Never give up when enduro racing!
Back in the mid eighties, I was right there, in the thick of it, riding all of the British Enduro Championship rounds on my trusty twin shock 500cc Husqvarna 4 stroke.
The bike was the same one that had blown up in Holland in ‘84, but I had rebuilt the motor and was riding in the expert over 350cc 4 stroke class and doing reasonably well.
I suppose, with the benefit of hindsight, I should have gone up to the enduro championship class, but having failed to finish the Dutch ISDE I decided to stay in the same group for one more season.
I don’t really remember anything out of the ordinary with regard to that particular enduro season, as a whole it was just one more event, but I do recall an incident which certainly contributed to my becoming the 1985 British Enduro Champion over 350cc 4 stroke Expert class. (Crikey, what a mouthful).
This enduro round took us to Yorkshire and all was going well; no lost time with Day 1 under my belt. Day 2 started off with no problems until I arrived at the cross country special test.
Remember, these sections are timed with one point forfited per second taken, so we don’t want to accumulate too many seconds riding them.
The motor was running a bit erratic so I killed it and had a general check round to see if I could see anything obvious. Nothing! When I tried to restart the engine, it would run on tick-over but would immediately die when the throttle was opened. If I opened the throttle with the choke on, it would run at higher revs but not very smoothly.
Remember! I was at a special, the clock was ticking and I didn’t want any time penalties as I had been clean time-wise the previous day.
The marshal asked if I was ready to go, I nodded and started the engine on full choke and full throttle. Well, you can imagine what this sounded like. He gave me the all clear, and off I shot with the motor popping and banging, I kept the throttle wound wide open and regulated my passage by brutal use of the clutch. After, what seemed like an eternity, I crossed the finish line, I kept going until the next checkpoint where I had a minute or two before my time was due to clock in.
What I very quickly discovered was that the needle that is fixed to the slide in the carburettor by means of a small circlip had come adrift and allowed the needle to drop firmly down towards the main jet thus starving the motor of fuel.
The choke mechanism works on a different principal, so by whacking that on and holding the slide wide open allowing lungs full of air I was, in fact, bypassing the main jet and mixing my own air/petrol mixture.
I fixed the problem and went on to finish the enduro with no further time penalties and was credited with the overall class win for the weekend.
The moral of the story is: Don’t give up, overcome adversity and always try thinking outside of the box. If I hadn’t, then that 1985 British Enduro Champions medal would have gone to someone else.
I loved the days enduro racing, click here for more stories, just a shame the ageing process got in the way.