you leave town, the landscape changes into an area with hills and trees. Then completely changes again into mountains. So swimming in the Ocean and Alpine skiing within the hour are possible. Also the area is not densly populated. After two days of trips which started in Potes, we all went back to the hotel in Santander. For the rest of the week,  our base for the rest of the week for more breathtaking daytrips. At one point we left a forrest and  had a beautiful view over the Atlantic Ocean, see the picture below.
In the Picos de Europa, you can find black bears, catamounts and other rare mammals. In the Winter it is possible to ski. Unfortunately, the 2nd day the cable of the speedo broke. As I need an extra long long cable, it was not possible to find a replacement. That made it almost impossible to navigate  the Spanish roads with the route map given,  I could not now add up the distance to the next indicator . Fortunately this was the only technical problem during the week. The bike went well and I really enjoyed the week. See the photo's in the album below.

 

Moto Club Piston de Santander.


View of the Atlantic Oceaan.

My TomTom Rider 410 helped me to record the tracks we rode. It did not help with navigation, as it does not show the covered distance.

 

With this truck our bikes were brought from Amsterdam to Santander. Fortunately, they were also brought back ;-)

Track of September 27. In total we covered 304 km's. Max. altitude that day: 1,251m.

 
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Remark: click on the pictures for large format.

Pictures above were made by photographers of Moto Club Pistón!! Fantastic!!

On the first day, this Vespa did not run like it should. After some testing it turned out a partly stripped electric cable (next to a mass cable) was the cause. Quick repair!

First day ended in the villeage of Potes. It would be our base for the next 2 days.

This is the parking of one of the other hotels in Potes. Not much later we left as one big group.

Departure from Potes on road N-621. This road finds it's way through a kind of canyon.

Ariel 'bomber', ex-RAF, 1943.

Our first lunchstop along the road.

Brave A.J.S. from the '20s.

Moto Morini 500cc.

My bike parked between some good company!

 

 

 

We stopped to enjoy the view.

'Rocks' of the Picos de Europa.

Very nice machine, a British Sunbeam.

The 2nd Sunbeam. The flag on the bike shows all countries where theyt speak Gaelic.

Long and winding roads.

Rare Norton Wankel from app. 1985.

Moto Morini 3˝ Touring.

Nice Gilera Saturno.

Another stop.

We had a cup of 'Americano' coffee on a terrace and soon others followed.

All sorts of local bikes rode by.

Others from the rally stopping for coffee.


My Moto Morini Kanguro (1984) in it's element.

Below some more impressions of the excellent rides through the mountains. Few times we had to make climbs of 20%. Also many hairpins, both up and down on our routes. Tarmac was mostly good, sometimes reasonable. The worst piece of road run between farms: concrete with a kind of 'strips' in the concrete. Parts of this road up went up or down upto 20%.

Perfect views.

Great roads.

The red-white poles are for the "snowploughs" in the Winter.

These pictures should convince any rider why riding in the Picos is great.

 

 

 

 

From time to time, other participants passed by.



Great downhill road!


After fantastic riding during the day, there was time in the evening to have a closer look at the bikes of other riders. This is only a selection, as many parked their bikes in the parking of the hotel.

 

 

Suzuki GT750 3-cilinder 750cc 2-stroke. In
Gr. Brittan it was nicknamed "waterboiler" because of it's watercooling.

 

 

Produced in Spain: Bultaco.

Nice build: Triumph caferacer.

Rob working on his Vespa.

 

 

Ariel Square Four.

Sanglas, another Spanish brand.

 

 

Vincent.

Cockpit of the Vincent (lhs modern connector for a TomTom Rider).

Great atmosphere outside the hotel.

An old Scott from the 30s: 2-stroke and watercooled.

Ossa: Spanish brand.

 

 

Pim's Vespa ready for the next ride.

Montesa: Spanish brand.

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