After doing the Foxwell Enduro last year with Swindon and District Motorcycle Club which was very enjoyable both for myself riding and Erika photographing we were very keen to make sure I got a place for the famous Corinium Enduro that sells out within days of entry opening. After early mornings, checking their website daily, i managed to get that all-important entry in and so we were sorted...i was going to ride and Erika as usual was photographing.
The Enduro itself is based at Cirencester Park, which is part of the Bathhurst Estate and part of the 10000 acres of parkland. Even if you are not the best of riders, the scenery and wildlife will captivate your attention. Come the day we left at 5am, arrived just after 7am, and met with one of the organisers Sandra Wooster who had kindly done a map, riders list, and helper’s food voucher, and her husband Keith (Clerk of the Course) had found the perfect spot at the end of a nice jump for Erika to photograph.
As riders started to arrive it was quite clear how much of a favourite this event is as all people we had spoken to had done it many times in the past. We met up with several friends of ours that were riding, Euan Harrison (Expert), Chris Stanger (Clubman O40), Dan Lawry (Expert), Dan Brundell (Clubman), Timothy Tubb (Clubman O40) to name a few. I myself was riding in sportsman class and the lap mileage was 23 miles, which had two special tests, one being a motocross type special test and the second being quite long, more technical, and extremely fast in sections. As a sportsman, i had 3 laps, 1st lap to be done in 80 minutes, 2nd lap in 75 and 3rd in 70. My start time was 10.29 and everyone was set off in groups of 4 every minute. The organisation and set up for such a big event was superb and for a course 23 miles long the markings were fantastic and probably the best marked course i have seen so far in my short enduro career.
My first lap I led the group away, found myself on my own for probably 10 – 12 miles, and then caught up with the odd slower rider. Due to the expanse of the course, overtaking was not really much of a problem except for in some of the tight woods. The only problem i encountered which i did every lap was a small quarry you dipped into and had to climb up a small cliff face that was all rocky and i didn’t clear it once without having to get off the bike and waste loads of time and energy. I did the 1st lap in 60 minutes, which was 20 minutes early so had a drink and refuelled blah blah. However on my 2nd lap i had to do the 2 special tests which i did in my opinion fantastic and i don’t think at my current level i could have done any better and made the full lap in 54 minutes which gave me enough time to fuel the bike and myself again.
On the last lap i was going great guns and felt really confident and was overtaking the slower tired riders quite effortlessly until i hit about 12 miles in and it was like i hit a wall and my hands struggled to grip the handle bars, and my backside felt so sore and overall my body had had enough which wasn’t surprising as i had been quite poorly throughout the previous week and i think it was catch up time. I soldiered onto the finish and made it in 56 minutes but i can honestly say that i could not have done another lap if i had to.
The event was over and Erika was waiting at the van with a cup of tea, a smile, and encouraging hug (despite the sweatiness of me). It has to go down as my favourite venue without a shadow of a doubt and so look forward to the Foxwell later in the year which is set in the same venue but a shorter course of 12/13 miles. It was not until i saw the results 2 days later that i discovered that i had ridden better than i had imagined and a podium place in 3rd was mine and considering the sportsmans class was the biggest i am still smiling now whilst typing this. As usual my beloved Midwest (Team snapper) Husaberg ran faultlessly the whole time although has come back missing a hand guard.