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I.S.D.E Sardinia 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Administration & Technical Control

With the teams all together it was time administration and technical. The Grand Hotel President was commandeered by FIM Italia as the hub for processing the multitude of paperwork needed from the large international contingency, there was where we run into the first problem. The organizer took exception to Arnaud Didey being a French national in a supposedly English Team, after much consultation between official they concluded to rename Witley A into FIM Europe 3 or something to that effect.

Technical inspection was done with military type precision and thoroughness. Arnaud once again being the first “Brit” in the line and the first time the inspectors came across a PVC number plate while the rest of Europe use metal ones. Both his small and full size number plate was rejected and it was not until all the other British riders with similar plates turned up did they realize he was not trying to pull a fast one. It was with some reluctance that they let everyone through with the matter being taken to the jury meeting.

Admin Arnaud Didey Rob Carey Arnie's sound test
Witey 1 Dan Alldred Witley ISDE Team Aaron Smith
Rob Carey Rob Gordon and Ship Dave making some smoke


Even though Arnaud was the guinea pig so to speak he sailed through the sound test and scrutineering which is more than can be said for Robert Carey who’s EXC 300 new and standard exhaust system failed the sound test twice. After the first time zipties, tee-shirts in airbox, duck tape and rubber bands weren’t enough to reduce the noise level by 2db that was required. It was not until an alternative twin wall expansion chamber that he just scraped a pass..someone better remind him about the tee-shirts on Monday.

There were no dramas for Neil Bowker, Aaron Smith, Rob Johnson and Dan Alldred. With most of the special test having been walk by the riders there was nothing more to do than hit the beach.

There is a riders briefing in the morning by ACU Jury Member John Collins about the course and general do’s and don’t, walk some more test afterwards. The Opening Ceremony starts at 6pm which is followed by a beer festival and other entertainment. ISDE Sardinia is already shaping up to be a memorable one.

The day started with an early breakfast so that Gordon and the riders could attend an ACU riders briefing by John Collins. John went through the critical points of the rules - particularly demands made by the local police about the size and material used for registration plates. The scrutineers; having been baffled by the various sizes of yellow GB number plates they were confronted by, led them to let them all through on the undertsanding that they were not approved by the race organisers for road use and that the riders were totally responsible for the legality of the plates they were using on their machines. The risk is that our riders could be stopped and potentially fined if the registration plates do not meet the local legal requirements; which are not specific. This prompted Witley MCC team riders to head off to the local hardware store for sticky numbers, yellow backgrounds and some flexible plastic to try and comply with perceived requirements. Other rules concerning speeding, on-course noise testing and working on the bikes were also made clear.

The Opening Ceremony started by getting the entire assembly of nations to congregate in a side street/back alley where several hundred people stood in close proximity until the mass of bodies raised the ambient temperature (it got hot). Finally away, Gordon spotted our very young standard-bearer had the Union Jack inverted, we turned it the right way up and headed down the main street which was lined with a large cheering crowd. The procession headed off down a closed main road towards the start area in national alphabetical order. As we arrived to the sound of a military band, the Union Jack was taken by two ceremonial naval officers, the Junior and Vase were introduced to the VIP’s and seated spectators.

Gordon headed of to yet another meeting where start times and schedules for Day 1&2 were circulated. Our first rider away Rob Johnson, who has fitted right into the team, is away at 09:23 and last away at 11:25 is the other Rob, Mr Carey, who will be riding when the temperature starts to increase during the day. The route for Days 1 and 2 is 229k long, scheduled to take 6 hours and 42 minutes.

Tomorrow is more of a rest day but there is still work to do with getting all the tyres and mousses, tools, equipment, air filters organized for the imminent start of the competition.

Standard-bearer Like Sardines


Rest Day(?)

