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Classic Dirtbike - - Contents -

From a gag­gle of SWMS in Wales, through the best of Stafford show to the ul­ti­mate Pre-65 trial in Scot­land… CDB is out there.

Right, you’ve been se­duced by the en­duro bikes of the Sev­en­ties and Eight­ies, or you have hauled your old bike out of the shed and set about re­liv­ing your past. But once the strut­ting your stuff on the Tar­mac has paled, where do you go? Maybe you’re not quite ready for the vin­tage en­duro scene just yet and you want a bit of prac­tice… en­ter the Old Knob­blies Trail Chal­lenge, which will take you on loads of tracks used in ma­jor off-road events. Even bet­ter it will do it at a pace you can be happy with. Based in pic­turesque Car­marthen­shire in Wales, these chal­lenges can be as test­ing as they need to be with­out go­ing too OTT.

Wales and the off-road scene are in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked, thanks to its close­ness to the former Bri­tish in­dus­try in Birm­ing­ham and the need to prove off-road bikes would work prop­erly. Ma­jor events have been hosted in Wales from sev­eral ISDT/ES to the Welsh Three and Two-day Tri­als, plus of course the Bri­tish Ex­perts ob­ser­va­tion trial. So, Wales is a good place to ride and when Philippe Van­de­walle in­vited me to join in one of his trail chal­lenges, I was soon head­ing to Wales.

There are a num­ber of pro­to­cols to fol­low when rid­ing off-road in Wales and it pays to

have a guide such as Philippe, who knows just where the best routes are and also which routes are legally open to ride on… this bit is very im­por­tant, as rid­ing where you shouldn’t will jeop­ar­dise things for ev­ery­one else. Okay, these trail chal­lenges are non-com­pet­i­tive but as they use ac­tual ISDT/E routes they aren’t just a wob­ble up a dirt track.

Dur­ing our evening de-brief – or ‘the evening meal’ – I asked Philippe what sort of clien­tele he at­tracts to the chal­lenges. He was quite candid in ad­mit­ting he isn’t a mo­tor­cy­cle in­struc­tor but acts as a guide: “I ex­pect peo­ple to be able to ride a mo­tor­cy­cle, prefer­ably that they have some off-road ex­pe­ri­ence even if it is from years ago and I would pre­fer to have most peo­ple on each chal­lenge to be of a sim­i­lar abil­ity.” In this way Philippe can en­sure his clients gain max­i­mum en­joy­ment from these few days.

What you need

You need to have your own bike and equip­ment plus a full li­cence, as there will be a bit of roadwork here and there. What you get is a full-on ex­pe­ri­ence of de­cent trails and fab­u­lous food at Llan­erchindda Farm, where the chal­lenges are based.

It is day one – the bikes are clean – from the left are Philippe, David, Michael and Nick, with the bike I was rid­ing on the end.

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