|Me, Mark Lucas (59) & Steve Leyshon (91) at the start|
With the factory turning out at Red Marley I was on my own for this one. Penny and I were on the road early with NT410 in the back and despite the Bank Holiday traffic, we were in Thatcher’s Cider factory shop by 0900 where we picked up twenty litres of
|Exiting the stream for the mudbank|
of Sub 5
Signing on was a piece of cake and I picked up my First Class award from the Dartmoor 2 day classic back in September 2013 which consisted of a intricately engraved crystal glass. At the pre-ride briefing we were instructed that the day would consist of three laps of twelve sections and we were set off in number order by Bill Hartnell in groups of three riders at one minute intervals. Riding the Clubman route I was obliged to start at Sub 4 which eased you in with a steep climb up a loose and root-laden bank with a couple of steps in for good measure. Fortunately, there was plenty of grip to be had and my worn rear tyre coped admirably. Pete Meeson’s Sub 5 began as a rock stream however, we turned out of it and exited through a mud flat before a couple of turns up and over a bank at the base of the steep wooded slope. I selected second gear but the mud rode surprisingly well and I was able to get the big Matchless through with a quick blip of the throttle.
By far the most challenging section was Clive Causer’s Sub 6 which was a deep, tight and uphill ravine out of the stream. Barely wide enough for a BSA Bantam it was a really technical section and when you exited the ravine there was a steep, greasy bank to negotiate. This was really tricky and I took a lot of time to watch a few go through which paid off and I was pleased with my pair of dabs and a clean on the last lap. The rock gully of Sub 7 caused little trouble but a couple of tight turns in the rock strewn gulley of Sub 8 caught a few of the unwary out. Mike Holloway’s Sub 9 was entitled Cold Slab and if you got it wrong that’s exactly what you were greeted with! The big rock steps coupled with some rather unforgiving algae were cruel to those that lost concentration and I was pleased to have cleaned this on each visit.
|The Cold Slab section|
Dave Fisher’s Sub 10 proved to be quite tricky. A steep drop into the stream and an immediate left turn over the shale in the stream bed led to a steep climb topped with an old log. Turning back into the stream again we were faced with two big steps before a greasy exit up a bank to the track. Again, I took my time to work out the entry and was pleased to have got it right however, on my first time through, inexplicably, NT410 got caught on the second rock step and I was thrown over the handlebars for a maximum. This somewhat ruined my day’s score and hurt like hell but I didn’t repeat the incident on subsequent visits.
The rock gully of Sub 11 led to a massive step and tight ravine which looked impossible however, everyone seemed to fly up there and I was no different. I got my weight to the rear, rode the preceding burm and blipped NT410 up the step diving forward to transfer my weight to the front of the bike for the next tight turn and out of the root laden exit. Sub 12 was a traditional mud and root combination that demanded respect and I was genuinely pleased to have come through this one unscathed. After a long ride I got to Sub 1 which was a long, deep gully filled with rocks and mud which, surprisingly, rode really well but I guess that was due to my care and attention rather than being an easy section. Sub 2 was another eye-opener; a tricky entry over greasy roots led to a deep mud plateau and a log hazard to get over. Fortunately, NT410 handled this one really well but it was no picnic. Similarly, Sub 3, a long steep gulley with big, loose rocks in it was quite fearsome but I selected second gear, maintained good speed and cleaned it on all three visits.
|Concentrating hard in Sub 11|
This was a friendly and really well thought out trial on some cracking ground. Despite 48% of the entry being Twinshock machines, the Clubman route was spot on for a big Pre-Unit bike and much credit must be given to the course plotters who resisted the urge to focus solely on the Twinshock bikes and tighten things up.
Thanks to all the observers who marked our cards and to the land owner Gilbert Cummings for his kind generosity in allowing the club to use this wonderful piece of ground and for his continued support for this great event.
|Back into the water in Sub 7|
Overall, Day One was tough but very enjoyable. My inexplicable maximum in Sub 10 cost me dear and I finished 2= on seven marks lost when two should’ve been par. Nevertheless, as we headed off for our overnight accommodation near Lynton I was reasonably pleased with my efforts at my first Exmoor Classic trial however; slightly daunted by tales of the big rocks of Day two I opted for an early night!!
Next up: Day Two at Shallowford Farm, Barbrook.
|Mid point log in Sub 10|