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UPCOMING EVENTS

We run an interesting and varied programme of runs and other events. Here is a short sample listing of some upcoming fixtures, the runs predominate, however, and accounts of two recent ones are included below.

Sat 19th/Sun 20th October, 2 Day run, Devon

Sat 30th/Sun 1st December, Llanerchinda Farm, Llandovery

Sat 26th/Sun 27th October, Enduro School, Ady Smith

14th December (Aprox.) Christmas Dinner!

 

RUN REPORTS

A Tale From The Tail-End

It’s amazing what you miss when leading a run.Not that I want to put anyone off Run Leading,but after volunteering to be “Tail End Charlie” on the recent Megaride run, I’d forgotten how entertaining it could be!

Andy S. had warned me that there had been a lot of interest in the run.We had put no limit on numbers as this was going to be a one-off ride.We were hoping to arrive at Meriden “on mass” and assemble at our W.M.T.R.F. tent,where our Chairman would greet us with a fry-up and mugs of tea.

He was not wrong! There were 16 of us in all,with a vast array of bikes from DT175’s to 2002 DRZ400’s.

Just one group was going to be interesting!!

Andy S. consulted his maps and chose to do the lanes that are North of the county which he felt we could cover easily in the morning.None of them should prove to be too tricky at this time of year.Tony Murray rode mid-pack should anyone get split up,and as I’ve already mentioned,I followed up the rear.

The day had not started without a hitch though.Rich Colledge decided to ride to the start point with me from my house.We were all primed and raring to go.He gave his bike a quick stab on the kickstarter,then another,then another-nothing-dead as a dodo.”that’s unusual” he said!I had a go,Rich had another go-still nothing.Eventually about 30 kicks later it spluttered into life with plumes of smoke pouring out of the tailpipe! We tore off towards Balsall Common,already late by this time.I looked over my shoulder to see if Rich was ok,to see a massive cloud of blue smoke behind him,completely engulfing the car that was following him!

Later it dawned on Rich why his bike was so reluctant to start.As he had laid his bike up for a while he had decided to pour some 2 stroke oil into the cylinder through the plug hole to keep things lubed.KTM’s were not intended to run on 5:1 pre-mix!

We left Balsall at about 9.15 and headed to Barston.I was amazed how well the group kept together.The first few lanes went without a hitch.Some of the less experienced guys had a few minor tumbles,but nothing too serious.I later found out that this run was the very first trail ride for some of them!Fair play,they did really well.One downside to being the tail-ender is that you have to suffer the dust of the 15 bikes in front !

Many of the lanes were very overgrown and at some points I did not recognise where we were.We suddenly popped out at the end of one lane to find it was the infamous”Dial House”The lane that we had won thanks to Richard Hawker and Ken Stepney’s hard work.We stopped for a “team photo” outside the gates for proof we had ridden it.

Soon we were at Claverdon.I noticed that the bloke who normally gives us grief at the start of Breach Lane has put his house up for sale! I wonder if he’s told any potential purchasers about the lane? Ooh look theres a flying pig!

Next was Hercules.Fairly rough in places but perfectly rideable.Chris Scott(KTM 200EXC/GS) decided he needed a lie down halfway along it!We gathered at the end of the lane for a breather and a chance for the usual exchange of friendly banter.(p***-taking) Mr Hicken being at the receiving end of most of it!From there we headed towards Yarningale Common,when disaster struck! Steve Shepherds brand new Gas Gas 300 refused to change out of 1st gear.We stood around and scratched our heads and realised there was nothing we could do to fix it.It was a back to the dealer job!After a lot of deliberation as to what we should do,we called on Mr Chairman(who was manning the stand at the Megaride)He volunteered(under duress!) to come and pick Steve’s bike up from the nearby pub in our van.Someone asked Steve if he was in the AA.We were unsure if he meant the motoring organisation or the people with a drink problem as I’m sure Steve was dying to drown his sorrows in the pub!Dean(MTX125) chose to stay with Steve for moral support and the rest of us pressed on.

We had reached the Durham Ox when Jason realised he had got a flat front tyre on his CRM.Sure enough on inspection we founda nail in his tyre.Obviously he must have been a boy scout and heeded the motto”be-prepared”.He produced a new can of “Tyre-Weld” out of his rucksack .A quick blast of that saved his day.

Literally half a mile later yet another incident!Two new guys to our group, who’s names escape me, decided to let their bikes get to know each other a bit more intimately! The one chaps TTR250 decided to”mount” the others DRZ400 at the next road junction.Not a pretty sight!(The only way I can describe it was like watching sheep trying to bustle their way out of a sheep pen!)Apparently the Suzuki is expecting a PeeWee 50 later this year!

