South Downs wa­hey!

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Justin Hayzelden

Sam­ple stun­ning Sus­sex

This ride be­gins just off the A3 in Mil­ford, Sur­rey, where the A286 orig­i­nates. This is a lithe, me­an­der­ing road that scythes its way south­ward through the Downs to make up the ma­jor­ity of this route Ð just fol­low the signs for Mid­hurst and Chich­ester. Fuel is avail­able in the cen­tre of town; fill up here and thereõll be no need to stop again.

Af­ter a straight mile or so things start to get a wrig­gle on, as steeply­banked sides fun­nel the tar­mac be­neath a dap­pled for­est canopy. Sun­light pings and glints through the leaves as you roll from left to right, gen­tly climb­ing from the flanks of an­cient roots to crest the first of the Sur­rey Hills in a sud­den burst of day­light. A smooth right-han­der pitches bike and rider back un­der cover amidst myr­iad lush, ver­dant greens that rush by.

At Hasle­mere the A286 peels up and out of town via a steeply ris­ing left turn be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing amongst the trees once more. Speed lim­its and solid lines keep spir­ited rid­ing in check for this rather nar­row and un­sighted sec­tion, but as the road opens up the re­stric­tions fall away, pre­sent­ing over­tak­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that make short shrift of any traf­fic ahead.

The en­croach­ing trees briefly re­cede be­yond Fern­hurst and re­leased from the leash youõre free to chase the van­ish­ing point through a se­ries of ris­ing S-bends be­fore flash­ing along a fern-lined straight to tip into a long left-handed hair­pin. The road curls back on it­self among the trunks of tall ev­er­greens then flicks through 90¡ and de­scends through a cut­ting for the run down to Mid­hurst. This tra­di­tional mar­ket town was once home to au­thor HG Wells and there are plenty of places to park up and con­tem­plate the shape of things to come over a cof­fee and sand­wich.

Once you get out of town, the pace picks up and with Mid­hurst in your wake the South Downs are fi­nally re­vealed. These an­cient hills roll ma­jes­ti­cally from hedgerow to horizon, split by the fast, flow­ing straights that run on ahead. Just af­ter Sin­gle­ton Ð you canõt miss it, thereõs an Armco ar­moured tea­room in the cen­tre of the vil­lage Ð take the left turn for Good­wood. This road hugs the hill­sides at the south­ern edge of the Downs, climb­ing and curv­ing into a dou­ble left past the Triangle and on to Ken­nel Hill, in sight of one of the worldõs most pic­turesque race­courses.

Push on to Good­wood Aero­drome and in the old con­trol tower youõll find the Aero Club Cafž; with fab­u­lous views of the race cir­cuit and air­field itõs the per­fect place to kick back and mark the end of a great ride Ð or per­haps to plan the next?

‘There’s an Armco ar­moured tea­room in the cen­tre of Sin­gle­ton vil­lage’

Cock­ing, lo­cated on the A286, is known for its 11th cen­tury Anglian church. And comedy vil­lage name

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