Reports on the Patrick James Memorial Rallys 2004 and 2005

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Results and Reports 2004:
Premier Richard Moore, Husqvarna TE450
Best Sports Bike Michael Mundy, Kawasaki KXF250
Best Trail Bike and 1.A.N. Trophy for Best CRM Robert Wyszomierski, Honda CRM250
Best Over 40 Rider and Runner-up Sports Bike Andy Godber, KTM 450
Runner-up Trail Bike Richard Brown, Honda CRM250
Bogbusters Award for Best Rider on a Gas Gas Smiler Hutson, Gas Gas 450
Bogbusters Award for Best Lady Rider Sarah Norton
Best Multi-cylinder Bike Russell Tyner, BMW GS1000
Best Over 50 Rider Neil Marsh, Yamaha WR250
Best Over 60 Rider Bob Room, KTM 450
Best Pre-1985 Bike Tim Petheram, Husky AE500 auto
Best Pre-1990 Bike Rob Saunders, CCM 560
Best Pre-2000 Bike Andrew Norton, Honda XR440 Award for Best Trail Bike 250cc (4 stroke) Robert Favell, Yamaha TTR250
Merit Award Matt Skirvin, KTM 125
Merit Award Roger Tushingham, Royal Enfield 350
Barry Pike Best Sidecar Award Colin Spicer and Barry Pike, VMC KTM 620
Roger Tushingham
Roger Tushingham on his Royal Enfield 350
Richard Nelson
Richard Nelson on his KTM 400
Sarah Norton
Sarah Norton on her Honda CRM250

Report by Barry Pike:

My rally started on Tuesday night.  Had to go and pick up a caravan from my father  (yes I've heard all of the Pikey jokes before).  Picked up Col S and drove over to father's in my wife's rather splendiferous Jap import MPV.  Dragged the caravan out of the horse trampled back garden and plugged it into the Toyota, upon which the rear lights on the car all went out.  Quickly checked the fuses, to no avail, and drove home with no back lights.  Took the day off on Wednesday to try to fix beloved's car, which took until about 3 in the afternoon but would have taken me forever without Col's electrical genius.
On Friday we met at 12.30 to start the trip to Wales.  The LDV with caravan in tow is not the fastest road train in the world and by the M25 the rest of the group had caught up from Canterbury.  The group was me, Col and Allyson S, 'Wev' Weatherall, Mark E, 'Spud' and Paul M, Gary D and 'Soapy' who was to meet us somewhere in Wales, him being an adopted northerner and all.  The journey was pretty uneventful until Gary's 15 year old son asked if Col and Ali were my mum and dad!

Col and Barry PJM
"The off road uphill which is easy on a solo was much harder on the chair"
We arrived in Staylittle and drove down the pitch camp at the start area, Colin W dropped by to witness Mark E rigging up a bloody great big generator to power his propane gas fan assisted space heater with which he intended to heat half of Wales.  Saturday dawned bright and sunny so we got the dismantled outfit from the back of the van and set about putting the wheels back in.  Whilst doing the front Col noticed that we were really low on pad after only one short trail ride a few weeks before.  On pulling the front brake the piston popped out further than the seal and our weekend had started looking fairly grim.  Pads are unobtainable for a 1970's EML caliper and the last ones had to be modified from something else, unfortunately Col only did one pair.  We wandered down to see Marianne, after stopping to laugh at Wev, who as usual had his carb in pieces but this time had snapped the main jet and was just about to leave to buy another.  We found Marianne and offered our services as marshals (we had both brought our solo's).  Marianne said that she was not using her chair and as long as Neil Stittle didn't need it we were welcome to have a borrow.  The next two and a half hours were like waiting for your exam results but when Neil didn't show we got the green light and dashed off to fuel and get some kit on.
Right off the line the outfit felt way different to ours, Marianne's is a Belgian VMC with a 620 KTM LC4 lump and ours is a much older Guildford (Wasp) with an air cooled YZ 465 2T motor.  Marianne's is also set very softly at the rear, for traction, whereas we have ours set harder to help on left hand corners.  We took it easy through the first few fire roads and got to the first test far behind the rest of our group who were all riding together.  The off road uphill which is easy on a solo was much harder on the chair, with Colin undecided whether to put the bike or the chair in the easiest going.  Out of this we cruised the fire roads trying to co-ordinate my movements with Colin's throttle openings to keep things as smooth as poss.   After a couple of miles we came across Mark E and Gary D sitting next to Mark's dead 2 week old KTM 450.   After about 20 minutes of failure we pushed off to leave Mark to get back to the pits and pick up Col's Husaberg to complete the day on.
Rider on a road
What a view!
The fire roads were pretty OK but we did notice that we were much smoother through right handers than through lefts.  Some of the narrow off road was a touch challenging and we ended up with the chair wheel in the air with me sitting on it several times.  The second test was very rough and by about 2/3rds of the way through I was having trouble hanging on and was shouting to Col to slow down.  We exited the test through the large puddle to the applause of Colin S of and the others there who seemed quite impressed!  Shortly after we caught up with Soapy who had looped his KDX on a climb in the part that we did not need to do and landed on his wrists and ribs and appeared to be in quite a lot of pain.  The second lap was pretty much the same but at a slightly better pace as we got used to the chair and we pushed a bit harder in the tests.  As we had left very much last we saw hardly anyone except marshalls all the way round.
Saturday evening saw Soapy depart early with the worst wrist bruising I've ever seen so some of us went into town for the social do and some stayed at base to look after the kit.  The social was very good and we had chance to catch up with a few faces and put names to some more.  We got back to base to find the guys sitting watching The Incredible Hulk on DVD!
Day 2 started as badly as day 1 when Paul decided that his KTM 620 did not want to run and set off for his first lap on my Kramit, which it has to be said is not the most ideal rally tool.  We had agreed to ride the first lap as a group, which was much more sociable than the day before.   We got to test 1 and left 30 seconds after Spud who was on his first rally.  About half way through the test we caught Spud who was kind enough to move over (Colin kind of intimidated him into it really!) and we got out of the test without having to back off to save my aching limbs.  The rest of the lap is a bit of a blur of good rights and sketchy lefts and a long section of narrow single track where we managed to get the chair on it's side again.
The second lap was fairly good, the test were quicker and the fire roads smoother.  Every time we saw Paul he was grinning wider and wider and waxing lyrical about the Kramit and 2 strokes in general.  We caught Spud a bit earlier in the first test but took longer to get past as he moved to the right which gave us less room.  Mark and Paul were parked up at the side of the test but waved us past.  It turns out that Mark (who is bloody quick) had nosed the Husaberg into one of the deep holes at some silly speed and had flown about 30 yards, bouncing off the bank and was still down when Paul arrived about 40 seconds later.  We waited at the end of the test and then followed Mark and Wev back to the pits where Mark retired as did Spud, Gary and Paul who were all knackered.
The third lap we rode with Wev and set a steady but fairly swift pace.  The first test was excellent and we managed to catch the two riders in front of us as we got to the finish, and we had left a minutes gap!   The second special we started 30 seconds after Wev and pushed as hard as we dare on the fire roads,  as we got to the last corner Wev was still about 30 seconds in front.  Colin piled on the power out of the corner but could not hook a gear, closer inspection revealed a broken chain.  We were absolutely gutted and set off up the hill on foot to see if we could find said chain.  About 10 yards away the broken article lay forlornly on the deck with one of the side plates snapped right through.   After a few minutes wait the lovely Dave Maddock hove into view on Katie's TTR and offered me a ride to the paddock to pick up some tools.  We managed to cobble the chain back together with a link that didn't really fit and record a final test time of just over 48 minutes....... but hey we had at least finished.   The whole event was an excellent proper intro to sidecar racing and Col and I spent the whole journey home deciding what we could sell to finance a good 4 stroke chair!
The best bit of all is that we got to win the trophy that I paid for...................

Cagiva Elefant
John Monger on his Cagiva Elefant
PJM Report by Mark G:

The seven being Howard D, Liam H, Les A, George H, Ian B, Andy G and myself.  George and Ian were already there when the rest of us arrived, so our pit area was a touch fragmented, but no matter.  After scrutineering, the Berg showed some reluctance to re start for the sound check, which warmed me up nicely, but it started on the button thereafter.  Howard's 400 KTM was also rather shy of joining in the proceedings, more of which later.  Andy admitted to a touch of nerves at the start of this, his inaugural Rally, and after damaging his ribs on his previous return to competition, was under strict instruction to return home unscathed.  As we mingled our way around the paddock meeting old faces, and accosting new ones, Andy spotted one of the two Cagiva Elefants that were entered.  He was fairly surprised at this, but not as much as when he spotted the Royal Enfield!
Barry P and Col S were hanging around the signing on area, waiting to find out if they would be able to borrow Marianne's outfit for the weekend.  Theirs had developed an insatiable appetite for brake pads, and they had been unable to locate replacements in time.  I have a spare boat anchor in my shed, but never thought to bring it.   They received the good news at around 12.30, and hurried away to change.  Howard was the first away on 44, then Col, Jez and Ian.  The other six of us were then followed away by Shez and some of his mates.  Into the forest, past the sound meter again, and off up the fire roads, feeling the wind chill on my face and wishing I had put thicker gloves on.  The first off road section was down a bumpy hill, which warmed the suspension up, if not my fingers, then back onto the fire roads towards the first test.   Two ladies were shivering there, pointing out that the first lap was untimed.  I offered my exhaust as a handwarmer, but they sensibly declined.  Berg headers have been known to melt anything they come into contact with!

