It put into context 2010, my first season, where I now realise I was lucky and blessed with good weather and good tracks to provoke my enthusiasm and interest in the sport. Had the Three Counties event come early last season, I may have though differently.
Don’t get me wrong, for good riders the conditions were great fun. For lesser mortals, slowing down and going offline meant simply a grinding hold as the bike was gripped in a clay like mud that encased everything.
As the girls were keen to camp, we’d headed over on Saturday night and parked up in the middle of the field. After erecting the gazebo and two tents, headed across to the excellent bar and (free!) hog roast for a chat and a beer. Crashed relatively early in the van and only to be woken by the forecast rain about 6am.
By the time Alan and Mark arrive around 8am, it had already begun to make the ground a bit soggy and the mud had start to cling to your boots. The gazebo has already paid for itself this season and breakfast on the barbeque was soon underway. Kevin arrive around 9am and the mud was beginning to manifest itself across the pits.
As the rain continued to fall, practice didn’t start at 9.30 and eventually a few keen souls made their way down through mud and rain to the start. The MX250 clutch wasn’t having any of it though and protested a lot on the start, dragging was a mild term. One the track itself, the bike didn’t really want to rev out (again the clutch) and the going could only be described as ‘heavy’. Went down on the SC500 later and forgot to turn on the fuel, so it wouldn’t restart (as normal) so managed to get it across the track and find some fuel to prime it with.
Still raining and the mud build up continued. The first pre75 250 race had 8 starters (from 19 on the programme) and like the other races soon came down to be a war of attrition, with mud/clay plaster bikes littered around the track with knackered riders. The good guys made it look good, really good and managed to slide and thread their way round the track without a problem.
The sidecar race was an eye opener, with the race lasting 7-10 minutes or so and the clear up taking 20 minutes or more. I then fired up the 500 for the 1st race and after completing 2 (not quick) laps the bike was getting heavier and heavier and finally it became too much. Pulled over, spent 15 minutes pulling off the mud and then headed downhill and then up a side road back to the pits. Total nightmare and decided then that would be that.
Watched Kevin and Mark in the Twinshock race and Wayde led for the first two laps until a puncture ruined his race. Getting traction and grip was getting harder as the rain continued to fall. Bank Holiday weather at its best ! They both decided to also call it a day.
Took down camp and managed to spread mud through the van, over the tents and liberally coat the kids. Managed to blast the van out of the pits, which now had a number of abandon cars and caravans to add to the feeling of the destination.
The trip home took 30 minutes or so and then out comes the sun. Took 2 hours to clean the bikes and pressure wash the kids, along with clothes, tents, BBQ and anything that was at Whitings Ash Farm.
Had a look at the MX250 later in the evening and the clutch was indeed locked solid. Need to debate the merits and thoughts about travelling to Border in two weeks or waiting for Narberth. Unfortunately, work will be getting in the way !