It was now a case of “what’s going to happen now”?!!

Unfortunately Andy Spencers brother-in-la(who was on his very first trail ride) took a nasty tumble when he got cross-rutted.The rock hard ground was very unforgiving.Luckily he was soon up,looking dazed and confused , was'nt put off and away on his bike again.

Next stop-----The Megaride!

We all rolled up together,and gathered at the T.R.F. tent.It must have looked quite impressive.We were all fed and watered .Mr Edler is a demon with the frying pan!

A few of the lads had to call it a day at this point.The rest of us decided to do a few more lanes.In particular Hobgoblin lane,another lane we’ve won the right to use.

We all gave this lane the title”lane of the day” It was quite tricky due to the fact it was very overgrown.The bracken was head height.Poor old Andy had to cut a path through with his bike,as no one had used it for some months.Some one had attempted to block the lane with a fallen tree.This was soon cleared by our band of mud-pluggers.However one tree trunk was balanced very precariously just waiting to pin down the next person that nudged it!The bikes had remained relatively clean all day until we had to cross a stagnant ditch.This 4ft wide gully of stinking goo gave some of the riders a bit of a challenge.I think it was the thought of coming to grief and landing face down in it psyched a few out.As a result all our bikes were totally plastered.We returned to the Megaride at about 4pm,just as people were starting to pack up.

I think it was fair to say that we all had had a good day’s riding-90 miles in total.The lanes are well worth using-and they’re right on our doorstep!

Cheers Mr Spencer,for leading.

Andy Clues

 

Crosshouses -20th April

Lead by Alan Weaver, accompanied by Andy Spencer, Steve Hayes, Tony Murry, Pete Hemming, Kev Bowes, Stuart Cheatham and Chris Scott.

Starting from the now usual place in the public car park in Church Stretton, the weather forecast was not too promising but for the moment it was dry and sunny if a little chilly. The first couple of lanes highlighted that the ground was very slippy and so the pace was reduced accordingly.
Now normally there is a distinct advantage in being the run leader, a clear track in front with no wheels to distract you plus the speed of the day is dictated by you. However as we arrived at the first river crossing the water looked deep and was flowing quite fast. Faced with this you therefore have three options, 1) turn around and go back, 2) go over the adjacent bridge or 3) just go for it. The first two options do leave yourself slightly wide open to a certain degree of urine taking, so its looks like its option three then. I always think that it does not pay to dwell too much on the "what if' situation, just aim for the other bank and go for it, cor blimey that water was cold and deep. But with everyone safely across we headed for the next water crossing. This is the one where you drop down quite steeply in to the water, directly across and up the other side, again same options applied as before, I dropped down into the water and headed across towards the other bank but struck a submerged boulder, which diverted my course away from where I was headed, only by the grace of God did I manage to get my foot down before I dropped the bike. Standing knee deep in water I then had to haul the bike around and face it in the right direction. As there is no free space
to observe the others at this crossing, you have to continue to the end of the lane before you can stop but I think that every one experienced some minor difficulty with the crossing in one shape or another. We did investigate a couple of lanes that according to my 1996 Landranger map were RUPP's, but after a minor confrontation with a local resident we were informed that in fact it had been downgraded to a Bridleway some two years ago at a public enquiry. Apparently representatives from the local TRF were invited but no one actually attended. I have since checked on a more recent Explorer maps and it is now shown as a Bridleway. Once again I was demonstrating my skill at crossing ruts at 45 degrees, but
in the heat of the moment I chose too high a gear and stalled the damn thing half way across, mid ruts. This is where you discover that the precise point where you want to put your foot down is directly above the deepest part of the rut. Down I went like a sack of spuds, giving my head a good old whack, now it may be pure coincidence but for the next few lanes I could not sort my left from my right out, who "said no change there then?"

Regulars to this run can no doubt recall the steep muddy "off-camber" climb after passing through the farmyard at the bottom. Well as usual this provided great entertainment in particular to a certain club member who gave up after numerous attempts and passed his bike onto someone else to ride up.Unfortunately the person he chose in his hour of need consequently stalled it and rolled backwards off-camber with the front brake locked, unable to stop, into a fallen tree, it then took three people to push it back up again!!

Mid aftemoon as we approached the Long Mynd the weather tumed quite dramatically from being sunny, if cool, to gale force winds & hail storms which then turned to snow!
So strong in fact was this "blizzard" that we were we forced to take shelter under some trees until it had blown over. The ambient temperature dropped very dramatically and the decision was made to call it a day at that. We then made for the most direct route back to the car park in Church Stretton in the search for warmth and dry clothing.

Alan Weaver