Saturday, 31 October 2009

Baleta in top 5!

My brother Igor wrapped up his first season doing the South African National enduro championship last weekend. He finished a brilliant 5th in the Silver Cup.

Well done Chief!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Hare 'n Houds Results

Just got the results from Sunday's Hare 'n Hounds...

17th out of 48 in class
(Mike was 14th)

Full Results

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Hare & Hounds @ Slab Common

Just been looking for results or pics from teh Hare & Hounds Mike and I did on Sunday. Nothing yet... but found this on YouTube:

Always amazes me how fast these guys go... I only ride like that when I'm outta control and just about to see my arse.

The Hare & Hounds was good. It was at Slab Common, Bordon. A military training ground. Pretty cool thick sand with forested bits. They have tanks and all sorts of military vehicles around the place... weird riding around there. You come around a corner, drop into what I guess is supposed to be a river-bed and... Whooooah! There is a massive tank there!

Mike' helmet is about 15 years old... made before the ACU 'Gold sticker'was invented. They were scrootineering helmets too and looking for Gold stickers. My scrootineer admired and commented on my Knighter rep helmet... so it would be risky for Mike to use it for scrooting. No worries, just ask the friendly guys parked in the van next to us to borrow a lid. The guy Mike asks looks a bit apprehensive, but hands over his lid. Mike scuttles off to get scrooted... the guy then puts on a race shirt that says "Hampshire Police" on it. Doh! A copper... then he puts a bib over that that boldly says 'MARSHAL'. Double Doh!

He didn't knick Mike... phew!

I started well... Mike started like a scalded cat! Me and another dood on a blue bike were behind Mike... he'd gapped us by 15 yards by the time we reached the first corner! We were in thick sand... the blue-biked guy was too hard on the front brakes and cartwheeled. Spectacular! Thanks! I'm second into the first turn.

A mile in an I am going over a set of logs. my bike wasn't quite up to temp so I stalled on the last log. The guy behind me on a green bike grabs his brakes and goes down on the logs next to me... "Clump!". He's struggling under the bike. I calmly fire the four-fiddy up as the traffic jams up behind the flailing guy on the logs, he's swearin' and a cussin'. "Sorry." I chime and I dash off after Mike who had long disappeared.

Two miles later and I see a rider joining the track from the side... it's Mike! He got lost - I nip in front of him. Sucker! He passes me a mile or so later an disappears in front. Near the end of the first lap he passes me again! He got lost again!

I keep a steady pace and just grind out the laps. I don't crash too much... only once or twice a lap. Normally just ploughing the front through the thick sand, puting a foot down and tipping over. Nothing big... but all just as energy sapping. Some periods I enjoy... some are just a grind. I don't make any pit-stops... just crash-stops. They are enough to keep me going.

I manage to do 8 laps in 3 hours and 15 minutes. Mike also only managed 8 laps... but finished in just under 3 hours - he was too knackered to do another. I think we did okay. The best thing is... I hardly ached in the days after! I'm gettin' used to this endurance malarkey!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Tea Till Dusk 08

I was looking for a few pics from the enduro I did on Sunday... and I found these:

Tea Till Dusk - July 2008 - Start... why is #118 sitting?

4 weeks before this in June 2008 I did my first Hare-scramble- also a Tea Till Dusk event. I enjoyed it thouroughly and managed 4 laps in 2 hours. The next weekend went to South Africa (on business...) and rode another hare-scrabble - of which I only managed 1/2 a lap before drowning the bike in a bog. Two weeks after that I did a team 6 hour hare-scramble with my brother and his mate Gareth... I think we got 6th overall - that was brilliant!

Three days later I was back in blighty doing the next Tea Till Dusk. It was raining and the track a bog. I suffered. I suffered big-time. It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete 1 lap. I must have crashed about 20 times, the little KTM 200 two-smoke's clutch let go 1/2 way through. I was exhasted... but I did a lap!

