Tag Archives: Ride

Niche Market Is A Dream Ride For Harry Skelton In The Grand National Festival

Harry Skelton is set to realise his dream of riding in his first John Smith’s Grand National Festival at Aintree on April 8 to 10. He is to partner the Bob Buckler-trained Niche Market, who ran well for a long way at last week’s Cheltenham Festival.

Skelton, 20, son of former international showjumper Nick Skelton, could reach this milestone before he has even ridden out his claim as a conditional jockey. He has accumulated a career total of 70 winners and needs five more before losing his 3lb allowance.

“Hopefully my first ride in the Grand National will be something to remember,” Skelton said after taking one mount at Plumpton on Monday. “When I rode Niche Market at Fairyhouse last year, that was my first ride in the Irish National, so I’m hoping that’s a good omen.

“I’ve ridden my horse a good few times now and I’m learning a bit more about him each time. He stays all day, and, touch wood, he’s the type of horse who can get into a good rhythm very easily. You jump the first and away you go,” he pointed out.

Niche Market finished ninth to Chief Dan George in the William Hill Chase at Cheltenham last week, but that bare result does not tell the full story. He was ridden forward to get a position handy to the pace and after leading four out, hit the next fence and then weakened.

“It was a super Grand National trial,” Buckler said. “With the quicker ground, it allowed several of the others to have a crack at him, but he has run well and has come back absolutely fine.

“You couldn’t really ask for more, though maybe we should have run him in the Gold Cup and picked up some prize money. If you look at Mon Mome we could have been there as well,” he added.

“Niche Market is a very laid-back horse and we didn’t rip the guts out of him. He’ll bounce back. I have no plans to take him anywhere for gallops before Aintree. We can do enough with him here at home. He’ll have a pretty quiet time,” the trainer added.

Niche Market is as low as 16-1 for the Grand National with Ladbrokes, but he is as long as 33-1 with William Hill. He looks a cracking each-way bet, as he stays well and appears to be in good form.

Meanwhile, Phil Smith, senior handicapper to the BHA, has elevated Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander to a rating of 185, placing him 3lb ahead of runner-up Denman, while Kauto Star, who looked beaten when falling four out, has been left on 193.

“Imperial Commander is still progressive even as a nine-year-old, and his Gold Cup performance must be recognised. As Gold Cups go, this was fairly easy to assess, with Carruthers a very good yardstick. With Kauto Star, it was a case of ‘ignore run’ and see what he can do next time,” Smith said.

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Go along for a Ride for Pleasant PS2 Joystick

In light of contemporary high-tech era featuring multifarious fabulous and awesome entertaining electronics in the interests of the majority of the general publics setting great store by entertainment and excitement, the terrific and popular Playstation 2 game qualifies as a signature breakthrough and server. And so to speak, where there is Playstation 2 games, there is great fun as well as extraordinary excitement. But the point to note is that it’s the crucial Playstation 2 Joystick that contributes to the amazing fun. Anyway, I a ignorant female frankly admire the gorgeous Playstaion 2 and do wanna go along for a ride for the pleasant Playstation 2 and the essential and vintage PS2 joystick. By the way, I ever stubled upon the following feedback on the Playstation 2 joystick and I really was attracted at the very moment for the information put forward the upsetting problem to bear in mind and makes a difference for me, actually having no good command of PSP games as well as PSP games accessories turn out to be a birdbrain in terms of the thrilling Playstation 2 games and the high-end Playstaion 2 joystick, or PS2 Steering Wheel and so on and I do have the mind to go along for the ride and taste the new fun. Well, I guess those standing in the same circumstance will take an interest and pick the fantastic Playstation 2 joystick with great caution. “I am relatively new to the world of gaming, whether it be regular video games or computer based. I use sophisticated computers on a daily basis, but only came into the video gaming arena since my young children have become interested. I purchased not one, but two Sony Playstation 2’s for the kids (well, actually one was for me downstairs on the big screen TV). I was impressed by the technology, the graphics and the possibilities of hours of enjoyment for my kids and myself. We developed an interest in trying flight simulations, so I felt, based on reviews and information contained in periodicals, magazines and on-line, that a Playstation 2 joystick with almost real-to-life features would add to the enjoyment of flight/combat simulation, both for kids and adults. Looking through different media to make a selection, I noticed the reviews and descriptions of Logitech products. I was immediately hooked – LOGITECH, a well known, reputable, quality product producing corporation, who’s products I have used over the years and thoroughly enjoyed. I continued to research the joysticks and discovered that they provide a large line of similar products for computer and Sony Playstation 2 gaming. I made my first purchase of the Logitech “Flight Force, Force Feedback Joystick” for PLAYSTATION 2, on-line with Best Buy (that was the only place I could originally find it, since independent gaming stores and the Best Buy location did not stock it.) When I finally received the Logitech Playstation 2 joystick, it looked impressive, seemed well made/robust, with all the bells and whistles, but that was all. I followed the instructions, plugged it into not one, but both of my Playstation 2’s, using both flight simulation games/programs and others, with NO response.” Source by http://blog.topons.com/index.php/2010/09/go-along-for-a-ride-for-pleasant-ps2-joystick/

