Hazel's Place

Hazel's Place
Picture modified by Pete C (W650 rider)

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Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Monday 24 March 2008

Red Marley Hill Climb!

Myles rang late yesterday evening to say that he wouldn't be able to make it as the B40 is still in many bits. We offered the loan of one of our bikes but unfortunately his insurance doesn't cover him for other people's motorcycles so that was a bit of a non-starter.

Far from being the sunny day that had been forecast it was grey and cold this morning but being tough and brave we decided to set off anyway. As it turned out, the ride there wasn't too bad weather-wise. The Tribsa was running nicely and ticked over happily as I pulled my gloves on before we set off. We stopped a little way down the road to meet up with some friends, only one of whom was hardy enough to turn up! Again, the bike seemed fine. After that, it cut out as soon as I stopped at the next couple of junctions. I didn't worry too much and just concentrated on keeping the revs up whenever we had to slow down and we arrived at our destination without any further problem, apart from Jon noticing that I no longer had functioning lights (apart from the brake light). Jon also remarked that my back wheel looked very twitchy and I replied that I wished he hadn't told me as, knowing my tyres were due for a change, I had been a little lacking in confidence on the wet roads when we set off in the morning but after deciding that the tyres were actually doing their job quite adequately, I had arrived at Red Marley feeling a lot less concerned.

Like last year, a few bikes were dropped in the carpark (a fairly steep field) and, like last year, I was very relieved not to have been one of them!

As usual, we thoroughly enjoyed watching the hill climb although the crowds seemed smaller than in previous years, probably because of the dubious weather. For the last couple of years, the event has taken place in gorgeous sunshine but this year we had a mixture of rain, sleet, snow and sunshine, with some hail thrown in for good measure after we got home later in the evening. At least one stall had cleverly brought along umbrellas to sell and I thought it wise to invest in one. I was pleasantly surprised when Tim Britton (of CBG) came over to say hello and to rib me a bit for not taking part - as it is a year since he took my photo with the Bantam at the Stafford Show, I didn't expect to be recognised. He was taking part on the CBG Triumph and I managed to catch him on film on my new digi camcorder which, although it has some niggley problems, certainly produces good quality film considering it cost less than £60. I was looking out for a couple of people from the Classic Bike forum. I've never met either of them before so it is no surprise that, without any definite arrangements, I didn't find either of them. I did spot the Tribsa belonging to Lucky Rich, from the forum, who was taking part in the hill climb.

Jon had a chat with Austin Vince (of Mondo Enduro) about the Mountain Madness event he organises with his wife Lois Pryce (Lois on the Loose) in Spain. We've both had an interest in the event but, having talked to Austin, Jon thinks we should aim to do it next year. We had thought the road event would suit us best but Austin recommended the off-road event so we are considering Jon taking my Morini Kanguro and perhaps looking out for a Yamaha Serow for me - we'll have to see how that works out. Full details of the event are on http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/HUMM/

After watching most of the hill climb we decided it would be sensible to set off a little earlier than usual, allowing enough time that I wouldn't need to use my lights. It was a little more effort than usual to start the Tribsa but as it had been rained, sleeted and snowed on, again, I wasn't too worried. The lights were also working again. Then, at the first junction at which we needed to stop, it died completely and refused to start and the lights weren't working. The ammeter was hardly moving and we found there was no spark, either at the plug or the points. Jon swore at it and told me he was never going anywhere with me on that bike ever again. He and our friend Derek then bump started it with the idea that I should ride it as far as possible without stopping before we called Carole Nash recovery.

After bump starting it, Jon realised that the brake switch was draining the battery as the revs dropped whenever he touched the brake. This made sense in view of the problems I had experienced on our journey in the morning. He disconnected the brake switch and rode behind me all the way home, to act as my brake light. By the time we were halfway home, I decided I couldn't ride without lights any more, as it was starting to get dark, and switched them on. It was probably another 20 miles to home and when we got back and pulled up outside the house, the bike ticked over perfectly. I turned the ignition off, then back on again and it started with the first gentle kick - so the battery had been recharging while I rode home. Jon has withdrawn his threat never to go out with it and me ever again and will hopefully never again refer to it as a piece of S**t! Just need to work out why the brake light is draining the battery now!

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