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FARO 2004


After last year’s visit, one firm date on my calendar was to return to the Faro Rally in Portugal this year.


A quick blast from Bristol to Plymouth saw us boarding the ferry at around 6.30pm on Sunday evening, 11th July. A few beers in the bar, a good night’s sleep and the new Britanny Ferries Pont Daven had whisked us to Santander in around seventeen hours.

Much better facilities for tying down bikes on the new Pont Daven


I rode down from the port about 180 miles to Tordesillas with my buddy Mark on his ZRX1100 Kawasaki and my mate Paul and his contingent of the Kawasaki Vulcan Riders Association.

First gas stop with VRA


That one ride was enough for me as the rode in formation and the V Max was boiling up behind the lorries on the long mountain roads from the coast, following precariously loaded lorries carrying everything from steel bridge sections to houses. So I peeled off on my own the next day, leaving Mark to take a more relaxed ride with the VRA so that I could attack some of my favourite roads on my own.


Hiding from the midday sun under a Roman arch


Met up with them on the road coming into lake Persperina, outside of Merida. A huge piss up ensued that night with me having to hold my own against the rest. Ended up with a mohican as a result of too much beer and an impromptu head shaving challenge!

Oh f*ck, look what they did to my hair, ma!


Again made my own way across the mountains towards Portugal and arrived at Faro around 5pm on the Wednesday, with some 800 miles of riding under my belt since Santander.

Another 666, our Maxed up pitch and a couple of early arrivals – Maxes everywhere by Friday!


As usual, Faro was warm, dusty, friendly, with great facilities, plentiful and cheap food and beer (half a Euro!)


So many bikes, so many people


Great bands from Thursday night, including Rob D’Ianou (ex Iron Maiden) and Steppenwolf – seeing Born to be Wild and my personal fave, Magic Carpet Ride, performed live by John Kay and the band was fantastic.


The music warms up on Thursday night


Friday I got the V Max out and headed up the bumpy Portuguese motorway, up the coast to Lagos. I’d met a young lady on the boat and again at Tordesillas, and we’d arranged to hook up again further down. Lagos was beautiful with a coastline to match the American Pacific Coast up Highway 101. A great day and a great opportunity to test out the new home built 916 rear end the best way – with a pretty lady on the back!

The beautiful Lagos coastline – wish I’d brought some diving gear!



Back to the Rally again for some very hard partying – renewing old friendships from last year and making new friend from around the world. Great Custom Show, good to see Beano and the rest of the crew from Sportster Motorcycles – cheers for the beer, mate – on me next time.


The custom show was to a very high standard – wish I’d put 666 in, maybe next year!


Even fitted in Eddies Bar before the after show party on the Sunday night.

Eddie’s Bar & Maxtorquer next to Powerslave Eddie – a metal lovers’ dream come true!


This was kicking and I fell into my tent at 5.30am after a night of phenomenal dancing, drinking, eating, three way translating and of course the universal language of the love of biking and the brotherhood and freedom that exists when bikers from all over the world meet up and party.




The ride back was fast and focused, though tinged with that come down feeling from leaving such good times behind. Mark decided to ride with me on the way back as he’d now got his confidence with the Spanish twisties. We blasted the N630 and Autovia back to Merida and the Proserpina Campsite.


Lake Proserpina – view from the bar


Spent the next day couple of days kicking back, swimming in the lake, partying with locals, bar staff and other people we’d met on the way down. The Roman amphitheatre and arena at Merida were absolutely breathtaking – a must see for anyone in Spain, as was Toledo last year.


A selection of photos from Merida – I took dozens – such a cool place and full of interesting features – heck, we even had two nice senoritas following us around (or was it the other way? LOL)

Mosaic at the National Roman Museum of Spain, Merida – nearest thing you could get to a V Max in those times!



The bar, the lights reflecting in the lake – the paradise of Proserpina

Left Proserpina with another deep sigh, but the intention to come back and see Jose, Sergei and all the good people again next year, as well as Peter and Carol’s new campsite 200 clicks further down (will post details when they arrive here - it’ll be biker friendly with crossers, quads and full English brekkie etc)


Mark tucks in to our last supper at Proserpina – and a jug of Mahou cerveza



A 520 mile blast from Merida to Santander saw Mark exhausted by the last gas stop. But fair play to him, we’d been riding at up to 140mph into side and headwinds and lorry blast and had been cornering between 70 and 110 on the N roads, let alone the motorway sections. The Cabo de Mayor campsite at Santander welcomed us in at 8.30pm – tents up, half chicken with chips and salad and a bucket of cerveza to wash it down with.


Back to the UK with a headful of memories and camera full of pictures. It was mercifully dry and warm at Plymouth on Friday 23rd July – home in two hours.


Roll on Faro 2004 next year and the 25th Anniversary in 2006. If you’ve never been, try and go, if you’ve been before, like me, you’ll want to go again.


You had to be there to experience the atmosphere that is Faro – viva Moto ClubE de Faro, muchos gracias, adios until next year amigos.



2nd August 2004


You had to be there to experience the atmosphere that is Faro – viva Moto Club de Faro, muchos gracias, adios until next year amigos.



2nd August 2004