“I don’t want to dance, I want a shag”

After a couple of weeks (more like lifetime) of kitchen DIY time to fire up the bike and have a crack at my second classic scrambles meet. Picked up Mark in Tredegar early Saturday evening and set off for a pleasant evening drive down to Cardigan and the venue for the Teifiside Classic Scramble at Pantgwyn Farm near Llechryd.

Walking the track....

As is normal, manage to pack everything, including the kitchen sink into the van and we dragged out my 18-year old Black’s tent for its first unraveling for a few years and surprisingly it assembled fine. A quick cup of tea provided by Lee and his camper van saw us stuff the sleeping bags in the tent and retire to the pub. All was well with the world.

Having worked in Lampeter for a couple of years, I’d have a liking for the mid / west Wales pub; a certain 1970’s patina, usually one decent ale (in this case Sharpes Doombar from Rock in Cornwall) and a bar full of characters.

This pub was no different and it seems we were late starters as some of the entrants for tomorrows racing were through dinner and had already completed a few laps of the beer.

490 Maico

The night wore on, heading surely towards the lock-in and the weekly sparing between the local farmers and local beauties kick-off with added ingredient of some pissed-up visitors. On comes the jukebox with the country and western standards and dancing commenced. Though willing, it seemed that the ladies (well one of them) wanted to take things a bit further with one of the guys from North Wales. Luckily for him, he had no recollection of events as he’d passed through the beer goggle phase, into one of beer blindness.

After the practice session...

Like all good pubs, the jukebox contained some fine tunes, though this one was exceptional with available tunes from Rainbow, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Uriah Heep and (uniquely) Caravan. Bizarre.

Staggered out of the bar sometime around 1am, and then for a can by a camp fire before helping a lost soul back to his tent after he’d spent a fruitless hour searching for it.

Twinshocks on the start line

The crash-out that followed was interrupted about 5am by water. Both the stuff falling outside and crashing into the tent (and through it on my side) and the enormous reserves I’d managed to store in my bowels.

Still raining at 8am, but after some more dozing in a puddle (with Mark having chosen wisely and taken the drier uphill side of the tent) got up and fried up breakfast of eggs and bacon. The emerging North Walian from the neighbouring tent and car looked a lot worse than I felt so apart from the continued rain, all was right with the world.

Bulking up....

A walk off the track revealed something different from my previous (and only) other track I’d been to at Clyro a few weeks ago. Some mud, tighter, objects to hit and some man made jumps. Hmm, jumps..

Sluggish start...

Another cup tea and time to wheel the beast from the lair (van) and then after some initial announcements from the compere for the day, it was out ready for practice.

It was fast, well more accurately everything going past me was fast. A lot of grass on top meant that it was really slippery and Mark commented later that the back was stepping out on the Yamaha with some amount of flair.

Came in after three laps with a mudsplattered look and then went back out for another 5 laps of confidence sapping practice as couldn’t get the jumps right. Standing up on the Yamaha didn’t seem to be too straightforward and this track seemed to demand it.

Finding out the race order took a bit of doing, with the pre-74 over 250’s out first (all 3 of them), and it seems that the up to 250 were race 4.

Stopped raining by now, and a quick scan up-and-down the start line revealed 6 other bikes, all looking a lot quicker than me. The starting procedure was a bit vague (no board) just a quick release after a vague waving of a red flag.

And off we go….managing to avoid the fallen rider (who overtook me on the second lap). Wasn’t really in the groove, though the bike was performing a lot better after the buggering around with the carb that I’d been doing over the last couple of days.. As for the rider, he wasn’t performance, so came in 7th, well behind 6th.

The last jump on the lamp

The Twinshock race had the biggest entry of the day and a fairly lively start. Mark had a good battle with a guy on a CZ and avoided coming last by a mile, excellent stuff. Wayde on the Maico hit the pits after finding his brake lever on the wrong side of the bars.

Shed build...maybe

The second and third races were a lot better and in the 3rd got a good start and got in front of my target competitor on a Bultaco Alpina. I was very much holding him up, but it made it much more interesting (more like a race)

Twinshock startline

Wayde on the Maico was having a mixed day, and after the pit for the brake lever, pushing on in race 2 saw his bars move round in the the clamps after landing after one of the bigger jumps; he finished but not as well as he hoped. All went pear shaped in race 3, with the engine giving up and post race investigation revealed the stud between crankcase and barrel had sheared, leaving a 5mm gap where there should only be base gasket. Ouch

Death of a Maico

For the Grand Slam race, Wayde went out on a YZ465 and blitzed the track, leaving me (and lots of mud) in his wake. The race was pretty hectic and didn’t really manage to stay on the pace at all after another poor start.