A brash strewn uphill track, obviously made by logging machinery, leading to a short downhill, then a test of bravery and brakes on the fire roads for a couple of minutes worth of bends.  I counted two where I would need to be careful, and tried to memorise them for the timed lap.  Onwards in trail riding mode, enjoying the scenery, until we came to our first problem.  There was a two way section of track, marked off with tapes, at the start and end of a loop of the course.  In the middle of this section sat Howard, with a dead KTM.  His description of the problem led me to announce with some certainty that it was water in the carb.  Others weren't so sure, but the drain was duly dropped, fingers were burnt replacing it, and the bike still refused to start.  This proves that it is never wise to trust my judgement.   A borrowed plug attached to the lead proved there to be no spark, so Liam attacked the wiring to the kill switches to see if that would help.  It didn't, so we left Howard with some tools while we rode the loop.  I came over all nostalgic, as I passed the ditch that I crashed into on my first Hafren Rally, teaching me to always look beyond the cameraman!  There followed a short off road climb, with a helpful sign indicating "Keep left".  I kept left, thus avoiding a very deep and greedy looking rut on the right.   Cresting the slope, my seat once more parted company with the bike.  This confirmed that my latest "fix" was nothing of the sort, and that I was going to have to resort to a locknut on the end of my quick release bolt.  Ho hum.
A short meander on fire roads led to a loose shale climb between trees, which had four or five waiting bikes, and three marshals positioned at intervals on the way up.  I am not normally one to push in, but as I could see a clear run, I took it, and was rewarded with a trouble free ascent.  I managed to weave past two other stopped bikes without causing them or myself any worry, and at the top found two more bikes waiting for their mates to come up.  I hadn't taken much notice of numbers, so wasn't able to give any news, and I carried on to see what lay in store.  A puddle leading to a steep, bare rock slope of about ten feet, then a steep loose downhill, with an even steeper bit in the middle.  It looked worse than it actually was though, and was dispatched with ease.  I found a place at the bottom to wait for the others to catch up, and then we rode back to where Howard now had the KTM in bits.  Sadly, our combined knowledge wasn't enough to get any sign of life from the obstinate motor, so we hatched a plan.  Howard would get back to the paddock, one way or another, then take the bike to ET James for diagnosis and hopefully repair, and meet us at the Glansevern Arms that evening.  Liam would swap his gear from Howard's van to my car, and if necessary ride from the paddock to the hotel, as my trailer only carries two.  Sorted, we head off in search of test number two.
Following the arrows towards The Sweet Lamb complex, we turn onto some of the car stages and I get an irresistible urge to wind the throttle on.  I can resist it most of the time, but not now!  After a brief, but satisfying blast, we head out of the gate back into the Hafren forest.  Some single track sections to break up the fire roads, and before long we reached the start of the second test.  This was a gentle uphill slope between an avenue of trees, with fairly evenly spaced bumps all the way up it.  I say fairly even, because every now and then there was a bigger bump to keep you on your toes.  A couple of ninety degree turns, one of them under water, added a dash of spice to proceedings.  At the start, the marshal reminded me that it wasn't timed this run, but that there were speed restrictions further up.
Somewhat baffled I set off, how on earth was that supposed to work?  A little way further, I found the first of a few chicanes made out of logs and marked with arrows, designed to restrict your speed through the trees.  Now I understand.  After the test there was another section of off road, culminating in a loop of single track that I really enjoyed, before dropping down out of the forest and onto tarmac.  A couple of miles of this led back to the start where Marianne checked us in.
Our start time for the second lap gave enough time to refuel, grab a brew and a smoke, and switch Liam's gear to my car.  We left a note for Howard, and set out for the start.  Our company is down to five now, as George has disappeared as well.  Rather careless of us to lose him I know, but our eagerness has got the better of us.  At the first test, there are a few riders waiting, but they wave us through.  I go to the timekeepers immediately after a BMW Rallye 650.  If he gets through the brash, I reason, I won't see him on the fire roads.  I am right, I don't even see his dust.  At the end, I jumped off the bike and sat down, trying to look as if I had been there for ages.  Andy saw through it though.  We both thought we could have gone faster, if we hadn't been scared to go any faster!  Onwards we ride, staying together at a nice easy pace most of the time, just occasionally going for an adrenaline rush.  Mostly enjoying riding in company, and the fantastic weather and views that we were blessed with.  I managed to lose the front on one of the off road sections and found that I couldn't run as fast as the bike.  Les lost traction on the shale hill and slid back onto my line, so we both had to do standing re-start halfway up, but otherwise no problems.  The second test start, and again I was right behind the big BMW of Darren.   Now the fire roads are one thing, but I think I could catch him here.  Thankfully, Malc is one of the marshals at the start, and by the time I have confirmed that the chicanes are the speed restrictions spoken of earlier, nearly a minute has passed. Liam in first test
Liam on the first test
Clear run for me then!   The bumps smooth out as the Berg skips over the tops of them, the only drama near the end when I nearly steer into a rut that I didn't notice on the sighting lap.   At the end of the test, the BMW has stopped and is receiving some attention, but we carry on to complete the lap.
After the trail ride loop, Andy and I are riding side by side when we come across another rider who slows to let us pass.   He then changes his mind and speeds up again.   "No problem" thinks I, to myself, "we're in no rush" but to avoid his roost I ride to one side and clip a small bush with my knee.   The bush is more solid than it looked, but no matter.   Until I try to stand up on the pegs.   My right leg is locked in position.   Looking down I can see a small protrusion to the top and side of my kneecap.   As I stop, Andy rolls to a halt, just in time to see me pull a foot long branch, the thickness of a bamboo cane, from my jeans leg.   "Gosh!" he exclaimed "That could have jolly well hurt!"   My sentiments entirely.   The patella cup on my knee brace bears the scar, not me.   We cruise back to the paddock, Ally Spicer checks us in, and we stop for a brew.   Howard's van has gone, so we assume he will meet us at the hotel.   Plenty of people are enthusing about their day, no one seems to have been hurt, only a few have broken down.   Smiles all round.
We drove away from the forest and towards Llanidloes, a red Transit hove into view.   Sure enough, this was Howard returning, so he turned to follow us back to the hotel.   In the car park we took stock, two punctures, a suspected oil leak, a dead KTM and a Pampera with some teething troubles.   Andy suggested that a drink might be in order to wash the dust down.   This was universally accepted as a plan.   In the bar many races were won and lost, but in the midst of it all we got more detail of Howard's day.   It turned out that when he put the bike back together, he half-heartedly tried to start it, and was pleasantly surprised when it burst into life.   So he set off in pursuit, only for it to die again a few minutes later.   When it cooled, it started again!   This cycle continued all the way to the van, but when he got to the bike shop they had left for the day.   A phone call to Bob Bratcher, an expert on KTM's came back with a 99% certainty that the stator was at fault.   A new plan was formed, Howard would set off for ET James in the morning, acquire a new stator, return and fit, ready for the start at 10.44.   We drank to this plan, which was the start of a slippery slope, at the bottom of which was the undeniable fact that none of us were in a fit state to drive.   So we drank to that as well.   The bar meals menu came and went, the food came and went, good-natured abuse flowed around the room.   I sat in a corner, on a very comfy chair, and promptly nodded off.   Party animal?   Maybe not.   After a refreshing nights sleep, we ambled down for breakfast and picked up from where we had left off the night before.   Falling easily into a North/South divide, the table plan even mirroring our geography.   We ate and watched the birds on a bright sunny start to the day.   As Les commented, "Its always nice to sit and watch the tits bouncing around outside your window in a morning!"
