It was scheduled for a beautiful summer's day, 26th July the height of daylight saving time and of course the heavens opened. Just to add to the fun and games, the night before I had washed my bike in readiness for World Superbikes and found, to my dismay, a bloody great nail in a rear tyre.
I was supposed to be meeting Dave Orvin with Phil and Sue Chick at 10:00AM to set up our much revered SLOW MANOUVERING DAY. A couple of mobile phone calls later and all was arranged. The musketeers would come to my rescue and sort the course out, set up the cones, measure the distances, test the individual tests and make new and exciting ones up, all in the pouring rain. I went and got “Nurg” fixed.
The Purbeck School car park is vast. They had a hundred and one cones for us to use and a couple of nice features to make things more interesting. Slaloms big and small, straight and curved, pretend garages, stopping tests, width judgment and some others were all ready to go by the time I got there.
The meeting was scheduled for a 2:00PM start. I returned to the school in the car expecting to tell the odd one or two that due to the persistent rain we would probably postpone. I am very pleased to say I was proved wrong. A total of 11 bikes were there (10 taking part and Dave Orvin being rugged). One even with pillion!
Every rider set about the course with equal enthusiasm and caution. It was still raining after all. Some really did take to the tests like ducks to water. Others were surprised at how difficult some slow manoeuvres really are. I think it fair to say that everyone learned something useful from controlled use of the rear brake, counter-balancing and clutch control. The most interesting test involved guessing your own wet weather stopping distances. Most if not all riders overestimated by something close to double the distance required to stop in the wet. Food for thought that.
A couple of notable occurrences include the sight of Pan Euro, rider and pillion making a very nice but sadly not timed run through the slalom, I think it would have been a fast time! The rider locking the front on the brake test, saving a 4 meter front wheel slide and giving us all a “moment”. Last but not least, the width tester who got his mirrors through with no measurable gap but sadly clipped a cone with his pannier.
Thanks once again to those who made the effort to turn out, I think you all enjoyed yourselves. Special super thanks to the three musketeers Dave, Phil and Sue without whom none of this would have been possible.
Next time make the effort and come and enjoy a really good event that tests you and your skills whilst remaining great fun.
Yours slowly and still unbalanced,