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Offline redbikejohn

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Dirt bikes in wales - ride report from the UK.
« on: September 22, 2006, 05:31:01 pm »
Welsh Trip ? The first Day.

Well our trip to Wales was a great success, but not without incident (more of which later).
Scott_rider and Myself (RBJ) had travelled down on Monday afternoon and were in the pub while Pete and Tyron (two South African lads that I had previously met up on the Ridgeway) were still on the way down, in fact we were in bed when they eventually arrived as it was gone twelve, (fair play to the B&B owners, as they didn?t mind the late arrival). Andy T and his mate Mike arrived in the morning having driven up from Somerset, and enjoyed a second breakfast!
Tuesday morning had dawned wet and gloomy, completely contradicting the sunny skies and 30 deg C the previous day in the South East! Oh well it seems we are destined to ride in the wet in Wales!
While getting our gear together for the run over the Sarn Helen it quickly became clear that we would all get along fine as the p*ss taking was flying all directions!

RBJ showing Pete the day?s ride on the Map

Weapons of choice:
Pete (odd man out as his was not orange!)  ? wr/yzr 450 creation of uncertain parentage.
Tyron - ktm 450 exc
Mike ? ktm 450 exc (with a few choice mods)
Andy ? ktm 525 exc (just bought and in desert mode ie huge tank)
Scott ? ktm400 exc
John (me) ktm 450 exc

A quick petrol stop in Brecon and we were off towards the foothills of the Sarn Helen (hell with Andy T?s tank size, probably the only time he?d need to put in petrol!)
Once the helmet cam was fired up at the start of the off-road section, we set off and I took up the rear to hopefully catch some action shots.
Once we started to climb on the Sarn Helen proper we gathered at the bottom of the first climb by the small bridge.

Beginning of Sarn Helen

While not difficult this rocky climb is fun so I advised everyone to take it steady and keep going until you reach the gate. Mmm Pete must have mistaken what I said for ?go like hell? as about halfway up I came across an upside down and wrong way round wr450 with a sheepish looking Pete! Turns out he?d hit a rock a bit hard and been bounced out of the seat & pegs. When he landed his arm twisted the throttle wide open! Scott saw it happen and said he did a great superman impression by hanging onto the bike while stretched out behind, as it charged up the bank with ?super pete? hanging on! I think he let go when it was horizontal (but upside down) and was lucky that the bike did not land on him. Amazingly the bike and Pete were fine and both fired up with minimum of kicking!

Pete and his upside down wr (grabbed from helmet cam footage).

A quick breather at the gate introduced us to Pete?s exhaust straightening technique ? lay bike on ground, get your mate to stand on the bike as he (pete) stands on the exhaust end can!? Oh well - it worked!

Pete ?fixing? his exhaust pipe.

We pressed on and reached the first section of road and instead of turning right into the Plas-y-gors forest section I wanted to try out the short rupp at the next right. This turned out to be an ok ride across open grass lanes but the right fork petered out so we backtracked and turned right along another short rupp that lead down to Pennllwyn Einon. On the way we went though a gate and the lane became smaller and slightly overgrown. I paid the price of not concentrating on the job in hand ? not sure what happened but the front end crabbed in a small rut and before I knew what was happening I was on my butt in the hedge with the bike pinning me down! Not only was this a bit embarrassing but it p*ssed me off as I can?t even remember the last time I fell off.

Short RUPP near S/H

We backtracked back to the Sarn Helen proper and carried on down to the river crossing.
Wow it was so low compared to last time! (see march report).
Andy was first across and the 525 with the big tank and even bigger Andy on board made it look easy by flying up the other side without stopping (personally I think it pushes the rocks out the way or crushes those that don?t move).

Pete exiting the water

Unfortunately just about everyone else got stuck on the first step coming out of the water! Tyron and I were last across and I filmed him from behind as we both made another clean non-stop crossing giving each other the thumbs up as we reached the gate! Although one of us would be brought crashing down later when we returned!
Pressing on skirting the Coedy Rhaiader forest I kept an eye out for another rupp that is shown on the map but proved hard to find. We picked what appeared to be the correct route but the path quickly disappeared into a bog where Pete and Tyron both got a bit stuck. I made the executive decision to back track, one because I was unsure of the route and two cos I didn?t fancy going though the bog!
The steep hill just after Banwen was the next obstacle of note and everyone enjoyed the challenge, although Ballistic Pete almost flipped it cresting the top! We played on the next hill for a bit then carried on down to Neath. I was amazed how dry this section was, normally it?s wet, grass covered tracks, with plenty of puddles but it was bone dry with not a puddle in sight. We filled up with petrol and sandwiches in Neath and ate sitting on the Armco in tesco?s station. I tall blond lady with the body of death was also a customer at the time and become the subject of much discussion throughout the day!

