I was gonna call this post ‘Return of the Magnificent Seven’, as it was a year ago that I wrote ‘The Magnificent Seven‘, and here we were again, at Pearce Cycles winter downhill series round two, seven desperados in a rough mix of vehicles ferrying downhill riders to the top of Bringewood downhill course. You may recall how I talked about the team (that’s us) operating a slick service with no rider having to wait more than a couple of minutes. Well, so it was again, but blokes being blokes, this time there was a challenge…I was driving the Landrover Disco’, with bespoke trailer capable of carrying 16 riders. The beauty of this rig is that the riders load the trailer from both ends themselves, and the Disco covers the ground fast. Let the Disco be known as the hare.
Gary was driving the big John Deere tractor with the rootcrop trailer. The beauty of this rig is that the tractor has air-con, CD player, CB radio, etc. But, although the trailer can carry 25 riders at a time, it can only be loaded from the back, and only when backed up to a suitable bank, and she’s a bit slower. Let the John Deere be known as the tortoise.
Gary and I had often joked about how many runs we had done, and I had often wondered which was the best uplift tool. So putting rider preference aside, plus the fact that any fool (me) can drive a Disco, but it takes skill to drive a big tractor, I challenged Gary to see who could carry the most riders in a day, whilst being safe, and sticking within the 15mph forest speed limit when loaded.
All went well, and by lunchtime I has 7 runs under my belt two up on Gary. The maths – hare 7*16=112 v tortoise 5*25=125. I was a little down, but I reckoned that the bacon butties would be calling to Gary from Janet’s catering van, while I had sarnies onboard.
As the afternoon wore on it wasn’t long before I was in a position to move up on Gary again, but each time I tried to get ahead I was blocked, not in an obvious way, just subtley blocked. It was funny how I seemed to meet tractors coming in the opposite direction at awkward places, forcing me to back up and lose time. Strange how there was never quite enough room to get through in the trailer loading area, forcing me to wait. I noticed Gary smiling a lot, and talking on his CB radio. I noticed Grubb one of the other drivers on his CB a lot, laughing!
By the end of the day I had 12 runs making 192 riders uplifted. Gary has 10 runs with 250 riders carried to the top. I was beaten, the tortoise had beaten the hare. So not the Magnificent Seven then, more like the Magnificent 6 v 1 🙂