Trail Rides

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Upcoming Trail Ride Event

Mar 28 2021 - 15:00
Llandovery (SA20 0NB Wales)
Llanerchindda Farm, Cynghordy

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Human beings

Homo Sapiens on motorbikes  
To please everyone is mission impossible …
(I know, I try this every day for the past 3 decades in my profession)
 We all more or less comes to a motorcycle gathering/meeting with
too often some idealistic ideas of what we would wish to happen, to see, to hear and to enjoy…
For example…
A good vinduro weekend, where ever is organised ….
That takes far more than your eyes and hears can gaze or scrutinize
The land, the woods, the machineries to clear that special path,
 the hundreds of small wooden posts and miles of track tape, the ambulance, the caterer, the paperwork’s and the marshals….
We tend to forget that actually, theses organisers are structured from a team of Volunteers, friends and families….
More like artistry, the reasons are not lucrative, but it’s satisfying, hopefully rewarding and …Like someone I knew used to say….. “Pleased to please!”
We are no more in the 70’s & 80’s when this recreational sport was in full bloom and sponsors were queuing, as well of thousands of paying spectators ….
Now we have each other’s …if I may say it that way!?
Yes! Us ….the 4-6 times a year riding on our vintage machines,
the mix & match of riders, the mechanics minded, the ones that love period gears “stuck in the seventies” or the real racers at hearts…
Well it does not matter…we all wants to ride before it’s too late, ..…don’t we?
So, let’s have a thought for the ones that allow us to enjoy these moments
From the four corners of UK, across the channel or even if it happens on a different planet ….
Big thanks to all of you
 “Organisers and volunteers”
Some facts that we do not to talk about….
But I do, because in think not been the only one.
So, what I am mumbling about?
Let’s put it into context, some of us are riding from the late seventies, from our loved mopeds to scramblers and then proper enduro machines later on…
But equally some of us did stop to ride these events, for multitudes of reasons, family & work commitment probably the common ones...
 Then, when life and career seems to be a little more comfortable,
We do start again….Because????
First the hunt for a bike, maybe the one our eyes were gazing in those years and could not afford, maybe now?
Then follow the purchase of the riding gears (as probably, even if we still have somewhere used ones hidden in the loft, it’s unlikely we can fit inside)
And with the fabulous asset that is internet and few connections, we… with minimum hesitation send our first Enduro or H&H entry to the organisation….great!
From that moment, here we go, nostalgia overflow, optimism is high and we just hope to open a white envelope few weeks after with an acceptance and a race number…
Whooaaa, then as we all experienced, when you stick a race number on your machine
it takes to a different dimension…  
So, far so good… we email to our friends, try to gather few alike, which will be of comfort
We buy the gears and discover that the modern boots are hard as rock, the body protector is not that comfy either (of course that did not even exist 25 years ago…..) the helmet maybe an issue (thinking having a period look…but we need the Bl**** stamp to make it race legal) and all the rest is an equal dilemma ….but we get all newly dressed for action
That will be until your first rally or very muddy event, and then you start again,
 need more waterproofs, seal skin socks, more gaffer tape,
and a second pair of goggles…
And we become partly “shareholder” with a well known UK chemist…. We over purchase pain killer, talc, smoothing cream, eyes wash, and …. Rolls of bandages & plasters
OK, are we ready?
Not yet….. The bike….the beast!
 We already spent hours trying to fix it, restore it, and it looks good, new chain, new tyres,
 new decals etc… lets rocks & roll…
Still not yet!, that will be fine for A to B....
 collecting the newspaper from the village (even if the noise will let you down a bit) ….BUT, if we are talking our kind of first “race” for Machine & Man… we need to revise a lot some kind of “bounding” with the beast!