On our way to the start we got split up again, and as parking was at a premium, I stopped when I saw a place.   Liam's gear was in my car, he and his bike were in with Les.   He soon found us, and as we chatted with Col and Barry about their fortunes yesterday, and relayed Howard's predicament, they told us of another KTM suffering similar symptoms.   I can't remember his name, but his bike had also run out of sparks, so he had put it in his van and borrowed Col's Berg.   When he heard of what had happened to Howard, he pulled his back out of the van, kicked it over, and sure enough, it started.   I think he is going to take it up with his dealer.   Just as we prepared to ride down to the start, Howard came back, without a new stator.   We sympathised, which was all we could do, but he was intending to take it apart and have a look at the offending item himself.   The course was, to all intents and purposes, the same but reversed.   Some minor adjustments and omissions, and the shale hill was kept in the same direction.
This meant that after the trail ride loop, we came to Sunday's first test, which was Saturday's second, backwards, if you see what I mean.   First lap and the timekeepers are recording it just for practice.   Andy goes first, me right behind.   Through the water, left turn, avoid the deep rut, then fourth and down a bumpy straight.   Don't remember any odd bumps on this stretch, so am very surprised when the seat kicks me up the arse and puts my feet in line with my ears.   Must make a note of that one.   Landing safely back on the pegs, the Berg maintains swift and steady progress through the rest of the bumps.   I can't tell if they are harsher this way or not, but thankfully no more kickers.   Through the finish, I ask what my time was, and see Andy's is but a few seconds behind.   Bugger, knew I shouldn't have brought him!   We regrouped at the bottom of the hill after the test, then rode off in search of the next.   The shale climb was cleared easily, me taking advantage of the Berg's tractor-like torque to stomp past Andy's 200 in the adjacent rut.   He made it without stopping, but certainly noticed the difference!   Colin W was sat at the junction, so we stopped for a chat and to discuss the course and how the event was running.   At the second test, the same two ladies from yesterday were shivering at the start.   This time the blast along the fire road came first, followed by the downhill with the loose branches and twigs.   Momentum rather than madness seemed to be the quickest way for me, and it was certainly the way I felt most comfortable.   Just one left hander had me worried, at the end of a flat out stretch, with a bumpy braking area.   Down the hill, sussing out the fastest line, then through the finish where Brian and Malc are manning the clock.
The next bike down seemed to take a long time, and it wasn't one of ours.  This doesn't bode well.   The next wasn't either, nor the next.   Bugger!  I questioned the next rider down,   "Three riders stopped, one bike off the edge" was his reply.   Double bugger!   There was nothing I could do but light a fag and wait.   The next riders confirmed that all three seemed OK, and there was a 450 being retrieved from a gully.   A couple of minutes later all three came down, Les had overcooked a bend, and let the KTM go without him.   No major damage to rider or machine thankfully.   A few hundred yards up the road, another rider had gone off the track, on the liaison section, but he too appeared to have survived.   Steady as we go, back towards the paddock, not wishing to join in any of this off piste frivolity.   There was no queue at the burger van, so I spied my chance for a bacon sandwich and a brew before attending to the bike.   Back at the car and Howard's van is still there, but no sign of the man himself.   I guessed that he must be talking to someone further round the paddock.   As we topped up the bikes, Andy was discussing fuel consumption.  He had put the last of his in, and was wondering if it would complete the day.   Ian rolled up to say goodbye.   He had punctured, and rather than change it, decided to start the six hour journey home, thus dropping us back to five again.   George had cured most of his little niggles with the Pamp, apart from a decidedly askew rear subframe, and set off in front of us.
Liam, Andy and I left at our allotted time, and realised that we hadn't got Les with us at the turn off the tarmac.   We decided to wait at the first test, and Liam led us away.   We passed George again, who was being the tortoise to our hares, and rode in line astern through the trail loop.   Liam has definitely picked up his pace from when I first met him.   At the test there was a small queue, so I used the time to warm my fingers up again, and to replay the route in my head.   I zeroed the stopwatch on the bike and waited for the signal to go.   The water had dried up, allowing a clear shot at the jump before the left turn.   A clearer line past the rut, pre-jump the arse kicker bump, then select fourth and let the bike take me to the end.  Not much quicker than last time, ride to the bottom to await the others.
Colin is rearranging some of the straw bales in the ruts, so wait for him to wave me through.   George passes us again at the bottom and carries on his merry way, man and machine in perfect harmony.   The slate hill again causes no problems, although a flash of lightening near the top takes me by surprise, turns out to be Ian T-B with his camera.   At the rocky step, there is a stranded CRM.   The rider is struggling to push it up, so Liam and I dismount and drag him to the top.   His clutch lever is hanging near the radiator, making it a touch difficult to use.   Turns out to be Shez's mate, and I see him later with it repaired.  On the way to the next check, and I feel someone behind me, I wave them past, and then register that it is 44.   Howard!   Bloody hell!   He is riding like a man possessed and despite leaning on my horn button as I chase him, he just keeps on going.   Perhaps he daren't stop, so I let him go.  Second test, timed for this lap.   The fire roads are taken as quickly as I dare, the long sweeping left being the one that is the test of nerve.   Is it really flat out, or is there a tight bend and a cliff waiting for me?   Memory serves me well, and I also remember the left with the braking bumps and take that nicely, to nearly lose the front on the right hander!   Race towards the ambulance, not prophetic I hope, then turn onto the off road.   My choice of line works really well, and I finish quite pleased with myself.   Malc reassures me that my time was crap though, and offers me a biscuit, before pointing out that they had found them on the floor of the van.   On the last off-road stretch before the end of the lap, I spot Andy C pointing his Elefant up the hill instead of taking the easy route, so sit behind him and watch as he rides up.   I figure he has enough on his plate without an enduro bike passing him.
To the paddock for the penultimate time, my chain is getting noisy, so treat it to some lube.   Andy looks in his tank and worries.   I have plenty of fuel left, so tell him to mix some to be sure.   He puts in an extra litre and looks relieved.
Howard is smiling all over his face.   He cleaned the stator, and the bike is now running fine, so he is making up for lost time, and looking forward to riding with us for remainder.   The last lap passes far too soon.   At the start of the test one, Steve Edwards and Dave Maddock, resplendent in their marshals vests, are sat waiting to ride through.
They graciously opt to wait until we've been.   " Jolly decent of you!" I call.   "You need all the help you can get!" comes the reply.   Gits.   The test is a repeat of the first two laps, I may have shaved a second or two off, consistent if nothing else.   As I ride towards the slate hill, the sun is now directly in my eyes, and despite reactolite lenses, I have to peer from beneath my peak.   The trees at the bottom of the hill however, have shut out the glare, but my lenses are still dark.   Negotiating the first part by feel alone, thankfully it all becomes clear at the right turn, and again the Berg romps up.   George meets us at the bottom, disappointed that he needed a dab to slalom through some stranded bikes, the Pamp otherwise clean.   Test two passes without incident, apart from nearly losing the plot at the crest of the off-road part as I hit the log that I had avoided all day.   Only a bit of a wobble, but it made me cross with myself.  Andy rides through the finish, then laughs as his bike coughs and splutters.   Just as well we put that extra fuel in, as he switches to reserve.
After climbing the last bumpy hill in dazzling sunlight, I indicate to Andy the glorious view over the reservoir and we coast to a halt.   We have had an excellent weekend, superb riding, better company, the most splendid weather and no one hurt.  It's almost as if someone had been watching over us.   I hope he had.   I think he would have approved.

