Fast Si had chosen this as the first event in the newly reinstated club championship.
And as such we had a cracking turnout of club members. This would be the first race of the year for most of the lads and there was plenty of banter going around.
Westwood isn’t the biggest venue and is pretty soft. It cuts up and holds the moisture. But it can still be fun to ride around, especially in the summer.
Driving over it was clear that we’d had much better weather on our side of t’hills. Once heading over towards Sheffield the snow became deeper, the mist became fog and it was generally looking pretty grim.
On arrival the snow was falling and it was clear goggles would be a waste of time. Andy and I had helped with the kid’s race. Although it was only half the course the adults would use there were still some tricky bits. There were good ruts already and only about 15 kids going round, the main race was going to be hard.
It wasn’t a big turnout for the main race. I’d guess about 70 riders lined up for the start. Riding in the vets class I’d ended up on the front row with the championship and experts. A bit daunting but I figured to ride my own race and leave them to scoot off.
The first lap was entertaining to say the least. A wrong turn by the lead riders saw them all head over an off camber bank that had been taken out. There were quite a few riders slithering about and not pointing in the right direction. I thought the course had been changed but when I realised what had happened I went to the bottom of the bank and re-joined the course there. After that there was the small track by the stream which was new and a couple of climbs which were pretty tricky. A small section in the quarry had been included which seemed to be causing problems. I’m not sure why but I think riders weren’t getting enough momentum on the slippery approach to make it up the bank to get out.
Once through lap scoring there was another new section. A very slippery bank to get up followed by some water filled ruts took us round in a U shape and back to the start area.
The course itself was all rideable if tricky in parts (especially the climbs) and even though the ruts got quite bad in parts you could get round ok. The problem was going fast enough to ride it rather than just get through it, the latter being very energy consuming and very slow. Some laps you’d get it right and breeze through a snotty bit, others you’d be all over the place trying to get going and up on the pegs. This can be seen in the lap times. I’m normally very consistent but my fastest was ten minutes and my slowest sixteen (it all went wrong on that lap).
Despite the cold and the snow it was a good event. Being run in February you could hardly expect good conditions and at least it wasn’t frozen! Everyone seemed to enjoy it even though some of the guys found it very hard work (which it was).
Going off memory there were eleven of us there and all but three finished. It certainly makes an event more enjoyable if there’s a few of you there all sharing the same experience. A good start to the club championship and already people are getting geared up for the next round.
The next championship event is the Drovers Enduro. Details are on the club website and a link for regs is on facebook or visit WTRA .