The front & rear shocks are the most important, the handlebars position,
the little add on we place like the “old time” the spare cable ties, the tools,
the time card holder, the lights that needs to work for most serious enduro,
even the 10 foot long rope, just in case… and the old plastic watch

(Yes the one you stole from your kid because the strap is slightly broken,
great, it will be perfect for the handlebars cross pad  )

All fitted, tested and few trails nearby, allowing us to think we are now ready
Bring it on!
Few days before the event, the moral is superb, few emails exchanged and we are “on top of the world”… we are looking forward so much its nearly excruciating …..
Trailer or van….checked
Gears, petrol cans, folding seat….√
Snacks, drinks, tools, spares, sleeping stuff ….√
Paperwork, directions, entry form ….√
Bike is strapped properly ….√ 
 (Even better on an open trailer, everyone will see your clean weapon
with the race numbers on…yeh man…!)
 Travel and accommodation
Well that one is different to most of us….is it?
Long journey, but its all fine, radio on, someone to share the conversation (yes I will do this…and that…, I remember when…… I used to…..etc.…)
At last we arrive to discover the “venue”… the paddock
Smiles all around when shaking hands with some good friends, even some individuals that you never meet but contacted via “The forum” … Hi…are you…? Nice to meet you bla bla bla…. oh yes I heard about you …..Huummm!
Then only interrupted by the organiser or his entourage (if not that would have been an endless chat about everything and nothing from tales to preferred bikes…)
So, that now we get into the groove, we need to go to scrutiny,
we queue a bit, but that make all “official”
  Frankly, we all like it! Kind of reassurance that we prepared the “Machine” it’s gratifying!
And last before the stars appears in darkness,
 Few of us are dealing with an occasional situation, far from our cosy bed,
 The sleeping bag, the foam mattress and depending the season, abundant layers of blankets…
What a day that was already….now a bit of foodstuff and some good beers….
and lots of speculation about tomorrow…
The “race”
For some it will be….a race. For other it will be a challenge just to finish it….whatever!
Time card filled, tank full, we approach the start area, lessoning to the last briefing and then…
 Let’s be honest….. lot of us, even the experienced ones… we still get some butterfly in our stomach
and still dread the following few minutes…..we do not know why?, we do not need to know, we just
engage with the situation and this particular atmosphere and we all think too much
(the bike, would it start? …the sky is getting darker….
why do I sweat already so much? what I am doing here?...)
  3-4 riders in a row…. the last few seconds of stress…
We announce your number and your name (that is nice and bring a bit of exaltation) and from now on…
your brain switch off, you look left to right at your competitors, maybe say something nice
(the same thing you expect to hear anyway… good luck mate!) ,
then one foot on your kick start and
…….. 5-4-3-2-1- whoaaa….

