West Glos & Dean Forest
Motor Cycle Club

Celebrating 66 Years of Motor Cycling 1953 - 2019

Mercian H&H 25th May 2008

Words by Steve Biddle. and Colin Jones

Colin's Report from the timing truck

With any luck this may be the last time Jackie and I have to sit inside for nearly 4 hours. OK, so for this event it meant we were one of the few who were still dry. Why last time, you ask? well a new timing system is on its way to Mercian thanks to support from the Western Centre. We had a wonderful view all day of the waves of rain blasting across our horizon with background of pines swaying more like a corn field.

Clerk of Course Phill Hodges and his team had set out a fabulous course. Glenn, who had been out helping layout on previous weekends, reported that it felt more like 10 miles than 7. A big thanks to Andrew Knapman and his mates who passed on their knowledge from previous events at the venue and helped out with marshalling.

With all the rain and wind plus me hurting my back the previous day at our club's Trailbike trial, we didn't get chance to double check through the pits to see who was in the wrong boxes/classes, so the provisional results showed a few errors up. Actually spotting the numbers coming through wasn't too bad as the rain was washing the front plates clean enough, however, there are still a few who don't read the regs and made their numbers as hard to read as possible. There were at least 3 out there using silver duct tape which is rubbish with light shining on it, and also I'd remind you of the ruleas about coloured backgrounds etc! In case you are reading this guys, if a group of riders come in together and the two of us are struggling to write down the numbers and times then the hardest to read may well get missed. You will have wasted that lap.

Looks like we had some success with our own club members. Steve came in 2nd on his first event on the new 250 KT with 7 laps (His old 450 is for sale). Pete Neale put in a superb performance winning the Trail class and that is not because there were only 2 entrants but because he paced himself perfectly, only varying by 90seconds over all of his 6 laps and beating so many sportsmen and clubmen in the process (Including Gavin Bailey who was 3 minutes adrift). Martin Howitt came 2nd in the Clubman 2/S class on 5 laps. Dave Pinney was also on 5 having a good ride. Bill's son Will Brown out in his first HH got a complete lap in and a fair bit of experience for the next event. James Wilden also only got one lap in but was frustrated by a newly installed hot camshaft which obviously needs some more setting up to get the best out of it. Mike Wells managed 5 laps the same as his son Arron but stuck with it to the end to claim a finish when Arron didn't. Of Arron's mates, also 17'ish, only Kingsley Bower finished with 6 laps while Nathan Etheridge retired on 3. Craig Ruck persevered to get 4 laps in. Both Steve Venn and Sam Wilson retired on 3 and 2 respectively which was a surprise.

Well done guys and don't forget to keep in touch as Glenn will need some help setting our August Enduro out.

Steve's Report from the saddle

Just like to congratulate Gail and Phill and all the team on running a brilliant event on Sunday the best I've done in ages, really enjoyed it. The different terrain used was excellant, you had everthing from feilds, woods, ditches, disused barns, small quarry, ponds, motocross track. Fair play to whoever set out the track, first class. We all know the weather was bad but they still did a good job.

I had a good start, 3rd into first corner then got into woods and managed to get out in front and started to pull away, but then took a wrong turn and 3 got back past me, then when we got to the big hill with the rocky path at bottom, 2 riders went straight down over and the rest of us went round, don't know what happened to them then they were gone. So I had one rider in front of me now. Unfortunately for him he went down really hard in the quarry and I couldn't help but to hit his bike, I thought I had bust a tyre or rim, I really hit it hard but managed to stay on. I looked back to make sure he was okay and he'd got back on his bike. I got stuck in from then on with no problems at all.

Fueled up at half way point and straight out and kept same pace. I passed a lot of riders stuck in the woods, it did get a bit cut up after a while but it was all rideable. About an hour from the end I lost all my front brake, the lever came right to bars and my back brake was then starting to fade as well, then disaster - I came into the left hander before the steep hill and overshot a bit and cartwheeled into the ditch, luckily I'd just overtaken Craig Jones and he helped me back up and back on and let me go back in front so a big thank you to him. I eased down the pace for the last lap, didn't want to lose it all just for that. My overtime shows 1min 40secs so I would have probably got another lap in if my brakes hadn't failed.

Brillant day loved it. The rest of the guys said the same. James had problems with his bike and he was gutted, Craig Ruck, who came down with me, done well as this was only about his 4th event, he's been out practicing with me and if he sticks it out I think he will do okay. I think I will be sticking with the new KTM, good bike apart from the brakes. I hope we go back to that track again. Oh and thanks to Viv, he picked me some good lines.