THE AHRMA EXPERIENCE
So, having rebuilt the “Silk Purse”, time to try the AHRMA Experience, as it’s only down the road at
Armed with all the paperwork, AHRMA membership, number plate and decals, lady friend and 2
machines we arrive in good time with 1 hour to sign in and get a little practice. Not so fast new boy!
First, an interesting discussion with the man at the gate, who wants $60.00. I explain that I am not
here to purchase the land but he insists saying I get $40.00 refund when I leave. Lucky I had that
much on me!
Out of car and purposeful stride to the Porta-loo when I’m hailed with “excuse me, are you riding?”
“Yes, indeed I am.”
“You had better hurry up as they starting very soon” says knowledgeable sage.
Quickly unload a bike, boots on, and money and papers in hand rush to start, time now 1130 for a
1 o’clock start! All done, ask what’s happening, riders meeting in 30 mins. Good, back to the car,
explain the deal to significant other and complete pre event routine, tires, fuel etc.
Back to the start at 1150, …. Not a soul! They have all left!!! What’s happening?
“Well everyone was ready so we started”
I contain my dry humor and decide that comments that AHRMA couldn’t organize a **** in a brothel
would be best left unsaid
Ride the event, a shade easy me thinks, a clean card and finish at 1.45, thinking I’m glad I haven’t
driven half way across the country for this!
Lots of talk from way back then and finally time for some lunch. “What happens next?” I ask.
“There will be a presentation of trophies at 4”
Back to the car, load up, clean up and at 3.45, we drive over to the start…… only to find everyone
walking back to their vehicles with awards and goodies!!
Well that’s it! This Rolex is going back and I’ll have to get the official AHRMA watch if I ride one of
these events again.
Moral of the story DO NOT EXPECT things to be on time, well it maybe somebody’s time, but
certainly not wristwatch. Imagine you had driven a 1000 miles for the “1 o’clock” start only to find
people are clearing up when you should be starting! Oh well, bear this in mind for future events.
THE NEXT ONE
Having enjoyed Whitman so much lets take on Perris CA for a 2 day event. Make all the
arrangements and with 2 TY175’s set off on the 350 mile drive down boring old I10.
Arrive at the hotel in Perris, check in and ask the usual questions. “Where is the best bar with
a smoking patio?”
“Ain’t no bars in Perris, stranger, the law closed em’ down cos of all the fighting”
“How about a nice steak house?”
“Ain’t no steak houses in Perris”
“Are there any Taxis?”
“Don’t know, don’t get much call for taxis as yer can’t eat, smoke or drink in Perris!”
Well with nothing to do settle in for what looks like a quiet evening.
The Funny Car Club is using the hotel and within the hour there is more noise than you would
believe with raucous engines, hopping hydraulic suspensions and the idle banter of the owners
The no bar scheme means “bring your own” and they have plenty……..
Very soon the swimming pool area has become the pits and as youth will have its day the
boom boxes are booming….. Why do they have to have the bass so loud?
With the following mixture of boom-boom, beer, idiot cars, and youth … mix quickly and you
have “instant party” which as we know is going to end in tears. Some time later the police
sirens are waking up those that were asleep and eventually peace returns to Perris. The
following morning the pool area looks like downtown Baghdad (it wasn’t much better before
the party) but now the chairs and loungers are in the pool, empty bottles and broken glass
are everywhere, signs of a mini camp fire on the cool deck, various articles of clothing and a
small pool of blood from incident unknown.
Off to the start at ITS which is an ideal 40 acres of land suitable for trials and nothing else.
As you take the 12 mile drive to the start it’s like stepping back 50 years in time and you
wonder what country you are in. Most of today’s sections range from simple to ridiculously
easy but old men and old machines don’t need too much of a challenge.
A bit of practice on the “chrome” 175 and all is well. Riders meet and off we go, or not in this
case as the red/chrome glitzmobile refuses to start! Oh well use the Rothmans bike which
performs flawlessly and apart from one needed dab only lose a total of three.
Look at the ignition and adjust points on glitz and she fires right up. Leave the bikes at the
site and back to town for night 2.
