Thursday, 30 June 2011

25 Jun 11 Rickman Championship - Rd 2

Mossy’s British bike bonanza at Sallywood Park at Horsley normally attracts a good Trials entry but this year it appears numbers are down.  A few “key” riders are missing namely Nicky Woolley (and his beautiful Ariel), Rob Halliday and Mike to name but three pre-unit riders.  I’m up at 0600 and on the road for 0700.  Glos Highways have finally got around to patching the winter damaged road surface however, the buffoons decide to do all the roads at once.  What should have taken me 30 mins takes an hour but signing on is a breeze and because of the HEAVY overnight rain the start is delayed (in order to allow some easing of the sections).  I haven’t fixed the clutch problem on NT410 since Nige rode it at Tardebigge so it’s the long stroke 350 today – A mistake!

It’s one lap of Sallywood’s 13 sections followed by 15 sections on the road.  We start on sub 9 and I immediately grab a couple of dabs however, sub 10 and 11 are fine.  A tricky exit to sub 12 incurs a dab but I clean tight and twisty sub 13.  The going is definitely soft and as we head to cow corner for the notorious hill sections along the fence I get a sense of foreboding.  Nevertheless, the rain hasn’t made much of an impact here.  Sub 1 features a couple of tight twists in a long climb and an exit over some rocks.  Sub 2 has a tricky twist but it’s pretty rudimentary.  Sub 3 is in and out of the gully with a nasty looking pit half way up; however, it rides better than it looks.  Sub 4 is a mud run and I’m glad to clean it.  Sub 5 has the crowd enthralled and I go well over the hard bit but lose two on the exit.  Subs 6-8 are twisty, rooty climbs and the bike is playing up.  Still, after a plug change it seems to hang in there.  We leg it back to the start to change punch cards and as I reach the van the bike stops.  The reason for the bike playing up is clear; NO PETROL.  I refill bike (and body) then head out on the road with Dave, Teflon and Pete.

The road sections are great but a little more challenging than Sallywood and I make lots of errors particularly with the front end.  Once again, it’s my mistake as the front tyre has 13lb in it causing me to lose the front end at vital moments.  I drop 13 in Sallywood and 28 on the road for a despicable total of 41 lost.  Looks like I’ll be bringing up the rear again!!  This doesn’t bode well for round 2 of the Sammy Miller on the 3 July.  Hope I ride better up there.

Verdict: A very good trial; shame I’m not riding well once again.  Next up; Sammy Miller Rd 2

20 Jun 11

After organising a series of Summer evening trials at Colgate Farm in order to raise money for the LINC clinic in Cheltenham I'm forced to cancel the series.  It never ceases to amaze me how nepotistic motorcycling can be.   

Anyone want a job lot of 5 trophies…..brand new…….only £40!!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

AMOC Tardebigge Trial

It’s the best trial of the year.  The BMCA / AMOC annual trial at Tardebigge near Redditch.  A vast wood adjoining the BirminghamWorcester canal this land is only used once a year and is all the better for it.  Fortunately, the threatened rain did not materialise as the ground can be particularly tricky when wet.

Dave and I are joined by Teflon (riding NT410 as his one hasn’t come off the production line yet) and Dave Priestner who is on camera duty this weekend.  Unfortunately, I leave my camera behind so he makes do with my phone!!  With Teflon riding my new Matchless I elect to have a run out on the trusty 350 Long Stroke.  On the Saturday I wind the Rockshocks down to 35mm (from 20mm) which I hope will provide some better response over the bumps!
Teflon changing the Jesus sandals for Trials boots

Clerk of the Course Andy Hunt indicates that the Clubman route has been eased (from BMCA standards!) so I run around the course (literally) to check the Intermediate route.  Sub 1, 9 and 10 are the main concerns with Sub 10 being particularly tight for the big bikes.  Nevertheless, we all elect to move up to the Intermediate class and I get riding number 13!!

While I’m checking out the course on foot Dave gets to grips with the clutch problem on NT410 which caused problems at the Zona1 trial the previous week.  Working out of the back of the Sprinter Dave soon has it fixed.  At 1030 we head off to the wood. 
Dave Priestner & Dave Arkell

Sub 1 features a large, off-camber root but (with the rear suspension set to 35mm) the 350 seems to glide over it and the exit over a fallen tree goes similarly well.  I’m pleased with the suspension already as we head around to the canal side sections.  Sub 2, 3 & 4 are tight and twisty but with no rain the going is good and the traditionally difficult exit to Sub 4, whilst tight, is not slippery.  I get a dab on Sub 2 on the second lap but apart from that it’s a clean sheet.  Sub 5 and 6 are long, twisty sections in a massive crater but again, I go clean on all laps here.
Lucky Number 13!!

Surprisingly, Sub 7 proves to be my nemesis.  A tight left hand turn over some roots into a muddy gully catches me out on two occasions and when I finally do get past it I mess up the exit.  I’m bitterly disappointed, incurring a total of 15 marks at this section out of my total score of 16!!  Sub 8 proves to be rudimentary and despite my reservations about sub 9 & 10 I go clean on all four laps.  I’m particularly pleased with my performance in sub 10 as it really was tight on a standard pre-unit machine.  I get some admiring nods from the BMCA elite as I go clean.
Sub 5

Nige rides superbly on NT410 and takes the Best AMC award finishing a very creditable 2nd on the Inters route with only 9 lost, while Dave loses 15 and I bring up the rear with 16.  Still, I beat a lot of Cubs, Bantams and C15s which is pleasing.

Once again, this much anticipated annual event did not disappoint.  I really ENJOYED riding the 350 and I have to wonder why I bout the 410s!?  Despite section 7, I know I’m riding well and hopefully, this signals some much needed return to form; with several National status events looming on the horizon I’ll have to be at the top of my game to do well against top class riders.
Nige on NT410 in Sub 5

Dave guides the HT5 in Sub 6

The 350 goes like a dream in Sub 10!

Teflon, Me and Dave after the trial