Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship Rnd 3 – Forest Estate, Scotland


Well we knew this round was going to be tough and it was, but the net result is that we are now leading the Championship for our class. Forest Estate in Scotland is a lovely place but with teeth, it has teeth in the form of a course that bites if you get it wrong and in the millions of midges (mini mosquitoes) that make the whole experience a bit of an ordeal.

The course itself is in the majority smooth Cat 1 gravel so not ideal for the Yamaha’s who prefer it rough to make better use of the excellent suspension, there are sections where the course veers off into quarry sections but by and large these are short so with a near 50bhp power deficit over the XP1000 Turbo we knew this event was one to simply collect points from rather than challenge for a win.

Well the weekend started pretty badly, Neil in the privateer Yamaha had a roll on the first run which was sufficient enough to damage his cage to such an extent that it was unsafe to continue so before the event had even begun we were down to just our Yamaha YXZ1000R and the first runs showed that it was a punishing course. We got some early runs in but whenever we started to push hard we either got a puncture or ran the risk of a big crash, the issue was that the surface was covered with sharp flint rocks the more you slid the car the more these cut into the side walls of the tyres so two early runs and two early punctures meant we either ran out of tyres or slowed down and with the other Yamaha out discretion seemed the better choice.

As the runs continued the course condition worsened, a smooth line emerged so stay on it you got some good traction but come off it and the car would wildly spin sideways as it struggled for grip whilst slashing the tyre sidewalls with sharp flints, basically every corner you were listening for a bang. It also meant the course became a ‘point and squirt’ type course, hard acceleration out of the turns and baby it round the corners to save the tyres which suited the higher power XP with its turbo but meant we really couldnt use the full chassis advantage the YXZ1000R has so after day one we just decided to get the car round the event safe and sound and collect some points.

Day 2 arrived and despite simply wanting to drive it round we got another puncture, then with three runs left to do I smash into a rock at such speed that I bent the wheel, blow the tyre and bend the track rod end. I manage to get the car to the end of the course where have an hour to repair it and do two more runs – not a great position to be in. With no time to get back to service we decide to fix the car at the start line and get the last two runs done and I’m under strict orders ‘not to crash it this time’.

Well driving slowly in these cars is not easy, you lose concentration and also they only steer round the turns when under power so coasting along means you are almost more likely to crash that not and on the last run thats exactly what I do, turn in, hit the loose gravel and slide over a tree stump and beach the car on top, oh dear. A combination of swearing, rocking back and forth in the seat and nailing it in reverse just about gets me off and we finish the last run with a dreadful time but importantly no DNF’s. Phew.

The Britpart MSA British Cross Country Championship is all about endurance, being quick is important but theres no point being quick and not completing the distance so despite our relative lack of pace this weekend our 100% finish record now means we are leading the Championship for our class, by a mere XXX points. If you’d have suggested that before Scotland I’d have laughed, but again it is showing that the YXZ1000R is tough little car, at least three runs I had to drag its little arse round the track on three wheels and despite hitting rocks at over 40mph and beaching it on tree stumps it keeps coming back for more which considering we are still developing the car for competition is impressive.

Next round is back to Wales and we are working on some new upgrades for this race including a new roof, screen and some increase in power, should be fun.