Items Needed to Conquer Unnatural Terrain.

Author: Mitch Ladyman

Author: Mitch Ladyman


The bikes to be on
As if it were only yesterday, I remember that day when my brain was in pain and it was driving me insane.

It was like somebody was scratching at it with a hunting knife via my left eye. I remember pondering the catalyst and deducing that it was either, or a combination of fatigue, exposure to excessive noise, inhalation of noxious fumes or ingestion of an immense amount of dust. More simply stated, I had been natural terrain motorcrossing the day before.

I miss that feeling and, hence, I think it is time to do it all again at the Trail and Enduro Club Motorcycle Studio Natural Terrain MX. Lets reflect and see where we got it wrong last time so we can get it right this time.

In anticipation of my first ever natural terrain MX event I woke up at 0330 hours to ensure that I would be on time for registration at 0945. This was unnecessary and thus contributed significantly to my heightened levels of fatigue. The event was only two hours drive and every thing I needed for the day I had already packed the night before. Item 1 on the list for 2018: sleep in.

On the way I got lost. As is so often the case in this era of google maps on the iPhone I was making up my route on the hop. This was fine until I lost signal. Item 2: print out a mud map.

That said I did quite enjoy the drive. The Hotham Valley in Western Australia is both tranquil and idyllic. Fat lambs graze and frolic midst the long green grass and horses stand staunch yet peaceful against a backdrop of heavy early-winter fog. This year it will be at Brookton and it will be equally as picturesque. Item 2 for 2018: Pack the GoPro.
Nothing like a crisp Winter’s morning
On any Sunday, if you listen carefully you can hear absolutely nothing, however, this Sunday that won't be the case. On this day six classes, comprising at least 150 riders, will line up at the starting gate to embark on their sighting lap as a prelude to when the red mist descends, and they launch into four sets of four laps of a 3.5 km track that cuts and grinds its way through a deep and steep valley of pasture and pockets of dense woodland. The noise will be epic, resonating through the valley like the Tabernacle Choir: the 100 odd two strokes screaming like children at the treble end of the vocal spectrum and the thundering KTM500EXCs growling out a bass baritone. Item 3 for 2018: ear plugs.

As I recall the circuit was nothing like is suggested on the brochure!! I was of the understanding that Natural Terrain Motorcross comprised a nice long flowing flat track through soft and squishy grassy pastures, with loamy, clayey dirt that would feel like mousse when you landed face-first into it. I was hoping that the corners would be bound by warm fleecy sheep ready to absorb your impact when you were high-sided off your ride. And being the middle of winter I expected the ground to be moist and the horrible dust we endure during summer rides would be but a memory. Wrong again. To get some appreciation please do yourself a favour and watch this clip. If not the dust then perhaps the fumes? If I were a smoker I doubt Motul 2-stroke Special Light would be my poison. We have all seen the old Quit smoking add where the man wrings out the sponges and squeezes the tar into the jar: that was my lungs by the end of the day as my alveoli stuggled to function under a coating of hydrocarbon. Item 4: race face scarf.

What caused my brain pain that very next morning? To be honest, I doubt it was any of the above. I am beginning to believe it was quite simply the pain caused by the yearning to do it all again. At least in 2018 I will be a little better prepared for this event sponsored by Motorcycle Studios. I'll see you out there.

Trail and Enduro Club

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