I’d entered, unentered, but found myself loading the TT500 in to the back of Kevin’s van at 07h30 after having only arrived back in Bwlch at 02h00. At least I wasn’t driving, but appreciated the lift down to Narberth.
Advertised as the ‘Easy One’ it was billed at a 3.5 mile lap of West Atherton farm, around the scramble track and out through the forestry. Most of the entry was modern bikes, and also needed day licenses, but with around 60-70 entries it was a healthy line up.
The plan was for 1 hour in one direction, a break for 30 minutes and then another hour in the opposite direction. I’d decided to ride the TT500, after Graham had put it through it’s paces at Teifiside the previous week; hopefully a steady pace and no need for refueling would prove the best tactic on a longer course.
They started the bikes off in order of fastest (supposedly) first, with the modern enduro bikes, followed by the trail bikes and then us (all 6) in the twinshock class, and finally the pre-70’s. There were a few quads and a couple of side cars and 3 pit bikes mixed up in that.
Kevin got the Honda off the line first and led round the scrambles track, before dropping it as the course veered off left though a nadgery wood section. TT500 going well and manage to pass the first of the trail bikes on a slippery section after a wooden bridge. Some rain just before the start had made the course interesting (ie greasy) and the there was an advantage to having a bike that was relatively low, good traction (four stroke!) and not too heavy. The TT500 met 2 of the 3 criteria. Round though the woodland and to the half-way check point and then through the quarry, and through a muddy hole in a wood, which was sucking in it’s first victim of the day.
Mark on the Cappra was right behind me for the whole lap and got past prior to the end-of-lap checkpoint as the track opened up for a really quick section. Decided to keep the pace steady and not plan to drop the bike anywhere. Three laps in and I was knackered, but managed to keep going, thinking must be about 30 minutes in. Fourth lap round and saw Mark in the pits refueling, so decided to press on without checking the TT500, which was I hoping had four-stroke economy as well. Getting the hang of the TT500 by now and unlike the SC500 you could really power the back end round in corners and lean it grass-track style; a good confidence builder.
In the end managed 6 laps, and kept Mark behind me, and only a couple of modern bikes and a real lunatic (ie very rapid) on a quad had come past. Time for a break and my forearms and fingers were feeling it. Kevin’s Honda had died, so he’d managed to get out on the Husky for a few laps.
The 30 minute break was nearer 60 minutes, and enough time to get some mud of the bike, grab a cup of tea and take a breather. The guy who’d turned up on a KTM 950 Adventure (yes really) had struggled a bit on the way round, but I think had completed a lap, which was very impressive to be honest. Not the right bike really, more XR200 country.
Kevin had a blistering start in race 2 and Mark also got in front. Played the same tactics, keep it on the track and nice and steady. Not to plan I ended up in a hedge along a particularly sticky bit facing the wrong way. On the second lap, down a fast straight noticed a guy in the bushes and the paramedic coming down the track on the back of a Bodfish quad. Race stopped so headed back to the start (where I surprisingly ended up in front of Mark ?). Badly broken leg, so we hung around for 30 minutes or so whilst he was evacuated and then with 45 minutes remaining, started everyone off at 10 second intervals.
All good, until we got the muddy hole in the woods, where a sidecar was stuck; I decided to take a dive round through the woods but stalled it on the exit, only to then find myself with Mark standing on the horizontal TT kickstarting the Cappra. Total mayhem with 20 bikes scrabbling for position. Lost out here, and that Mark had refueled during the break meant I didn’t really stand a chance of catching.
Meanwhile Kevin was flying, but he also came upstuck in the bomb-hole only to find his kickstart had gone missing and had to find someone to help him bumpstart the Huskie. Without this, Kevin’s pace would have meant he could have probably managed another lap.
In the end, a great event, with I think I managed a total of 6+6 laps, in 1 and 3 place, whilst Mark managed 6+6 with 2 and 2 place and Kevin managed 4+6 and 4 and 1 place. The other twinshock challengers seemed to have disappeared or broken down.
In terms of value for money, an excellent event and great practice for the motocross; 2 hours of riding time and a really good laugh. Think we might be seeing some more of these.