PJM Report by Shez:

Due to work and family, I didn't get round to checking the bikes over till the Thursday night before the rally and as luck would have it the rear wheel bearings where shot, luckily I have a spare cush drive wheel I use for green laning with this fitted everything looked ok.   Friday afternoon I load up two bikes, as I am lending my KDX200 to Dunney who has none of his ancient tanks in action, I set off into the chaos that is the M4 on a Friday.   I like half term, the result of which is I am sitting in the bar drinking by 9pm.  Gary was running late so I kept the bar company for a few hours then got bored/pi$$ed and retired for the evening.  Saturday morning Gary is at the hotel arrived at some small hour, we get to the start area quite early and decide to head round the loop with the intention of parking near the start and easy to exit hadn't counted on some motor homes beating me to it.
The bikes were unloaded;  signing on and scrutineering carried out without any problems, this was after I wiped the oil from the forks which had decided after a year of being oil tight now, I mean right that moment would be a good moment to lose the ability to hold in any oil.  The brake side only had a slight film the other was much worse, if it stayed that way I could live with it.

The BMW of Russell Tyner
The BMW GS1000 of Russell Tyner
Spent the rest of the time until the start getting Dunney sorted with fuel etc and doing the 'hello' to old and new faces, had my usual problem of '?ugger know the face and the bike but haven't got a chance with the name?'   Or 'Nice to meet you, bet I won't remember their name next time'   Bloody useless I am.   There seemed to be a lot more "serious" people there this year, guess that is the result of rallies being such good events they are going to attract more people who want to win rather than just have fun.   Anyway our start time arrived and we set off at a nice steady pace, the Saturday was two laps anti clockwise so it was the short tarmac bit first turning up into the forest at the hut.   As always the first time on gravel felt very very strange with the bike moving about all over the place until some groves are carved into the surface and more importantly the rider relaxes and stops fighting the thing.   There were some nice off road bits this year, many of which suited riders who ride heavily rutted and hilly lanes.   I was grinning like a Cheshire cat already.   Arrived at the start of the first special, which looked familiar it was a rooted, rutted uphill start on a part of the track which is often used, the special was ridden without any real drama and I didn't spot anything which would cause me any real problems.   Continued the lap with a nice mix of firerides and offroad sections, including the up and down bit, this bit was optional for novices and sidecars, I loved it don't know why, but I seemed to just click straight away with me, even managing to jump from rut to rut to avoid stalled riders, maybe it was the KTM or the fact that I had a new rear tyre or maybe it was because I had messed up my suspension settings and the rear was too soft, or just cause I like that sort of thing, whatever I loved that hill.
We also had the rally track across the top of Sweet Lamb with the three little jumps, this bit is so open on top of a hill, you can't help but gather speed here.   A little press on the forks as you hit the jumps combined with the decent speed gives some good "air" then you find there is a strong cross wind.   First time was scary then it was a giggle.   Down through the cow dip between the ponds, the cracks in the side of the hill seem to be getting bigger, bet there is going to be a slip there soon.  Up into some woods, why are there straw bales in the middle of the track?   Oh I don't seem to have any grip, boing so that is what riding straight over a bale feels like.   And we arrive at special two, don't have to wait long and it is my go and I am warned they have built chicanes to slow you down - yikes how fast is this bit, my word this is bumpy, try to get some decent speed and hit just the tops of the whoops, but my arms are not up to that for that long.   So I end up fast clipping just the tops for bit, slow going up and down for a bit, fast etc.   Manage to miss the chicanes but they are close.   Out and wait for Gary at the end.   Chat to Colin whilst waiting and compliment him on the course this year, he explains how difficult it has been.  Can't thank the organisers enough they do this every year and all they get is abuse.   Gary arrives looking a bit flustered but smiling, we set off again and up the winding road.   This is used in most rallies and has some nice berms which makes it into a nice ride up the hill, we then have a loop which is part of the enduro school course adding a nice bit of offroad before fireride and road trek back top the paddock.   Lap two was the same as one but as bit faster, I really mess up special two not just hitting the deep puddle on the right, but landing in it from a jump, the wave came over my head, filled my goggles and everywhere else yuk.   The wind on the Sweet Lamb jumps really caught the front wheel this time, thought I was going to flip, which with my history of wheelies probably means the front wheel was more than a foot higher than the front, not very good at them.   Back to the paddock, bull was flying everywhere excellent, loaded the now stinking bikes and got back to the hotel in record time to get the shower first, we did stop at the only phone reception point in mid Wales to phone the missus onroute, but still managed to get there first probably the only thing I would win this weekend, there were some seriously fast people there.   As usual there are some who can't distinguish between special and liason.   And that bit about the two Bridleways FFS it was only 2 miles out of 31 you can go slow for that bit, try looking at the scenery some of it was magical.   Saturday evening had the usual social, plenty of grub available;   nice to meet Patrick's family;   the sidecar video looked a laugh and with a big open field safe enough.   I wouldn't try and do it seriously though, takes nutters like Colin S and Barry P to do that.   Supped a bit less cider Saturday so I wouldn't have such a bad head on Sunday.   Didn't work - my head was splitting again.   Set off clockwise this time so we had the long fireride and road section before the first special, by the time I got there my head no longer hurt or I couldn't feel it because of the pain in my fingers blimey I really should get some winter off road gloves.   Set off into special 1 through the woods, where did that hole come from didn't see that yesterday, oops bit of target fixation there as I drop into a gulley.   All the nice little jumps from yesterday are walls today, my arms take a right pounding, get to the end and it looks like others are suffering the same which is nice to know.   The rest of the first lap was uneventful the steep hill had not been reversed, which was nice as I still was enjoying that.
There did seem to be a lot of punctures this weekend, and our little posse would see a few mechanical problems,   Firstly Gary never appeared from the steep climb, he had been struggling with the CRM on that all weekend, but after what felt felt like ages and still no sign, Mark G informed me he had snapped the clutch perch and was trying to bodge it using cable ties.   I decided to get a bit of speed on and get back to try and find a perch so he could carry on, in the process I really messed up special 2 by overshooting a turn and wasting at least 10 seconds turning round and getting back on track.   Got back to the pits and found a perch one for a drum brake but it will work upside down.  Gary arrives and I present him with the perch so he can fit it and get out, he has had enough DNF's recently.   The Dunney arrives on my KDX, bent bar mounts and the front mudguard and his peak missing but he is still smiling excellent, turn that mudguard round so you have the little bit from the back to give you at least a chance of seeing.   There's your fuel we are off Gary and I get out for the last lap still on time complete with a new clutch perch.  Lap three passes without incident, I think about turning round doing the steep climb an extra time just because it was so much fun but decide that would push it and sods law would be I have my only failure all weekend.   We get back to the pits load up, all decide we have had a good time and head home.   It was a really good rally, even if there were a couple of idiots there, the lap was quite short at 31 miles but a superb mix of fireride and offroad, making it longer would have added a load more firerides, which would pushed it too far that way for my liking.   I do prefer the tricky bits.   I was either grinning or laughing for most of the weekend, which is always a good sign.   These are the sorts of events we need for trail riders.   Marianne, Colin and everybody else involved take a bow for a top weekend.   Just a pity I couldn't try it on a CCM404 but that will be a story in itself.....

Tim P on the Husky Auto
Tim Petheram on his way to the Best Pre-1985 Award
on his Husky AE500 auto
PJM Report by Dunney:

I entered the PJM when the regs came out hoping to have finished building an old Brit single with rallying in mind.   Surprisingly it is still not finished and so I was chuffed as hell when Shez suggested riding his little KDX220 in the event.   He was going to ride his KTM 520 and so the bike was spare.   Needless to say I jumped at the chance.   Cheers mate.   So arriving at the event I found my bike prepped and fuelled and all I had to do was get it scrutineered.   I could get used to this.   The event had quite a few new optional bits, which I had already ridden last year with Colin Marianne on the basis that if Dunney can get up then most people probably can.   With this in mind and having never ridden a 2 smoke before I set off with more than a little trepidation.
The steep shale climb and the just as steep descent became the subject of most peoples conversations later on as they were tackled with varying degrees of success.   The first lap was fairly uneventful.   Even the scary hill did not present too many problems and the problems I did have were created by other people becoming chicanes.   The descent was a bit more interesting as the bloody thing stopped on me going down the descent on the brakes as the engine braking was a little less than I was used to.   This unnerved me the first time it happened, but of course it doesn't really matter if the engine is running or not so subsequent descents were less of a problem.   After the first lap I got back to the pits and my pit crew rapidly refuelled the bike, and I shot off for a breather at the start of the first special for some scoff where the Mrs and the Mother in Law were womanning the start.   The first special was a steep climb in ruts and tree roots, but quite manageable unless you riding a sidecar (hi Colin) followed by fast fire roads.   Good fun except that the KDX brakes are rubbish and so this caused a few interesting moments which I am sure will be reflected in the published time (get the excuses in early!)   The second special was the opposite requiring you to ride along a very bumpy track in a thick forest.   I am sure that the good guys enjoyed this a lot with lots of "air" possibilities.   Being a muppet I did get some unintentional air but by and large just worked the suspension and my legs quite hard.

The end of the lap was one of the best bits with a loop of bumps, jumps, ruts and water.   Brill.   At the end of the day I was a bit tired but had enjoyed the days riding.   I departed quickly back to my in Laws as it was my daughters birthday so that we could do the cake bit and then down to the very excellent social in Llanidloes laid on by Colin and Marianne.   The evening was not over as I dropped in to a pub where a few mates were staying on the way back home and almost got caught up in a fight, got home and found I had to repatriate a lost fox hound who kindly threw up some dead sheep in the car which now smells like an abbatoire.
Next day was basically the same but run the other way round which is always interesting.   All was going well until lap 2 of 3 when I had a good off in some deep ruts.   Now minus a front mudguard and peak I set off again and suffered a new enemy of low winter sun and goggles getting plastered with mud.   Interesting.   I manage to finish the lap and turned round what was left of the mudguard to keep some of the mud off the goggles.   This worked reasonably well but still meant that I couldn't see a lot when I was heading into the sun.   The rocky climb up on Sweet Lamb was especially interesting as I had to ride up this looking straight down.   Not very good when picking your way across bare rock.   Anyway I managed to finish which I am very happy with.
A big up to Colin and Marianne who put this superb event on almost single handedly.   The event was held in memory of Patrick James and I was touched that his mother and sister attended the event, his sister flying in from South Africa to attend.   I think they enjoyed the event and spent a lot of time talking to riders, including some who had been in Spain with Patrick when he had his accident last year.   The marshals did a great job and personally I was really chuffed that we managed to get so many for Patrick's TRF branch to marshal, most of whom had never been to this type of event.   All, to a woman are now rally converts and so I hope we will see them out there soon competing (that is when Andy gets a bike that will keep going long enough to finish an event).   A special mention has to go to all the control people as it was damn cold.   We did not get cold as you keep warm by riding, but especially on Sunday when they were on station in the bitter wind for about seven hours respect and thanks is due.

