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8th August 2016

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Compass Challenge Continues

There's a right way and a wrong way to do most things, even going for a leisurely ride on an old bike. AndyR reckons he found the sub-optimal method of completing the Compass Challenge despite making extensive plans...

I thought I would share with you the way NOT to do a Compass points run. Naturally I blame FrankW for all that follows. Initially, I thought it might be a good idea for a social run to take on the RC challenge to do a gentle tour of the west country, visiting locations with the cardinal compass points in the place names. So out came the AA roadmap book to locate Westend, Northend, etc, etc. Later, with ace team players Colin and Chris, we rode the route on a proving run. It worked out at about 60 miles. I swear these villages exist in the road map book, but in the flesh only one announced its title with a sign, so a little improvisation was called for as you can see from the photos.

The RealClassic Compass Challenge 2016

Come the agreed date, an overcast day, at 9am at Compton Abbas Airfield (very good sticky buns) we have eight bikes and nine competitors arrive for the 10am departure. That’s myself with a Douglas Mk3, Colin Suzuki and tail end charlie (we used the drop off system), Dave MZ, Bob BSA, Ray Honda, Jon and Marie Honda, Robert Hesketh, Chris Honda (and satnav).

The RealClassic Compass Challenge 2016

Off we go, heading east to West End and onwards south to Northend and Southend. No problems, then a slight navigational error in Fordingbridge – sorted – and toward the New Forest and the half mile queue up to the traffic lights that is Lyndhurst. Naturally we get split up at this point but, as arranged, we halt and wait on the far side to regroup. The jungle telegraph informs me that Dave MZ has a technical problem in the middle of the traffic jam and Colin (tail end charlie) is assisting. While we wait I wisely check my toolkit just in case it is needed. It appears to be installed on another motorcycle…

The RealClassic Compass Challenge 2016

Bored with waiting, I abandon the main group and retrace my steps to offer help to Dave and Colin. Now it gets weird. Around the ring road to the far end of traffic jam but there’s no sign of the lost souls. Maybe I missed them circumnavigating the ring road? I go back to the beginning. Still no sign. Complete another lap, checking side roads, ditches, etc. Finally my mobile goes and I get the message from Colin. Problem resolved: he and Dave are en route to the final destination of the Sammy Miller Museum.

The RealClassic Compass Challenge 2016

OK. I collect Jon and Marie. Everyone else got bored and went direct to the museum, so just the two motorcycles visit the final checkpoint at Eastend and then head to Mr Miller’s establishment. So Jon won the prize as the only one to complete the route.

The RealClassic Compass Challenge 2016
MZs (working or not) on Now...

At the museum we appear to be one man short. Colin tells me the MZ has died again so, leaving everyone else to enjoy themselves, he and I go to the stranded bike with the aim of repair. It’s a two-stroke and fuel was getting through. We test two plugs: no spark so we suspect the coil. At this point we give up and give Dave a lift home, and Colin borrows a good friend’s van (thanks Browner) and we recover the MZ to Shaftesbury and retire with fatigue.

Most of the next day was spent swapping components from another machine to try and fix the MZ, battery, coil, HT lead and suppressor cap. All to no avail. Finally, while Colin was turning the engine over, I caught a view of the inside of the plug and watched HT sparks going in all directions except the right one. With a third plug swap the problem was solved.

So there you have it. Dave’s spare plug was faulty as well, just rotten luck. The feedback has it that, apart from myself and hero of the day Colin plus the unlucky Dave, generally a good time was had by all. I won’t bore you with the 120 mile journey the next day with a blocked main jet (still no tools…).

Join The Challenge

Everyone is welcome to take part in the Compass Challenge (and normally things don’t go quite this awry). Grab a motorcycle, find four places with North, South, East and West in their names, and go for a ride. Send us the photographic evidence of your four compass points by email or post your pics on the Compass Challenge Facebook page:

At the end of the year, prizes are awarded for the best efforts – these can be on the oldest bike, or by the oldest person, the furthest travelled, the silliest place name, and so on. Final entries are due by 31st October 2016.

You can ride on your own, with a friend, or drag your whole club or branch along, as seen here. You choose your own four points of the compass, and point your wheels in your own direction. Just take a photo of your bike (ideally an old one) at your chosen N, S, E or W point. You don’t need to be located in the UK; entries are welcome from all around the world…

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