Sunday and glitz starts so all is well. Clean no 1 and then a good 2 on section 2. Section three
seems easy until I’m told I missed a split! Oh well total for lap one, after cleaning the rest, is 7.
Lap 2, clean everything! Lap three clean through 7 sections then the engine dies under power
on a very simple uphill rise to the ends card. Not a glimmer of a spark, so switch to the other
bike (it’s allowed under AHRMA rules) and clean the last 2. Come back to the start only to find
Brenda on the Glitz which is now running!! Glitz and I are going to have a one sided discussion
in the workshop when I get you home.
Overall, a good weekend, 2 second places, 1 should have been a first! A good turnout, nice
people and well organized. Thoughts of doing future AHRMA events flash through the mind
until the map is consulted and the distances calculated.
The year changes, new bikes are prepared and suddenly the “White Elephant” Safari motor
home is returned from the rental company, which has gone bust. I ended up with the motor home,
post divorce, and really never used it. Brenda suggests using it for Perris, especially as there
ain’t no bars, steak houses or taxis! Well sounds like a good idea, so let’s get her organized.
Batteries are all charged and after a bit of research a new trailer is purchased. Meanwhile inside
previous voodoos are “smudged” new linen and things and its all looking very nice inside.
Countdown to Friday departure and trailer is collected from factory in Surprize AZ on the Tuesday.
Wednesday get bolts and bits and measure and cut the floor to accept all the tie downs for 6
bikes. Thursday change the ball hitch to correct the ride height and look at the trailer wiring. A 4
flat to mate with the old style small 4 round? U-Haul has a clever little gizmo which looks like it
will work. Several locks required to ensure what’s mine stays mine!
Thursday night and it starts raining, fill up the water tank and try and start the fridge. 46,000
attempts to start the gas fired fridge and nothing. Water tanks full and bleed the air with the
pump on and at last full pressure at the faucets. Try the hot water, switch on, light on, lasts 10
seconds and then goes out! Great!! Well in matters “RV” little knowledge dangerous as despite
switching it on and off all the red light means is that it has started! However still no fridge and
no microwave. Brenda rings a RV expert who volunteers his time and in the pouring rain we are
checking circuit breakers, fuses, generators and all things electrical. Try the fridge again, nothing,
she tells him we have tried 46000 times and he says “Yes but you haven’t tried 46001” and lo
the bloody thing fires right up!! Still no power to the microwave and after exhausting the
owner’s manual and the microwave instructions we are getting nowhere until we open a
cupboard door and there is the three pin plug that someone has disconnected. Enough fun for
Friday morning and now time for trailer lights and the simple to follow instructions which do
nothing. Eventually remove the 4 round and replace with 4 flat, connect and it all works. Off to
Safeway and $250 later the bus is fully stocked not forgetting to stop at ACE for another $150
of bar-b-q and bits. Finally at 1 we are ready to roll in the pouring rain (remember this was the
weekend Oak Flats was washed away). 50 gals of diesel and we are rolling down I10. Not too
bad until we get into California when the driving becomes near suicidal as there is a change in
the weather….it gets worse!! My windshield is misting as the heater is stuck on cold and there
is a small leak on the seal allowing water to drip in the driver’s vision as well as the sun visor
dropping down when least expected blocking all look out! The spray is awful and with full
headlights I’m having trouble seeing the side of the road. Brenda secures the flapping sun
visor with super glue and wipes misted windows to the amusement of Cadbury the lab.
Finally I can see nothing and “time out” is called somewhere in Palm Springs. Brenda decides
that the windshield needs WINDEX! So in the pouring rain here we have Brenda on a stool
cleaning the windshield!!
The next problem is how to turn a 60 foot long rig around. Finally we are back on the freeway
and now make the discovery that the fuel gauge has failed full. Never mind, on with the show,
and eventually, off the freeway en-route to the start area. It looks the same as last year, but
with more potholes and some flooded sections to add a little spice. Creeping along looking for
a hand written sign we overshoot by about 10 feet and get out in the deluge to confirm the
sighting. Yes, this is it, but now out of nowhere and in the middle of nowhere here comes a
procession of vehicles! Finally elect to go forward and try and find somewhere to turn round.