Report by George H:
Thanks to Marianne, Colin and all the marshals and everyone including Ian for advice on the Pampera.
It was the Pamp's first outing after some gentle running in, an on the first down hill found out that I should have spent more time checking the Pamp.   Scooting down the hill dipped the clutch so wouldn't be opposing the brakes to no effect, sliding gently into the undergrowth redesigning the back end - wanted to avoid a rock hitting the number plate so moved it to the right.   Oh well these things happen its sunny I'll just get used to the bike, open the throttle move forwards - no sideways waving of the tail this is strange.   First bumps - clunk - so thats the end of supension travel but it carried on going where I pointed it so not to worry.   Couple of miles further and burrrr stop.   Checked fuel in tank kick over and off we go again.... buuurrrr stop - what the hell have I bought?   Fuel starvation - common fault just keep loosening the petrol cap everytime the bike starts to die.. go to the climb - what climb?   Pamp just went up - starting to enjoy this - feet up pop up that little rock face at the top of the climb - yes this is great... ruts next foot gets thrown skywards as low pegs catch on the edges.. but the bike still goes forwards with me attached.. strange.  The more the lap goes on the more I'm really starting to enjoy the Pamp, I can watch the kites/buzzards without a worry about what the bikes about to do.   End of sighting lap stop refuel waggle the wheels - front bearing shot... oh well I've got spares change bearings and reassemble incorrectly - comparing Ian's Pamp highlights this.   Checked if it was ok to continue tomorrow.
Good food and company with the "northerners" "honourary northerner" and "southerners" meant a nice relaxing evening and a good nights sleep.   Day 2 - unloaded the bike stuck the "sidestand down" and then watched bike fall over and snap clutch lever - don't worry have spare.   Pump up slowly deflating rear tire and we're off.  S tarting to really enjoy the Pamp - mud snot puddles I can do anything... buuurrrrrrrr.. maybe not puddles.   Ride to safeish place where marshals are on the choke as without engine dies - thanks for tip Liam.   Empty float bowl start her up travel 1 yard burrrr, empty float bowl again travel another yard.   Think that's the end so pootle back riding on the choke.   After a few miles bike decides its time to start working again.   Back at the start Marianne says I've ten minutes to get back out.  Fuel up and off for the best time I think I've ever had on a bike - it wasn't quick but who cares the more I rode this little bike the more I enjoyed riding it.   Third lap decided each snotty bit was a trial and I had to ride them feet up throughout without dabbing.   Didn't manage the climb as had two potable chicanes to negotiate but did virtually all the others - top fun.
Back to the pits said my farewells and thanks.   Pootled home thinking I'm going to really enjoy this bike.   Oh and yes I have dinked the front rim - it's a Pamp after all!

A Marshal's view by Ian T-B
Well what a brilliant weekend.   Left home at 8am Friday morning and walked back through my front door at 6.15pm Monday.   The PJM was the first event I have really had anything to do with and if this is the sort of thing that I have to expect then I am so glad I took up off road riding.   The people who I met from this list and the another couldn't have been better.   A couple I already knew Polly and Andy, Dunney I had also met before.   I met up with Macky and his good friend (poss lover) John at the pub next door to their hotel, and this started a frenzy of drinking over the next 3 hours or so.   The conversation didn't dry up one over the entire weekend - bollx they can talk - no only joking.   We had befriended a couple of chaps who were talking bikes at a bar the evening before, and as the bar had technically shut several pints of ale had been put on my room tab, thankfully as the hotel was run by - well what can only be described as kids (they didn't get us breakfast on Saturday am) they forgot to charge me for the drinks.  1 am came round and we all went bed.  W e filled up from a very empty petrol station at Llanidloes on Saturday morning we made our way to the event.   Once the bikes were out of the vans and everyone was kitted up the competitors amongst us headed for scrutineering.   Well the DRZ of our new mate John didn't make it through so a replacement exhaust was used as it got through.   His mate - who I think was Dean had pressure washed his helmet and washed most of the gold ACU sticker of it, so he had to source another to get to get himself through.
The start time was getting near so off us marshals went to our posts.   As none of us really knew what was going on it was not long before the competitors starting to over take us.   Thankfully all the areas that required permanent marshals had got them.   It was very nice to of met Patrick's mother and sister on Saturday evening and joining them for a nice Indian meal was a perfect end to a near perfect day - so thank you for that.   I don't think I even tried another pint after that as we were all far to tired we all headed for our beds - and on to day 2.
As the course was reversed it made for an entertaining first lap.   I couldn't believe how different a track could be just by reversing it.   After I had done 2 laps on day 2 I decided to grab some lunch, I got out for my third lap as the very last bike out of the pits, I had the pleasure of following the sidecar round for a while and were they can get that thing doesn't bear thinking about.   I had to stop for a while to help two riders who had collided on the fire road just after the first special stage.   One rider ripped off his front break pipe and the other snapped off his kill switch, thankfully no one physically hurt.   After we had swept the coarse for the final time I was ready to pack up - which I did.
A great time was had by all the marshals as we all pitched in pushing, repairing and laughing at bikes and their riders (especially on the shale hill climb - which was my favourite).   All the free burgers and coffee was a small bonus.   It was a first class event and I will be there again next year - may be competing I not sure yet.
I am sure that if Patrick could have picked any Event he would of probably chose this one purely as everyone (at least everyone I spoke to) enjoyed it.   I am sorry to say, that I never actually met Patrick.   From what I heard from so many different people he was a first class bloke.  It is always said that the good ones go first.   May he rest in peace and his family take pride in the fact that he was genuinely loved by all that knew him.

Report by Colin McC:
What a very nicely run and friendly event.   Total absence of testosterone and BS in the paddock area (as I hear the Northern East branch didn't get in.)  Having done a couple of seasons of hare and hounds races and doing a bit more motocross last year, I was a bit dubious about the (lack of) competitive nature of a trail bike rally.  But with a new bike to ride and a new hare and hounds season starting next week, I thought it was a good chance to have tw days riding and a gentle start to the year.   So with some prompting from Jez and various taunts about being a big girl, I entered and placed myself somewhere down near the back.   I was looking forward to riding round and being shown the ropes by the guys I went to Andorra with last year.   They arranged the B and B and we met up in Llanidloes for the last leg.   Our host was busy telling us about a randy male badger that liked to walk right up to the window in Jez's room, when we noticed Jez slipping into his black and white stripped race pants.   Umm anyone for badger baiting?
What a nice way to start race day.   In bed til 8, great big cooked breaky and off.  S traight through scrutineering.  After a bit of hanging about we were off in our group of three and I just had no idea about pace, still getting to grips with it being untimed, other than the specials.   We came up behind a couple of other riders just after the first off road section and Jez seemed happy to sit in the roost, but whilst maybe not in the spirit of things, I had to go past.   Onto the first untimed special and that climb up from the road, had me thinking this is more like it, but then it was back onto firebreak.   I had no idea there would be hills like "that slatey" one, but having done several others like that (the Motel maybe known to some) this one was interesting but rideable.   The downhill was more of a laugh, bumping off the sides and hoping not to loose the front on the loose rocks.
Onto the second special and the start marshal was trying to stop everyone and let them know exactly how it was gonna run, next time round when it was being timed.   There were a few lads who simply did not bother stopping and the marshal was pretty cheesed off as they caned it past a row of stopped bikes.   Why did they do that?   Anyway we fired up the test and I was thinking this was gonna top entertainment at race speed, over all the bumps and dips.   If you remember there was a big muddy puddle about ten yards from the end.   I could hear a fourstroke bike right up behind me the whole way up the test and right at that puddle he decides to pass me by jumping into the puddle.   Single biggest filling in I have ever had and something I would expect from Malc Elliott or the Newbury boys, but not someone I don't even know, when I am slowing down for the end.   Anyway a man with my reputation for dummy spitting has to uphold the law and I did my best to let him know exactly what I thought of him.   All was calming down till his mate suggests its "a special test what did you expect".   Knob!   If you had listened to the riders brief and had bothered stopping when the marshal asked you to at the start, you might have sussed it was untimed.   Anyway there was a measure of apology and that was that and I rode off rather wet and cold.
And so round to the finish.   We then have an hour break before riding it all again in anger.   Couldn't believe I had so much time, for a bit of knitting, painting my nails, putting rollers in etc and oh and some fuel for bike and rider.  F irst special on the timed lap was steady but not spectacular, whilst the second was a wild ride over the bumps and puddles.  Having read enough stories about events being lost by a little crash in a special or stalling in the wrong place, I just kept it clean and safe.   This was gonna take a bit of getting used to, the change from gentle trail ride mode into full on attack.   And so we made it back to the finish nice and early.
Onto day two and an equally leisurely start.   With the course reversed, we got the longest road section out of the way first, but we did notice it was a bit colder and chilly digits were the order of the day by test One.  As you would imagine with that reversed, all the bumps were now the wrong way and that made for an interesting run through.   The slatey hill was left in, in the same direction which was good and I thought the second test ran better in the reversed direction.   After another hour long stop, we set off again in anger this time.   The first test was a blur of throttle, bumps, air, near misses and on one occasion I was left with only my hands in contact with the bike, but an unintentional mid air dab got me back on and off in the right direction.   Must have been ok, as I caught the guy in front at the last corner.
Test 2 was much better that way round and saw my top speed of the weekend here, at 78mph.   I caught the first guy in front of me by half way and another at the end, so that was a tidy run.   Onto lap three and the sun was becoming a problem and on several occasions between the 2 tests, I came to a virtual standstill as I could not see a thing.   Up "that hill" I was right up behind Ian on a KTM525, without my goggles on.   I did not want to drop off his pace for fear of grinding to a halt, so had to put up with a face full of small rocks.   Ouch!   We laughed our way round the whole lap, backing it into to all the hairpins and playing speedway riders on the way out.   Top top fun.
So to the final special, where all my efforts were thrown out of the window, as I stalled just where you turned off the firebreak onto the loose stuff.   The bike would not restart and it was maybe that it was low on fuel and when banked into the corner the fuel ran away from the suction tube.   Anyway after about 15 secs of shaking it on reserve it fired up, but I am sure that will cost me.   And so a trundle round to end for a steady finish.

