Much more sport happens in our world than we could possibly hope to fit in one magazine. We’re expecting big things of the revamped website to be useful as a place where the sport can be placed… hopefully we’ll be under way soon.
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.