These events are run by Chris EVANS of Sport Adventure https://sport-adv.com/. This is a 3 day event and you cover approximately 100 miles per day, nearly all off road. Each bike is fitted with a road book reader – just like the Paris-Dakar rally ! Each morning you are issued with the road book scroll for that day and given a briefing on the key points. The road book is a long list of instructions telling you which way to turn and what to watch out for as you navigate the trail. People are usually in teams of 2-5 and take it in turns to lead and do the navigating.
Our team was my mate Dougie on his trusty Freeride, Mark on his KTM 250 4T and we were joined by their friend Dave (Dangerous Dave) on a Honda 250 4T. I was on the Scorpa T-ride.
The first problem was that I had ignored the supplied instructions that stated you should fit Enduro tyres and had turned up to the event with Trials tyres. These tyres are perfect where I live as the trails are hard and rocky and the trials tyres provide lots of grip. But in Normandie it was very very muddy. The organiser Chris took one look at my front tyre and said “I think you’re going to struggle with that” and he was right! Every time we came across a patch of mud – which was most of the time – the tread blocks would plug up with mud and the tyre would then provide no grip at all, just slide across the surface. Good job I had been doing a lot of slow speed balancing practise as I was certainly going to need it.
I had so many close calls when the bike was slding out of control but I just managed to gather it back together at the last second and avoid an off. Dangerous Dave wasn’t so fortunate and fell off quite a lot, resulting in his early retirement from the event.
I struggled on with no possibility of changing the tyres I just had to manage. Fortunately Doug and Dave were quite happy to take the lead and do the navigating which meant that I could concentrate 100% on just keeping the bike upright. But I seemed to make progress and it felt like the trails got easier day by day, which is apparently not the case.
Apart from not wanting to start on the first day – lots of embarrasing push starting attempts in front of the hotel – the T-ride did a perfect job, which was exactly why I bought it. Having succesfully completed the 3 days I felt I had come through my apprenticeship and the Scorpa Trials and T-ride had served me well, but felt I wanted to move on to something a bit more modern. So the plan was to sell them both and get one Enduro bike that could do it all…