2017 Annual Review
Happy New Year! and if this coming year is half as great as the last one then 2018 should be a treat.
2017 has been a classic for L.O.S.T in that we tackled some truly challenging roads, some biblical weather and we managed drink excessively to boot. Our scooters have continued to be upgraded and fettled to deal with the challenges laid out and with Mr Clarke's GP being a particularly notable example of a performance upgrade (after much deliberation and moaning on his part) this year.
Rider numbers om each event have been generally similar to recent year's events but a number of peeps couldn't make it along due mainly to having other commitments and In some instances, for just pussying out!. That said the core group has continued unabated to venture all over in the pursuit of a little exploration and getting to see some new stuff together. Lets hope that those that took a year out can manage a trip next season.
The wider scooter scene has managed to survive another year serving up the same list of National rally destinations in 2017 but more and more we see individuals and clubs organising themselves and events away from the norm. Even the National Rally organising committees are starting to realise that variation is key to their longevity and the 2018 season promises to introduce a number of new destinations for the rally going scooterist. More importantly though, there appears to be more enduro / long distance events in the Calendar than ever before and this is definitely a good thing for the scene in general as it starts to learn to cater to the wider audience the classic and not so classic scooter marques now attract.
The Icicles challenge 2017
The L.O.S.T 2017 Season opener was the obligatory Icicles Challenge and a re-visit to the Dragons Back in the Brecon beacons. A very wet and muddy affair as
it turned out with our first major breakdown and recovery of the year going to Ricky (our newest recruit). It was damp though and the easy-start only does so much in such conditions. We did feel for him though as we warmed our toes and waited for him in the Cafe 'only' a mile for him to push it down the road - honest!
The Spring Enduro - The Scotland North Coast 750
The big adventure this year was of course the NC750. Scotland's now world famous North coast route was tackled by four of us and to say this was an epic is a massive understatement. The NC750 is truly a staggering road through stunning scenery that cannot be bettered anywhere in Europe (IMO).
After a funny as feck through-the -night flat bed wagon journey to Fort William (Yes we got pulled by the rozzers on the way up) we had 9 days of the sunniest and most outrageously warm weather that Scotland has probably ever served up. The readying of the Scooters ensured we had no mechanical issues to deal with and instead could just focus on the blind corners, massive hills and glorious views.
There were so many fantastic tales generated on this tour that it is impossible to list them all but some key highlights for me was: Wild camping on a stretch of prime game fishing river that costs £30K a week to hire and getting hooked by the Bailiff (from Portsmouth?). The Assynt and North West Coastal roads that will stick with me for eternity - just amazing stuff, Pompey and the L plates was just hysterical.
The Cullen Skink dish served at the lovely Restaurant I visited with Malcolm ( The other two did a sneaky cheese and biscuits run but that's another story). The ferry hopping between Mainland and island was cool but funnily enough it will be some of the people we met that made it ultimately - great folk.
Let there be no doubt, we will be going back to Scotland as there is so much to to see and so many adventures to be had so make sure your there next time.
Oare! What a Road
After the meganess of Scotland a quick trip to Exmoor was decided upon to take advantage of the good weather we were experiencing in June. The Oare Valley is tucked away behind the A39 main drag and is a little haven for Summer campers. The campsite was packed and the local pub / food bar shut early which was shite. That said, in true L.O.S.T tradition, all things turned out ok in the end as we managed to get enough pint take-outs from the pub to last us an evening and we even got eggs and a frying pan lent to us so we could knock up a breakfast in camp in the morning.
A great evening was spent beside the river drinking until we were thoroughly smashed and then even Mr Maidment made a late entrance in his car (His scooter was Ill at the time) to round things off on a good note. Note to self - Mid June during School Holidays in tourist hotspot is probably not a good mix. Still we did manage some great roads on the Saturday. Everyone ran out of fuel on the Sunday (even Pompey) so a lot of shuttling of fuel was required to get us all home. Great stuff!
The Dart 250
Dartmoor is a firm favourite and this year we decided to spend a two-nighter with a trip down to the South Coast thrown in for a bit of a change. A Friday night dash down the M5 saw us arrive at Camp late on Friday night and a warm and well pissed welcome from Pompey and Malcolm. The choice of pitch (i.e. in the porch area of a fixed Caravan) was enough to convince me that we were definitely going to spend the following night out in the wilds and winds of the moor. I am not sure the campsite owner wanted us back anyway!! The Saturday saw us heading south through endless and torturous roads to the South Coast and Bigbury on Sea. Pompey had the hangover from hell, was miserable as sin and glorious for us in a oh-so cruel way. To finish the weekend off we had a fantastic and memorable ride out through the moors on Sunday in the sunshine. The Dartmoor top roads are excellent scooter territory.
The Peak District 2017 (NOT!)
The Peak District is one of those difficult places to get through from the South West of England. Birmingham makes a formidable barrier to progress and offers little in the way of good roads to circumnavigate it. The route had been planned and the campsites booked but the withdrawal of Mr G from the roster and with Ricky joining us late on the Friday night, we decided to change plans and head to North Wales and go see Snowdon instead.
To be fair the weather was set to be awful all weekend and Ricky had already had a belly full on the M5 before he joined us at Bishops campsite. Staying in Wales meant great roads and plentiful camping opportunities.
This turned out to be an absolute awesome trip up through Wales to the quaint village of Beddgelert. We had breakdowns , fuelling issues, a lack of normal food (Pizza only) and potentially flooded river campsites (according to our Safety rep). If anything it just wetted our whistles for more of Snowdonia and we need to go back and spend more time exploring the more Northern areas we haven't touched . The Sunday night saw us back at Llanthony Abbey and fighting 50mph winds, potentially death threatening tree falls, lots of strong beer and some great food in the Cellar bar. Loved it and loved the rain......
The final trip of the Calendar year is always Porlock. A new route was chosen up from Watchet and up into the back of Luccombe and Luxborough. I had never travelled these awesome roads and we all welcomed the change of route and new challenges they presented. A lot of Exmoor is hidden and there is so much to find if you are willing to venture off the beaten track a little. The tree colours and clear skies added to the charm.
The campsite in Porlock as always had its normal covering of overgrown grass for us to pitch on and rally across on our scoots. It was cold though!! The cold obviously got to Colin as he smashed into the spirits and was completely mullered by 7:30pm and had to unbelievably leave his Steak and Ale pie evening meal and retire to bed early. The rest of us did the tour of local boozers and retired to bed with a knowing glow of the Exmoor Beast. Porlock is a class place and a L.O.ST favourite for obvious reasons. Roll on next time.
I'd like to thank all of the riders who have travelled with L.O.S.T this year. As always it is you that make these trips such great fun and hope you have all enjoyed it as much as I have. There have definitely been some memorable moments and the best year for me to date. The year ahead will see us doing it all again with a few new and old favourites thrown into the mix. The Scooters we ride are now capable of travelling further and for longer which means we can get to explore much more of this amazing isle in which we live.
In 2018 we will look to introduce some new riders to the pleasures of L.O.S.T enduro. They are there and just need nudging in the right direction. See you all out there and thanks.....
Total Number of events 7
Total Miles completed 2110
Total Number of nights under canvas 17
Total days riding 22
Average no of riders / event 4.7 Average no of miles / event 301
Average no of miles / day 95 Average rolling speed (mph) 31 No of Major breakdowns / event 0.045 No of spills 0 No of miles per Major breakdown 2110
Duffer of the Year Mr Dave 'Pompey' Clarke for 7 out of twelve months.