What can i say...arrived at Tidworth Tank range for the SETRA Tidworth Hare n Hounds at 0730 and it was bitterly cold at minus 3, i jumped out straight away and tried to climatise myself and unloaded bike and stuff whilst Erika sorted her camera stuff out as she was SETRA's official photographer for the day www.teamsnapper.co.uk, Had a bit of company as Shane Babey and Keith Workman were riding as well.
Signed on and scrutineered and my fingers were totally numb through the cold, briefing done and my start time was 10.06 same as Shane...albeit that was the only time i saw him again lol. My object was to finish first and foremost and secondly to not fall off as much and try to concentrate a bit more.
I do like the staggered starts that SETRA do as so safe and controlled and not a mad panic into first corner, it was still minus 3 at the time of start and i think most riders were frozen before the off. I took first lap nice and steady as ground was not just frozen but as hard as hell and being so slippery each crash was going to hurt, the chalk hill climbs were very tricky, the course was 5.2 miles and catching so many riders out but i myself seemed to be ok and never fell off once on any of the climbs, there were many Tank ruts which you approached side on which meant jumping them and this again caught out the day dreamers. It was such a high concentration course due to the many hazards alongside the freezing conditions.
I crashed twice on lap 2 with rear wheel sliding out on the ice, both were hard landings but ok, the large pools of ice were breaking up which meant lots of water which was being dragged along and freezing so each lap became even more slippery, lots of riders were pit stopping just to try and get some feeling back into their hands. I came off again on lap three when i swerved to miss REME rider Andrew Marriott and went tumbling down a steep incline breaking my hand guard and slicing my arm open on the hard ground, took me a while to recover and fell off again twice on same lap on the icy surface as rear wheel kicked out luckily the landings were not too hard, a very open course so plenty of room for the fast riders to pass.
Stopped for fuel on lap 5, which only took a minute or two, after lap 6 i noticed the time and had 20 minutes to do that lap in, which was going to be tight. I really tried hard to up the tempo and promptly crashed about 20 yards from timing boards, which was not a good start to last lap. Kept talking to myself and was doing ok until i miss judged a tank rut and went straight over the bars leaving my bollocks on the filler cap.... it was so bloody painful and knew i was hurt but i had to finish and did not want last lap not to count. With all the will in the world, i picked myself up and rode probably the next 4 miles the best that i have ever ridden and made time check with 4 minutes to spare. My smile when i hit the timing beam said it all... i seriously really enjoyed and am still smiling ...and the bonus is i finished 2nd in class with 7 laps (only 2 of us in sportsman class did 7 laps), there were 45 riders in sportsman class.
In case any of you are concerned about my block and tackle injury...am off to Docs tomorrow as peeing a bit of blood....things we do for fun eh !!!!!