Though there were no formal duties to perform on Sunday which has given it the notional title of a rest day, there was still plenty of work to do. We all went to the paddock and as predicted the riders used the time to sort out their tools, tyres, mousses, air filters etc. and make up the Tupperware boxes of goodies (goggles, gloves, clean air filters, snack bars energy drinks etc…) for sending to the out-checks with the support crew vehicles.

The support crew mini-busses were brought to the paddock to remove the rear rows of seats to make room for the easy-ups, water, food riders “goody boxes” and other out-check support equipment.

The full complement of Witley Support-crew was assembled during Sunday with the arrival in the paddock of Dave Kavanagh, Bernard Jay, Diana Delahoy, Barry and Becky Brockman and Gavin Hazlett from South Lakes Off-Road, one of Rob Johnson’s sponsors, enthusiastic and committed to Enduro he is a welcome addition to the Witley Squad at this event.

Purple helmets Craftwork Rip N Roll Whats in the bag
Rob Johnson Bernard and Diane Dinner Thunderstorm

After the day’s work was done and we dispersed from the paddock, a trip to the beach followed for some of us for some much-needed relaxation. Later the Witley party of 20 or so reconvened at a restaurant that is becoming our regular haunts and we all spent an enjoyable evening dining together, a sudden thunderstorm could not damped the high spirits. This pre-event party was generously provided from some of the funds raised by the social fund-raising events that had been organized by Becky Brockman and Jo Ayshford, to whom we are all very grateful, for without the funds they had raised this fun-time together would not have happened. The riders bade the support crew farewell over coffee to meet their pre-race curfew and get an early night to prepare them for the rigors of the following day. The rest of us stayed up a little later having retired to the Hotel lounge.

Monday Morning would bring an early start for some of us: Rob Johnson (now christened “Bob” to avoid confusion with “Rob” Carey) had a start time of 09:23 so needed to be down for breakfast at 7.00. Richard and Julie Alldred, Claire Smith and Claire Charles also had an early start having to meet up with the other members of the support crew at the ACU Hotel de Plam at 6:30! To then drive to the Check location and set-up before the first riders arrive. Despite this the support crew members stayed up late reveling.

Monday 30th Sept. Day 1.

Day of the 2013 Sei Giorni Di Enduro – the FIM ISDE – the biggest international Enduro event in the calendar. A lot of nervous tension and trepidation hangs over the Paddock and park ferme when the riders arrive. 08:00 – the first riders are away – 3 per minute and all eyes are on the parc ferme and morning work area (where the riders get 10 minutes to do last minute preparations for the coming day’s event). Jobs included fitting the transponder holders and transponders that the organizers had supplied the riders with – at a charge of 10 euros each – and fitting the large rear registration plates to satisfy the local Police requirement that the bikes carry a plate that looks like it was the original fitment on the bike. This done, each of or riders made a clean start – Aaron pulling a wheelie for the cameras/ crowds that were cheering the riders away.

The day held no dramas for the Wiltey crew, nor trophy /junior Trophy teams. Everyone was clean on time and put in respectable special test times. Rob Johnson is worthy of congratulation for his fast test times putting him in the position of being the fastest British Club Team rider.

A long day in difficult hot and dusty conditions tested the riders’ (and support crew’s) mettle and the Witley squad survived. Witley supplied 4 members for an out-check support check and the support crew of Richard and Julie Alldred, Claire Smith and Claire Charles joined Okie and Tony Altass at Check 1/5 – which meant that they had to be there early for the first riders on lap one and had to stay until the end for the last riders on lap 2 – a long day enlightened by the picturesque coastal surroundings only when all the riders had been through and there was time to look up and around at the scenery.

All done and everyone home safe after a long day we dispersed to eat, drink, swim in the sea or relax – or as Gordon had to do; attend a meeting at 10:00 with John Collins, our jury representative to find out the start times for the next day!

Team Witley 1 31st
Rob Johnson - 11th in C1 Class, 16th overall.
Dan Alldred - 76th in C2 Class, 218th overall.
Aaron Smith - 29th in C3 Class, 156th overall.

