Nexc  16th June 2013

Cherry wood Sledmore estate

Due to a date change by WOR events,  the venue for the 4th round f the club championships was changed from the fantastic Maeshafen to a round of the north England X country championship to be held at a new venue.

 

The event held by true grit organisation was to be held in at a new venue  “Cherry wood” part of the Sledmore country house estate.

Final instructions came out on the Thursday prior to the event, unfortunately the start time had been extended back to 1pm to facilitate a separate sportsman/motocross/over 50/novice event and the event time reduced from the stated 3 hour to 2.5 hours.

I was seriously considering not turning up due to the reduced ride time and late start, especially with it being father’s day and a special dinner being made for me by Glynis.

I decided to honour my initial online (no payment needed) entry as i believed it was the right thing to do to support a new event, and the chance to ride a new venue only happens during a blue moon now days.

 Six of us made the 2 hour trip over to the east riding of Yorkshire, the weather report for the day was good and it looked like an ideals days racing was ahead.

We arrived at the venue and parked up accordingly and got signed on, the transponders sorted and pit boxes to the pits etc. By the pits there was a very nice parking area in the wood on a grassy area, it looked ideal for a summer weekend camping session, unfortunately this was full and we had to park on a road through the wood.

We put the bikes on the start line and i chose a outside line, being the last rider on the left hand side into a right hand first corner.

The course was fully in the well developed woods and it looked at bit messy as we checked out bits of the course,  it had been graded by a tractor and the course was clearly defined. Apparently they had had very heavy rain through the night, it looked a bit sloppy and greasy and you could see some sportsmen struggling as the sportsman’s race was in progress. We figured it would dry out as the main race progressed though.

 We milled around checking out the pits, then i realised that there was a very red faced Mike VT in the pits fuelling up, we said hello and offered our help, but he was sorted, mike explained that most of the course was ok, only the bits we had walked were greasy!

We got geared up and made our way to the start area, a bit of a clearing in the trees and a right hand corner straight into the trees.  There was a riders brief and some chatting on the line, it was good to see Paul Garner back racing, who claimed to be very nervous! I reckoned he was just playing with me though as he’s done more racing than most riders in the club put together!!!!! (and definitely more crashing)!!!!!!!!

It was  a bit of waiting until we got the start instructions, it did seem a while though waiting on the line, maybe i am just bit impatient!!. You had to push your bike to the starting line, from your line up position, prior to the flag being dropped.

 There were about 20 vets on my line and a couple of E3 clubmen, the flag dropped and my bike did not start cleanly, and the bike bogged away from the line, 20 ft from the corner i was about 7th, i needed a clean start as we did not know just how tight the woods were, so i held the throttle open as long as i dared, the bike kicked out and i drifted through the riders into 3rd place into the woods.

The rider in front was setting what felt like a furious pace and i had a rider behind me pushing very hard. The course was very tight through the trees with many short corners, only a couple of short areas where you could breathe a little, i pushed on trying to catch the rider in front, looking at his errmm build i figured he was a vet rider and not a clubman E3 and would soon tire, he did not!!!! I pushed on.

Oon the 2nd lap we got to a right hand corner and he went left, i thought he had come off or gone off course, unfortunately i realised there was a hard section and i was taking the novice route (Durrr!!!). Due to this he gained 200 meters on me and worse still a slightly slower rider who had some bursts of speed but could not maintain it was between us. For two laps i let this rider know i was on his heel and showed my front wheel to him where i could, only for this to spur this rider on and compete with me. I was getting very fed up with this rider, as i knew that i was faster, i had been very polite so far, but he had tested my patience enough,  so i started to run into the back of him in the tighter corners, i could see that this was unsettling him as he was really pushing hard to get away from me, until finally he overcooked it on a corner at and highsided it off into the trees, i got my head down and tried to catch back up with the 2nd place rider. I was setting what i thought was a very fast pace, the corners were rutting out and i was getting them just right, steam into corner then brake hard/feather the clutch and accelerate out. It really was tight corner after tight corner flick flack style.

