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Tea 'Til Nearly Dark Round 2
Written by Manny Bernardez   
Saturday, 04 July 2009

I was running late leaving work, been trying all morning to drink enough water to keep hydrated but it felt like I was on a losing battle, working in someone’s loft changing a tank in this heat you could count as inhumane torture, sweating more than I could drink…now there’s a lovely image.

Skipping my breakfast so I could finish early, first thing I did when I got home was wash the bike which was still dirty from Sunday’s gruelling P.M.C.R.C, 5 hour H & H. A quick change of rear wheel and a casual once over it was straight in the van, down the motorway for the 35 minute drive to Bagshot.

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At signing on SoM Al Cook was trying to wind me up saying the Over 40 were now going to start behind the Sportsmen but I wasn’t biting, my little internet winging campaign to get the Over 40’s to start after the Experts and before the Clubman finally bearing some fruit, hopefully the SEEC will follow suit. A big thanks to Team REME to be the first to implement it.

Walking round the first mile with Simon Beken we both agreed we never seen Bagshot so dry, plumes of dust getting kicked up by our feet, even the big puddles had receded drastically, not that we went anywhere near them but they did look very inviting. The track so far looked very tight, always a bit deceptive until you ride it and was a lot longer than the previous round at around the 10k mark.

I was a bit worried about starting the WRF 250 in gear because the clutch had developed quite a bit of drag after the 5 hour, during the warm up I had a test start and it fired up first kick. With the Expert’s leaving in a large cloud of dust Al dropped the flag for the Over 40 start, my first kick only lurched the bike forward by the time a had several kicks, found neutral and used the starter I was nearly dead last.

Picking my way through the pack in the heavy dust I started to come across Clubmen who must have cut a chunk out of the course, not clearing some of them until well into the second lap. Apart from the dust the course was a cracker, much slower and technical than the first round which in the conditions was a good thing, once I knew where I was going the lap times tumbled from 1st lap 21 minutes to low 18’s.

Witley young gun Aaron Smith (Clubman) was just behind me keeping me focused, even heard him shout “Oi Palmer!” in reference to the name that’s on my jersey, as it was a fight for overall position he would have to get past me the hard way or eat my dust. Apparently I roosted him so bad on one of the climbs that he had to stop to clean out his eyes, rather you than me mate LOL.

With less than half a hour to go I caught up with rider number 4, when I started to feel a large vibration coming from the back wheel, like the mouse was breaking up, this developed into a real bad weave and I had no choice to slow up to trail pace. On one of the fire roads I looked down and could see the right tyre bead was off the rim, the rim lock the only thing keeping it in place. It was a bit heartbreaking to watch riders go past after the effort put in, while being ginger on the throttle to at least get a finish.

Managed to get in for the extra lap and just gave it the berries as I had nothing to lose. Got taken out by a Clubman that moved the wrong way as I was trying a overtake, then I barged into him going down again when I got another move wrong, sorry mate. Run out of petrol just at the start of the difficult hill and was reaching down to put it into reserve when an Expert slammed into the back of my arm (nice bruises)…so not a complete uneventful lap. At the finish I could not believe when I looked at the rear tyre that it had gone back into place, a shinny polished rim the only evidence.

Got to say a big thanks to Team REME for another excellent event, entry forms are now out for Round 3. Also got to say thanks to Shaun Smith for mending my camera lead.

Class Result = 2nd
Overall = 20th

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