The annual two day knees up took place at the weekend. For the first time it had been decided to make it a double header of Championship events so a full 40 points were up for grabs in each class. The 39 riders on Saturday were in the driving seat as 73 riders were chasing the points on Sunday.
Tim Pawson and Colin Lawrence set the clubman route with Andy Scott picking the more testing full Championship sections and they worked out perfectly. Ten sections were ridden four times on Saturday and this was extended to fifteen of three laps on day two.
The venue is known for the quality of its stream sections and the organisers took full advantage with the majority threatening to wet the feet. However on the Saturday, the 29 deg C soon dried the boots and the sweaty Tee shirts. Sunday was far more pleasant with a drop of 10 deg with even a splash of cooling rain.
Sections 1 was a tricky exception to this with a series of turns ending over a jumble of rocks before the sharp left turn and climb to the finish. Although straight forward on the face of it, several top riders lost marks here on day one. Andy Scott lost his only dab on Saturday to end up 2nd in the Cub class to John Maxfield who completed the first day without loss. Even day one two stroke winner Paul Edwards (James) lost one of his four here.
Sections 2 to 9 were gentle rides in the less severe parts of the stream on both days to prepare riders for what was to come. The final sections were the sting in Saturday's tail with the venues signature sections. The deep gully of large rocks has long been a favourite. The hard route riders have mastered the slabs but of the clubmen only 4 riders went clean on their 4 laps including Saturday winner Gordon Imrie on his superb looking Ariel. Indeed it was Gordon that took Saturday's clubman honours ahead of Barry Micklethwaite's Franny B and Eric Boocock's Cub on 3 and 4 respectively.
This left the 'experts' with one more just for them. A mixture of twisted slabs and embedded rocks made for Saturday's most difficult section. Only John Maxfield and Andy Scott left here feet up.
After the trial, the bbq was lit for the hardy over stayers and a good night was had by all but for some the indulgences paid a heavy price in Sunday's battle.
The overnight rain and lower temperatures made Sunday's ride a more pleasant experience. Sunday's 15 sections now included the more testing lower stream regulars.
With the numbers swelled, the competition was hotter and Chris Haigh was pleased to fend off his old sparring partner Chris Gascoigne in the pre-unit class. In the Cub class John Maxfield let his grasp of the lead slip when he took the wrong exit in Dave Emmott's tricky stream section that only the two class topping riders mastered on every lap. It was a lead that Andy Scott never let him regain. Even the feared penultimate boulder strewn stream section was in a marginally more benevolent mood than usual, although only Haigh, Scott and teenager Sam Johnson on grandad Barry Pickard's Drayton Bantam cleaned on every lap.
In the Clubman class, it was a tight affair with three riders finishing Sunday on 1 mark. With the verdict being decided on the oldest riders wins ties, it was Colin Benson (Ariel) on his 68th birthday that took the honours from Brent Cordon (Bantam) and Steve Cordon (AJS) in the heavily subscribed open clubman class. Credit must also go to Garry Marshall on his rigid TRW Triumph twin losing only 6.
So the overall best performances over the two days were decided by individual errors and Chris Haigh, Andy Scott were top dogs in their classes with Steve Thomas pipping Mick Grant by one mark for the two stroke honours on the expert route after day one leader Paul Edwards squandered a bucket full of marks on day two.
The clubmen's weekend honours went to Gordon Imrie despite dropping 5 dabs on Sunday, with Booey taking 2nd on the age rule from Barry Micklethwaite. Tim Pawson continued a good run of form taking the rigid honours and Ady Brayshaw got back to winning ways in the Vintage 2 stroke class.
Most riders left with smiles after a great weekend's sport with thanks to the landowner, clerks of course, observers and all who made the event a huge success.