All content © Bob MuIIins

Old School Tips

Getting Started: Check out the Enduro News calendar and find events in your area, Join a club. Find out which events are suitable for beginners. Get involved with course clearing & marshalling to gain experience of the "going". If it is an ACU club obtain a copy of the Auto Cycle Union handbook. The ACU is the governing body of the sport: Auto Cycle Union, ACU House, Wood Street, RUGBY, Warwickshire, CV21 2YX, Tel: 01788 566400. The handbook contains the Standing Regulations & a list of affiliated clubs. 

Formats: An Enduro is a timed trial & not a race. The course is divided into stages by checks & each rider is given a start time & schedule to follow. A Rally is an enduro but the course is less technically demanding. A Hare & Hounds is a race. Riders start on mass in classes & ride continuously for 3 hours. The winner is the rider who travels furthest.

Entries: Get a set of Supplementary Regulations. Fill in the Entry/Declaration forms. The Sportsman class is specifically designed for beginners. Return the forms with the entry fee & s.a.e.'s/labels to the club as soon as possible. Prior to the event you will receive a confirmation of your entry, your start time & your riding number.

Preparation: Read the regulations & ensure your machine will pass scrutiny. Check levers. brakes, bearings, tyres, lights, silencer, etc. The engine stroke should be marked on the machine casing. Check the mileage. You may require refuelling. Write a check list of items required on the day eg. boots, protectors, jeans, shirts, socks, jackets, helmet, goggles, gloves. digital watch, tools, bumbag, oil, petrol, tissues, towel, pen, tube, pump. The old school bumbag contained a 21" tube which fitted both wheels, tyre levers, a gas inflation kit, spark plugs, spanners, pliers/wire cutters, zip ties, electrical tape, a plastic bag to carry water/petrol, nuts, bolts and if all else failed - a tow rope, 

On the Day: Arrive early to park close to the Start. 

Scrutineering: Present your machine & helmet as soon as possible for scrutiny.

Parc Ferme: Following scrutineering you must push your machine into the Parc Ferme (Closed Control). You cannot start your engine again until your Start Time.

Signing On: All riders must sign the organiser's indemnity sheet. After signing on you will receive your time card. Copy your time allowance from the schedule which will be on display. Adjust your watch to the start clock.

Time Cards: You must complete your time card & carry it with you during the event. A typical enduro may consist of 3 laps for Sportsmen. There is a time check at the start & a second called the "out" check. Here is a typical Time Schedule:

Check 1

49 mins
Check 2 28 mins
Check 3 49 mins
Check 4 28 mins
Check 5 49 mins
Check 6 28 mins

Checks 1, 3 & 5 are the "out" check & checks 2, 4 & 6 are the Start/Finish. If your Riding Number is 96 with two riders a minute your Start Time is 10.48. Your time card should look like this:


Name: A. RIDER No:96
Class: SPORTSMAN Start Time: 10.48
Check Allowance E.T.A. Time Penalty
1 49 11.37    
2 28 12.05    
3 49 12.54    
4 28 13.22    
5 49 14.11    
6 28 14.39    

The Time column will be completed by officials at each check with your actual time of arrival & the Penalty column will be completed at the end of the event with the number of points incurred.

Refuelling: This can only take place between green flags. All riders must provide a 2¼kg fire exstinguisher. Mark your fuel with your name/number & place it in the refuelling area with your drinks, food, spares, etc.

Working Time: 10 minutes before your Start Time you can enter the Parc Ferme & push your machine into the Working Area. If your machine does not have a tank mounted time card holder write your E.T.A.s in permanent ink on a strip of duct tape & attach it to the tank or handlebars.

The Start: When you are told to start you must start your engine using the kick start or starter motor. You have one minute to start the engine & ride over a line 20 metres away. If you fail to start, you will incur a 1 min penalty (60pt). You may then push start your machine without assistance.

The Course: The course is marked by dayglo arrows. Two arrows inverted & crossed means "Caution". Where parts of the course such as the start, checks & refuelling areas are marked with blue tape then riders should proceed at walking pace. If you breakdown (mechanically or emotionally) stay with your machine. Travelling marshals will assist you.

Time Checks:  A white flag is placed 200 metres prior to a check. A yellow flag is placed 20 metres prior to the check & a clock displays the time. Once you have passed the yellow flag you are deemed to be inside the check & you must hand your time card to the official for stamping. You will penalised 60 pionts for every minute you are late or early (excluding Late Arrival Allowance). Riders arriving 60 minutes late at a check are excluded.

Lateness:  Using the above Time Card as an example: A. Rider's ETA at Check 3 is 12.54. He actually arrives at 12.56. He has dropped 2 minutes. He must add 2 minutes to all subsequent ETAs ie Check 4 - which was 13.22 - becomes 13.24. This is called "carrying your lateness".  The Late Arrival Allowance was introduced to avoid penalising riders at busy check. If you clock in a minute late you are not penalised 60 pts but you must "carry" that minute. This rule was devised by people who are worried about time but clearly have to much of it.

Route Checks: A route or "secret" check is marked by a blue flag & may be placed on the course to deter "course cutting". You must stop at these checks for your details to be noted.

Special Tests: Parts of the course are timed to decide the overall/class winners. Every second a rider spend on the tests = 1 penalty point.

