Rally good time - British Bike Rally Championship 2023
Updated: Aug 2
He’s never entered a rally or enduro before, so the event in Crychan Forest above Llandovery in West Wales was a baptism of fire, only cooled by the relentless rain over the two day event, although the weather did brighten up towards the end of the day on Sunday. Either way the weather couldn't dampen our spirits.
As this was Kelvin’s first rally he decided to take the easier option and entered the beginners class with his two friends Mo and Emma. Entering the beginners class you ride the same route and special tests as the other classes; however, you get an easier life of only having to do two laps of the 27 mile course rather than three (wise choice on day one).
Day one: All rather nerve wracking not knowing what to expect; however, everyone was so helpful and friendly, with everything sorted, our start time soon came around and the three of us lined up to start. As beginners you start last, Kelvin expected we would all be lapped by the expert class at some point. We set off in to the misty forest to see what delights it held for us.
In no time at all, we all settled in to the flow of it and begun to pick up pace as we relaxed a little. Despite the very heavy rain the scenery was stunning and the course was excellent.
Not knowing what to expect from the traffic light starts where you set off in ones on the special tests, Kelvin could feel the nerves rising, but once on the way it was great fun and a chance to stretch your legs so to speak. Normally trail riding there are other people using the tracks, so one needs to go that much slower. On the special test you are timed, so speed is of the essence and picking the best line can make all the difference to avoid the deep mud, which hid the rocks and logs nicely on the trickier parts. Luckily the way the event is organised and the length of the course no experts came flying past, in fact it was us over taking people which was a nice surprise.
Kelvin was rather tired and achy after the first days events and thankful he had chosen to enter the beginners class. Sleeping well through the night despite the very heavy rain bombarding the roof of the van, it was soon early morning and time to pack up camp and travel back to the start.
Day two: Kelvin was ready for day two, as were Emma and Mo. All three felt a little more comfortable as they knew what to expect and had their riding legs on, although Kelvin wasn’t so keen on getting back into the cold, wet, muddy bike gear. Squelchy boots anyone!
Again we set off in threes when our allotted time came, waved off by the friendly marshal we blasted along the forest fire roads before the real fun started again. For some reason the course felt quicker in reverse, maybe more downhill, because we had all got in to the grove or the fact that 180 odd riders on all manor of bikes from day one had marked the course well. Whatever it was it felt good, and there were definitely plenty of fun sections to pit your skills against. Fast and slow it was all great fun and WTRA should be commended for putting on a great event and great course.
Again all three of us rode well and all finished with reasonable times through the special tests and felt they could do another lap this time round.
Did we have any bike dramas? No, other than Kelvin nearly losing his nice new skid plate that Suzie brought for him 😍.
Did we fall off? Yes✊.
Did we have injuries? No, well other than Kelvin’s nice new Leatt pants being shredded 🙁.
Did we have an awesome time? A resounding yes from all, and big smiles all round to prove it 😁.
Will we be back next year? Hell yes, maybe clubman class next year guys, along with Suzie entering to ✊?
If you are thinking of entering a rally, we can highly recommend the WTRA Beacons Rally, great fun, in a relaxed manor with everyone so happy to help lend a hand.
Thanks to Mo and Emma for being great Rally buddies and encouraging Kelvin to enter.
Thanks to Rob as pit crew and videographer.
Thanks to Steve from Steve Plain Motorcycles for his advice and encouragement.
A big thank you to the Welsh Trail Riders Association and all involved for organising and running an awesome event, along with standing and riding in the lovely weather conditions!
Thanks to Natural Resources Wales, Llandovery District for giving permission to use the land which is normally out of bounds for powered vehicles.
Gallery links and thanks to the photographers for the fantastic shots and braving the relentless weather: