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Kingston MCC
South Reading H&H March'12

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So not counting the abortive first race of the year at the Snow Run Enduro in Wales, this H&H with the South Reading MCC was going to be the first race on home turf so to speak. All of the other regulars were either working or not too keen to do it with me, so I sent off my entry thinking that I was going to be on my own for this one. Actually I was a little late sending the entry off (as usual) but seeing as they never filled up last year I wasn’t too worried. Other than needing an oil change the bike was more or less ready to go so that was one thing less to worry about and I hoped for a relaxed week ahead. That night the ‘event now full’ sign went up on their website. Mmm looks like I might be doing gardening on the weekend instead!
The next day I was feeling a little under the weather and on top of that I was starting to get a toothache, then I spotted the ‘your mot is due’ letter on the fridge door (placed there so I would not forget) and all of a sudden the week became rather hectic. I had an appointment to see the dentist the next day but that night while cooking dinner my tooth went into hyperdrive and I was nearly climbing the walls, until Nicky made up a clove concoction that took the edge off the throb.

for anyone not sure how the timing works you wear a small transponder on your right wrist and then swipe this in front of the reader after each lap. this counts the number and time taken to complete each lap, which make it easy to work out the winner. this is mid race, at the start you have to push forward and start with dead engines.

Back from the dentist and I dropped the car off at the mot garage and shot off to work. The car failed on worn pads at the rear, bollox. That night I had a rough night’s sleep and woke up several times drenched in sweat, no doubt running a fever from the infected tooth. I had more or less given up on the idea or racing on the weekend as I thought it was full but on the way back from work I picked the car spares up anyway, and set about fitting the new pads and disc on the rear, boy what a job. On my other cars I’ve had it been a simple task but the Japanese have their way of doing things and I struggled like mad to get the job done. I finished in the dark, working with a lead lamp and head torch and sat down for a cup of tea at half nine. Just as well really as I had a quick look on-line and saw my name on the entry list! Oh well, no turning back now but the state I was in I was more or less looking forward to an easy weekend. Nothing a hectic three hour race wouldn’t cure I suppose. I then noticed Darren had entered too which was good.


in the woods at the section near the carpark


its very tempting to jump this small rise....


but you have to make the left turn so best not to......



and this is what happens when you go too fast.... or get distracted by photographer!


Seeing as the race only kicks off at 11 am we were able to get up at a respectful time and we took a gentle drive over to the edge of the ‘downs’ at Moulsford, where the track is situated. Man the path leading up to the track is really in a state now. Thankfully it wasn’t wet as I’m not too sure the car would have made it if we had substantial rainfall. Once there I went through the normal ritual of unpacking, visiting the loo, getting the bike checked and signing on. I had a nice surprise when I signed on as they had a small medal for me, for finishing in fifth spot back in August last year.

I caught up with Darren a bit and I asked him how his son was getting on, as he normally rides the practice days with us. Well apparently he was a little worse for wear having come off on a big jump and the footpeg dug into his back! He then fished out a photo on his phone and it looked pretty gruesome. But then he had me in stitches as he explained to me how he was forced to patch him up at the track with gaffer tape before transporting him off to A&E, apparently the doc at the hospital commended him on his handiwork!



Back at the car I unpacked the kitbag and was just getting dressed when I noticed I was missing something – I HAD NO MX PANTS!!?? I pulled my sweat pants back on and rushed over to Darren to see if he had a spare set and lucky for me he did. Not only that but they were Klim too just like mine, only in black and not orange and in.... ahem... a bigger size! I was very relieved at not having to race in my Nike pants and set about getting ready but I was in a bit of a flap and misplaced my transponder but found it in my helmet were I put it for safe keeping.



DAN LAWRY jumping in the woods


When the race got underway Nicky was tucked up in the car as she was really feeling the cold. It was very overcast and there was a chill wind, ideal racing weather but not good photograph taking conditions. As you are no doubt aware the races with South Reading have a fairly relaxed affair at the start and you race the clock not each other. Getting away early is preferable though, as it means you have less traffic to contend with on the first lap.
We set off towards the top set of woods on a familiar course and weaved through the trees for only a short while then broke out onto the mx track where we took a right then left turn just before one of the huge dips down into the valley below. Unfortunately due to the lack of rain the track had become coated in soft loose powder so it was just too dangerous to run the full track. This meant that most of the downhill part was spent trying to scrub off speed so you could make the tight 180 turn back up the hill. The run up the hill was inches deep in loose powder too and this sapped power from the engine forcing you to hit the gas hard, but every now and then the rear would find traction and lift the front wheel into the air. If you could keep that under control you could wheelie up the hill before getting fired off the top of the hill to fly high into the air, and hopefully land safely.




Straight after the hill and jump we followed the mx track round a right turn then it was time to get on the gas again to hit the next jump. It’s another blind jump (onto a table top), and this one can also be taken at speed, but it took quite a few laps to get my speed up to be able to hit it hard enough to land on the down slope, instead of flat landing on the top. A few more turns on the mx track led to another rise followed by a right turn and you were able to get a little lift where too. The mx track was like concrete though so care was required, as a spill there would no doubt have stung a bit! It was so rock hard that the tyres were leaving back rubber marks on the old ruts!


me jumping in the woods


the last turn before the drop down into the valley below....
not too fast now as you'll not be able to stop at the bottom!


once at the bottom you had to be a bit carefull as the going was slippery.....
due to soft powder covering the rock hard ground underneath



Near the far end of the track, just before it reaches the car park, we turned off the mx track into the woods themselves and followed a familiar track down to the big log, then curved back and forth through the trees as usual until exiting at the top of the hill on the run down to the farm. This slope is a bit bumpy but has a little dropoff at the bottom to keep you awake. Turning left we didn’t follow the route through the trees skirting the road as I think it’s become too root infested now. Instead we simply cut across it a little further along and then we were into the farmyard proper. Two sets of straw bales had been positioned there to keep our speeds down on the concrete track. Once away from the farm we dropped off the road in the usual spot and weaved all the way through the woods until we crossed the ‘Fair Mile’ restricted byway (walking pace only) and set off once more across the field then turned left, hit a longish straight and into the woods at the far end of the property.

