The dust has now settled over Route 34 Motocross Park near Winchester, where over the weekend 60 teams competed across two classes in the Nifty Fifty Endurance.
Peter Hutton, owner of Venture Motorcycles in Southampton, a key dealer for Continental Tyres, invited our Brand Manager Graham Matcham to ride in his team along with Wynn Hagon of Take 2 Motorcycles and Karl Alexander Granger.
Months of dedication by both Peter and his father Richard went into preparing the Yamaha Neos 50cc donor bike for the rigours of five continuous hours around a motocross circuit. Careful consideration was applied to strengthen the machine whilst keeping within the rather stringent regulations.
Event day arrived and the modified Neos was unveiled with it’s striking graphics and ContiMove365 tyres, ideal for use on the loose terrain.
There was no time for a practice lap as Peter lined up at the start running class 1 alongside competitors in a variety of fancy dress!
After a couple of groggy laps Peter pitted and reported that some fine tuning was required to the automatic clutch. With a quick adjustment the bike came to life and Graham was given his first opportunity to ride the circuit. The ContiMove365 tyres performed very well in a mixture of hard pack gravel, loose wood chip and some sticky mud created by some last minute watering before the event.
The team operated a system of rider changes every fifteen minutes to avoid any early exhaustion and to keep them fresh for the long haul ahead.
Progress was good and after 19 laps the team had moved from last place up to 9th. After lap 20 the exhaust started to work loose, but was hurriedly tightened and the Neos was back on circuit again.
At this stage Team TCB racing were developing an incredible lead with great speed and no reliability issues. By lap 44, the Neos started to become a little inconsistent with it’s power delivery. This caught out team rider Wynn Hagon who crashed heavily after the bike delivered a sudden burst of power. Unable to start the Yamaha again it was pushed back to the pits for a quick service. The Airbox filter and plug were changed, the exhaust re-tightened, and fuel hose repaired before they set off again.
The Neos was suddenly back to it’s best as other teams began to suffer from all sorts of issues with their own machines. The trio began to move steadily through the order and after 56 laps were up as high as 4th place. Having completed 88 laps the leaders, Team TCB, had a terminal issue and had to retire from the race, promoting the Neos to 3rd place. The bike was running well and they were lapping faster than the teams up ahead, so had a real chance of achieving top honours, before disaster struck on lap 83.
Peter was riding when suddenly the exhaust came off completely. The rest of the team looked on and could see it clearly from the pit area, as a friendly marshal recovered it for them. The Neos continued for a couple more laps before being flagged off for excessive noise. On close inspection back in the pits the exhaust manifold has snapped off completely, making a quick repair impossible. Rather than be defeated completely some borrowed jubilee clips are fashioned in a way to hold the flailing exhaust in place. Despite a delay of 45 minutes the Neos got back on track, although 7 noisy laps later they were once again flagged off the circuit and forced to retire after a total of 92 laps.
At the end of the race they had dropped to 9th in class but all were very happy with their achievement. The Yamaha Neos can be repaired and will be ready for the next round of the Nifty Fifty.
The whole team proudly wore the emblem of their chosen charity The Courage Foundation UK on the team shirts.
You can find out more about them and even make a donation via https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/grahammatcham1
Event information can be found at www.niftyfiftyendurance.com
Find out more about the ContiMove365 here.