Review of ATV Cave Ride at Mines & Meadows Resort

“Hey John – would you be interested in riding in an underground mine this spring?” We get a lot of strange phone calls at the office, but seeing that this one came from a credible source and the calendar didn’t read April 1, we were willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

The call was from Justin Dawes, the ATV communications guru for Kawasaki. It seems he and fellow adventurous motorhead Jon Rall, also of Kawasaki, had a trick up their sleeve. They had caught the scent of a unique riding destination in west-central Pennsylvania called the Mines & Meadows Resort and thought it would be an excellent destination in which they could feature the capabilities of the company’s Brute Force 750 4×4.

Frankly, the 54 miles of above-ground trails are reason enough to visit the Mines & Meadows Resort, as the varied terrain, featuring hillclimbs, rock crawls and mud pits, provides challenges for seasoned riders but other easy trails with gentle, sweeping turns let anybody come and give it a shot.

The underground limestone mine, however, raises this riding destination to the next level. How many places can you go where you get great trails, plus a chance to ride 200 feet underground in complete blackness, and drive through an underground lake?
The answer, as best we can tell, is one – and that one place is Mines & Meadows.

Putting It Together

Upon meeting Bob Svihra, the brainchild and moneyman behind Mines & Meadows, it’s sometimes a wonder this guy can make it through tying his shoes in the morning without getting distracted by an idea that’s rolling through his head. When he talks, one sentence hardly gets finished before the next comes tumbling out of his mouth, and he seems less likely to stay on the original topic than to bounce to something else he wants to say.

He’s not scatterbrained, however. Svihra has been very successful, having started and run businesses involved in disparate fields like medical waste removal, shoulder and knee harness manufacturing, creating a process to remove materials from compact discs and DVDs and as an investor in a variety of things, including the local BeaveRun motorsports complex located a couple miles down the road from Mines & Meadows. So Svihra’s definitely a person who has proven he can follow through on a concept, but while he’s doing that, a dozen other ideas are also pulsing through his gray matter.

“One business supports the next one that I do, and then that supports the next one that I do … . I’m a good builder but a lousy maintainer – so when I do something like this, I throw it over my shoulder and let somebody else take care of it once it’s up and running,” Svihra said with a laugh.

Mines & Meadows is one of his latest start-ups. Some friends took Svihra on an ATV ride through some private property about seven years ago. The trail riding was interesting, but then his friends took him boondocking into an abandoned limestone mine.
“When they took me into the mine, being an entrepreneur, I put two and two together and said, ‘This would be a great ATV riding place.’ So that’s what I tried doing,” Svihra explained.

Svihra invested $ 2 million in the park, initially purchasing more than 400 acres of land around the mine and leasing part of the mine from the Grinnen family, which bought the mine in 2004 and formed the Underland Development Corporation. The riding park has now grown to more than 600 acres above ground, with 54 miles of trails that twist through interesting and varied terrain. Another 14 acres is found underground in the limestone mine, providing a unique experience for visitors.


The Mine

After a brief trail ride through some April showers, our Kawasaki-mounted party made its way to the mouth of the mine. The doorway looked to be about 5 feet wide and 7 feet tall, with wood sign reading “Mine Entrance – Guided Tours Only” hanging above the door. The doorway was lined on the top and sides by wooden beams similar to railroad ties, and from the outside it looked like we were entering a bear’s den.

We watched other machines disappear into the darkness, then took a deep breath and ventured through the narrow gateway. The bright light outside was quickly replaced by darkness – our eyes struggled to adjust to the sudden change in ambient light. Luckily the headlights from the Brute Force illuminated a narrow path in front of us as we plodded forward.

