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Motorway Madness

My main motorcycle and method of transport these days is my Aprilia RST 1000 Futura. It’s an amazingly comfortable bike to ride. My only complaint is that at 256KG it is a bit heavy, I am embarrassed to admit I have dropped it a couple of times at low speed because of this.

However, this latest incident was a first for me. I was travelling to Oulton Park for a weekends racing with Apex Evolution Racing the University race team. It was a long enough run at 202 miles door to door. Just past junction 24 on the M4 disaster struck I was traveling in the outside lane (at 70MPH of course) when a strange ticking sound started. Fortunately I backed off a little trying to identify the sound when seconds later BANG! Engine died and no drive my chain had snapped I indicated and was able to glide to the inside lane aiming for the hard shoulder, hang on the hard shoulder ends in 30 odd feet so I slam on the brakes and slide to a halt on the chevrons of the hard shoulder with about 5 feet to spare.

I have never broken down on the motorway it is not a pleasant experience. First thing I noticed was the noise, I decided to keep my earplugs in and the wind when a lorry goes past is unsettling. So I parked the bike as close to the kerb as possible and stepped behind the barrier, time to call the AA. This is the second time I had to call the AA in the last couple of months and I really can’t fault these guys at all. The van arrived quickly with a collapsible trailer and I was able to find a local bike shop that would still be open and had the chain I needed.

AA Van

Made it to CMC Motorcycle Cardiff with about 2 minutes to spare before they closed at 6pm. At 6.30 as the staff were heading home Steve the mechanic stopped in case the bike had to go into the workshop. Once I explained the problem he offered to help 5 minutes later Mario the other mechanic did the same. To complicate matters when my chain snapped it had jammed round the front sprocket so these two guys stayed for an hour after a full day’s work and got the old chain off and the new one fitted. They wouldn’t take a cent of me for all the help they got me back on the road with the comment well if I was stuck I hope someone stops and helps me. Was fantastic to see the true biker spirit alive and well so Steve and Mario thank you again, and thanks Phil and Steve for supervising.

Fixing the Futura

Once the chain was fitted I put the fairings back on and did a quick test ride round the car park to make sure there was no serious damage. The chain and wrecked the chain guard and broken some of the engine casing fortunately not terminally. I headed back out on the road just before 8pm, finally arriving at Oulton park at 11.45. A journey that should have taken just under 4 hours ended up taking almost 8. But the bike ran great from then on and I made it back to Swansea safe and sound after a great weekends racing, but that’s a story for another post.


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