Team Witley A 90th
Rob Carey – 53rd in C3 Class, 245th overall.
Neil Bowker - 112th in C2 Class, 296th overall.
Arnaud Didey - 134th in C2 Class, 349th overall.

 

Tuesday 1st Oct. Day 2.

Day 2, a feeling of Déjà vu –or more like Groundhog Day, where lessons that have been learned by individuals can lead to small changes within the repetitive scene to bring about small but significant changes the out come of each repetition of the same scene. Riders all away OK again, all clean, on-time all day despite some incidents that led to the cancellation of one check and the removal of any penalties incurred in the final check to the pre-finish check. The result of these delays led to chaos in the evening work area because riders were arriving at unpredictable times and the gap between riders was not as per the schedule – tools wee not ready, riders were clashing for space and many people were rushing around in reaction to this. Witley and the GB team all rose above this challenge thrown in to the end of a long day and all riders completed the planned work on their bikes and got in to the park ferme on time – oh! Must remember to remind Rob Carey to check his rear security bolt, lube his chain and fit a skin to the air filter in the morning!!

Team Witley 1 30th
Rob Johnson - 7th in C1 Class, 14th overall.
Dan Alldred - 71th in C2 Class, 197th overall.
Aaron Smith - 27th in C3 Class, 142th overall.

Team Witley A 76th
Rob Carey – 218th in C3 Class, 47th overall.
Neil Bowker - 106th in C2 Class, 276th overall.
Arnaud Didey - 124th in C2 Class, 319th overall.

Wednesday 2nd Oct. Day 3.

Start times once again adjusted to group riders in the order of total special test times through the field. This is in an effort to smooth the flow of the day, avoid queuing at special tests and faster riders being baulked by less cable contestants.

All Witley riders got away smoothly. In the morning work time the few last checks and adjustments were made to conclude the previous evenings work. Many other teams had riders who were performing some major items of servicing/repair adding to the feeling of comfort in the unscathed nature of the Witley machinery.

This was to be short lived because after Barry Brockman and Gordon Ayshford had finished helping Dave May-Miller clear up the start area , returned to the Team GB pits, sorted out the riders tools tyres and spares (in preparation for the evening work session) and were sitting down in the bar having a restful glass of beer with a couple of the Purple Helmets Club from the Isle of Man, Gordon’s phone rang. It was Shaun on Test 3 saying that Neil Bowker was at check 2 and had phoned ahead – he had a split in the expansion chamber of his KTM 2 stroke and needed a spare expansion chamber taken to Check 3 so that he could replace it there. Leaving their half-drunk beer they rushed to the pits to get the spare that was in the Witley /Isle of Man awning. Transport was the next problem as there were no Witley vehicles in the location of the pits. One of the Purple Helmets had offered the services of another club member who was in town, but had not been able to contact said member. Gordon and Barry ten raced off to the Team GB hospitality tent (AKA Mick Seward’s MPS racing team’s American style articulated race truck with full-size awning and flooring). Mick had just returned on his 900 Husky supermoto bike to start getting things ready for his riders so he couldn’t go himself but he generously offered his bike, helmet and jacket to Barry then set the Sat-Nav to guide Barry on his mission to Check 3.

 

Barry arrived just before Neil. The exhaust pipe wasn’t a perfect fit but Neil made it work and set-off to ride the next three checks without break to keep on his minute. Neil has the correct exhaust expansion chamber to fit tomorrow in work time.

Whilst this drama was unfolding Aaron Smith had his own nightmare. A flying stone nicked the rubber hose at the bottom of the radiator on an elbow just above the exhaust pipe. It sprung a leak and Aaron lost water, the bike started to overheat and was losing oil. Rather than doing what many would have done – riding on to see how far he could get, Aaron stopped to spare the bike from irreparable damage and pushed it 3 or 4 miles to the next location where he could be rescued by a van. Exceeding the Half hour late allowance meant hat Aaron had effectively retired from today’s competition. When back in the pits Aaron replaced the failed hose, re-filled the bike with water and oil, went on a test ride r to ensure all was in order and took the bike back into the parc ferme on schedule, applying for permission to re-start that Club riders are granted for a single rider. He has been granted that right and will be starting at the back of the pack tomorrow.

