The first annual HU Mountain Madness event is now over - and if you weren't there, you'd better plan on being there next year! Why? Because it was fantastic!
Comments ranged from "Best riding day ever" to "Awesome" and "Absolutely amazing!"
Twenty-three hours of riding in the beautiful mountain trails of the Pyrenees, hunting for elusive marker points and bagging mile after mile of fun trails, with fantastic mountain views, left some of the riders in such awe of the place that they spent more time looking at the scenery than they did bagging points!
One team that prioritised scenery over points was Team Avery. Kevin Avery;R1150GS, James Dee;R1200GSA, (who got some quick off-road tips for his first off-road riding ever on the Friday!) and Gordon Sargeant;KTM640 Adventure came in last place with a total of 272 points out of a possible 1085. They were last off the mark both days too, but they were also the "most improved Team" from Saturday to Sunday! There's talk of an Avery award for next year's last place team ;-)
Next up was Team Mitchell, Gary Mitchell;R1200GS, Tony Jeffery;KTM950, Ashley and Deborah Simpkin both on KLE500's, with 539 points. At the end of the second day Debbie was the only one that came up smelling like a rose - she hit the showers while the rest of her team chose to hit the bar.
In 5th place was Team Priest, Kevin Priest;CCM, Sabina Shread (on her brand new Yamaha TT250 AND on her FIRST day of off-road riding - she did VERY well - and was very proud of only falling off twice on the second day, bettering the four times on the first day) and Lee Bolding;Honda XR400. Extra prayers didn't help them to a win, but they did end up with a strong 767 points. They also rode down a particularly gnarly trail that another team struggled to get up - and swore that you'd have to be crazy to go down!
In fourth, Team Marsden, Rupert Marsden;R1100GS, Jeremy Jameson;F650GS, and Mario Agius, on an XT600, with 807 points. Their score may have been higher had Rupert not been riding one handed at speed while filming with his left hand. Next year he's coming back with a helmet cam!
Third place went to Team BJ, Brian Turner;Yamaha XT660R and John Loader;BMW F650GS. Early and very strong leaders at the end of Day One, they demoralised the opposition with a massive points score, well ahead of second place team. However, it seems they cracked under the pressure on day two, navigation skills suffered, and they came in with 970 points.
Second place and the 'machismo (or is it spelled masochism?) award' went to Team Lamsdale, Gary Lamsdale;DR350, and Roger Lamsdale;XT350. Gary rode the whole weekend with a massive toothache that required a trip to the hospital after the finish Sunday night, and a trip to the dentist on Monday morning for emergency work. He said: "It got bad at altitude, so coming down to where it just hurt felt good". They also packed their two bikes into a Kangoo van - absolutely chockers, with both wheels off the whole lot fit just nicely! At 994 points, they thought they were in with a chance for the win, but Team 'Two Ians' shocked everyone.
The "Two Ians" Ian Chappel;R 1200 GSA, and Iain Woolley;Africa Twin had never even met before the event, and live a hundred miles apart. They were teamed up by the organisers, and proved a killer combination - one Ian planned the route for the East half of the map, the other for the west half, and swapped navigation duties on the second day.
Coming in two and a half hours early (!) on Sunday, with Ian on a flat rear tire for the last ten miles, they were asked by Susan if they had a problem, "No, we've done it."
"What do you mean?" questioned Susan.
"We got them all, every point," said Iain.
And so they had - they hit every checkpoint, which layout man Austin Vince swore before the event was impossible - and came in early for a
at the bar to show their absolute domination of the event. They also proved the lie in Austin's words that a "proper trailbike" was the best way to ride the event, both riding big bikes to crush the opposition under their wheels.
The Lamsdale's second on 350's also showed that it really didn't matter what you rode - preparation, planning and determination were all key. The top riders all had well-prepared maps, with many ingenious solutions to make it easy and clear to read their route.
When the competitors were asked what they thought of the event, the general sentiment was "We'll be back! I can't believe all the trails and how good they are - it's just amazing! WELL worth the trip down!"
We want to thank Austin Vince and Lois Pryce for their amazing effort in setting up the course and for partnering with us to put on this event.
Pictures and video will be available as soon as possible. Next years event is already in the planning, tentatively July 30 and 31 2008. Confirmation soon!
More details to come! See the HUMM page at Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' Website