What a fantastic 4hour Hare and Hounds event put on by the REME guys from Bordon, the organisation skills are second to none and it really showed today with such detail in the course, i myself am an ex Royal marine and i will never call the REME boys soft anymore as the course was very hard and had every conceivable hazard.
The Start was wide and long which went into a tight left into a tight wooded section which opened out into an open space which zig zagged up to the pit area where you had choice of extreme section or the chicken route which was 25 seconds longer. The extreme section was well thought out and had various hazards to test all skill levels. The course then went through tight woods which eventually turned into some superb forest trails with hazards everywhere and it really was a high level concentration course at all times. The climbs, which were steep, were covered in very deep ruts, which made them tough and many a rider went down, there was several of these climbs on the course.
There was a long whoop section, which was WHOOPY to say the least and caught a few riders out, some very tricky trial like bits which were slow but needed total concentration and the skill of trial riders. A few short sections of the fire roads were used which made for some very fast riding, the guys from REME had the usage of the other side of Bagshot, which is rarely used and to get there we went under a tunnel (Below M3 Motorway). What a cracking bit of forest land it was full of climbs and tight trails, there was a couple of boggy sections but nothing to deep or troublesome, the course was just a tad over 7 miles and very well marked and i personally never saw any course cutting due to clear markers and plenty of working static marshals.
I was entered in the Sportsman class and as I had finished last 2 events with good results my object was to finish this event especially as being a 4 hour one. Kaka and i got to venue just after 0700 and had good laugh and chat with our good friends at REME especially Andy, Al, Tony, Jason and Tommy then met up with Manny and Simon, sadly Manny decided not to ride due to rib injury. Then the masses started to arrive and Kaka gets very excited in seeing Team Snapper hoodies all over the place and bikes with Team Snapper stickers on. I don’t dare tell her what excites me (Hee Hee), was also good to catch up with Dan Beaven who was there helping out as been under the weather of late and did not want to risk his recuperation by riding. I then helped my club LFB (London Fire Brigade) set up their gazebo which was going to be my base over the next few hours.
The start went well and was in the top 10 in the first bend and then proceeded to drop the Husaberg at the first small log, which lost me many places and saw my arch rival or nemesis Big john Anderson leave my view. I eventually got into a rhythm and found myself catching some riders, the course was very technical and had to have high concentration to notice all the hazards of which there were many, had another 2 small offs on the first lap but glad to see the check point. Lap 2 and 3 i was very steady and made some good progress and was doing 25 minute laps, lap 4 and 5 were nightmares and i must thank the Husqvarna rider who kept letting me past and then a little further on was passing me as i crashed yet again. This happened 4 or 5 times and he must have thought what a knob i was, he really was Mr polite on the track and to be fair i was quite comfortable following him. I came in for fuel at the end of lap 5 and still felt fit and steady, had a good break of 8 minutes and off i went again.
There was a very steep climb that had deep roots exposed and i had been riding my luck by being aggressive and going over them using momentum and balls only ... not this time as i lost some momentum going up and got sent flying and took a heavy tumble that broke the hand guard and snapped the brake lever, ripped out 3 spokes. Took me a few minutes to be composed again and had to ride back down and re attempt the hill which i did with gusto. The incident definitely affected my rhythm as I really struggled to find it again, although in certain areas i seemed to be riding well and then other areas it all went to pot. Kept plodding away and had some great encouragement from the REME boys , had a nice little battle for half a lap with club mate and friend Zade Alassad which prob pushed me a little beyond my capabilities, that resulted in another crash and Zade did not need any encouragement to pass, although he ran over me in the process (Love ya Z). I also got in Expert rider Dave Taylors way, which threw me off track but my fault not Dave’s. My last lap ...lap number 9 was hard...really hard all my crashes seemed to have caught up with me as picking up the Husaberg so many times was very energy sapping, i dropped the beast 5 times on the last lap alone and my total crashes for event was 13...anyway i finished and enjoyed immensely and Kaka had a good day behind the camera, so great day all round.