I was sore for a week after... this was the last off-road race I did before this last weekend. I'm still sore from Sunday. Man, will I ever learn? Why the fuck do I do this shit?

Mabe the smiling eyes say it all...

:-) ... got a 3 hour hare-scramble on Sunday... I hope it doesn't rain!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Quote - Dave Jeffries - Life is Dangerous

Dave Jeffries on the dangers of the TT:

"I think life's dangerous. My uncle was changing a light buld years ago and he fell and broke his neck, and he's now paralysed from the neck down; can't breathe on his own, can't eat on his own properly. he was changing a light bulb in his garden.

I know another guy who dived into a swimming pool and broke his back. Life is dangerous no matter what you do.there's a gorl I know, she comes to race meetings. I saw her recently and she was a bit upset. She said, 'My best mate got kille din a car crash last night driving home from Leeds.' It can happen"

A good read: 'David Jeffries - The Official Biography' by Start Barker.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Manx GP 2009 – Afterthoughts

This year was the third time I competed in the Manx GP. Although I’ve been
3 times, I’ve only started 3 races there. One would normally enter at
least 2 races for each trip… 3 if you can. Ignorance, mechanical failure
and weather would be the 3 most accurate reasons why I only have 2
finisher’s medals and 1 replica on my mantlepiece for all my efforts. Not
much return on investment there.

This year I thoroughly enjoyed going as fast as the machine would go (or
as fast as I dared) on closed roads, despite the poor weather. For the
first time I never got ‘lost’ and always knew exactly where I was and what
was coming next. This made it a lot less stressful… and more enjoyable. I
just lapped up the experience, basked in the moment. It’s a privilege to
be able to do something most bikers only dream about… and an absolute

It’s a drug.

When you’re hammering flat-out through a super-fast, blind corner on a
glorious sounding Vee Twin, one quickly forgets about all the expense (I
stopped keeping tabs of race expenditure years ago), time, trouble,
energy, hassle and ball-aches it takes just to get to the Isle and
compete. Is it worth it? Probably not... but I still want to do it again.

So… the BAMF will be developed and return to the Manx GP in 2010. She will
go the way I intended her to go this year – like a missile. The only
useful Vee Twins eligible for the Junior class are long £££s (a race
prepped Doocadi 749r ?), that leaves the Ultra Lightweight class again.
Riding Mike’s Wee Monster was an honor and brilliant fun… but we need to
up the ante. 62 bhp on a road bike just doesn’t cut it around the Isle. I
know my way around there a little bit better… now I want to compete. A
Suzuki SV650 is the obvious choice... but my heart isn’t into that. I’m
having wild ideas about a Ducati Monster special… or something else Vee
Twin, different… and fast!

We’ll see.

I’ll be back in 2010.

Monday, 19 October 2009


I did my first proper Enduro yesterday. I was punished.

Run by the Royal Air Force (Club: ARDUA) just a few miles from where I live in Bagshot. I entered the Sportsman class (8 laps), but I was put in the Clubman (9 laps). A couple of other experienced competitors thought it may be because I was on a 450... so I must be good... right?
;-) Yeah... right.

So... I get there in good time to find out how it all works. Not too complicated. Just do laps in a certain amount of time. The alloted time for each sucessive lap is reduced... so between the first few laps you have time for a wee break and to refuel. But the last few laps are flat-out... when you're knackered of course. Some 'special stages' too. Interesting format.

I make the beginner's error of not warming my bike up before getting it to parc ferme. I get to the start with 3 other competitors with the engine stone cold. There is a girl to my right who says "Don't worry guys... you go ahead... I'll still be here trying to start my bike.". Guy on my left chirps... "Yeah right.. and then you'll pass us and be gone." And that's exactly what happened!