We head back and Tyron took us on a short detour near the Banwen quarry to a series of old stone slag heaps just off the main route. These have become a local play ground for bikers judging by the routes cut into the sides.

Tyron playing on Small Hill

We road up and down and took photo?s but then we were told that there was an even bigger slope that made these look tiny! Lead on!
Yes it was a lot bigger and after some ?go on then?/ ?no - you go?, Tyron took the lead and gunned it for the top. He flew up the slope but ran out of steam just before the top and came slipping and sliding back down to the bottom. Several more attempts also failed with Pete also joining in but without being any more effective than Tyron.

Tyron and Pete contemplating how to tackle Big Hill

Mike tried a slightly different approach ? instead of using the same slope with the run up in front of it, he used one slightly to the left but with a 90?deg turn just in front. I thought he had no chance to all but to our amazement he flew up to the top! Pete and I then turned our attention to this new attack route but neither of us could mange more than a third of the climb. After four attempts and four failures I was getting a bit miffed (as well as tired) and wondered how the hell he got up there. Andy turned to me and smiling said ?did you see the article in the TBM about the Marley Red Hill-Climb, with the picture of a bloke in a union jack shirt??  Ah the penny dropped ? we had a ringer in our midst! Mike was wearing the very same shirt today. Andy also informed us that the 450 Mike was riding had shorter gearing and the wheel moved right back to increase the wheelbase.
Mike came back down the back route and gave us some advice, use second gear etc etc. ok, as I?d been using first it might help. Hey hang on your bike?s got shorter gearing equivalent to four teeth! ?Just clutch it when it starts to bog? was the reply.
I must say it went better than I thought, about half way up it was starting to bog badly and I clutched it several times after that with the front wheel climbing into the air every time. I was just about to give a cheer of success (I could already see over the top) when the front wheel touched a small bump and the bike reared up flipping over backwards! I hung on for dear life as where was no way I was allowing the bike to slide back down - I was only a bike lengths from the top! Picking it up was a problem though but Mike came to the rescue and held the front wheel while I picked the bike up and used the starter motor to fire it over the top. I had made it! Ok bit of help from Mike but I was up and that?s all that mattered to me!

RBJ on top of the world!

This spurred Tyron and Pete into a fresh attack but try as they might it just was not happening, even though it was fun to watch from the top.

Tyron Not quite making it

Tyron did get to within ten meters or so and I politely asked if he like a hand and to be honest I was relieved when he said no as getting it those last ten meters would have been a mammoth task.
Scott and Andy had so far not made any attempts and no amount of chicken noises and arm flapping could goad them into having a go. However later that night after a few drinks Andy did say that next March he would have a have a go and that he promised to clear in on the second attempt or buy Mike a Steak Dinner! I used my mobile phone to record it so there?s no backing out Mike!

Andy T crossing the river

We continued back without incident until the river crossing. Tyron?s front wheel caught a rock at an awkward angle and he tried to carry on without dabbing because he had a hole in his boot! Luckily the water was shallow and the bike went down on its right side away for the air box intake. I ran to help pick it up and we were lucky enough to get it before any water was sucked in. Now that I was in the water I posed for a photo in ankle deep water to use as a ?then and now? reference to our last waist deep crossing.

Tyron not crossing the river!

Shallow water!

The rest of the trip back passed without any whoopsies of any kind, but not for want of trying I might add! The only real downer for the day was finding out the helmet cam?s remote microphone had packed up on the hill climb tape!
I think with all the extra rupp?s and playing in the quarry we racked up 80 odd miles with plenty to talk about in the pub that night over a cup of tea or two.[/i]
www.redbikejohn.com check it out

Offline X Banana Boy

Dirt bikes in wales - ride report from the UK.
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2006, 09:33:04 pm »
Great report. :D   That is one steep 'on top the world' hill  :shock:


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Dirt bikes in wales - ride report from the UK.
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2006, 11:45:33 pm »
Very nice report! :thumbup:

Offline redbikejohn

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Dirt bikes in wales - ride report from the UK.
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2006, 12:40:53 am »
glad you like it  :) - the second day has just been finished so i'll post that now (on another thread).
www.redbikejohn.com check it out