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Canned-Ham Vinduro Guide
A guide for the complete novice on how to enter, prepare for and do a vintage enduro. I have written this for events that typically take place in the UK, although any enduro, wherever in the world, classic or modem, follow the same principles. Check with your local governing body ACU, ORPA, FIM etc or event organiser for exact rules
Do the usual
Do your usual maintenance first; change the oil, clean the filter etc; then check the bike over, check the electrics, make sure everything is secure and functional, and that should do you. You may want to think about:
Depending on the event and tyre of terrain you will be going over, it’s best to match the tyre. Most events allow motocross type tyres, so make sure they have good tread and inflated to the correct air pressure, which for off-road work is normally low, circa12-15 psi. To protect against puncture, use heavy duty tubes, or one tube within another. The general rule is that the more expensive the tyre, the better the grip and longer life, endure tyres providing better all road grip.
If this is your first event and your bike has been used for mostly road / light trail use, it may be over geared. Enduros are normally technical in nature so it may be worth considering dropping down a tooth on the front sprocket. It’s probably better to be under geared that over, especially when hills are involved.
All enduro’s are based on time, even hare and hounds events. So you will need some way of keeping track of time. The easiest is an old watch strapped around the handlebar pad. You may also want to put some light coloured tape on the tank to write down your checkpoint times.
You will also want to track your distance travelled. Mainly to work out how far you are along the course, total distance travelled (for fuel consumption) and where the next checkpoint will be. A functioning odometer is required, but not mandatory.
There is a separate spares/tools list on this site. These are what you should considering taking with you, but in your on-bike tool bag or backpack, you will only need the minimum. Check your bike as to what spanners (wrenches), allen keys and screwdrivers you need. You are not going to change your swing arm in the middle of the course so don’t worry about those types of bolts! Normally only the tools to change a tyre or spark plug and to tighten up the main components like levers etc are required.
Make sure the air box can breathe and not suck in any water. With older bikes the breather tube often goes missing or is poorly routed.
Loosen the brake clutch lever clamps sufficiently so they will move if the bike is dropped. In keeping with the vintage sprit hand guards are not normally used, but are not against the rules.
Vintage enduro’s normally call for front and rear lights, although most events are relaxed about the operating bit provided they are fitted.
You know you should be fitter, now here’s the reason.
The clue is the event title, it’s an endurance event. So if you have indulged the evening before in some bench racing, make sure you have some hydration, preferably through some form of isotonic drink. And keep a spare bottle in the back pocket of your riding jacket or use a camelback..
Most vintage enduro’s try to encourage period dress, so single colour race shirts, hidden armour etc all helps make the event. Again nothing special just typical riding gear, but elbow and knee protection is worth the investment. As endure events are often long, it is also worth investing in a good enduro jacket which will be both warm and weatherproof, with plenty of pockets for things.
Any type of helmet is acceptable, with a lot of riders favouring the older style open face. However it will have to have a current ACU gold sticker
Entry to events can be done a number of different ways, mainly through either experience of the rider or period age of the bike, which generally correspond to major milestones in technology. And for most events you don’t need a race license, as most organisers allow you to buy a day license to ride a single event.
Entries or events can be characterised by:
Expert – is an individual class for exactly that. If you’re reading this guide or competing in a vinduro event for the first time, you’re probably not an expert.
Clubman A & B – most people compete as Clubman, with “A” being better (i.e. quicker) than “B”. There is generally no difference as the beauty of enduro is that you are competing by yourself and for yourself against a clock. There are often easier routes in difficult areas for Clubman riders, but they are optional.
If it’s your first event enter as Clubman B, take it slow and just enjoy a leisurely ride around the countryside.
Some events classify by bikes instead, so a single class with have a variety of rider abilities, but all on similar bikes, either by the year it was made or by engine size.
By Event Type:
Timecard – timecard events are considered to be proper enduro’s, as they are both the traditional manner for an enduro to be held, and the events being a timed paced race set it apart from any other form of off-road event. In the event a rider is tasked with riding at a set pace (mph) over varying terrain, and required to hit certain checkpoints at certain times. Penalties are awarded for being late or early to these checkpoints. Sometimes secret checkpoints are set along the course to stop shortcuts etc.