The lap was almost 7 miles, up and down through forest. Tight, twisty and lots of roots, a few logs and some big climbs and descents thrown in. Not my favourite terrain... but the weather was dry and I'm thankful it wasn't going to be the muddy hell I went through at my last Hare-scramble (nearly 18 months ago in similar terrain just 2 miles away). I struggled up one of the climbs (thanks for the helps lads!) but got through the first lap ok with only 3 crashes and a few minutes to spare to grab some water. 40 miniutes. Second and third gear everywhere - no problemo.

Lap 2: Ok. Only 2 crashes. Lap 3: 1 crash. Getting the knack of it... but only I just make it in the alloted time after a rushed splash 'n dash for fuel. Lap 4... 2.5 hours in and I'm getting tired. I go down a few times, but nothing serious. I'm 4 minutes late to the start of lap 5. I pull away after getting my timecard done and the gear-shift feels funny. Less than a minute later and it doesn't work at all - I'm stuck in third gear. Bugger!

I have a rekluse clutch fitted. It's basically an automatic clutch... great for beginner numpties like me... you can't stall the bike. Well, that's the theory. I somehow stall the bike and then discover my battery is dead. So I gotta kick that big-bore bastird to life. Gawd! I'm already knackered! It all goes downhill from there.

But I dig in and keep plugging away. The more tired I get, the more I crash... the more I've got to pick that 120kg beast up and sometimes kick-start start it (the rekluse worked a treat most times!)... of course that knackers me even more.

The big climbs I would normally do in second. But stuck in third, I have to give it horns all the way up to keep the revs up so that the clutch doesn't engage or the bike stalls. I'm rocketing up most of them... my speed far exceeding my level of skill. A mile form the end of lap seven on one of the biggest climbs, I hit a rut wrong and lose control. Not to be beaten by the hill, I keep it pinned. But a huge tree gets in my way. "Thwack"!

When you hit a big tree... you stop. That's all... you just stop.

I cought the tree with the left bar of the bike, my shoulder and head. I stopped. The bike careened off into the heather about 25 feet above me, revving it's nuts off. Bejeesus! I'm seeing stars! Fookin'ell! I'm a bit dazed... and my shoulder hurts! But... more than anything, I was exhausted. I gather myself and haul the bike up... I'm right near the top of the climb, but just cannot hold the bike on the hill... let alone kick-start it. No more strength. So I free-wheel to the bottom of the steep climb. I rest a few minutes and eventually get the bike started up. I line up at the foot of the hill and fire the big four-fiddy up that steep son-of-a-bitch!

On the last mile of lap 7 I know I had pushed my luck far enough. Besides, the clutch was starting to slip because of the punishment it had taken on the last 3 laps. If it gave up, I couldn't get neutral (stuck in third) and the rekluse clutch drags when the engine is off - there was no way I would have been able to push the bike out of the forest in the physical state I was in.

I finish the lap. 7 out of 8 (or 9) laps in 4.5 hours... in an Enduro that counts for nothing... it's still a D.N.F. I get home exhausted, beat.

(pics to follow when I find some)

Friday, 16 October 2009

Quote - Tony Jeffries - TT Trench mentality

Tony Jeffries, father of Dave Jeffries and 3 times TT winner on the dangers of the TT:

"TT riders certainly seem to have a mentality a little like people in the First World War trenches - whatever happens, it's not going to happen to them. They climb out of teh trenches regardless. It's probably a philosophy that riders have to adopt. But we can't knock anyone for saying the TT is dangerous, because it is."

(No, this isn't Tony Jeffries... just a bloke on a bike from way back when)

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Erzberg - The Iron Mountain Calls!

Funny thing happened to me... I managed to get an entry to the Erzberg Rodeo XVI.

I'm race number 320 and I have entries into all 3 events.
It's going to be carnage!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Quote - Dave Jeffries - Arty-farty Bastards

Busy reading 'David Jeffries - The Official Biography' by Start Barker.