Results and Reports 2005:
Premier Richard Moore, Husqvarna TE450
Best Sports Bike Michael Mundy, Kawasaki KXF250
Best Trail Bike and 1.A.N. Trophy for Best CRM Robert Wyszomierski, Honda CRM250
Best Over 40 Rider and Runner-up Sports Bike Andy Godber, KTM 450
Runner-up Trail Bike Richard Brown, Honda CRM250
Bogbusters Award for Best Rider on a Gas Gas Smiler Hutson, Gas Gas 450
Bogbusters Award for Best Lady Rider Sarah Norton
Best Multi-cylinder Bike Russell Tyner, BMW GS1000
Best Over 50 Rider Neil Marsh, Yamaha WR250
Best Over 60 Rider Bob Room, KTM 450
Best Pre-1985 Bike Tim Petheram, Husky AE500 auto
Best Pre-1990 Bike Rob Saunders, CCM 560
Best Pre-2000 Bike Andrew Norton, Honda XR440 Award for Best Trail Bike 250cc (4 stroke) Robert Favell, Yamaha TTR250
Merit Award Matt Skirvin, KTM 125
Merit Award Roger Tushingham, Royal Enfield 350
Barry Pike Best Sidecar Award Colin Spicer and Barry Pike, VMC KTM 620
Short report by Liam:

Another great event - enjoyed it even more than last year, trials tests were a bit different and something that I really liked. Snow was an unexpected feature of day 2, cold, poor visibility, and some of the tracks were getting very slippery at speed, so I think the organisers made a good call on pulling the last lap.

Marianne, Colin, and the countless hoards of happy (cold, wet) helpers (Brian, Ian T-B, Katie, Dave to name but a few) top notch stuff. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Long report from Dunney:
Right now I ache in places that I had long forgotten. Quads (the muscles), shoulders, biceps all ache like a rude word. A sure sign of much effort expended. The drive up the night before saw me driving through the welsh equivalent of a monsoon and very high winds.

Day 1. Arrived early as had said I would marshall if I was needed. Bob Mullins and his lads were coming in large numbers so I could race, (well take part and wobble round at the back). My late entry meant I could happily ride round at the back without the usual concern of getting my face filled in by people on the specials. The only people behind me were the Quad class (Araf) and a trials outfit. The weather put paid to the start of the first special, which was moved after the sighting lap. On the sighting lap I gave it my best to gauge any dodgy corners to make a mental note of and found myself in the unfamiliar territory of passing people. Most odd. Dodgy corners duly noted we proceeded to negotiate an interesting downhill section through a recently cleared area and then on to fireroads. I used to hate fire roads, but was beginning to enjoy them. My elderly KDX now sporting decent brakes made the experience much more fun and I surprised myself how hard I could brake when I had to. I was under the impression (as was Marianne) that Shaley Hill was to be an observed section and so I arrived suitably prepared to find no observers. Having screwed this obstacle up several times in the past, I was determined to get it right. Hit the bottom in second and nailed it, a bit of clutch slip round the sharp corner and even managed to hook 3rd on the next bit. Nothing like as quick as some I am sure, but for me that was as near text book as I can dream of.

Most fire road and then back off road and on a really slimey bit that they had to abandon on the Sunday I discovered the observed trials section. Oh joy. My first off of the day! That'll be a five then. Then on to the second observed section a 100 m later and this time I acquired another 5 with by second off, this time a graceful pirouet over the bars, which had Bob Mullins in stiches. He nearly awarded me extra marks for my stylish dismount.

Pissed off that I had come off I headed back on to some fireroads and then on to a section that had been used as a special last year. Potentially really quick but with a few riders including a lady in front of me I patiently waited line astern for the slower riders to pick their was through the limpy bits. Not so the chap who caught me up and decided that I was riding too slowly and filled me in for my trouble. Next on to "The Loop". I had got past the slower riders and was really getting into this section when I caught up a pair of old BMWs (no not Blez) pottering along. Even if I had wanted to get past there is only one line here so I had to wait until back on the fire roads. On to the 2nd special and this was quick. Very snotty under tyre to begin with which caused a few moments and then flat out in a straight line. Looking out for dodgy bits to remember, I made a mental note of nearly overcooking a devious left hander before finishing my first lap. Araf and I were re-fueling together and his Suzuki sounded very rough when he set off, popping and banging. I was not very surprised to find him 100 yds up the road. Hope you got fixed mate.

First special went wellish though I didn't hit any really high speeds as too many corners and not really enough confidence. The observed section this time were being manned by a very cold Ant and I T-B so I did my bit to warm them up by letting them drag my bike out of the gorse where it decided it was going to go as I refused to put my feet down. It certainly cheered them up. The second observed bit I actually only dabbed 3 times hurrah!! I was riding on my own mostly so no mud on goggles and no holdups. Brill. The non fireroad bits were fantastic. And to the second special. I probably went quicker on the sighting lap as I just did not hook up and was slightly bemused by the sight of marshals about 50 m off the course down a bank on the deceptive corner I had noted on the sighting lap. Subsequently I found this to be a chap called Elvis who was due to go to Libya with one of my pals this week. I understand a broken wrist and other injuries were suffered, so I guess he won't be going to Libya. I hope you get well soon.

The social in the evening seemed a bit lacking in numbers which was a shame. Poor Colin Walford has been up since the crack of dawn remarking the course after the storm the night before and so did not make it being utterly worn out. I did feel for you mate.

Day 2. Woke up to a blizzard. Got to the start to find a concerned Marianne. Briefly the weather cleared up but after the end of my sighting lap Marianne asked me to tell the time keepers that the 3 laps were being cut to 2. The first special was brill. Really found this good. Kept the KDX buzzing to keep it in the power band and I really felt that I hooked up well. I will be disappointed if my time was in the really slow category. Carried on clearing the snow from my goggles as I went. The rest of the lap was uneventful but fatigue was setting in. I made aright hash of the second stage. In first gear the rear wheel spins like hell on a loose slope but second seems to tall despite much slipping. Anyway I managed to stall it 3 times so was really pissed off. The power seems to come in with a bang now, which was part of the problem, so I think a bit of powervalve maintennance may be called for.

Anyway great event, really enjoyed myself. A big should to Marianne and Colin for yet again going superhuman things to put the event on. A special thanks also to the 8 marshalls from our Northants TRF which was Patrick's branch, especially Kate and David who on Sunday were perched halfway up a hill in severe foul weather to handle the start of the second special.

Morning Dunney,
It was a bit of a nervous laugh. I was actually relieved to see you moving. When the lads said "go high" they meant up the camber and away from of the rut not "vertical". I can't say trials is your thing but freestyle MX is a definite possiblity.
Nice to meet you,

Now from Colin McC:
Let me start by saying that all of the marshals and people who stood out on the hills need a huge group hug. If we thought it was a bit cold and grim riding round, gawd knows what it must have been like for them! You are all stars.

On the other hand the ones at the "feet up" sections seemed to be nice and warm, as they generated lots of body heat by the vigorous bouts of side splitting belly laughter. It's not my cup of tea, having never done any LDT's or anything like this. I am a brute force and ignorance rider and "dabs" are part and parcel of my riding style. On the first lap I surprised myself by only taking 1 dab in 3 sections. Fantastic this is easy, or not! I kid you not, one of the marshals at the 2nd section on lap 2 had just said "why do you look so clean", when I managed a total balls up of section 2, followed by an even worse "throw myself at the deepest, muddiest bit you can find in your nice clean and loverly new Moose waterproof clothing", effort at section 3. The muddy bit at the top of the hill that was cut out on lap 2 day 2, was my only tumble on day 1 and cost whatever the maximum score is.

I thought overall the laps were a better mix than last year and included a couple of bits I cannot remember from either the PJM or Hafren. Both timed specials went fairly well on Saturday, with no balls ups, no stalls or running wide. The 2nd in particular was a laugh, as I had carried round a dry pair of gloves for this and took a tactical pee break at the start, as I waited for a good time to start. There was no-one in front or likely to be following behind, so I could get on with my own effort. The first muddy bit was great, with huge great speedway slides and where else can you hold your bike flat out in 6th for fully 10 secs on the long downhill straight. Fantastic.

Saturday night was an endurance test in its own right, as we had booked the Indian restaurant for 7pm and the cab driver had a bit of a warning that the service was the best. After 2 1/2 hours we were finally able to leave, having had to threaten to do a runner to get the bill. 3 different groups of people got so fed up waiting for their food, that they did leave and didn't bother paying for the drinks they had had. By the time we got to the social, there were only a handful of peeps left, so we had a couple of drinks and went home.

