SEEC Round 8 13th September 2009
With only six weeks having past since breaking my collar bone and two weeks left until the Natterjack BEC round, I thought it would be wise to get some saddle time and enter the Sidcup MCC Freestyle Husqvarna Enduro, all last minute of course. To be honest there was no real motivation having felt I had lost all my momentum plus the shoulder joint was still feeling sore.
Si Beken decided to give this one a miss meaning no Malcom Beken in the pits to keep me on the straight and narrow, even worse Aaron Smith had an accident on his scooter and was very lucky to get away with relatively minor injuries, still on crutches he withdrew his entry…get well soon mate!
Freestyle Husqvarna Enduro around the web: Videos by driver1609 Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE
Photo Albums by leeroy_07 HERE and Amos1965 HERE Race report by redbikejohn HERE helmet cam lap HERE
After arriving at Canada Heights it was time to look for the special test, the Final Instructions said it was in the field which I took to mean the big grassy field, that would have been bad news on the WRF250 as it’s just not fast enough, in fact it was in the orchard well I call it that because they make you weave around some trees, mostly 1st and 2nd gear tight corners, this was a little disappointing compared to last year’s awesome special test, no doubt there must have been a good reason why this had been changed.
Signing on was the usual painless process, individual check times were displayed for you to write down on the time card, eradicating any mistakes (or so you thought more of that later). With only black tape available I did not have the option of sticking the check times on the bike and would be relying just on the time card.
Scrutineering spotted I had a few loose spokes on the back wheel and even put a zip-tie round them, I thought they were being picky until I wiggled one, yes very loose. My bike prep the previous day only consisting of cleaning and sticking some numbers on, as the bike had only been run for a few minutes before my DNF the last outing felt no need to go round the whole bike, as I said weren’t feeling that motivated.
First Check, 1 lap 45 minutes: Plenty of time to get to know the course and with CoC Kurt Pringle ‘Riders Briefing’ warning about some of the jumps on the MX track being changed and a bit scary still echoing in my ears we set off, all 5 of us that were on my minute.
Gary Benham (my tip for the class wins) set of first with me following and we headed straight into the hilly bit, all ups and downs, tight turns, off cambers and ready to catch out the unwary as there’s not a lot of surface grip. With the WRF warned up and for some reason screaming away on tick over, I tried to keep up with Gary who only rides at one speed…as fast as possible.
A quick plat around the entrance field and back into the woods which is my favourite part of the track as it snakes towards the first foray onto the MX track via the field again, the sand is powdery and gets deep very quickly sapping the engines hp. There are a few logs to get over; one which I accidently hit neutral nearly running into another rider who was parked up, Martin Bond took this opportunity to get pass as my riding must of looked a little erratic.
I decided to skip the special test as I needed a bit more time to get my act together. Entering the large field there was a strange noise coming from the bike like something was hanging from it, my first thought was the camera had fallen off, a couple of quick glances and couldn’t see a likely cause.
What become obvious was the clutch started acting up (yes again), instead of a gradual engagement it would get to bite point and lock suddenly, a bit brutal in first gear but any gear higher you were running the risk of stalling at low speeds. It was only until later I figured out a possible cause. A few weeks back I removed two little rings that go in the clutch basket too see if it would make the clutch lighter as suggested by someone on Thumper Torque and forgot to put them back in, only explanation I can think off. During the event the clutch was becoming very heavy and taking up cable slack, might of managed to break a plate, time for a post-mortem.
Only took 25 minutes to complete the lap from cold same as the Clubman tight check, with the track hopefully getting faster our 22 minute tight check looked like a reasonable proposition.
Second Check, 1 lap 40 minutes: Took the groups lead and tried to keep it standing up and tidy as much as I could, Gary told me after the event that he was having trouble keeping up in the wood section, I let him go past on MX track and chilled a little to arrive for my first special test nice and relaxed. Went as quickly as I dared on the special test without running the risk of dropping it (been there done that), was only in a couple of places I thought there was any room for improvement , my intention was to do the second test back to back but decided there was plenty of time on the third lap.
Third Check, 1 lap 35 minutes: Had a quick look in the petrol tank and forgot to do the cap up, a slow speed stall and consequent tip over had petrol pouring out of the tank drenching my right clove, strangely making it very slippery to twist the throttle by the time it got to the special test it at least dried a little. Queued up with loads of Sportsman, I was expecting some burming of the flat corners but nothing much had changed, only a 2 second gain from the previous test.
The combination of heavy clutch and tight technical going was starting to wear me down, arms and shoulders were getting a pounding at this point discomfort greatly outstripped enjoyment.
Fourth Check, 1 lap 22 minutes: (Tight Check) Normally I would be right up the front to get the time card written first and be away so you don’t get held up, not today just didn’t feel like being at the sharp end, out of the 9 riders queuing up on my minute I probably was last away. It was one of those laps that everyone and his dog seems to be in front of you, holding you back until there was a decent overtaking place which in the woods were scarce if impossible, some poor Sportsman decided parking his bike into a tree was a decent place to pull up . Looking at my watch showed that I was 20 odd seconds from going clean, never mind I was more focused on getting to the finish rather than result at this point.
Fifth Check, 1 lap 33 minutes: Nice and slack so took full advantage and trail rode round. Stalled the motor a few times and it was getting harder to restart, maybe time to have another look at the valve clearances? It was only in the pits looking at my time card that I realised that I wrote the next ETA wrong, comparing my card to Peter Moller’s who was on my original minute we worked out my new adjusted ETA…thanks Peter.
Sixth Check, 1 lap 25 minutes: Another tight check, rode round not even thinking I would be able to make the time as the preverbial wondering all over the shop set in. With heavy dose of brain fade I clocked in a minute early, it’s ok I’m on a roll!
Seventh Check, 1 lap 40 minutes: Plenty of time to wind it down and bring it home until just entering the MX track the bike spluttered and died, I had only forgotten to put some fuel in the tank all day, as I said I’m on a roll. Still had reserve to rely on and was hoping it would be enough to last the 5 estimated remaining miles (Peter Moller measured the lap as 7 miles according to his odometer), went into fuel conservation mode just in case, not that I needed to worry as there was more than a cup full left.
Again Sidcup and District Motorcycle club run another excellent event with a track that tested all classes.
Result = 13th