Narberth : The Gentle One 1st June 2014

With Paul driving, Mark and I as passengers, left Bwlch nice and early and headed down the A40 to Narberth, or more accurately Cresswell Barn Farm. The lap was 2.7 miles. slightly shorter than planned, but to minimise damage to the fields. Signing on was meant to close at 10.00, but continued to around 11.00 whilst the youth race was going on.

Mark had failed to get his PE175 running correctly and had entered on the Cappra, which though quick, was a bit on the tall side. Paul had his 250 Gori Enduro running after blowing it up at the Border meeting a couple of weeks before . Who says you can’t get spares for exotic bikes ?

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A few more people had signed up for the event this time around and word was spreading at what a good event this is after the first one last year -> 277]. The Narberth Club had done a lot to improve the organisation and it was well done. Signing on was easy and the start layout was pretty good. Plenty of marshalls round the track and information was all good.

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I’d left my bumbag with spare plugs etc in the garage in Bwlch, so managed to scrounge a spanner and spare plug from Paul. I needed it on the first lap, as the leaking valve stem seals meant the plug was oiling up. Quick change and managed three laps, before a coming off when someone fell over in front on me, whilst going over a root section. Youtube has this in all it’s glory. Actually filming the second leg would have been better. A lot more going on !.

Trevor Hammond was watching, having come off at the same place on the first lap as I went down. Quick discussion with Trevor and Tim Bodfish, before rigging the lever and completing the lap. Managed to scrounge another lever from Berian (thanks very much), but then it wouldn’t start and no spark.

Investigations continued during the lunch break, after Paul returned on the Gori after successfully running it in and Mark completed a few laps, despite some interesting offs , including one on the high-speed slippery grass sections.

Managed to find three plugs that worked, so then with the bike back together went out for the afternoon 75 minute session. Good first couple of laps, and then Mark got past me on the tight bit before the finish, but I managed to overtake him back on the bottleneck that had formed around the very wet and muddy river crossing. More extreme than gentle this bit, but worth a laugh. Turning into a bit of an epic spot, and Tim and the marshals did a good job in controlling the traffic and getting people through. What you noticed was a reluctance of some people, including those on modern bikes to get in there and get through. It wasn’t magically going to get better !

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The exhaust flange fell off the TT on around the 4th lap, so spitting flames from the front cylinder, managed to nurse it back to the paddock, find a bolt and then continue, with a still fairly noisy bike. A few looks of horror on some of the modern riders as this very loud and firebreathing TT jumps past them in the muddy bits. Even more surprising was Guto Llewelyn’s finish on the auto-jumble acquired YZ250D that had only been got running the previous evening.

A few more casualties in the second half of racing and finally had to change a plug on the last lap, meaning that I was last back, but with a completed lap. Managed 7 laps in the afternoon, not bad given the boggy holdup. Mark also managed 7 and Paul 6 on the now perfectly functional Gori.

The Gentle One wasn’t that Gentle, but actually it made it really interesting later on. Perfect for twinshock and classic bikes, and a challenge for the modern guys also. Good fun and great way to spend a day on the bike. I’m amazed about the resilience of the TT500 , which despite the abuse, ran to the finish. Great bike.

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