The hail seemed to batter off the windows all night and the weather did not look promising as we headed for Staylittle. The higher we climbed the harder the snow got and it was lying on the roads. We agreed that if the snow continued like that to the start time, we would spit the dummy and head for home, as the thought of snow on some of the hills over to Llanidloes, wasn't something I fancied in a fully loaded mighty LDV. Anyway, the weather fairies played a cruel trick on everyone and snow stopped and the sun came out, so we set off for the start. I think the combination of a belly full of beer/curry/cooked breaky and lack of sleep (having stayed at Snoring gits are us), pickled my brain and about 4 corners into the first un-timed special, I just lost the plot totally. Flat out into a left hander, didn't bother to brake until I turned in when it was way too late. Locked the front, let it off again, ran wide, could see a very deep drainage ditch fast approaching, could then see the fact that it had a load of big rocks in it and my brain sensibly started to work again and screamed "get off NOW you really don't want to go in there with the bike on top of you". I locked both brakes and dived off the left hand side, as the bike went down. It carried on into the ditch and I heard a decent snapping sound. I had had a soft landing, so I didn't think it was me that was broken. I dived into the ditch to find my bike parked perfectly on its nose, with the rear wheel nicely on the lip of the bank. You could not have placed it like that, but I could see the front fender was split nicely in two right up the middle. I waved my 2 riding buddies down and we were able to drag it out of the ditch, give it the quick once over and carry on.

This put us way back in the numbers and whilst we didn't push through, it did make for slow going on the hill that finished with the previous days feet up sections. The ruts had got a bit deep and some of the less experienced riders and those of shorter stature struggled a little and a long queue formed as we waited our turn. Onto the start of the 2nd special and I knew it was gonna be fun, when they had a marshal advising a line just to get to the start of the test! Now that was a blinder in my opinion, mostly uphill, muddy, bumpy, rutty stuff. Then that uphill right hander with the big slate boulder thing to slip on, before more mad, fast fire road. Fantastic! I thought that would really sort out the men from the boys and from what you said Liam, it probably did!

So back to the van and only a quick break, as we had lost time with my little off. New goggles and gloves needed as the snow had started again in earnest and you were only going a few yards before your goggles got full of snow. My roll offs did a decent job to start with, but even they started to get clogged with snow. Onto the first timed section and my brain was working by now and it went without a hitch, till the last 20 yards when I struggled to get stopped for the finish chicane and took the left hand off-road escape route! The higher we climbed the heavier the snow got and the wind was very strong. It started to lie on lots of the fireroads in the liaison and it was becoming a tad dangerous. Some of the trickier sections were cut out, which was probably right and the feet up sections had come down off the higher hills, to a tree covered patch. Managed 1 dab first time and 2 on the 2nd, as it got a bit rutty and slippy. Having watched several fall off and/or stop, I went for the get through without stopping, even with a couple of dabs approach. And so the 2nd test, which I reckoned would be were the results would come from. It had the potential to really mess your day up and a clean run would be worth having. The guy who was to start in front of me could not even get up the little climb from the start and rolled back into the control for another go. I made my excuses and generally put the starter off to give myself a bigger gap on him and it worked, as I didn't catch him in the technical bit. I had a clean run with no mistakes and hopefully that was better than some others. I was surprised not to catch the bloke in front and whilst we waited at the end for the last of our party to finish, matey shows up 5 min later. It seems he took a wrong turn and went the wrong way, so saving me the bother of passing him. But it seems he wasn't the only one to do it and our mate showed up eventually (serves him right for taking the piss out of my trials effort on day 1).

Dave M told us he thought lap 3 was off and to be honest I was kinda happy. I would have gone again, as another go through that last test would have polarised the results even more I am sure. In the end it was right, as it got very miserable up there and I really felt for the marshals and helpers.

Once again - that was above and beyond the call of duty. All the marshals out on the course, take a huge pat on the back!

Spikehammer:   The off-road virgins tale:
After being persuaded by Araf and loads of you on here to enter the day finally arrived. I'd travelled down on the Friday night with my mate Andrew, it was only as we entered Wales that he discovered that his official title for the weekend was 'pit gimp'....haha.

Met up with Araf, Dave, Gary, Chris and Alf at our hotel and got stuck into great steak and some beers, the banter flowed and stories of daring do were retold. I'm sure the others had heard them all before but it was all new to me. One thing I did notice was that unlike the road bike track day boys there was very little out and out one-upmanship and 'fastest round the bar' characters, a pleasent change.

Saturday dawned and after a full English we headed off. I got signed on and got my kit on, fueled up headed to the start. I was in front of Araf on his Quad and the loons on the sidecar. Had a little chat with Steve Dunne as he was the next number to me and before I knew it we were ready to be flagged off. I'd been told this rally was easy, then I got to the first clay hill, 'Christ on a bike' I thought, the hillside was awash with bikes, bodies, trees, mud and marshalls. I gritted my teeth and headed on up, fully expecting to be back down the bottom pretty quick. Then I discovered how good decent off-road rubber is, whilst my progress compared to some was slow I couldn't believe how the bike just dug in. I took a breather at the top while the log jam was cleared and chatted to some of the other riders, some off the list I discovered. I then headed off behind the others and tried to remember some of the course. After some good bits of fire road I got to another gaggle of riders waiting at the bottom of what turned out to be Shaley Hill. I got stuck behind a stalled marshal and subsequently stalled myself, the first of many on this attempt. I eventually made it to the top and saw the vertical rock slab (well it looked vertical to my untrained eye!), 'head for the right and give it some' was the advice I received from a very helpful lady rider as she waltzed over it, so I did, the bike went up and to the right and shot over the top pitching me off to the left, right onto my knee. 'Bu**er that feckin hurt' thought I, still had now had my first off.

Then headed down and along some more fire roads etc and realised that trying to remember all of this was going to be a bit of a task so resigned myself to remembering anything that was really dodgy for me. The next collection of bikes were then waiting for the trials section and again I had a quick natter with a few riders and also proceeded to cover some poor guys on XR's with roost as we moved up the hill, sorry guys. Although I failed or didn't even attempt to keep my feet up on the trials section I managed to get through easily and was beginning to get used to riding in the rutty stuff. The light was going by this time and as I got back to the start area I saw Ian Araf with his stricken quad, turned out Alf had also had a big problem and was pushing back in, I think he was the only guy I passed all weekend....hehe.

We all got cleaned up as best we could and headed back to the Hotel for a well earned bath, food and more beer. Liam and some of the others staying down the road came over and had a meal at ours and then joined us for beers etc.

Woke up to bright sunshine in the morning, if a mite windy, then in the time it took to eat my full English the hills had gone from verdent green to marshmallow white, 'Oh my God, are we expected to ride in this'....'yes'....'S**t' Off we set and the weather waxed and waned between snow and sun, me hoping the sun would win the day. Near the start area we came across a collection of car and vans, waiting in the road due to a tree having fallen right across the main road. A digger arrived and all was soon restored to normal and we made out way to the pit area again.

My plan for the day was to try and relax a lot more as I'd suffered complete arm pump on my second lap the day before and also to try and just see ii I could learn a bit more technique by watching other riders as they tackled the route. Away from the start and was soon behind a couple of other riders, I found the first fire road really slippery, maybe cold tyres or just because it was so cold, I think the lady rider in front of me also had a few moments on this part as she seemed to run wide a few times. Made the by now usual feeble attempt at the sections including a full off in the very small section manned by Bob Mullins, much to everyone?s amusement.

The snow was getting to be a big problem for me by now as I couldn't get it off my googles and couldn't ride with my goggles off. I decided that this lap would be it as I wasn't experienced enough and would have a big off if I continued. I chilled out and just rode back at my own pace, passed by some very quick boys on their second laps. Finally got to the last gloopy section before the end and was totally knackered by now having help a few riders who were stuck or just worn out. Those Beemers are HEAVY when they get stuck! I made a few vain attempts to ride stood up through this section but the old legs wouldn't have it and my confidence isn't there yet. A beemer rider came passed and shouted to me to try standing up, presumably to make it easier, he promptly 'offed' at the next corner! The end was in sight and very welcome, I was even happier when I was told that the course had been closed for safety reasons.

I then discovered that Andrew the 'pit gimp' had got his own back, him and Alf had legged it to the pub for a full on Sunday roast and left the both vans locked (or so we thought). When they returned we got cleaned up, packed the kit and bikes away and headed off for the sunnier climes of England.

I had a GREAT time and would like to thank everyone involved and everyone I met. I'll see you all again on another rally and promise I'll wear the crossed arrows on my back next time!

George's report:
Set the alarm for early and then woke even earlier so was loaded and away well before 6 (could it be eagerness having not ridden since the Hafren). A steady drive and empty roads meant arriving at Staylittle just before 10. A few marshals milling around and only a couple of vehicles parked up meant a prime parking slot.

Wandered down to the start area and started chatting. What is nice is so many of the faces are familiar. Eventually decided to sign on and get scutineered, not that there was any rush as I wasn?t away till 1.30ish. The weather was undecided in what it wanted to do, bits of sun, heavy rain, hail stones, sleet, a pattern that was continued through the day. Heavy rain over the last couple of days saw the rivers near bursting and lots of standing water. Looked like it was going to be wet. New boots proved absolutely useless at keeping water out so was glad of the army gortex socks, these proved infinitely better than the seal skinz I tried on day 2.

There was a real mix of bikes as the start approached with quite a few larger bikes around and Araf on the quad, as well as a neat looking chair. On time off we went, right out of the start little bit of road then firetrack then a little muddy climb. There had obviously been problems with this as the marshall at the bottom directed us into the woods at the side. Well what an adventure, trying to find a route up the hill through the trees. At one point saw a bit of open and a little mound so hopped the Pamp over that only to completely loose the back wheel. Turning round saw it had dropped in a badger hole, Sorry Mr Badger. Lifted wheel out of hole and continued through the undergrowth to join the queue for the first timed stage (which was just a sighter this lap).

