Lands End Trial - Attempt 5
The January 2010 Exeter Trial was cancelled due to extreme weather.
The cancellation meant the Yamaha was prepared well in advance, and had been stuck in the shed ready since October 2009.Good Friday is not the best day to travel nearly 300 miles to compete in a trial, but the journey down was not too bad. We left Braintree at about 9.30 a.m., and arrived at Plusha Services, near Launceston, at around 5.00 p.m. Here we enjoyed the pleasure of Subway dining! Actually it is quite good and reasonably priced. The remaining hour or so was spent putting on layers of clothing to combat the weather ahead through the trial. Last minute checks; tyre pressures etc. made sure nothing was loose or misaligned. I had to sign on three different forms, Garry, being just a passenger, only one.
18.44 pm. 2nd April we start the Eighty eight running of the LET.
The first part of the event is a 100 mile defined route to Bridgewater. On route to Bridgewater there was a new test for this year's event - a regularity test - a quarter mile muddy winding lane, timed to be as close to one minute as possible. We were 4.4 seconds too slow. It was not part of the event proper, but might be in the future. At Bridgewater there is another machine check and the chance to savour the fine cuisine of Bridgewater Rugby Club. Although not the best breakfast I have ever eaten it was to be the best food of the event.
After 350 cold and tiring miles we arrived at Blue Hills. At this point we were still clean, a point not mentioned by myself or Garry. BH1 is a simple muddy start followed by a steep climbing exit made from slate - blocks set in concrete (by the Club which owns the section) - always wet, even when the weather is dry!! This year very wet but we cleaned without too much difficulty. BH2 is a steep cliff path just wide enough for a car. The surface is loose enough to warrant "Warning Flying Rocks" signs on the hill. This is lined with spectators. We reached the restart box at the top without too much difficulty, and a cheer from the large crowd. We were then confronted by a section reminiscent of something to be found in Essex. The Clerk of the Course had modified the section with a tipper load of mud.
At this point after 350 miles this was not expected. To add to our surprise the section marshal was shouting that something had fallen off the outfit. Not what we wanted to hear at this point.
After a few moments contemplating the unexpected appearance of the last section of the trial we attacked the muddy slope with maximum effort, to disappointingly grind to a halt a few yards from the finish marker, accompanied by a collective groan from the crowd. This, our only failure, had demoted us, disappointingly, from gold to a silver award.
After a few minutes watching subsequent competitors we departed for Crossroads Lodge Hotel to sign off, suitably refreshed with a pint of beer and a roast pork roll from the outside hog-roast. We then departed on our 300 mile drive back to Essex, where we arrived safely driven by Mr. Dave Clark at around 10.00 p.m.
Report written by Mark Wilson and Garry Plummer