BRrrr December. It's hovering around 5°C. Thursday is grim all day. For Friday, Co Built Anthony has organized a group of 5 riders (me, GI, Guy S, Chippy and himself) to ride enduro on the Marlborough Downs, following ancient bridleways, byways and sections of the historic Ridgeway. The most optimistic man in UK motorcycling has promised sun. And he delivers. It's glorious. We meet up 7 miles north of Marlborough. Chippy was on the road at 4:30am to buy a garish 1988 Suzuki RM250 on the way. Gary 5:30. The rest of us live closer.
Anthony's KTM 450EXC that I'm going to borrow has seen action in Africa, and a week at the hands of Travis - I'm not sure which is more grueling? It doesn't want to start. Fault finding requires partial disassembly with molegrips. Anthony goes into Paris-Dakar mode and it's soon brought back to life.
Seemingly easy tracks prove to be very skiddy where the ground is chalk. I crash 4 times. More daunting deeply rutted cesspools are hairy but fun. These photos show open country but most of tracks were more like covered rabbit runs through ancient woodland that would eject us in yet another picturesque Wiltshire village for 2 minutes of tarmac before Anthony would lead us into a farmyard and onto the next. What a blissful day.
Last week I wasn't sure if my dicky back could take the punishment, but after a day's country rutting I feel like I've been given a rejuvenating all-limb going-over by an Swedish Amazon masseur (including a light whipping of hawthorn sticks). BP