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National Road Rally 2008

Completed the National Rally last weekend. Did the Special Tests for the first time, since they were at MIRA which is a 10 minute ride from home. The five riding tests were fine - they involved: 1. slow riding - between two lines 50cm apart for 30 metres in more than 30 seconds (took 32 seconds); 2. distance judgement - setting 2 poles the right distance apart to fit your bike through from 30 metres away (was 1cm out); 3. a slalom around eight cones - there and back in under a minute (took 43 seconds); 4. timed circuit - doing a short circuit including a steep hill, twice and having the same time each time (was 1 second out); 5. banked circuit at a set speed - I had 58mph as my constant speed and had to go through the speed trap at 35mph (managed 55mph, may have missed the speed trap as I thought I went past at 35 but was recorded at 49!). The final test was to state how heavy your bike was on each wheel and this was then measured - I thought it through and was way out, then realised I had worked it out with me sat on it and they weighed the bike alone! Doh! Spent the rest of the morning in the cafe there chatting to several guys fom the Brit Butt Rally.


Met my mate Pete on his FJR at Dunchurch for the start at 2pm. We had not ridden together before but had run several two-day mountain marathons together in the past, and had decided to do this after meeting up at the finish of the 2006 National in Rugby (the National was cancelled in 2007). Our route took us to Meriden; Cannock; Sutton Maddox: Whitchurch; Stoke; Macclesfield; Hyde; Penistone; Bakewell; Ashbourne; Kegwoth; Leicester; Corby; St Neots; Sawston; Braintree; Harlow; Stevenage; Watford; Aylesbury and to the finish at Bletchley Park. We also visited a few Round Britain Rally controls but not as many as I had planned, mainly because our speed was a little down and the weather was pretty awful, especially as it got dark. We kept going fairly well - it was something of a novelty for me to ride with someone else over such a distance and overall enjoyable, at times useful (like when I took the wrong road over the moors from Stoke!), at others frustrating as you have to make allowances for each other (apologies to Pete for the road from Penistone to Bakewell - it was fine on the GS but think it shook a few of his fillings out!). We got about an hour's kip at Harlow and got to the finish just before 8am. No dramas apart from me losing my rag at a fellow competitor who cut straight across me as I went round a roundabout in Aylesbury to which I took exception, and we had a little heated discussion about it at the control a mile down the road!


We were glad to get to the finish at Bletchley Park, meet up with some friends and have a welcome fry up before heading for home.

NatRally 2008