Rob Johnson (Bob) had no trouble with his bike, kept it on the throttle stop through rough loose and difficult conditions, fell off a few times and still finished very high in the rankings – 10th out of the Team GB entry – the fastest of the Club riders, running just behind the trophy and junior trophy teams members.

Rob Carey (Rob) clean on time and put in some fast tests, Rob’s bike is hanging together OK though he has some concerns about some play in the swinging arm bearings it does not seem to be affecting his riding.

Daniel Alldred continues to put in an outstanding first-time ISDE performance though managed to pick up one minute penalty during the day.

Arnaud Didey also picked up one minute penalty whilst putting in a creditable solid performance.

The shuffling of the start schedule referred to at the outset was only successful to a limited degree. Neil Bowker was with a bunch that whilst putting in some very fast test times could not match his pace on the going. Rob Johnson continues to catch an pass several riders on his tests. Some riders are still riding at high speeds on the road to compensate for slow going off-road. There have been complaints from the faster Club riders that some of the Women’s Trophy team that starts ahead of them cannot maintain a fast enough pace to stay ahead and they are getting in the way on the going and in special tests. The Jury have not made any changes because as a trophy team the women have the right to start before the club teams so the problem will continue.

All the Witley riders finished the day in one piece (though some of the bikes are suffering) and all start tomorrow morning ready for a new route with some new special tests. Tomorrows route has been described more technical than those so far which should make the checks seem tighter – more riders might come out of tomorrow with time penalties than has ben the case so far.

There have been many riders to date that have suffered technical penalties for missing the start countdown at the special tests, going late to let the dust clear, some going the wrong way on the going etc.. rather than losing time – this may all change tomorrow !?!.

Team Witley 1 83rd
Rob Johnson - 6th in C1 Class, 14th overall.
Dan Alldred - 71th in C2 Class, 193th overall.
Aaron Smith - DNF.

Team Witley A 68th
Rob Carey – 47th in C3 Class, 218th overall.
Neil Bowker - 106th in C2 Class, 276th overall.
Arnaud Didey - 114th in C2 Class, 296th overall.

Thursday 3rd Oct. Day 4.

A new route faced the riders today and new locations for the time checks faced the Support crew.

One of the Time checks (TC4) was positioned just after a mountainous special test that presented a difficult challenge for some riders at the end of a very tight check.

The Witley crew were in the support team for this check and performed a demanding sequence of refueling, feeding and watering riders in the very short time available. There were riders following one another with seconds to spare from their three of four minutes to their check time in a non-stop whirlwind of frenzied, yet controlled action.

The first two riders in were junior trophy then a mix of trophy and junior from 11:50 through until 12:22. A total of 9 riders in 32 minutes.

There was then a short lull for the support crew to catch their breath and to prepare the check for the onslaught of Club Team riders.

Rob Johnson was the first Witley rider in for a check time of 13:10. He had five minutes to spare – better than the early trophy riders that had just passed through. A brief re-fuel stop and he was away again, followed shortly after by Kevin Murray at 13:14 and the cycle of a rider every few minutes was repeated from 13:14 through until 14:10 as 17 riders came through the check.

Rob Carey at 14:10, the same time as IoM Michael Turner Rob commented that the tight check times caused the time to fly past as he kept the pace up and that he was having a great uplifting day. Staying Clean on time Rob sped off into the distance.

Few minutes break for the support crew as the army’s Phillip Cooper came through at 14:17 then at 14:21 Dan Alldred made the time check, disappointed to have dropped 2 minutes on but nonetheless maintaining a solid, speedy and enthusiastic pace.