This was a little bit of muddy track followed by fireroad which was relatively straight forward. Sticking to the bits where water was flowing meant plenty of grip even if a bit wet. After this there was a mix of fireroad and the odd bit of off road, before coming to a bit used I think on the Hafren for a special test. This was where the first of the feet up bits was. Marked from the off meant I had to try and remember how to stay on the pegs. It was up a little gully with the odd step and root then onto a more level bit round a corner and then continue over some cut branches to the end of section. Once up and on the pegs the little Pamp did the work without any fuss, bloody good bike shame about the pilot! Once through this it was on through varied terrain, including the shale climb and my favourite bit the single track loop, I can't help grinning when doing that bit.

The next feet up sections were on a muddy track one following the other. The first was fairly straight forward the second involved a little hollow followed by a turn which if you kept a tight line provided plenty of grip. Having cleaned the sections so far it was only fair when it came to the final timed section which was going to be very fast with plenty of open straight sections. There was no way the Pamp would keep with the bigger bikes on this given the Pamp will do around 55, and true enough bikes were coming in having registered speeds of 85.

On the second lap i managed to cock up one of the feet up sections and would get a three, my fault as I didnt get on the pegs at the start. And when it came to the second timed section I was flat out when a KTM 950 and 525 came past as if I were stationary. Back to the pits and everyone I spoke to seemed to have had a good time, and due to the wet the bike wasn?t that dirty. Off for and evening of chat and decent nights kip ready for the next day...

Day 2 and sat at breakfast looking out over the hills and chatting once again, the sky darkened and snow arrived giving the tops of the hills a light dusting. Breakfast disposed of it was back up to Staylittle and the first adventure of the day. A tree down on the main road and then more snow. Backtracking to the backroad meant an interesting drive round the scenic way as the snow came down more and more. Eventually getting to the start managed to get a good parking place as everyone seemed to be having fun getting in. It was touch and go for a while as we waited for the ambulance to get through, and once the tree was moved others came in in droves. Time to get ready, pulling on the damp boots from the day before highlighted the seal skins lack of water resistance as I felt that damp feeling on my toes. Once on the go all feeling of cold disappeared as we pootled round the course in the reverse direction to the day before, starting with the very fast speed section. Got to the bit where yesterday there was the feet up sections and there was all sorts of problems. I was impressed with Blez on the muddy track but when it turned up hill his big beemer managed to stop part way up. As there were plenty of marshals I just carried on around and then joined a queue where a little rut seemed to be causing quite a block. An 800 got well and truly stuck so along with another guy went to help lift it out of the rut. Good thing about the rut was didn?t need the side stand as the bike remained vertical held by the sides of the rut.

Once free i think all the bikes were then re routed back down. However the guy on the KTM who had so kindly helped extricate the bm then roosted all the rest of us as he carried on.. Nice. Snow started fall pretty much all the time now making riding interesting as one hand was in constant use clearing the goggles. The second special was very entertaining as it looked like a new track zigzagging up the side of a hill, good fun this bit, especially as you got to the top and launched into space, followed by a bit of fireroad. The feet up section this time was over a root around a tree avoiding a stump and then back across a little ditch. It was the innocuous little ditch that caused a dab when being observed on the next lap... must concentrate.

Coming in from the first lap I followed the chair down the muddy track near the finish. Those guys really have to work for every inch travelled with the passenger jumping around all over getting weight over the driven wheel and then trying to stop the thing toppling. Mind you I wouldn?t recommend following a chair regularly as you get plastered.

On the second lap the snow was coming down consistently making even the speed sections interesting as you tried to keep the goggles clear and the throttle open. Guess the speeds were down for everyone as for once I didn?t get overtaken. Eventually finished the second lap having hardly seen anyone at all, probably down to the poor visibility. Quick burger at the end Where ITB was just tucking into seconds and then decided to get off. On the way out saw Anita who was every so happy to have managed the feet up bit when not observed with only two dabs.

It was an excellent event and I really appreciate all the helpers who stood out in the forest in such tough conditions to allow us competitors to have such a good time. Without these people chipping in all conditions we wouldn?t have competition. Final thanks to Marianne and Colin for providing such an event with bits for all, it was great.

I am not normally a 'write up' kinda guy but as Patrick's assistance on the Winter Rally a few years ago really sticks in my mind so I thought I would write a report. Well it certainly was a long weekend for the Oxford guys/girls. We set of early on Saturday in two vans (one hire van as our trusty old 310 Merc has now finally had to be laid to rest). So the team consisted of the following:-
Tamsin Jones (8 stiches from the snow run still in here left hand)
Geoff Cain
Doug Cain (First event 5th time on his bike)
Nick Stanley
Steve Harper (Our northern connection)
Austin Powers (Tamsins mental springer spaniel)

We took a very special route to the start that involved missing the left after the roundabout in Llanidloes and quite a long drive through about 45 mins of Welsh countryside. This detour resulted in a slight late arrival to the start so we had a 'how many can get changed in the back of a LWB VW LT' competition. Somehow Elvis seemed to win this and was gone with his bike before I even had my cycling shorts on. (Which was a shame because he missed quite a display in a confined space).

We eventually were all signed on and went from rushing to standing around in the rain very quickly. Elvis was on a much earlier number than us so he was away first, the rest of us rode together for a while at least. We soon hit the queue for the first test and Doug had his first taste of the welsh mud paddling up the first climb. The rest of the first lap was fine, a few small queues and a couple of good falls from Doug. When we came back for fuel after the first lap Doug had had enough for the day so me and Tamsin set off for the second lap to catch the rest of our group who had gone on ahead after the second group of sections.

We all regrouped at the first test on the second lap, the start of the test had been moved to eliminate the sticky climb (I bet the guys on the big bikes were happy). The test went well for everyone, the sections were good and we all made some stupid mistakes on what should have been easy sections. (Well done Diamonds for including the sections it made things interesting and broke up the lap nicely).

By the time we were at the second test it was hailing hard again but Marianne and her daughter were still smiling. As we rode the second test none of us noticed the yellow Gas Gas which was lent against the pile of wood on the long left hand corner (more about that later). Anyway we finished off the lap went back to the vans, changed and loaded but something seemed not quite right. There was more room in the van and a spare strap that we had definitely used before. Doug also did not seem his happy self and was mumbling something about the ducking fog. Austin seemed quite happy with the big chunk of skin he had bitten from Doug's hand.

The spare strap was for Elvis's bike. He had started well before us and was not back yet, something seemed a little strange. Sure enough Elvis had taken a little excursion on the second special and his bike was resting against the pile of logs like a grave stone to mark the place he had taken a couple of hundred meter detour into the undergrowth. (Thanks Colin for your efforts to remove his bike).

So Geoff and I did a little rallying in our hire van to collect the bike whilst the rest of the team retired to the B and B. On our arrival at the B and B Elvis's misfortune was Tamsin's good luck, as we had only booked 6 beds for 7 people, so being sure he would be spending a night in hospital we did the right thing and Tamsin took his space in the B and B.

Our plan was now to get a quick curry from the Bengal Bistro before getting to the social to eat our way through the food there. However 2 hours later we were still waiting for our curry. As we finished off our curry we finally managed to locate Elvis. He was in Shrewsbury Hospital and they had no bed for him. So instead of an evening of talking crap about the days riding, me and Geoff set off to Shrewsbury to pick him up. The 50 minute trip from Llanidloes to Shrewsbury was interesting to say the least, it would have taken a lot longer if we weren't in a hire van. Elvis looked very fetching in his Camo waterproofs and his hospital smock. But my attentions were soon drawn to his head it looked like they had tried to make him swallow a football and his wrist was in plaster (Good job he isn't supposed to be off to Libya next week!!!)

We had to go slightly slower on the way back to Llanidloes as the patient keep whining if we braked too hard, so it was around 1.00 am when we finally got to bed. Geoff on the floor as we thought maybe Elvis should have a bed. The morning was interesting, I explained to the Lady who ran the B and B we had brought an extra person home last night and arranged for him to stay in bed for the day which seemed to go down OK. I don't know if she was so happy when she caught Geoff smuggling Austin out of the room.

On arrival at the start on Sunday it was interesting to open the back door of the van and see the state that the bikes were in. When we loaded them there were all strapped to the side of the van. Something had happened (could it have been our high speed trip to Shrewsbury) that had resulted in a pile of bikes and wet gear which took a good while to untangle and sort out. Maybe we didn?t hear them moving over the whines of the injured party on the way home.

Apart from the blizzard conditions the riding on Sunday was great. I really felt for all the marshals except Kev Coplestone who managed to end up sitting in his warm dry car all day whilst everyone else was getting wet and cold. (Well done Kev). I would have loved a third lap but the team took the right decision to cancel the third lap and give everyone a chance to warm up. Even with the early finish it was still 10.00pm before me and Geoff were returning the hire van on Sunday night (It was misfiring nicely on tickover).

That's it really, Thanks to all the marshals and to Colin and Marianne and the rest of the people who worked hard as usual to put on a good event, the sort that Patrick would have really enjoyed.