At the start of the event (normally at signing on), you will be given your start time, at the set time for each lap. So, if your start time is 9:25, with you set lap time of 90 minutes, your subsequent lap start time will be 10:55, 12:25, 13:55 etc. You cannot start your next lap until that time (giving you time for refuel etc). However of you arrive late at the checkpoint, then your new time will be set by that arrival time. If you arrive late at your 10:55 check, and arrive at 11:05, then your new times will be 12:35, 14:05 etc.
In addition to the timecard, there is often a motocross style special test. It is normal that the first lap is used a sighting lap, with subsequent laps being used timing, with penalties given to slower riders based on the best time.
The rider with the least amount of penalty time (points) and the quickest special test is the winner. Vinduro events vary in the manner in which the times are set and how the time card must be completed. Check with the event organiser as to specific use of the timecards at the event.
Hare and Hounds – are a more common type of event and can best be described as long distance motocross. There are no set times, with riders setting off in groups. The purpose is then to complete as many laps as possible within the set time of the event. The time is normally around 4 hours, with some events having a break half way for running repairs etc.
There is not normally any special test associated with these events and are normally easier to understand without the use of timecards or set times etc. The courses vary and are often run of the same course as timecard events.
Sign your name and pay your day license
When you arrive to the event, your first action will be to sign the organiser’s indemnity sheet, which generally means you agree to absolve them of any responsibility if you hurt yourself or someone else. At this point you will receive your timecard which must be zip tied to the handlebars, your start time and any final instructions, typically given at a riders briefing.
Final instructions / Riders Meeting
The event organizers usually have a riders meeting the morning of the event to warn riders of potential hazards on the course, show them where the starting line is, and provide any last minute information and changes about the event.
This is a simple exercise where your bike is checked over to make sure it is within the rules and is safe. For some events a reading with a sound meter is taken to ensure compliance with the noise limits. You time card, or tag must be fitted to the bike once obtained at signing on.
Almond with the bike, your helmet will be check for condition and to make sure it has a current gold ACU sticker (for UK events). With enduro you are normally required to have front and side plates with your race number, which normally have to be a black numbers on coloured backgrounds depending on the class entered.
Exact rules vary between events, so always check with organisers as to any specific requirements. Organisations like the ACU publish specific rules which may have to be complied with, although these are normally stated on any entry form.
Behind the start is the parc ferme, where all bikes will have to be parked prior to the start. Once your bike passes scrutineering, the bike must be parked up and no work is to be undertaken on the bike.
Near the parc ferme and as part of the course, will be the refuelling area. Here is where you will have to put a cache of fuel, plus any spares or tools that you think you will need. It is also a good idea to put things like spare water, power bars and change of gloves etc. You can enter the area after each lap, and stay there as long as you wish, but in accordance with the timings of the event
The following is a simplification of rules and procedures. Exact requirements will depend on the event entered, the organisers and the governing body. But don’t worry plenty of people will be on hand to explain and most vinduros are pretty relaxed.
The Course: The course normally consists of the main route across the countryside, with a special test, normally at the start of finish. The route is marked with a combination of tape and coloured arrows. All riders follow the same route and on most vintage events there are alternative routes, “chicken runs”, around difficult areas. The course is patrolled by travelling marshals with marshals also being stationed at hazardous areas – therefore look out for marshals, because they will be at the difficult bits!
Two crossed arrows mean a specific hazard, such as a sharp drop, rocks etc. Blue tape mark areas where riders must ride at walking pace, normally at check points, refuelling areas etc.
If you break down (mechanically, emotionally or physically) stay with your machine. The travelling marshals will assist you and summon any help such as medical. Most vinduros are relaxed about assistance so they will also normally help you get going again too.
Time Checks: A blue flag is placed 200 metres prior to a checkpoint with blue tape marking out a zigzag route forcing you to slow down prior to the checkpoint. Normally a diversion will allow you to enter the refuelling point, the time of which to do will be part of your lap time At the checkpoint, you will normally be forced to stop, your card punched and number noted, then waved on. A large clock displays the official event time allowing you to check your progress.
Ride your own race and remember it’s an endurance event. The beauty of enduro is that you are competing by yourself against a clock. So assume the position: Feet in centre of the pegs with your knees slightly bent and grip the seat with your inner thighs. Arch your back slightly with your elbows up and out, as if you’re going to push on something. Your head should be over the bars looking ahead with 1or 2 fingers on the clutch and brake levers.