On the 3rd lap i went via the hard route which turned out to be small drop into a gulley and a pretty steep short hill out, a quick blast up from the bottom in first gear, saw you safely out. I was starting to feel the strain and although not out breath, due to the running i have recently been doing, i was starting to feel the physical strain of throwing a 110kgs bike around.

Although i had caught the 2nd place rider on lap 5, i was getting very tired and i had to slacken off the pace. There was no clock at the timing station, a real bug bear with me, and i was getting  some strange looks as i was asking (err! rather loudly) were the clock was (repeatedly), fortunately a clued up woman near the station realised i needed to know the time, and i think she said over a hour  has gone. We reckoned on a 10 to 12 min lap based on sportsman lap times so i knew i could knock a few more laps out before pitting. I soon passed John Mcleod, asked him to get a move on to encourage some more speed out of him, only for my bike to die very suddenly 400m later. I thought the bike would not start as it just stopped dead, it would also not start in gear. i resigned myself to DNF, took my goggles off and John came sailing past Doh!!!!!!!

Fortunately the bike started as quickly as it stopped and i was on my way again, i think i best check out the wiring quick????

By now i was starting to suffer and decide to pit to get a drink and fuel, i was a bit shocked how by much fuel i had used, maybe i had been riding longer than i thought

 i had out of character worn a camelback, which was duly noted by Andy Cooke prior to the start, asking “ why you wearing that, you never bother with one” Andy was not wearing a camelback based on a recent discussion we had as to why i do not usually wear a camel back. I do not usually wear one due to not having chance to drink from one, as i would rather keep my hands on the controls in very tight events. I really wish i could listen to my own advise! as i think i only had one sip from the camelback (lesson learned Andy).

I did another couple of laps and by now all my energy had been spent, my speed had dropped off completely, i was all over the show in the corners and not doing very well. I got passed by two riders with similar numbers and my head went down as i thought i had just let 2 riders passed me and i was now in 5th in class what a Kn*b!!!!!!!!

The course dried out and there was nothing difficult on the course, I went through lap scoring 2 more times and i was gutted that it was not the end of the race, 1 more lap and we had finished!!

We got back to the vans and discussed how we did, i was very tired i had not seen Geraint Rogers, or Paul on the course, i had passed a gas gas near the end but was not sure if it was Andy. Andy was back at the vans first, he explained that he had not stopped for fuel and completed the event on 1 tankfull! The yz in contrast had drank loads.

Altogether a good event but very physical due to the tight nature of the venue, the best way to describe it would be as very similar to the westwood venue . hopefully the venue can be managed and maintained as any place to race is very welcome, i  Personally i would not go back there due to the distance from stockport.

I could now see why the time had been reduced, as 2 hours on this course was enough! and the course would off been very dangerous with sportsmen and novice riders in the way.

i could not stay for the results as i needed to get home, but received a pleasant 3rd hand call from Paul who said i had got 2nd in the vets, i felt rewarded for the effort i had initially put in, but the recent lack of bike riding time cost me dearly later on the race.

Very well done to all the Manchester 17 riders who took part in this event, looking at the results, there was not a lot between the top 3 of us and a fantastic effort by Andy, it really will not be long before he gets his first clubman win.

Catch you soon

 Rob Mcleod

Club position

 

Pos

Number

Name

Laps

Fastest

TotalTime

1st

Clubman e2

4

54

Andy Cooke

13

00:11:16

02:32:46

2nd

vets

2

88

Robert McLeod

13

00:11:22

02:35:59

3rd

vets

3

89

Geraint Rogers

13

00:11:59

02:40:16

4th

vets

5

92

Paul Garner

12

00:11:59

02:37:15

5th

vets

8

87

John McLeod

10

00:13:25

02:31:19

6th

sportsman

15

122

Mike Van Tonder

8

17:11.4

30:49.5