 YES! It’s all fine…… deliverance! 
Here we go, few twist of the throttle and now we are OK ….
Whatever circuit you are on, you will find a mix of joy and a bit of anguish…
The ruts, the thick mud, the up hills that were fine on lap one, but now …. ourgh!
The ditches seem getting deeper and larger…… only god knows why…?
OK, we tend to overcome all that, at least for the first 2 hours, then ….
Either you are very fit and competitive……. then the following will bore you a bit…
So, bye-bye and thank you…..
Or carry on reading
(Probably distancing yourself…. no that cannot be like me!)
We are now in the middle of the dense forest, nearly in first and sometime second gear,
fighting with the bare roots and low brushwood…
But you get tired, so tired in fact you start to lose control of the bike, mainly the front end,many times over, then you finish up in the twigs, stall the bike…, you then lean on the handlebars and takes 1 minute of heavy breathing and try to recoup you heart pulse and most of all your head in sequence
Before you curse me by saying that is what enduro is all about…. I know!
That is just a scenario
What can be said, could not describe the entire course or different events the outcome is often the same….
 The main factor is not only the ruts, the ditches, the special test, the deep mud and all the rest….
Already lucky the motorbike runs well, actually …very well and that may be even more of an annoyance…. no excuses!
So, what wrong with few of us in these circumstances…
Simply not fit enough!
Then come rushing in your head the displeasing thought that you been ridicule,you know better than that, you were riding far better than that, but it’s is a lost battle, it’s your body that conflict with your head, both wanted to give up…..
OK, you finished the event, you are kind of semi satisfied to “save the day”
But the next few days are the one to haunt you
Your classification is rubbish, your whole body ache and you start to wonder if you can cope with more of this punishment …
Well …. I let you find your answers,
 one thing is sure...we still can try it!
 Mine was simply to admit to myself that my days are gone, and I still will ride my motorbike in rallies, enduro, trail riding and more, but I would have to reconsider the level of fitness and psychologically concede that for the next “events” ….
I must be happy to take part and ride as I can without embarrassment
I must be happy to take part and ride as I can without embarrassment
I must be happy to take part and ride as I can without embarrassment
I must be happy to take part and ride as I can without embarrassment
Than you to read my confession
I just hope I am not the only one   
No magic ones…. But at least for next year
I will plan (with precious help from great friends!)
 some “Fun Days Out”
Maybe one this year but cannot promise….
That will be a mix of gathering with good friends and practice days…
Some in Wales, some in the Midlands… or else, and most of them will be on closed circuit
So, the guys that have precious bikes and do not want to waste them too quickly
The riders that are returning to off road and wish to get acquainted with the above story…without too much of it!
The endurist, the scramblers, the debutants, the “oldish” one,
The good the bad and the ugly ….that will be me! all in one  
You are welcome, we will have along 1-2 experts, and we all benefit
of their experiences with maximum fun.
So, catch up with you soon on this matter
Out of the blue
Just imagine the scenario
You restore a motorcycle with love & care
Not for how competitive it will be but most of all the looks,
the presence, and what it represent…
An era that carries strong relation with Mr Penton and a famous 3 letter name
And that will not be SWM …..for once….
After few months, the end result is still eye catching, but you needed to work on another project…because the fun is all into renovating a wreck back to former glory.
Then it gets advertised …just to tempt the crowd….that will be on the most famous multi coloured website that cover the entire planet for the past ten years!
You know ...the one with bids, and 100’s of watchers, and many silly questions…
So, I tried but it did not work out, I kind of knew it and very few are adept and capable to understand why a 1977/78 machine can apart you of more than £3000 
 Ok, no worries, I have my own website, and even if it’s not yet stretched as much as I wished (short of time….) and the quantity of readers is marginal,
it will fill up some space and look good in the sale folder.
And quality is better than quantity if you get my drift!
That gets the purists, the attentive ones that can at least relate of the hours spent into a cold garage and the value added to the original stack of rust to become no more a curiosity but something we dare ask
Can I come to see it?
Huummm …..That will involve few chosen questions to try to establish the genuineness of the potential buyer or maybe headache…
Someone come to see my KTM (yes...I tell you all the way it happened)
That will be a bit late on a Sunday evening as he travel from quite far down south
Actually a very nice chap, it did not take any effort to make the deal, he is very happy with the bike and what he saw (that will be the KTM starting first time many times and running beautifully!)
So, a good hand check and that is the end of the story!
Hold on, not at all!
Then you get lucky to be exposed in a monthly magazine (TBM)
Several emails … 4 to be precise did ask me the same question
Is the bike still for sale, I am interested!
Even one guy was from France
(the perfect type of buyer, not because he comes from the other side of the channel, which will complicate the deal, but the fact he is a KTM collector….)
I have to email back to all ...... sorry the bike is sold!
That is not uncommon and it’s until 3 days after,
 another email asking about the bike
A surprising one….From the cherished Isle of Man!
YES! A Bombshell in my PC and now very much in my head!
This person enquiring about the “old Penton” and making clear he fancies it
 to probably join a collection of the same…..
(You will understand quickly his relation with KTM)
Not your average anonymous correspondence that you can just ignore….
So who?
Mr David Knight
 (Now officially called “Sir”)
A fourth time world Champion, Indoor Champion, and more ….
A list of victories that would takes too much place on this topic
Trust me when I write that it did create me enough of a dilemma as I replied
Sadly for you and me, the bike is already sold!
But this time around, it was uneasy and nearly unreal ….
How do I miss a chance like that to sell one of my bikes to a world Champion????
That will be “Philippe’s misfortunes”
You cannot win them all!
Beauval “Social gathering”
9th September 2011
For the ones that been over the years to Beauval en Caux for the “Classic enduro”,
Just to read the title bring already a grin mixed with a bit of melancholy
Yes indeed, this annual meeting was so popular that even if it’s in the “cider” area of North West France, it was a full pack of UK rider’s years after years…
Then 2 years ago already, Mr Fabrice Bazire shocked us by announcing his will to stop these events…
Too complicated to organised as he put it…and most of all wanted to “come back” to his first love (that will be after Marion of course!)….
Some good scrambler get-together, most of all are English machines
This autumn was the first “reunion” and Fabrice did invite some selected “old friends”
So, I was not there, but Mike Wylie was riding it and on a SWM…Great!  
The weather was unfortunately not as promising as the entourage
Thanks to Mike emails that made this feature possible
So, mud and more mud it will be!
Oh Yes! it's look fantastic, the bike, even the Polo-shirt..... and then....
That's what you call commitment!
I've been riding at Beauval in all its various guises since the early years,
and was delighted to be asked by Fabrice to attend a more “social “ event this year.
Heading south from Edinburgh I was aware the forecast for the coming weekend didn't look good and on arrival in Dieppe this was confirmed, dark skies and pretty cold.
Saturday was much the same as we arrived at the circuit where we were given our usual warm welcome from Fabrice and Marion.
The track builders were just breaking for food, so, after a large Pastis, we were treated to a lovely BBQ lunch!  The track was taking shape and looked excellent, much the same as last year’s scramble and similar to the enduro special test.
If only the weather would hold out but it was already starting to rain. Undeterred by this, Fabrice’s band of willing helpers carried on tirelessly and finished what was to be a fantastic track.
Saturday night historically hosts the meal and this year was no different.
Two huge pans appeared and three cooks soon began rushing between them preparing choucroute for somewhere in the region of 120 hungry mouths. With plenty of beer and wine on tap the noisy party continued well into the wee hours. 