This was not the brightest idea but I’m committed so end up at a T junction with water on both
sides of the road. Out in the rain again, seems hard enough let’s go for it! With one almighty
swing the nose comes round, as does the white picket fencing, can’t stop now, keep her
coming and a cheer and a bark go up as we regain the road probably having destroyed
Billy-Bob’s front garden. An operation this size there are going to be a few losses! Back to the
hand written sign and creep up the potholed water soaked track. Come to where the track
takes an uphill to the start and decide to call it quits for the night. Up ahead I can see
someone with a trailer trying to turn round without much success. Very soon other Trials
people arrive and everyone decides to camp out until daybreak. Well at least we have a
5 star hotel on wheels!
Dawn arrives as the dog needs to go out and so, in dressing gown and slippers I survey a
bleak and drizzly Perris trials site. After breakfast, walk up the hill to see if it’s dry enough to
park the RV. Well, they have graded out all the potholes and it seems quite firm. Find the owner,
and he says it will be OK but forgets to tell me that the motor grader he had in last week got
stuck and the recovery vehicle that came to the rescue suffered the same fate!
Up the hill we go and arrive at the gate which is the same width as the RV. Full left lock and
one mirror is through, full opposite and the front of the coach is now in “Trials Land”.
Onto the flat start area and survey the muddy ground ahead. Following Mr Bill’s instructions
we set forth and disappear up to the rims in California! Great, first 5 of the day. Never mind
they say we will get you out on Sunday when it dries out. Now time for breakfast which is
delightful with full catering of eggy bac and hot coffee. Outside the drizzle continues…..
just like the UK!
After breakfast the washing up chores but no problem with tons of hot water until we notice
the carpet is wet and there is a sound of running water? Turn off the pump but the water is
still flowing. Open a closet and find the waterfall coming down the inside of the bus from a
broken water pipe that feeds the washing machine and tumble dryer. Outside in the bowels
of the bus engine room consult with Scottie who tells me it’s not the dillithium crystals and
the transporter room is still working. At last find the isolation valve and peace returns to
People start arriving and up next to us Rich Palmer pulls in then Phil Drury and son. A reasonable
turn out despite the awful conditions. So a nice MUD trial with slippery rocks and running water
.should be good! I had a great ride with only one “5” (trying too hard) and finished on 11. Rich
was having card problems and missed a few splits, I believe, but finished a clear second.
Brenda’s son, Phil, turned up later and being an electronics whiz kid soon had the TV and VCR
rewired so we could at last watch something. A good fire, a few beers, and a bar-b-q and all
is well as we finish with hobo pies and s’mores.
Day 2, and another good set of sections, the best being No 4 a twisting uphill climb from an
adverse camber start and No7 an in and out of water followed by a steep climb after the ditch
with a little twist sting in the tail. Lose a single dab on lap 1 and follow with a clean lap on
lap 2. Section 7 should be interesting on the last lap and sure enough it has turned into a real
swamp. Rich and I were the only cleans on lap 2 and we both try and find a suitable line for the
last attempt. Rich attacks first and throws the little Yam up the bank for a good three. As I think
we are on level pegging I must get nothing worse than a 3 as the last sections haven’t been a
problem for either of us. The line is good and I clear the ditch but it rears up and some clutch
and footwork are required to get under control, not pretty but, a threes, a three! Clean the
rest for a total of 4 for the day and expect to be tied with Rich but somewhere he has lost
Load up, clean up, and now the fun begins! How to get a 60 foot long rig out of the mud, so
planks, ramps, more wood and rocks arrive. Much discussion as to which way to go but neither
work well and I get the impression we are going in deeper. After 1 hour of futile attempts we
are getting nowhere and eventually 30 people decide backwards is the only way. Off with the
trailer and with support under the leveling jacks the wheels come to the surface and planks
and ladders can be placed under the wheels. Hook up a Dodge dually and this time we
“git r dun”. Finally get the beast turned round and back down the hill and put on the trailer.
At last we are on our way home, pleased with the results and lots of new RV knowledge and
a list of RV things to do.