6 minutes later than Schedule, Neil Bowker made the check complaining being held up by a group that could not pass a slower rider on this check. The final results show that Neil also incurred a one minute penalty somewhere for going into a check early.

Shortly after Neil, Arnaud Didey rode in. He was running 6 minutes behind schedule and used some valuable time in the seconds left in the minute that he arrived and a few more to receive fuel and take on board some food to prepare him for the next check and left the Check having lost 7 minutes.

Aaron Smith rolled in having lost 3 minutes and was clawing his way manfully back up the field after starting dead last due to his re-start after retiring yesterday due to mechanical problems. This meant that he had to get past slower riders, not an easy task in the fast off-road going.

Speaking of the going, the general feeling from the riders was that it was more ”enjoyable” going with breathtaking views. Based on the principle that a change is as good as a rest I expect that the change of route from the last 3 days was enough to sway the riders’ votes!!

Team Witley 1 70th
Rob Johnson - 6th in C1 Class, 14th overall.
Dan Alldred - 57th in C2 Class, 189th overall.
Aaron Smith - 81st in C2 Class, 326th overall.

Team Witley A 64th
Rob Carey – 41th in C3 Class, 188th overall.
Neil Bowker - 95th in C2 Class, 254th overall.
Arnaud Didey - 106th in C2 Class, 279th overall.

 

Day 5

Day 5 followed the same route as day 4. The Witley support crew members of Dave Kavanagh, And Gordon Ayshford were joined by Rob Johnson’s dad Paul on Tony Altass’s out-check service point and ISDE Stalwart Oakie made they crew up to strength.

Tony had drawn the short straw again, as on day 1, and once again his crew was on a double check – checks 1 and 5 as the riders made a relatively short loop of a second “lap” through the check and a couple of special tests close to the end of the day.

Oakie moaned about the lack of any of the young Ladies from Witley on the check this day but being opposite the Swedish service point and in close proximity to the women in the Aussie crew (who make regular visits to scrounge cups of Tea) made up for this in Oakie’s eyes. Richard and Julie Alldred also made a visit to the check during the afternoon and gave some welcome assistance during a busy period when the riders visited on their second “lap” as well as the female company to keep Oakie close to home.

Check 1 had been given 3 extra minutes from the previous day which gave the riders some valuable time to give their bikes a once-over, time for a rest, massages; as they were all complaining of arm pump from the preceding special test and to take valuable fluids on board.

The riders arrived at regular intervals, a minute or two apart and with a few minutes to spare we had a big overlap with 4 or 5 bikes in the check at any one time. As one left another arrived. Despite this there was no panic or hectic rushing about. We had a controlled process with individuals having specific roles and an order of priority to address items in. The relatively relaxed mood of the riders with time to spare, despite their physically drained condition, helped to keep things calm.

This became a little different on their second visit. The tight check 4 that had created frenzy in the check the day before was no more forgiving on Day 5. Riders were arriving with little or no time to spare and some had lost time on the previous check.

Rob Johnson came to us both times clean and with a little time to spare as he continued to run at a pace that kept him at the top time of the British Club Team riders and at 7th position in his class.

Rob Carey also ran clean and came in at 42nd in his class that day. Neil Bowker gave a strong performance losing 4 minutes but maintaining is fighting spirit. Arnaud Didey kept up his solid progress losing 6 minutes. Dan Alldred had a technical problem with a split fuel hose. He managed to make a temporary repair to this with self amalgamating tape and only lost 1 minute, but then went in 2 mins early to give himself more time to affect a longer term repair before putting the bike into the parc ferme. Aaron Smith was hit by another stroke of bad luck. Having demonstrated his determination to finish in this event when he pushed his bike for miles earlier in the week after it broke down, on this day he experienced a heavy crash at high speed. Suffering with back pain as a result of this and making slow progress after losing time as a result of the crash Aaron was unable to continue at a pace sufficient to avoid arriving at the final check more than the 30 minute cut-off for exclusion. He took to the road and returned to the paddock, retiring from the event.

