Kingston MCC Blackwood 09
Written by Manny Bernardez
Thursday, 14 May 2009
SEEC Round 3
Was really looking forward to this one, we don’t usually have fast going in the SEEC but Blackwood has always delivered that high speed fix and you know what they say about variety being the spice of life. Kingston MCC have put on some very good Enduros at Blackwood and know the land intimately, with rumours of a 12 mile, half hour lap being touted in the internet forums. Just one small problem, on Saturday the WR 250F was being a pain and refusing to start on the button or the kickstart…this could all go very wrong.
I arrived nice and early, sun was shining weather warm. Walked the special test which looked fast, there was a heavy layer of leaf mulch so was going to leave it late as possible before riding it. I had a sneaky suspicion that the day might be won or lost on it, I didn’t think that Kingston MCC would push us too hard on the fast going, so walked it again with Simon Beken.
Next up was getting the bike scrutineered, as they were checking the lights I had to start my engine which failed to fire up, the electric motor whirling round and sporadic ignition of fuel was enough to emit a faint glow from the bulbs so it passed.
When the check times were displayed a quick mental calculation that you needed to average 22mph to clean the tight check (Speed = Distance ÷ Time), which seemed reasonable. With only five laps and two special tests for us to do, it looked on paper like an easy day’s sport which suited me fine.
Now for the bit I was dreading, the start, under ACU Enduro rules you have 1 minute from you start time to clear the green flags under motive power or occur a 60 point penalty. She didn't start!! As I clearly failed to do that, I left the check eventually getting the bike fired up with a cloud over the day already…gutted.
As I’m writing this a couple of weeks later I’ll shall divulge what was wrong with the bike, because if Lawrence Catt had not tipped me off on the likely cause I would be still stripping the carburettor or scratching my head to this day. Lol suggested checking the valve clearances, the bike was running great and starting ok once warm so I was a bit sceptical to say the least, but sure enough the middle inlet valve was too tight, a re-shim and the bike is back to it's easy going self.
Back to the Enduro, the course was fun and fast to ride with plenty of time allowed in the first few checks to learn it, the only question I had to ponder was when I should take the tests, the later the better hopefully as riders passed over it would gain some grip. I settled to do it on the third check and ride it back to back. First test didn’t go too well as I clipped a tree and got deflected nearly out of the tapes, that fast flowing test I had walked earlier was in fact very tight, for the 2nd test I tried to smooth out a little which only cut 2 seconds off the first test time.
I waited for Lawrence Catt who was riding his old Yamaha IT250 for fun to finish his test and I followed him for the rest of the lap, he might have been riding an old bike but sure was getting a lot performance out of it, he’s one super smooth fast rider, even showed me a few good lines to boot.
Tight check time, 1 lap in 33 minutes, with my fastest lap so far being a 34 and only needed to shave 1 minute off it, with 12 miles to do it with this was well within reach and inside my comfort level. I rode the lap mainly on my own, coming across the occasional rider here and there, Enduro bliss. Arrived back at the check with 2 minutes remaining and I could see that most riders around me had also made it, pity that I gave 60 points away at the start…or so I thought.
On the last lap I followed Ian Pearce on a Husky 360 who had very good pace all day, to be quite honest I could have done another extra lap easy.
The results got posted on the internet the next day and I wasn’t exactly expecting much, come to a bit of a shock when they listed me down as 5th place and no penalty points, only 5 seconds separating me and 2nd first place rider would have given the Championship class a ride for their money. Not the type to have that hanging over my conscious I phoned the Secretary of the Meeting and owned up and asked him to double check, as I wasn’t down on the penalty list I’ve gotten away with it.
Thanks Kingston MCC for another well run event and best course I have ridden at Blackwood, killer lap.
My Result = 5th
Lawrence Catt on the IT 2nd