By now, the rain (and drinking) of the previous night had passed, to reveal clear blue skies and clear heads. With some reluctance, cleared up the bikes and headed back towards Tredegar. The final excitement (and my only overtake) of the day was went we passed Rob Griffiths ocean liner of a camper van on the way into Newcastle Emlyn.

The results and lots more pictures on the Classic Motocross Wales website.

Last years event, good report and interviews (mostly in Welsh)

Not-very-Scottish Six Day Kitchen

So rather than restoring two wheels, I looked to tackle the kitchen and bring it from 1978 to 2010 (strange, with bikes I would have kept it 1978)

Day 1 : electrics pulled through

After over 13 years in the house, and following on from the bathroom upgrade in March, the kitchen was next on the target list. Based on my father’s successful install of Wickes kitchen, we went to the same supplier. The design was good as was the quality of the units, the only problem was the delivery time and the price of the appliances. The appliances were therefore the (surprisingly in existence) Boots Kitchen Appliances web site with over £500 of savings [[Enough to fund the start of the next bike project]].

The main issue was the cost of fitting. Even without the plumbing and electrics this came in at over £1500, so the savings if I did the work myself could be directed towards the shed (?)

Day2 end: plumbing in

Electrics needed moving around and so day 1 was spent with the brother-in-law pulling through new cables and cutting new traces. Finished the day by plastering over them, with all the wires and boxes in place. Trashed most of the old kitchen, leaving the plumbing and sink in place ready for day 2.

Day 2 was plumbing day, and took the decision to start anew, having decided to plumb in the washing machine outside of the kitchen and put it under the stairs. Also decided to solder, using compressions just to connect to the existing pipework. Had the usual fun with waste pipe and the assortment of 32mm and 40mm waste. In hindsight, should have gone for Osma solvent weld rather than compression waste, as it takes up less space. There wasn’t a lot of space behind where the fridge/freezer was planned to go and also behind the dishwasher.

Day 3: units going in

Day 3 and started by dissembling the already built corner units so as I could get them in the kitchen. Reassembled them both and got them as square as possible before then tackling the tricky task of getting the wall units to stay on the walls. The walls of the house are like rubble in places, but some really good fixings acquired from B&Q did the trick. Drill small holes (7mm) and whack in thicker (10mm) rawl plugs with the 10mm screws. All of them (around 20) went tight and seemed solid, but still used some Gripfill to make sure they would stay there.

Did some more base units, leaving the puzzle of the fridge/freezer unit to later.

Tuesday wasn’t a kitchen day, as took time off to go to work (and rest)

Day 4 : more unit building

Day 4 saw my father come down to help and after a morning shopping trip to get tiles and flooring, it was full steam ahead prepping units prior to the worktop install scheduled for the following day. Fridge/Freezer cabinet built (only to be rebuilt later once I’d found the correct decor end panel. Struggled a bit to get the wine rack built also, and there was probably a better end result than the one I achieved.,

Day 5 : worktops and gas

Day 5 (its getting hazy now) was the day of the paid-for assistance, to cut the worktops and to install the new gas hob in the worktop. Some pressure based on the schedule adopted by the gas fitters (11h00 is late afternoon in Herefordshire). Some good work by the guys from Hereford Kitchen Fitters saw the beech worktops cut and install by 16h00, with a function gas hob. Less room for me to work, but managed to get some doors fitted.

Also started on the tiling, ready for Paul to come back and install the socket covers. Adhesive on wall rather on tile is easiest, though plenty of bumps on the wall required the splurge method.

Day 5.8: appliances and tiling

Day 6 saw the appliances installed and more work on the units. Getting the dishwasher installed was 3 hours of pain and had to move the waste back behind the neighbouring unit to make space. The Fridge-Freezer cabinet was modified once I’d located the (not small) tongue-and-groove deco end panel. Couldn’t attach it directly on the outside, of the built cabinet as not enough spare to squeeze in the waste down the side

Day 6.5 : 99% there

Finished the tiling, got the electrics finished off and then ready for grouting (grouting trowel makes this very easy) and also putting down the laminate floor. Also installed the plinths with the final niggle cutting it down under the dishwasher to allow the door to open…

Lots of satisfaction in completing and though I can’t go and ride it in a trial or scramble, I can at least make dinner when I get back. I am worried that I may be now addicted to DIY, especially with the recent bathroom project as well….