The initial staging room does feature just a tiny bit of light, thanks to whatever brightness sneaks through the doorway, but it’s still dark. The room we entered was about the size of a high school gymnasium, except with a relatively low ceiling.

Once our group was inside and some photos were taken, we followed our leader deeper inside. We could see only as far as our headlights would stretch, and only in the direction of those lights. Want to get a close look at the rocky walls? Better turn your machine in that direction, because that’s the only way you’re going to see them.

The mine itself was created in the 1800s, as mining crews using the relatively crude tools available at the time burrowed through a tall hill to capture the natural strip of limestone found there. For more than 60 years, limestone was pulled from the mine and used in local cement manufacturing until the mine closed in 1958. When digging out the limestone, crews had to leave sections of stone untouched every 35 feet so the ceiling wouldn’t collapse – in essence, leaving irregularly shaped pillars of support.

What’s left is a sort of drive-thru, underground beehive. As we followed our leader deeper into the mine, our main path snaked through the darkness, and on each side of us there would be a “pillar,” then what looked like a secret room or passageway leading farther into the darkness. We weaved our Brute Force 750 back and forth to throw some light into these side areas. Some were shallow, some were deep, and in some cases there would be a room behind the room, again, with pillars separating the spaces every 35 feet.

The ceiling hung about 15 feet from the floor in most places, though occasionally we’d drive through a “keyhole” or other area that wasn’t dug out quite as much, and we’d have to duck our heads as our ATV climbed over rock to make it through to the next room.

The pure darkness is the first thing that grabs your attention – it’s eerie, especially when everybody turns off their headlights and it is absolute darkness. Your eyes try to adjust to the changing light conditions, but in truth they’ll never catch up – without even a sliver of light coming in from anywhere, you are completely blinded. Luckily the Kawis sprung back to life and we were off again.

Also notable is a musty, cool dampness. The mine stays at 55 degrees year-round, and the humidity hovers at about 80 percent. It made it a perfect place for a mushroom (yes, LEGAL mushrooms!) growing operation that filled this particular mine in the 1970s and ’80s. Crews of up to 45 people worked around the clock like moles in this cave, ensuring proper garnish for pizzas, salads and the like.

The grade is mostly flat in the mine – you’re actually not going downhill into the earth, instead the earth rises 200 feet in the form of a hill while riders go through.

Eventually, we came to a 3-acre underground “lake.” The word lake is in quotes because the water here is merely trapped by a dam on the far end of the mine. Still, it’s an interesting sight, and fun to drive through.

The mine was left abandoned beginning in the mid ’80s and became a hangout for local explorers and party hounds until the Grinnen family purchased the land.

“We wanted to develop it and possibly get into record storage and storage of vehicles, boats, motorhomes and campers,” explained Steve Grinnen. “Also, our main goal right now is a winery. This is the perfect temperature for storing wine, and the humidity can be controlled very easily. There’s a lot of square footage in here.”

In all, leisurely tours through the mine take about an hour. There’s no extra charge for the mine tour – it comes with the price of admission, but the only way in and out is with a guide.

Above Ground:

Trails Everywhere!

The mine is awesome, but we’d be interested in riding at Mines & Meadows even without it.

The facility has more than 50 miles of trails that twist through the wooded and rolling landscape. A color-coded map illustrated the spiderweb of trails, with easy yellow and green trails running around the perimeter and down the center of the trail system, and then a hodge-podge of blue and black trails demarking the greater areas of challenge.

Out on the Brute Force, we found the system to be relatively easy to understand, as trails were marked by number and color, and direction signs pointed the way back to the main staging area.

Best yet, many of the trails are one-way in nature, making it unlikely you’d ever meet somebody in a corner and really easy to find your way back to your tow vehicle, as all trails eventually lead to other trails that will take you back.

Knowing they had some experienced riders with them, our guides took us to the toughest stuff the park could muster. The challenges were fun, but in the end, the rock scramble, powerline hill climb and mudbog were ideal habitat for the Brute Force 750.

The Mines & Meadows Resort near Wampum, Pennsylvania, is open all year, except for two weeks in late November/early December for Pennsylvania’s deer hunting season. A day pass is $ 25, and that includes a mine tour.

For more on ATV destinations like Mines & Meadows, check out ATV Magazine online or in print. ATV Magazine highlights ATV tests, features, product reviews and more in every issue.