Where? That’s Jefferson Texas to you, very close to the Louisiana border. The RV is sent off
for some major work and comes back with nearly all the bells and whistles working. Sheldon
is borrowing a bike from Jed Bates and I’m hauling it in the big trailer. The mission is duly
planned with a night stop in Pecos Texas at about the 600 mile mark, and a day off in Jefferson
before the 1250 mile drive home. All would have been fine had I not saved a dying individual
in Harold’s who choked and passed out on the bar. I gave him the Heimlich and he started
coughing and breathing again. For my trouble I contracted his awful dose of bronchitis and
pneumonia and by the Monday of the week we were leaving I could only walk a few steps
before running out of breath. Up every night coughing and little or no sleep was taking its
toll so time to see the Doctor who prescribes major antibiotics rather than “drink heavily”.
By now I’m drowning in my own body fluids and somewhat in fear of my own mortality.
Wednesday and away by 0730, drive the 650 to Pecos over roads of dubious quality
(thanks Janet!) what do they spend our TAG money on? Another sleepless night and I’m feeling
seriously unwell. Thursday and the roads are more pleasant as we wend our way through
Texas and finally arrive at Diamond Don’s. Buy another piece of AHRMA land for $105 and that’s
just to get in! Get the briefing from lady redneck “y’all mind the snakes and check yer’selves fer
ticks and watch the mossies”
Set off down the track to the appointed RV slot but get stopped by a beer swilling cowboy on
a golf cart who turns out to be none other than the host of the event who clearly had been
taking my other Doctor’s advice and been drinking heavily!
Don and I survey where he wants me to park, which is not the slot I had originally been given,
but when the owner says “I want you here” you do what the man says, and once again he
tells me they will pull me out when we want to leave.
Parked, first beer in hand, when there is a knock on the door. “You are parked in Terry’s slot”
“Sorry Diamond Don said park here”
10 minutes later, another knock on the door, “you are parked in my slot!”
“Sorry Diamond Don said park here”
“Abuse, abuse, whine, bitch moan”
Now the irate guy wraps his Winnebago right round the front of the luxury RV.
Diamond Don arrives…… Terry departs with full power and a doughnut in the mud!
My, my, these motorcross people are a bit touchy!
Another 10 minutes goes by and another knock on the door to be told “Storms rolling in, better
baton down for the night”……. And so to bed.
Manage to get to sleep at about 3 a.m. but at 6 a.m. BRINNNG, BRINNNG, BRINNNG the early
morning alarm from some nasty noisy motorcrosser……guess who??
Dog walked, breakfast over, see if I can summon up the strength to unload the bikes. Each
one feels as heavy as a Harley and its all I can do to lift it onto its stand. Watch some of the
cross country stuff and see a Monark, like I rode in the ISDT, wander round, but very slowly,
ask what time the trial will start but get the impression few people are interested in trials.
More mooching round, and eventually discover the AHRMA clock is running approx 1 hour late.
Finally, some time after 2 we are divided into fairly large groups and told its buddy check……
this will take forever with groups of nine!
Eventually find the first section, and maybe I don’t realize just how ill I am but I’m thinking
these sections are pretty difficult. I commit all the errors imaginable, miss the split, clean the
hardest line, stall the motor, and even managed to fall off twice! Well I did clean all of the
sections but I just couldn’t put a decent lap together and lost a hatful of marks. When I
finished in the near dark I told Brenda my score and she thought I was joking and asked if it
was April Fools?
So with the worst score I can ever remember we trudged over to the freebee evening with lots
of free food and beer.
Saturday I could now only walk 20 paces without having to stop but the call for more antibiotics
meant a trip on the train into downtown Jefferson. Drugs in hand, and the command VETO on
shopping, a bar was duly found and a few beers and a memorable po-boy demolished.
Very soon it’s Sunday morning and time to leave, but once again AHRMA has me in its clutches
and the RV refuses to move. An hour later Diamond Don arrives with mini bulldozer, hitches up
and pulls 20 tons of RV back onto firm ground. DD stops the practice session, lowers the rope
and we cross the track to freedom with much blowing of the “Titanic” horn. 2 days later we
are back in Cave Creek. 1 week later I unload the bikes!!
Tony Down and faithful supporter Brenda