Sunday morning saw us wakened by the noise of rain, again,
 and the paddock was surprisingly quiet. As there was to be no proper racing, bikes were slow to appear on the track to do ' what you like, when you like ' but eventually around 50 riders took up the challenge and enjoyed their bike time at various intervals.
A couple of outfits from the UK were having fun but looked to be finding the conditions hard work. The rain never really stopped, if I remember correctly, with some showers heavier than others. By now the track was cutting up quite badly with the various burn crossings becoming deeply rutted and hills becoming increasingly slippery with not everyone managing to reach the top, such was the extent of the mud.
Corners were being cut by some and sections of the track missed out by others in order to make for an easier time.
I've never owned a two stroke before and had no idea how much fuel it would use , so it wasn't long before my supply was used up , which meant I could take a much needed rest under the shelter of the awning .
The big trees which used to provide the backdrop to the paddock and some natural shelter
 have been cut down, which is a shame really as the field no longer has the same feel about it. C'est la vie!
 Riding continued for another hour or so before bringing a most enjoyable weekend to a close.
Monday morning was spent dismantling the marquee and generally tidying up, before more Pastis, wine, charcuterie etc etc… and then, for us, back to Dieppe for the ferry and the long drive home.
Thanks must once again go to Fabrice and Marion, and all their helpers for a wonderful weekend. A fantastic effort indeed!
words by Mike Wylie

"Photo of the month"
That will be me cleaning/de-carbonising
some old silencers
OK, I have now find a more appropriate metal drum than a old wheelbarrow
but it was a priority...at that time!  
"The way it was !"
No, that is not the young Philippe!
but my nepfew on my favourite bike i used to race in 1979
a SWM 240 early TF1
He is now in his mid 30's and a gendarme
The bike with AV on it, meant that is was for sale as it was in South West of France
Yes... a long time ago!
Sorry! No "Ten minutes interview with" .....this month  
did send severals questionaires to vinduro aquaintances
but no luck!
I cannot do magic! ....unfortunately!
So, in this newsletter, it has been Ups & Downs
A bit of psychology that I wanted to share with you
Kind of downloading
Thanks for reading and do please send to me anything that can be shared....
Bye for now, Philippe.