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West Glos & Dean Forest
Motor Cycle Club

Celebrating 64 Years of Motor Cycling 1953 - 2017

Stump Wood Hill Climb - 10th Nov 2012

Words: Matt Neale Photo: Ben Bishop

Mid November wouldn't be an obvious choice of dates for an event at Roy's but a soggy summer meant that the original date wasn't going to happen. I doubt that today is any drier but its now winter so mud is ok. As usual sun was booked and indeed turned up along with St Johns.

West Glos Stumpwood Hill Climb 2012 from Colin Jones on Vimeo. You can toggle HD to use lower quality if your machine is too slow.

A still recovering normal start field venue meant that we had to start somewhere else. At some silly time this morning, landowner Roy was out spreading gravel to give us a sizeable parking and start area in amongst his barns. I am sure that some riders wanted rain just to make the most of parking under cover.

Along with Paul Dekkers and Drew Moore I was out marking the route and arrived back at the start to see a larger than normal number of riders waiting to get going. Having spent the morning skating round the banks it was so nice to see such eager smiling faces. Rob Breakwell should have known better but the he is very good at this game.

As usual the riders briefing was brief and garbled until Colin stepped in with the bits I missed. It was even clearer when Stan and Rod cleared off or switched their engines off. Warnings about keeping off the grass were given and requests to help the less competent were also given. I shall say no more about that less I be called a miserable old git. (Again)

At the last minute I was reminded to ask for a marshal to run hill 4. Someone's Grandad, who knew nothing about this, was volunteered but then some angel in the crowd put her hand up. In less time than Stan takes to eat cake she was dragged to the signing-on table, told there was no stop watch so she would have to count, "one elephant, two elephants, twenty seven point six elephants", and do her best. One of these magic phone thingies appeared (and a magic timing App was started) and off she plodded up Barbed Wire Alley.

The layout of the route meant that everyone had to go to section 1 first. I haven't a clue what Ian Wixon, observing, thought of this as 30 something enduro bikes hit the section. I doubt most of their riders know red from blue let alone what they mean but as they were outdoing the trials riders who were trying to be clever, who cared. I didn't see anything of the action but Ian was constantly amused. I am told that a well known club member who shall remain anonymous in case his employers in the Press find out seemed to have an attraction for the fence rather than the ends cards. This may not be true but why let the truth spoil a good story.

Section 2 was a long way away over bog, hill and dale. Jim Delahay was in charge here. When we marked the section this morning Drew proved it to be easy. Even with 30 psi in the tyre he managed to get a few feet in. "Easy with less air" he said. As he is nine tenths bald anyway I could see what he was on about so the section stayed as it was to give Jim something to watch. Five's are so much more fun to write than zeros.

Over the brow on the bank was hill 1. I had marked the approach to this in a nice simple manner but judging by the mess later I guess it was too easy and riders had gone for more challenging routes. This hill is usually number 2 and easy. Obviously being promoted to number 1 had gone to its head as easy it wasn't. Stan Howitt seemed happy enough writing times in days here. Again Drew had proved that the first few yards were pushable so I fail to see the problem here. Late in the day Mike Wells was seen near the top proving that a 690 KTM can pull off on this bank, so quite why he had stopped I don't know. Ben Falconer tells me that one kind XR650 rider tried to dry the hill off for everyone. It didn't work but we didn't need the fire extinguisher as Ben has big boots. At the top of the hill the route dropped down a little bank before a pleasant trickle though the trees. Mike W was spotted sneaking around this. He told me the bike was tired and kept lying down on this trivial little bank.

Sliding along now to hill 2. This was nice and straight with the usual jump at the top. Rod Jones was in charge here. Not to pick on Ben or anything but I did wonder why a trials rider of his skills was legging like hell on the dead easy top section. I was disappointed to see no air under the bike on the top jump Ben. (We have video evidence to say he did get it dialled later. ed.) Darren Thomas showed an equal level of talent here. A skid down the field led to hill 3. Jackie Jones told me that Colin was fuming as I had changed his painfully marked out hill. Actually when Drew, Paul and I had got there, there was only one obvious way and it wasn't where Colin had meant. (What! Me! a whinging old .....? ed.) Tape had disappeared I think. We discussed it, came to a different conclusion to Colin and marked it. I watched the fast boys here. Chris Morris was showing Rob and Steve Biddle how to do it. Not bad for a BMXer! Needless to say they were not in the slightest bit bothered! Paul Dekkers was happy enough running this one I think.

Another skid down the field led to the woods and hill 4 womanned by our angel (and later Colin and Jackie Jones who sacrificed her opportunity to unwrap the cakes, giving the keys to them to Rob!!). She was near the top of the hill, miles from the start, unsighted by a variety of undergrowth yet still managed to time the fast boys bouncing off the berms and the slow ones falling down. It's not fair to pick on Ben all the time so I won't mention spotting him doing a 360 degree turn, lying down and getting up again.

Repeat this for 4 laps and that's the 2012 hill climb. Actually I don't think Ben fell off so much every lap. The fast and good riders seemed to have a great time. I am not so sure of those who came along expecting a lazy day out but it was good for the soul. I haven't got a clue who has won yet as its only 7pm but I am sure Colin will bung the results on the website soon. See you next year?

A he thanks must go to many people who made the event possible. Colin and Jackie did all the entries and paperwork, the unpleasant bit really, wandered around in the wood beforehand and marked half the hill yesterday. Colin then gave up his ride to help time hill and Jackie gave up early access to the cakes to do the same. Drew and Paul spent the morning putting up with me sending them off to make the boring bits of the route whilst I did the good bits and then stayed on to help later. Ian and Teresa Vessey organised and delivered the cakes and Anthony Moore stayed later than he needed to, to take the crumbs and table home again. I have mentioned the observers in the text. Thanks a lot. Finally a huge thanks to Roy for letting us chew his grazing up and his work with digger and chainsaw from the early hours of the day.

Last but most definitely not least thanks to Helena for putting her hand up and volunteering to do hill 4. It wouldn't have run without her.

Matt Neale, Clerk of the Course.