Here we followed some new and some old tracks to pop out at the top of the hill again near were we just turned left and set off down the hill on a very bumpy track. At the bottom of this hill we normally turn left but today we were sent off across the grass, to an even further corner of the property were we scaled a higher hill on a narrow ‘goat track’ as they call it. Quite a lot of guys struggle here and I have to admit that several years ago when I last used this bit I also had an unfortunate tumble when a rock rolled out from under my front wheel, caught on helmet cam too it was.


OLLY MAYHEW takes off in more ways than one...


rush hour!


At the top of the hill we turned left and hit the gas down the slope. I was doing a fair old speed when all of a sudden a drop-off came into view that had been disguised by the grass. For a moment I thought ‘oh crap’ and then I was flying though the air to a quite heavy landing. Luckily it was all ok so I set off at speed again to the upper reaches of the field in the right hand corner where it entered the woods again. The entry into the woods had been changed slightly as I think it was getting a little rough, but after that the track was broadly similar with a few newish bit sprinkled here and there.

Eventually we came out on the long homerun stretch and the last part of this as you exit the woods is a testament to your bike’s suspension setup. I’m not sure if it was on the first or second lap but I overtook three riders on this bit as I was still feeling fresh enough to hang on. Unfortunately the third guy got bounced over slightly just as I was overtaking before the final turn and I clipped his bars quite hard. I called out ‘sorry’ and at first I thought I had knocked him off and felt bad but then looking behind me (I was in the blue tape area now) I saw he was still up and going so I waved sorry again.


pushing on the rock hard mx track in the woods, time to practice that body possitioning for grip!


Pushing on the second lap my hands had become quite numb. The going was so chopped up and rough that I had to hold on tighter than normal and this was really bad for my hands, which I have problems with already anyway. I carried on pushing and tried to relax a little, but I was still struggling. A one point I was behind a slower rider who himself was behind another rider and I had to wait until the straight after the fair mile crossing to get past. The rider ahead of me overtook and I was hot on his heels so I could get past him on the next straight after the left turn. I kept the 450 open and made the pass then came flying into the breaking area. I was hard on the brakes when I hit a bump and my right hand was knocked clean off the bars. For a split second I thought it was going to get ugly but my thumb had caught on the handguard so I wasn’t pitched off the front of the bike and I was able to reach the brake again fairly quickly. I’d overshot the turn and let a few people past again but I was relieved to still be sitting on the bike! I eased back on the speed on the open going for a couple of laps after that as I wasn’t confident it wouldn’t happen again.


anyone having more fun than this guy? i don't think so! Nice one!



eventuall winner JAMES GIDDINGS overtakes on the top of the hill


As the race worn on the rattle that I’d been hearing on the odd occasion was getting pretty bad. I’d already pulled the top of the tappet covert off once before looking for it but everything looked ok and I didn’t always hear it, only on the overrun sometimes. Now however it sounded bad and while it did play on my mind the engine was still making ok power so I thought ‘sod it’ keep going. This carried on for quite a while but then stopped completely later on. I think the tensioner must have got stuck and not taken up the slack in the cam chain, anyway it seems fine now.

As the race wore on some of the usual tracks in the far woods were getting really badly cut up and the bumps and dips started to get quite a handful so standing up was a must. Making fast time over these sections is very hard and takes it out of you. I think that its time for some tlc to the track or a totally new track to be laid out in the woods.


me jumping at the top of the hill. bit of a pathetic jump on this occasion!
I was doing big ones earlier...... no i really was!


Two hours in and I stopped for fuel, using the quick filler attached to the 5ltr container I wasn’t too sure if it had all gone in and then the top popped of the filler as it snapped. Well at least I could see the fuel was in so I re-joined the race for the final hour. My hands were fine now at last and I just clicked off the laps making up places where I could while keeping an ear open for faster riders coming up from behind. The laps clicked by and on the last lap I was feeling pretty good considering the rough track, but by the time I got to the woods after the mx section my knees were really aching and every time I stood up for a rutted part it was pretty painful.


coming round for one last lap. i'm just entering the start/finish area....
and checking my clock to see if there is time for one last lap

I finished without any major issues. It was a good race but getting there was fraught with problems not least me forgetting my riding pants at home – thanks again Darren. One good thing is that my shoulder wasn’t painful at all so that is something to be glad about, I only wish the rest of my body wasn’t falling apart around me! Results are a bit disappointing. I got 13th in Clubman A which I have to admit was a bit of a letdown after doing so well in two races there last year (7th and 5th). I had the hump on Sunday so Nicky cooked up a lovely roast chicken to cheer me up. Photos can be found here: Nicky was suffering from the cold plus the low light and dust kept her from performing at her best so there are only 240 odd pics this time.
Finally well done to Darren who managed a brilliant forth place in Clubman B, well done - Clubman A for you from now on!


me tired? no way!


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©2010 John Muizelaar