The day ended with mixed emotions, a sense of disappointment at Aarons mishap, a sense of relief from others that the 5 days of grueling, unrelenting going against tight schedules and rough, demanding special tests was over. Anticipation and perhaps some trepidation about what the final day motocross special test on Day 6 would hold.

 

Team Witley 1 70th
Rob Johnson - 5th in C1 Class, 13th overall.
Dan Alldred - 67th in C2 Class, 192th overall.
Aaron Smith - DNF.

Team Witley A 64th
Rob Carey – 41th in C3 Class, 186th overall.
Neil Bowker - 92nd in C2 Class, 249th overall.
Arnaud Didey - 105th in C2 Class, 275th overall.

Rob Carey and Dan Alldred are filmed in this clip

Day 6 Final Moto

The starting order was reversed for day 6 with the slowest away first. Check one was 48k, only 8k of which was off-road, to a motocross track high in the mountains amidst some spectacular scenery.

The Witley Riders discharged themselves honorably. A day to make one proud to be associated with the Witley teams. A day that brought a fitting end with a good finished product from the hard job of work that is the ISDE. All involved are to be congratulated, without the contributions made by everyone involved, at home as well as in Sardinia, this would not have happened. Witley have again presented themselves as committed Club with a high level of rider skill and an overall professional attitude.

Racing was exiting and exhilarating. The course did not contain any wild jumps or dangerous features. It had been built for riders a little slower than the top half of the field of ISDE competitors as some of the jumps were a little short and many over-jumped on to the bottom of the exit ramp or even the flat course beyond this, causing some heavy landings.

There were no serious accidents though a few riders did fall and re-start. One of these was our Rob Carey who got tied up in a first bend scramble and when a rider fell in front of him he had nowhere to go ! except down. This put him at the back of the field but thankfully he was unhurt and after re-mounting with a missing headlight and twisted handlebars he picked-off a couple tail enders. Rob Carey finished in 67th Positon in his C3 Class for the Final moto.

Arnaud Didey rode a controlled race in the mid-field without mishap and returned a positon of 111th in his C2 Class for the final moto.

Neil Bowker made a bid for the hole-shot in his heat and made a blistering start that put him in 4th place into the first bend which he maintained until the chequered flag. This race that came from his , heart and soul as he had given everything physical that he had left, put Neil into 56th overall in his C2 class for the final moto.

Dan Alldred was in the same heat as Neil and Dan made an astonishing start entering the first bend in 3rd Place. He called on his innate motocross skills and managed to improve on this by taking and pulling away from the rider that had beaten him into the first bend. He spent sometime chasing down the heat leader and came close enough at one point to make us think he was going to challenge for the lead. He could however not quite get on the leaders tail to make the final move and made a finish to be proud of in second place in his heat. This put Dan at 35th Overall in his C2 class for the Moto X.

Rob Johnson rode an aggressive race after making a poor start overtaking several riders on each of the 6 laps he finished in 25th position overall in his C1 class for the motocross.

The final results from the Witley Teams and Riders:

Team Witley 1 85th
Rob Johnson - Gold Medal. Clean on time; 6th in C1 Class, 16th overall.
Dan Alldred - Silver Medal. 3 late & 2 early minutes +1 minute penalty; 67th in C2 Class, 189th overall.
Aaron Smith - DNF.

Team Witley A 59th
Rob Carey – Silver Medal. Clean on Time; 41st in C3 Class, 185th overall.
Neil Bowker - Bronze Medal. 10 minutes late- no early penalties; 91st in C2 Class Bronze, 248th overall. (The “early “ time penalty previously reported has disappeared).
Arnaud Didey - Bronze Medal. 14 minutes late; 105th in C2 Class, 275th overall.

 
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