The first days riding started at 8:30am, Greg (450EXC) and I (350EXC) tagged along with some other riders from Northumbria: Steve (YZ250), Nic (KDX200); Neil (EC250) with Steve leading and Neil being back marker. The rest of our group consisted of guys from other parts of the country, one was from “the moon” (3x CRM250, DRZ400 & WR450) The plan for the day was to head for some woods and in getting there we came across every terrain type imaginable; sand, mud, rock, single track, water, heather – you name it, North Yorkshire has it all! My favourite parts were the fantastic hill climbs and descents; the climb into the woods was long, damp; rocky, and from the bottom you couldn’t see or hear if the rider in front had made it to the top. Momentum seemed key and you didn’t really want to meet a fallen rider in front of you. Unfortunately round the corner and blocking my path was a CRM spinning the rear tyre on a rock. I had to stop which forced Greg (behind me) to stop too. Miraculously I managed to get going again and made it up to the top… it seemed like I was there for a while and had plenty of time to take my helmet off, have a big drink; KitKat etc – I definitely didn’t abandon Greg and leave him in the path of Neils charging GasGas – I’m sure they were just having a drink etc further back. We stopped at Beacon Farm ice cream parlour for lunch and ice creams all round. I had a toastie, chips, plenty to drink and some Cinder Toffee and Cookies & Cream ice-cream in a double cone – superb! I was hungry but Steve must have eaten at least 3x this – appetite of a horse! Neil + 1 “got lost” in between the last lane and the run to the Farm and ended up in Whitby with fish and chips! A CRM was progressively getting louder throughout the morning and to the point where a quick fix was required over lunch. Nics FULL reel of lock wire came in handy – I guess he was expecting bits to fall off? Not a bad repair effort but it didn’t last long before it started blowing again. We re-grouped in Whitby and filled up Steve’s equally ravenous YZ before heading back into the moors.
Nic lived up to my expectations and delivered a dependable 2 mechanicals. At the Northumbria camping weekend it was his exhaust and before the start I would have bet £10 on the rear wheel bearing disintegrating but both of these issues seem to have been resolved… for now. This time the front brake calliper fell off, locking up the front wheel right outside someone’s house; not the best place to fall but could have definitely been worse. Next was the seat, which I guess didn’t technically fall off but as it was held on by “nothing” we did have to stop to attach it back onto the bike. You might be thinking that the seat falling off was linked with the front brake – it wasn’t. The bolt to hold the front brake on was borrowed (taken?) from the forks; I guess borrowed means that it will be replaced – not sure if it will be the case? The day passed without any major accidents, I had a couple of minor falls: I foolishly followed Steve up a steep embankment at totally the wrong angle (traversed it) and dropped the bike. Next I had a higher speed slide on damp grass. Nic was right behind me too with a GoPro on his head – luckily for me it wasn’t turned on. Greg had a couple “abandon ship” moments where he dived off the bike – standard Seb (WR450) suffered the worst fall onto his side and was a bit stiff but still managed to finish the day. Back in the campsite the Northumbria crowd definitely had the best camping arrangement: biggest fire, music, plus Nics home made stove (MK1) – no heated hot tubs though. Perhaps when the MK2s finished it will deliver the additional BTUs required for such luxuries? Oxygen & acetylene nozzles should do it.
Seb was too stif f to conti nue for a 2 nd day and retired. As expected his WR still had LOADS of fuel to spare and he kindly lent his bik e out to give the noisy CRM (and our ears) a rest. For the 2nd day we picked up another couple of riders (EC250; CRF230?) We lost the GasGas after the 1st lane which sounds bad but to be fair this was Rutland Rigg which is at least 9 miles long with no gates or reasons to stop. The extra 5l of fuel he had strapped to the back of his bike kept falling off. However he did eventually make it to the end of the Rigg but wasn’t seen. After much waiting and sending out a search party (Steve on the DRZ) he couldn’t be found and so we proceed with 10.
I was feeling a little stiff and it was obvious others were tiring too as the pace had toned down some. This rocky climb caught a few out. We were very lucky with the weather, some threatening black clouds looming over at times but we managed to escape the most of the rain. We did ride into one village that looked as though the water main had burst; we clearly just missed a big storm which made the next lane a bit of a challenge. What looked like gravel had turned into a treacherous slippery climb, I don’t think the photo s do it justice but the surface was like ice. There was a fork in the path and just as I was about to take the lower path Nic (in front of me) pointed to the left, which I’d just missed and lost all momentum for; I knew I wouldn’t get up the ledge from a stop and just as I was rolling back for a run up, the rest of the guys came round the corner – sorry guys! They all got up fine apart from a CRM who braved the lower line. At the top of this section was another steep & slippery bit which seemed to catch a few out. Once 1 rider stopped those behind lost all momentum and hope of reaching the top. I was last man and could see a bit of a crowd forming around the corner so knew there was a tricky bit coming up – I just couldn’t see what it was. Shortly after Greg set off I could hear the distinct sound of rev limiter and simultaneously saw the guy behind cover his face and get covered in clart. Next I saw Gregs bike rolling back around the corner for a run up but this time with Steve on board – giving a lesson on how it was supposed to be done. The crowd around the corner was growing, all waiting to help haul the bikes up. It was my turn and Neil gave me the sign that the coast was clear – not the most graceful with a bit of paddling but I made it! The run up from round the corner seemed to be key and being at the back with a clear run helped – cheers Neil! After 181miles (not many on tarmac I might add) I was ready for home. Back at the campsite we caught up with the lost GasGas; he managed to tag along with one of the other groups and his day wasn’t ruined, this news did make us feel better. Time to take my massive tent down… ahhhhh this was the only time I wished for a smaller tent and surely the only time Greg was glad of his tiny one. After much tent dismantling, packing and trailer loading we headed back to Durham for a hot shampoo and high pressure rinse. With no Neil around to rescue Greg from desertion, he was on his bike – and you can take all your stuff too! Just as well he has a kids size tent! Big thanks to everyone for a fantastic weekend; particularly Steve for leading, Neil for being back marker, Greg for the photography and Nic for breaking down – I really do mean it and rather you than me but breaking down adds to the experience/adventure and something you seem accomplished at. I’d definitely do the North Yorkshire camping weekend again and in the meantime I’ll have to attend to some NYTRF meetings and get on some runs