Helmsley Enduro was the first round of the new M17 club championship. As such we had a good entry of 12 riders from the club going. Though a couple nearly didn't get in by leaving so late to enter!

 

Helmsley Enduro was the first round of the new M17 club championship. As such we had a good entry of 12 riders from the club going. Though a couple nearly didn't get in by leaving so late to enter!

It's a couple of years since I've been to Helmsley, but I had a pretty good idea what to expect from my previous visits on practice days and one other Enduro there. John, who organises the event, is what I call "old school". He likes a tight check in there, technical riding, the skill of picking a good line, that kind of thing. Now I believe that's good! I like to go home thinking I've done well to stay on time and it's not all be down to the test.

The course was blessed with glorious sunshine and the days leading up to the event had been dry too. It was a well defined course as there had been a Vinduro there on the Saturday. Once riding I did notice a few changes but I think the course was basically the same for the two days.

I've been told by one of may friends that it was 18 miles round. A bit more than I thought but a good length all the same. The course was split into two checks. The main check had the vast majority of the mileage and the second was a second test and fuel. That bit was a tad confusing on my first lap but I figured it out in the end.

Helmsley is a fairly flat piece of land, there's no real hills to speak of. But a few of the banks used got pretty slippery and the exposed roots added a certain something. It was these bits that needed a quick weigh-up before diving in. The long check had a bit of everything in it. Very tight going got you to the first test after about five minutes riding. The test wound its way through the trees with loads of bermed corners and short bumpy straights. You had to get the right line and right gear. Standing produced the best results for me most of the time in the rutty corners but sitting down and flying round a berm was pretty effective too. From there it miles of tight going which gave you little chance to rest. Then at about two thirds distance it started to open out a bit with more flowing trails and a couple of long easy sections. But always you returned to the tight rutty going before a fast, last mile blast down to the check.

The second check was a short, sharp test in the trees. Some logs and tyres caused problems for some (myself included) and getting past people was very difficult. The problem was going off the good line to pass a fallen rider. Twice I came a cropper having to take a wide line, but that was my fault and not the courses.

The first check tightened up by 8 minutes for the clubman and vets and you had to ride at a good, constant pace to make it on the last lap. The second stayed at 15 minutes and with the test taking around four minutes (at a guess) so you got ten for refuelling and a drink.

The course itself got better in most places and only a few bits cut up. Nowhere was cut out and as a whole the event seemed to run very smoothly. Though my one gripe is riders starting and revving their bikes in the Parc Ferme. The paddock marshal should have been on top of this. One of the more pleasant aspects of a timecard event is the relaxed atmosphere before the event starts.

It was a mixed bag of results for the lads from the club. A couple failed to finish, some lost time. I stayed on time but fell on four of the six tests so expect a midfield finish because of that.

It was an enjoyable day and the good weather certainly helped. But the course was a good one and for me is what a good timecard is all about.