My first visit to the most excellent Masham!
Without wishing to offend anyone it's got to be said that quality venue's are in the minority. Yes, I know there's lots of events but a many of them seem to be on what you could only class as adequate land and a bit on the short side.
However, Masham is a bit of an old school venue. A good lap length of 5 miles and as most of it is slow-ish a fast lap is twenty minutes.
Held on private land it appeared to be a natural woodland and the course wound it's way around in a way that resembled the artistic efforts of an infant left unsupervised with a box of crayons and a blank wall. This made it a tight twisty track with very few open sections to clear the tyres. And boy did they need clearing. I can only assume there's been more rain in North Yorkshire than here as the ground was still very soft and cut up quickly. By the half way point you needed to be looking for fresh lines or you were paddling along a good old rut! Only a few bits got tricky and a lot of it compacted down and improved as the race progressed. The one hard hill was pretty tricky. I got up twice and failed twice to then take the easy route. The main hill isn't that hard, the area of slop and the initial bank was the awkward bit. Not that many people seemed to be taking it and of all my laps only twice did I see it clear of failed attempts.
From the club there were six of us. Three in the clubman and three in the old fogeys class (vets). The start is a bit of a squeeze and being on the second row of my class I got my usual crap start. Trying to relax as much as possible to avoid arm pump myself and Rob Mc circulated roughly together for the first 45 minutes. Taking a poor line he came past me and by the time I got out of the loose stuff I'd lost sight of him so settled into a steady rhythm.
It was really hard to make the other riders out and I didn't recognise anyone else. Andy C came past me as I helped a girl rider lift her bike (my good deed for the day). Had I known I would have given chase but I think he would have had me by the end anyway so not such a problem. Everyone else kept going and we all finished without any problems.
Masham is a cracking venue though it could get very hard in the wet as most of the ground is soft and mushy. With climbs, descents and sections where picking a good line is needed it's what I call a proper track and more Enduro then MX. A bit of cramp on the last lap kept my bum off the seat and this was the best way to ride it. It's a venue I'd happily go to again.
Well we all finished so it's points in the bag for the club championship. With five rounds still to go absolutely nothings been decided yet and the handicap system makes it even closer for anyone wishing to do the remaining rounds.