One Armed Keith ready for sum’ drinkun!

Postponed twice from last December’s rains one of my favorite trials is on for Sunday 16 March
2008. Keith will have been busy repairing and rebuilding the roads but it still takes a good 30
minutes to cover the 4 miles from the main road. I still remember the first time Brenda and I
went to look at the place following a primitive map drawn on a bar serviette…….. follow gulch
…… first windmill bear right…… second windmill straight on. Still it is worth it when you get

Brenda having “Taken 1 for the Team”

Today we have yet another problem as they have I-17 closed at Carefree while they take
down the bridge so we elect to take the New River road which works out well and we make it
to the Table Mesa exit without any problems. The road in seems rougher than usual and there
are some really nasty bits where the washes have raged through all Keith’s hard work. The
saving grace is the “team” have cut back all the nice desert plants and we make it without pin
striping the car.

Keith has a huge fire going and very soon is off collecting chairs and more wood with his
backhoe. Let the party commence! It has become a ritual for Brenda to entertain “mine host”
and today is no exception. The forecast is cooler with a chance of showers and Mike and Jim,
our trialsmasters have elected to go for “buddy check” which I always think is more fun anyway.

I’m Ready!

The trial gets under way at 0930 and my group is starting at 3. With all the flowing rivers on
the property the rocks are really beautiful with some amazing colors obviously denoting various
minerals and treasures deeper in the ground. Section 3 has a firmish wash sand entrance over
a couple of rock steps leading up to a left turn and drop into a hole before another uphill
twisting set of turns in deep wash sand. I take a dab on the uphill entry but have a good ride
to clean the rest. The others in my group don’t fair so well with a 5 from Mark crossing the tape
a multi dabber in the sand from our other member, Colin.

Every color in the rainbow

On round the loop to 4 which on our first visit was a bit confusing as the tapes didn’t match
the pie plates, but we all went through with a clean. Section 5 was just a short ride into
another riverbed with some running water and a real deep hole on the Int line. For us a gnarly
entry over some rocks for a down hill drop into more wash sand then loose rolly rocks, a
wriggle out of a small hole and then a slippery adverse to the exit, all of which the Cub takes
in it’s stride.

Just like Scotland

Now the fun starts trying to find section 6! We find 8 and get off the loop and end up in the
riverbed careering around over boulders as we wend our way up the valley and eventually
find 7. Jim is on hand and shows us the error of our ways and directs us to the start of 6. By
the time we get there we have had a pretty intense workout and any early morning stiffness
is long gone.

6 opens with a full bore climb out of the riverbed to a classic up and round the tree game
before dropping back into the rocks and setting up for another up and onto the bank game
and then a simple turn and descent to the exit. I stray off line and leave myself an awkward
approach to the last hill but I escape with a dab from what could have been a certain 5.

Now we are on the correct route, we tackle 7 which was probably the most technically difficult
section of the trial. A start on some savage looking needle granite setting up for a righthander
into a difficult gully with loose rocks and then crumbly dirt and shale on the adverse run up to
a climbing lefthander. If you get this far then a run round the hill before a steep long drop back
into the river and across the rock pile to the exit. My plan is good but lacks execution and I pay
the penalty with a 3 in the gully.

Follow the wacky loop marking and back to 8 which is a super little section with a sting in the
tail finish. Starting in the riverbed a ride up the cut then climb out onto a bank in the
undergrowth then an uphill sweeper onto a rock ledge before dropping back into the gully
and taking on the last uphill turn to the exit. This is an absolute classic if you can place the
front wheel on the far bank and loft it round the corner which gives a perfect line to the exit.
The plan works and I’m well pleased as the Cub responds to all commands and weight changes
on the new super footrests.

Another uphill workout (could easily have been another section) back to the path and then a
longish downhill run on the loop taking us back to 9 which is back in the other riverbed a little
way away from 3. Jim has given us a break here and a simple cross the river type section with
some deep wash sand and then an adverse blast to the exit. No problems here and back to
the start past Keith’s gorgeous orchard and see the team now in full flow around the campfire.
Doesn’t look like too many photographs today as entertaining is clearly the No1 priority.

Section 1 has a nasty little uphill across some roots. A high line here or the rear will lodge
against the big root for a 5 or a guaranteed dose of footwork. Drop back down the hill then
over a log to another up the bank and left hander coming off the bank. Shades of some
“over the bars” here if any front brake is used in that loose dirt. The first part goes as planned
but I turn a fraction late and take a safety dab to ensure I don’t fall foul of the “mind”. Colin
took a nasty fall over the bar when he locked the front brake and the bike landed on top of
him, he wisely decided to give the rest a miss and go and watch his son competing on the

Looking good on the way up 2

Our last section up by the start is No 2 and is a classic, balance and throttle control section,
with an uphill wander to a high righthander and then a series of downhill steps to the exit.
No problems here and so a first loop total of 6 which I hope to improve on next time round.

A quick burst of Gatorade at the fireside bar and off for loop 2. Power through section 3 for a
clean so 1 better than last time and now back to 4 which has been changed and not quite the
“gimmee” of the first loop but a good clean here and repeat performance on 5 to keep the loop
score on zero.

Follow the correct route, this time, and enjoy a pretty good workout on Jim’s loop which is
almost like a practice session. A rolling rock, no not the beer, throws me off line on 6 and puts
me in an even worse position to tackle the last uphill out of the river but the Cub responds
and with a lot of weight transfer I’m out with just a dab.

7 looks to be getting worse but stick to the plan I had envisaged and now the front floats
beautifully over all the obstacles and I’m through for a great clean! Now that’s more like it and
overall 4 better than last time. Cleans on 8 and 9 and now back to the start where the
drinking party are in full song! After asking the question “are you taking any shots today?”
I’m informed that  it has fallen to Brenda to entertain Keith and get him plastered so she is
“taking one for the Team!”

Back to 1 and the two traps seem to have got worse. The big root has got more exposed and
the final turning downhill has a lot more loose dirt. I see a couple of nasties here and also a
brilliant recovery from a not too brilliant line from young Mike Carlton who is looking a lot more
confident and professional today. Round the roots without a problem but can’t resist a panic
dab on that last downhill turn.

Up to 2 and the photographer is now at the top of the hill but looking a little shaky as far as
I can see. Another clean here and just the 2 lost on this loop so a good improvement. More
Gatorade and a nutty bar before setting off on the last loop which should be a pleasant run
as we still have 2+ hours to complete it in.

Another great clean on 3 and more cleans on 4 and 5 and then the fun ride up to 6. At last
get the line right and finally clean this one! 7 is a repeat performance but requires a bit of
wriggling but another pleasing clean, so arriving at 8 I’m still clean for the loop. Stick with the
plan but a little too much lofting spins me sideways and I take a dab right by the exit…it was
close! Straight through 9 and back to that tricky little section 1. Clean the roots and a perfect
position on the second turn and then with no intention of dabbing I manage to stall the motor
from a position that should have been a perfect clean….****!

The top turn on 2

Another easy clean on 2 and the photographer has made it again so a bit of showboating on
the exit to finish off a very enjoyable event. Total for the day 14, which should have been in
single figures, it takes the Twinshock class and also gives me a new trophy “The Low Score”
which is always doubly satisfying against all the new bikes.

Last Clean of the day on 2

Clean up done and we stop at New River for supper to round off an excellent day. I REALLY
love Keith’s Place!!

The Owner finishes another cocktail…. come back next year!

Tony Down  with hostess/photographer Brenda

Close on 150,000 words in 135 articles, find them all in ARCHIVES

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