Saturday, 17 May 2014

Race report: Arwyn Rees Caio Enduro

What a fantastic day it was today for the Arwyn Rees Caio Enduro run by Dyfed Dirt Bike Club! The sun was shining all day, the course was great but difficult and the cross country test was sublime.

I couldn't walk the test on Friday, so I decided I'd make an early start and walk it on Saturday morning before the race. I got up at 5am and eventually made my way over to Caio for 8am. I signed on straight away and got my bike scrutineered as soon as possible, then it was straight back to the car and over to the special test.

Walking the test was worth it just for the views from the top of the test, absolutely stunning panoramic views on a day like today. Anyway, I walked it and got back to the paddock by 10am, with plenty of time until my 11:37am start time.

Off I went and the day began badly! Within 10 minutes, my chain had come off, I think it was too tight anyway, but a rock jumped up on a fire road link section and threw it off. I felt and heard something untoward so I pulled the clutch in straight away and coasted to a stop. Yes, sure enough, it was hanging around the swing arm. Damn! I thought this was a sign of things to come but didn't want to let it beat me, I was determined to stay clean on time. Out came the tools, then I realised I had a 13mm spanner, not the 14mm spanner that I needed, so I had to use the big AJ to get at the lock nut for the chain adjuster - wasting valuable time! I spent 7 and a half minutes repairing it and then got going again. The clutch saver did its job, thankfully, althought it took a bit of a battering. Money well spent I'd say!

The red mist descended! There was no way I was going to be late to the first check, I rode like a nutter to make the time up and I arrived at the first check of the day, hot and bothered, with 2 minutes to spare. Yes! I was back in the race. I was under no illusions though, I remembered how hard the course was from last year and the checks got tighter each lap, so I was ready to dig deep.

There were 2 laps for the Sportsman class, both timed by transponder. On the special test, I fell off at the very end of the first timed one, I cleared a log stack, but when the front wheel landed on the other side, it was into a big greasy patch of mud and it slid away from me, which meant I dropped the bike and lost around 10 seconds.

The second test was better, I felt like I was going fast and hitting my lines. There were a lot of good riders there today so we'll have to wait and see what the results are in a few days time.

Thanks to all involved in organising and running the event, I had a blast and will of course be back again next year. Thanks also to Gary Jones the photographer, his official photos can be found here.

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