Winter gloom finally lifted for the last weekend in April. A long winter's anticipation of finer things to come finally delivered clear skys, sunny days and warm weather.
There were three routes to pre-ride, lay out Richta gps timing Control Points and to verify the roadbooks. A tall order and the expectation was that only part of this would be accomplished - and so it turned out...
The three day's routes coukd be described as a high-level mountain route, a lower level lake route and the infamous Avalance route with an addition. Friday, Saturday and Sunday of event weekend.
Gold River is mountain country and the snow is slow to go. The Friday route was expected to be blocked by snow and wasn't attempted. It will have to wait until the next recce weekend.
The attention turned to riding the Saturday route and dropping the Richta gps pins.
The gallant recce team (BinMän, Stuart and Tim) had only just reach the start of the gravel road before running into GR3 rally friend and supporter Richard G. Hi, Richard! Small world...
The route was followed, dropping the Richta CP pins in the correct order, progress slow but steady as everything has to be right or the whole day's efforts would be lost.
The mid-day food and fuel halt was approaching and Stuie says "let's go up there, I've heard its really nice.....". So, we have a little detour and it is!
An interesting addition to the Saturday route was presented and adopted! The Saturday route is now a 250km epic, fuel and food stop at halfway.
There was snow, too.... just as had been predicted!
Roadbook rewrite required but an additional Richta pin was dropped to add to the interest.
No secret that the lunchtime stop is at Woss Vegas. There aren't many petrol stations in the "wilderness" and you don't have to be any kind of detective to deduce where the fuel stops will be. An unexpected delight though was the discovery that a cafe/restaurant has opened next to the Woss petrol station.
Shot In The Dark. A very welcome burger and chips (in the English idiom).
I have already sent a message to the owners, telling that possibly thirty hungry, slightly dirty, riders might drop in for lunch on that Saturday.
The food and fuel stop is a time-neutralised zone. The timing stops just before you get into town and it restarts as you leave town. You can make your stop as long or as short as you please and as your timekeeper is on your phone in your pocket, your timing will restart when you choose to set off again.
On leaving Woss Vegas riders will cross Hwy19 (big clue!) before being back on gravel once again. The route passes a sign saying "Road Closed". It was not and immediately before the event the status of the road will be verified. In the event of the way being barred there is a short tarmac road bypass.
Following on, the route passes a second obligatory Passage Control, this one being a simple StopGo to tally riders with the start list, then back to Gold River and the Finish line at the Ridge Roadhouse pub.
All riders will be required to check in at the Finish Line for a final head count.
The second day of the outing was to have been for checking the Roadbook, but with the unanticipated route addition, that would have been pointless, so the Sunday event route was wheeled out for Richta marking.
The Sunday route also has a high section, but with some creative back-tracking and a short hike, all the Richta pins were dropped in the correct order.
The second half of the Sunday route will be in a direction that we, and it turned out, no one else since last summer haven't been.
The route was partially blocked by fallen trees as a result of the winter weather. Having the required tools, these blocks were cleared sufficiently for motorcycles to pass...
The route includes an out-and-back leg with a turnround point just short of the Strathcona Provincial Park boundary.
In order to positively identify this turnround point for the location of the Richta control point that goes with it, the team built a rock cairn with the large rocks of a winter rockfall. Participants will be wise to memorise the appearance of this cairn for their turnround. A further giveaway on the day is that the road beyond has been washed out and progress beyond is difficult...
Then it was/will be a return to the Ridge Roadhouse pub by way of a further circular route for collation of the results and presentation of the trophies.
Did I mention we have trophies?
There will be a second route recce weekend Friday 19 May to Sunday 21 May.
Any riders not competing the event would be very welcome to join us to ride the routes and check the roadbooks.
We will be camping at the Gold River municipal campground.
If you are planning to enter and haven't already signed up, the entries are at:
If you are hesitant about Roadbook Navigation, a training day is being held on Sunday 7th May in Parksville,
And if you are unable to be there in person, the same material is available as an online programme:
Gravel Road Motorallies, an accessible and affordable motorsport.
Jonathan Binnington 2/5/23