Dave Jeffries on the TT:
"The people that keep saying that it's dangerous are all those arty-farty bastards who live in the bloody countryside and ride horses. And when you look at the number of people that get hurt riding horses - that really winds me up. The TT gets taken out of context. The press love it - 'Woooo - the TT - someone has been killed.' Unfortunately they don't glorify the fact that Lady so-and-so's daughter got hurt on a horse because horses are lovely, super. The establishment like horses."

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Manx GP 2009 on YouTube - Cronk-y-voddy

Helena discovered this YouTube vid shot from the end of Cronk-y-voddy straight. That right-hander should be flat out... I'm still chicken and roll it just a wee bit (psychologically slowing down...). It's the end of first practice, so everyone is just getting a feel for it all in the glorious sunshine.

Fast-forward to 3:40 and... "What's that commin' over the hill? Is it a Monster... is it a Monster?"

Gotta love the sound of the classics too!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Wristy Woes

On Sunday before last (more than 10 days ago) Ant, Mike and I went to Enduroland for the day. It was dry and dusty and weather was great!

(Gorgeous weather at Enduroland)

They had 2 loops, one of 6 miles and the other 8 miles. Some fast field work too... man, I love the four-fiddy!

On our second lap, Mike was pootling through the only damp section. The lap before he was almost off there so he was taking it easy and getting used to his new Honda 250CRF. I decided to pass him. It was rutted up, I was in the right rut, he was in the left. I gassed it up and started to pass... then his front wheel popped out of his rut and he was coming across me. I thought I could make it through so opened the throttle. As I passed him our bars collided... we landed up sliding down the path... Mike on top of the KTM, me underneath it!

(Dry, fast and dusty... the way I like it!)

We got up, dusted ourselves off and thankfully he wasn't hurt. My recovering wrist hurt like fuck! It felt like I had broken it again. I could move it and teh fingers worked, but when I smashed it up in May on teh Flattrack, I could also move it and the fingers worked. After about 10 minutes we got back on the bikes and finished the lap. I checked it out back at the van... didn't look broken but Christ it hurt! I swallowed a handful of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol and got back on the bike. Besides the wrist in pain caused me some misery and affected my riding, but besides that we had a cracking day.

(Mike hving fun on his new dirtbike)

On the way home I stopped by at A&E and spent 3 hours gettin it X-Rayed and checked out. Luckily the surgeon the put the plate in was doing a locum that night and he checked it out. No more bones broken and the plate and screws looked ok. Phew! No more operations please.

(Mike spots a bug to be squashed...)

The wrist stiffend and swelled up. Not good. I've been resting it for more than a week and it's still a bit swollen and sore. Before Enduroland I had recovered about 75% of the movement since the operation... now I'm back down to about 50%. This is where I was in the beginning of July. Bollocks!

(I saved this one on my knee... yeah right!)

Down the field wit mah Brutha

Been a bit quiet on the old blog since returning from the Isle of Man. Got to get back into the habit...

(Down the field - Nic ginving the four-fiddy some welly)

Took a break for a week after the Manx GP then started a new contract ooop north in Chesterfield. It's only till mid-November, but I don't like being away from my garage for 5 days a week and makes travel difficult.

(Nic on the four-fiddy)

Went down the field with brother Nic a few weeks ago. Cracking weather - the field was as dry as I've ever seen it. Got to ride the little Beta trials bike for a few minutes.

(Nic trying out the Beta)

Also sold the Beemdawg (1989 BMW 325i Sport). Sad to see her go, never managed to learn to drift proper in her, take her on a track or to the 'Ring' as I had planned. But feels like a weight has been lifted... need to get rid of more stuff... it's cluttering up my life!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Flattrack Phodies - April 09

Found some Flattrack phodies from King's Lynn in April on the Red Max Speed Shop site:

Mike is #63.

I'm #45 with the leary, day-glo, confederate-manx MX helmet and blue-white flame leathers.