Finish: There is no penalty for clocking in early at the final time check. Hand in your Time Card.

Awards: The rider gaining the least points wins. Points are gained by (a) early or late arrival at a check (b) time taken to ride special tests. <115% of winners total = gold; <160% = silver; finishers=bronze.

Don't: practice on the course, accept outside assistance, smoke in the Parc Ferme/working/refuelling area, refuel outside designated area, refuel with the engine running, 

Do: Enjoy yourself.

Riding: Feet in centre of pegs, knees slightly bent & gripping seat between tank & seat, arch back slightly, elbows up & out, head over bars looking ahead, 1or 2 fingers on clutch & brake levers.

Braking: Weight over the rear, arms firm but bent with balanced applications of both brakes. 

Wheelie: Compress front forks, lean back, rev & release clutch. Keep foot on rear brake to bring bike down.

Spinning: To turn you bike quickly through 180 degrees. Place your foot as far forward as possible, lean the bike, apply the front brake & open the throttle aggressively. The rear wheel will spin & the bike will rotate.

Corners: Set the bike up in the standing position before the corner then transfer to the seated position close as far forward as possible with the inside leg forward. Look ahead to where you want to go. Smooth throttle to avoid wheel spin. On flat corners & off cambers weight the outside of the bike. In berms lean with the bike.

Jumping: Look for a smooth run up. Rocks & roots can kick you sideways. Look ahead for a good landing. Aim to land on both wheels. Low gear, too much forward position or shutting off to soon can result in landing front wheel first or a "nose dive". Power on on landing. If you use too much power or lean too far back you may "flip out". If you feel yourself flipping out, pull in the clutch & tap on the rear brake to use the loss of wheel inertia to rotate. You can increase the jump by compressing the suspension at the base of the climb.

Bogs: Lean back & power on. 

If you get "bogged down" in a deep rut. Put your feet on the ground either side, rock bike from side to side to break suction. select 2nd, compress the front forks & as they rebound, rev & drop the clutch. They bike should stand on the back wheel. Shut off & turn the bars so the front wheel comes down on the side of the rut then rev & push forward, The rear wheel will folow the front and climb out of the rut. 

If the bike is badly "bogged", REMOVE GLOVES (it is easier to clean and dry your hands than to ride with muddy wet gloves all day) then lift bike out - rear wheel first.

Water crossing: Look for water ripples, smooth water is deeper.  If the water is very deep or fast flowing. stand on the downstream side of the bike and walk it through on tick over.  If you drop your bike, kill the engine before it sucks in water. Water in the cylinder will not compress so something else will have to and it is usually the conrod.

Route your carburetor breather through the airbox in case you need to start the bike while standing in water.

If you don't have bushguards, loosen brake & clutch lever clamps sufficiently so they will move if the bike is dropped.

Kill switches Try disconnecting the kill switch if the bike will not start. 

Towing - Do not tie the bikes together. Loop the rope around the left footrest of the towing bike and the right footrest of the towed bike. The riders secure the rope by standing on it but in an emergency can release it by raising their feett. Do not use the left footpeg as the rope could engage the gears.

After washing your bike run the engine to dry the exhaust pipe, etc & grease the chain.

The best time to prepare your bike is the day after a race not the day before one.

A householder was woken up in the night by the sound of thieves breaking into his garage. He called the Police but was told that no one was available. A minute later he called the Police again & told them that there was longer a problem as he had shot the intruders. Within 5 minutes the house was surrounded by 6 patrol cars, a van load of armed response officers & the whole area was floodlit by a Police helicopter. The intruders were arrested. A Police Inspector confronted the householder. "I thought you said you had shot the intruders", he fumed. " and I thought you said there was no one available", the householder replied.

If an unknown spectator offers you advice on the best route through boggy ground. Don't take it. Ride directly at him as he will be standing on firm ground.

Dangerous hazards are marked with two crossed arrows & other hazards are indicated by groups of grinning marshals.

If you & your mate are faced with a ferocious dog, don't try to outrun the dog, outrun your mate.

Fit a grease nipple into your headstock. By forcing grease into the headstock water & dirt are forced out of the bearings.

Carry a small padlock to pass through a hole in your disc/rear sprocket if you have to leave your bike unattended.

Cut old inner tubes into strong rubber bands. Possible uses: Looped around the head steady to support a loose kick-start, looped around the swinging arm to support a loose side stand, wrapped around your bumbag to re-inforce the zip, wrapped around a file/machete tang as a replacement handle, etc,

A square of rubber conveyor belting secured with jubilee clips makes an effective sumpguard.

Check spokes tension when changing tyres or tubes

Before tapping out worn wheel bearings check they are not secured in place by a circlip. New wheel bearings can tapped into place with a socket the same diameter as the outer race.

Schedule 2, Section 67 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act allows riders to request a deferred test if they are stopped by the police for an "inspection".

Don't eat or drink after an accident as you may require an anaesthetic.

Check CO2 tyre inflating adapters are clear. New ones can be blocked when brazed. Hold CO2 cylinders with gloved hands when inflating tyres as the release of pressure causes the casing to freeze.

Remember, if someone annoys you it takes 42 muscles in your face to frown but it only takes 4 muscles to extend your arm & give the bastard a slap.