I’ve been riding in off road motorcycles for over 35 years. I start in motorcycle trails with my Dad and Uncle Support, I think mainly to keep me out of mischief! The deal was they would pay half of my first bike but i’d have to maintain it and they’d teach me how to that. I started competing at the age of 10 years old with the “Crowthorne School Boy Trials Club” in the Home Made Special Class, then move up to the adult class at the age of 15 years old with “Witley MCC”. Now having three part time jobs, one of them being in my Uncles motorcycle workshop I bought myself a Bultaco 250 and later a Yamaha TY 250. I achieved expert status within a couple of year and I still regularly compete in trails today on a 4 stroke Montesa 4rt.
It wasn’t till my early 20’s after I became a qualified electrician till I could afford to take up Enduro racing. I entered in my first Enduro as an Expert in Southeaster Centre Championship round as I was an expert in trials rider and I came third overall in my first event. I entered my first British Enduro Championship event around the same time in Yorkshire, boy that was tuff! I finished with a reasonable result where over half the field didn’t even finish! I started competing regularly in the Southeastern Championship which are sandy and forestry going and consistently came in the top three and British Championship round to some success, these results attracted support from Husky Sport. I won the Southeastern Center Championship and some Southern Centre events in my first year. I went on to get picked to represent both Centers in the “Inter-Centre Team Enduro” 3 man team events.
I was finding that I was fast at the local Championship event’s in the Sand and the soft forestry going but wasn’t being consistent enough result wise in British Championship Enduro which was mostly in the mud and ruts in Wales. I made the change to 4 stroke power and the extra weight seemed to help with my speed, stability and seemed to smooth me out. I started getting more consistent results which attracted support through “In-Chains” on the new Huseberg and came 5th in the British Championship. Now riding with some constancy in two day British Championship rounds my attention turned to the “ISDE” as my next challenge.
The “International Six Days Enduro” (ISDE) is the oldest ‘off road’ motorcycle event on the FIM Calendar. The early events were a true test of machine, rider skill, and reliability. Held on the ‘roads’ of that era, today most of the routes are truly ‘off road’. The event has attracted national teams from as many as 32 different countries in recent years. Over its long history the rules and conditions have changed to keep in step with the developments in the sport, but it remains a “supreme test of rider and machine”. Over the six days and upwards of 1250 miles a rider must contend with strict rules about time allowances and restrictions on mechanical replacements, carrying out his or her own motorcycle repairs. Usually referred to as the ‘Olympics of Motorcycling’with trophies for best six-rider national, four-rider junior national, three-rider women’s national, three-rider club national and three-rider manufacturing teams
My first “ISDE” ride was in Italy in 1997 with “Witley MCC”, but unfortunately It didn’t get off to a good start as i suffered a mechanical failure on the start line on the first day, it wouldn’t start! It took me over one and half hours to figure out what was wrong with the bike. In Enduro racing your only allowed 1 hour over your time allowance for each day or on any one checks, it’s called houring out. If you go over this time allowance you’re classed as a non finisher or Did Not Finish (DNF). I started day’s two and three to score point for the team and staid clean on time but I had totally dehydrated by the end of day three through not drinking or eating through all the dramas of the first few days, BIG lesson learnt!!
I’ve continue with my “ISDE” adventures for 10 year with the Great Britain Team riding in the National Club Teams as a rider four times and a team manager twice to great success. Everyday of every “ISDE” you could write a whole story about them, there’s nothing like the “ISDE”. I’ll always remember how proud I was walking around a stadium behind “Union Jack”and representing your country! Italy’s and Brazils “ISDE’s” had taken they toll as I had also finished off both previously damaged knee’s ACL and shoulder ligaments, surgery was required if I was to ride again, no choice then! While I was recovering from these operations I chose to put back something into the sport i love by getting involved in “organising events” and “coaching”. Whilst recuperating from the operations I couldn’t stop thinking about doing “The Dakar” rally and started riding in Rally Raids and road book events to learn about navigation.
Here’s a few more main points which I’ve gone onto achieve:
- ISDE team manger Portugal 1999 (7th & 12th in the National Club Team’s)
- Qualified National Clerk of Course and ACU Coach.
- ISDE team manger Check Republic 2002.
- Started “Uncle Buds” bike projects working with young people
- ISDE ride in Brazil 2003 – Bronze Medal (team mate died on day two and I rode for 3 days on a fractured leg and snapped Knee ligiments.)
- ISDE ride in Poland 2004 – Silver Medal (Staid clean on time)
- European Enduro Championship 2004 – 11th E1 Class
- ISDE ride in New Zealand 2006 – Silver Medal (Staid clean on time)
- Rally Raids Training – Cambodia 2011 with Global Enduro
- Rally Raids Training – Morocco 2011 with Mick Extance
- Rally Raids Training – Cambodia 2012 with Craige Bounds & Tasmin Jones
There’s one more event that’s missing from my wish list, “The Dakar” rally…. time to bring it on!