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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > Issue 334 > BATTLEFIELD TOUR


Last year we zipped down to St Nazairefor part oneofour Battlefield tour, and exactlyone year later we were back again forsomemoreaction


Weloved ourtripdownto St Nazairein2016, to the site of what’sconsidered the greatest everraid duringthe SecondWorldWar,soplanned another visit, this time to Normandy,following thebattle trail all the way to the Ardennesand into Belgium, with aday outright at the end.That wasthe plan, but like alot of battle plans, things didn’tquiteturn out as we expected!

Myself andfourwizard chums would zap between famousbattle zones in Normandy on cracking roads, but we’d also be givingour verdicts on thebikes we were riding, and how suitable they aretothis sportstouring lark.And alsotoshow, once again, howone canventure notfar at all from those white cliffsfor some crackingbiking action.

Drafted for duty wasMrJonny Gawler astride aDucati Multistrada S, Gary of Bridgestone’shireonAprilia’s epic Tu ono Fa ctory 1100, Chris Moss on KTM’s rathersplendid 1290 Super AdventureS,StuartfromMotoDirect dealing with Kawasaki’s bombastic H2 (his face!) and moi on the most perfect bikefor the job,BMW’sS1000 RR.

The initial planwas to meetupat FB’s Tr owvegas HQ, yomp downto Portsmouthtocatch one of Brittany Ferries’ finest destroyers, sorry, ferries, enjoyinganight of food, drinksand banter. Rising suitably early at abrisk 6am we’d then make our way to the first venue, St Mere Eglise,and hop from onebattle site to theotheratour leisure, taking in theodd museum, and riding likeidiots in between.

The only fly in theointment, initially,was the weather.Last year wasbaking, but nowwewerehuddled in HQ’sgaragedoorway –itwas pissing down! The mood wasgood, if soggy,yet Stuart’s look of sheer terror at riding an H2 for thefirsttime(in the wet!)cheered us right up. He’d be fine, the H2’sapussycat, until prodded…

Already though,the chat wasabout whose bikewas best for the job and there were manyopinionsfloated. Of course, Ialready knewwhich wasbest –the BMW, not onlybecause it has barely anydrawbacks, but it’sthe very best superbikefor crunching miles on. Plus, I’dadded alittlesurprise for our last daythat would surely cement this fact–cue nefariousevil chuckling!

We waited tillthe very last moment untilheading for the ferry,but were left no choice buttotog up. First impressionsofthe BMW,afewmiles in, wassheer perfection. Zipping along at aheady but solid pace,zeGerman wasmerely purring while darkness fell, and Irode along with an impenetrable shadowinfront of me created by all the headlights to my rear.Infact, wheneverIlooked in the mirrorIwas blinded by one bike’s stupendously brightbulbs, and Ireckoned it wasthe Multistrada. That’d be whysomany carsflashed us as we progressed!

Aquick stop to fuel up body and bikes,and 10 minutes later we were waiting with aclutch of other bikers queuingtoboard theferry. Nottoo long after we were in thebar,karaoke (sadly)being bleatedout from some poorinebriated soul, while we chewed the fatand looked forward to what was to come.Because, whenever youthink about theSecondWorld War(or any warfor that matter), as in really think about it, yourealisethe very thought of havingtodropyour life at the front doorand go fightis, to the average humantoday, almost unimaginable.

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About Fast Bikes

In this month's issue of Fast Bikes... - New Models for the new season, 2018 starts here! - 7 Naked middleweights shoot-out - Triumph Street Triple RS - Ducati Monster 821 - Suzuki GSX-S750 - Kawasaki Z900 - Yamaha MT-07 - KTM 690 Duke - WK 650NK - Blow & go 492BHP Turbo Gixer vs Kawasaki H2 plus: - KTM 950SM, Know your aid filters, turbos versus superchargers, TT treat: WK's Lightweight 650 , Battlefield Blitzing