Taking the Bull by the horns
Next month, S'pore's Team Braap Brothers will be in Romania for the gruelling, five-day Red Bull Romaniacs. Biker Boy catches up with them
Has reality sunk in that it's almost race day?
Ben: Yes. And there's nothing better than a bit of fear to motivate us.
What's training been like in the last three months?
Peter: We have moved away from the technical stuff and are trying to get longer rides in. My strengths are my technical skills and bike set-up. My biggest weakness is endurance over multiple days. I can ride three days solid and feel okay, but I start making stupid mistakes due to fatigue.
Muhammad: I make sure that the sponsorship, media, branding and logistics are taken care of. On race day, I would play mother and make sure the guys get their team support... I just want them to focus on the racing.
The team has participated in enduro races in Malaysia. How does this help you?
Ben: We learn to ride within our limits and not blow up after starting too fast. I just keep reminding myself about the story of the tortoise and hare. Peter: It's hard to replicate the intensity of racing by just practising. So taking part in actual races is the only way to get close to the intensity that will be felt in Romania. Training has gone well, and I have lost nearly 7kg. I would like to shed a few more kilos before the race.
The team has switched dirt bikes from KTMs to Husqvarnas. Have you got used to the new Husqvarna 350FE?
Peter: I am still working with our suspension guru, Michael Tan of Fluid Mechanics, to find a set-up on the Husky forks that suit me. Ben: The front end with the WP forks has been the focus of many conversations after a few too many moments and one or two decent offs. I like the bike noisy and loose - the FMF pipe has put a big smile on my face.
What will the team be lugging to Romania?
Ben: We may need a small troop to help us with luggage, forks, shocks, exhausts, radiator guards, lever protection, bash plates, exhaust guards, grab straps, two or three sets of riding kit, nutrition and a blender for the EPN morning shakes, medical kit, safety kit. This is going to be a mission.
Looking back, what would you have done differently?
Peter: I guess there were days I could have trained harder, done a few more reps, or another lap on the track. But at the same time, I am not injured and am getting in better shape. So who knows? Probably a few less beers overall would not have hurt.
- Mr Ben Crookenden, 36, Briton, insurance broker
- Mr Muhammad Alkhatib, 39, Singaporean, owner of a digital firm
- Mr Peter Grinsted, 40, Australian and Singapore PR, energy sector loss adjuster