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British all terrain rally comes to Brechfa

brechfaDYFED Dirt Bike Club hosted 120 riders for the first round of the British All Terrain Rally Challenge at their Athlete King Brechfa Rally at the end of last month.

‘All Terrain’ rallies are one or two day events, and normally consist of a number of laps (each lap can be 30-40 miles long) around a marked, arrowed course which take riders along jeep width fire break gravel roads, dirt tracks, muddy forest sections, up the odd climb, down a few slopes, through a stream or two and even across grassy fields.

On each of these laps there were a couple of timed sections or special stages, often around five to eight miles long and can cover a variety of terrain. On the first lap riders have the chance to ride them at their leisure as they are un-timed, the second and third laps however is things get more interesting, as riders are set off on a green light at 30 seconds intervals and timed, to determine their overall placings for the event.

Day one of the Rally broke dry and fresh with no hint of rain in stark contrast to last year! This year’s event was on all new ground, due to the installation of windfarms in the previously used forests. After a briefing from Cefin Evans the Clerk of the Course, welcoming us and warning about a few sensitive areas around houses/ farms to ride through quietly, the riders were off.

The start in the quarry went straight up two short stony climbs, which claimed a few over enthusiastic throttle jockeys or those still in the on/off choke limbo. After that the well-marked course took riders through forestry plantations featuring some muddy tracks and climbs with varying amounts of short ruts and grip.

Early on the riders had a short optional enduro loop of around a mile of soft muddy rut which was fine to ride on both days. But some riders soon found out that if they were to enthusiastic it wasn’t long before they got cross-rutted and found themselves having a little lie down in the soft mud.

The test started just after a brook that gave the first 30 odd riders a nice view of a large 950 Adventure bike having an early bath, but the rider took a suitable bow with no apparent harm done. Fastest on the test was Carl Jones on a Sherco 300 and no one could match his times all weekend, consistently finishing each test at least 80 seconds ahead of the competition.

The test itself took the riders up a slightly rutted series of climbs, punctuated by some sticky hairpins with 1in3 slimy exits where a few stalled and struggled to find grip.

What goes up must come down with one steep downhill followed by a sharp right and another climb. But after a section of narrow ruts alongside a stream there was yet another little hairpin and climb that the bigger bikes struggled on.

From the stream the test opened up a little, but still with some farm type ruts on stony ground into the tape at the end of the test.

From the test the riders returned to the start area along flowing forestry fire road, new single tracks and climbs. A mile or two from the end there was a sting in the tail in the form of single track of mossy ruts between trees to negotiate before returning to the pits after around 30 miles off road.

Carl Jones on his Sherco 300 dominated both days and was fastest on all test to take the overall win. Other class winners were, Dylan Davies Rally Lite 1, Paul Robson Big Bike, Rob Loupart Rally Class, Ant Ireland Trail Class.

Dyfed Dirt Bike would like to thank all the riders, the landowners, National Resources Wales, Llangrannog Rowing Club, Talardd Arms for all their help in running the event.

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Jon Coles

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