Tuesday, 24 January 2012

22 Jan 12 VMCC at Chedworth

This annual meeting is always well supported and there's a plethora of local talent on display as well as quite a few riders from Somerset, Oxfordshire and Wales.
Graham, Me and Dave at the start

It’s another full factory outing albeit with some different mounts.  Dave Arkell turns out on his old HT3 and lends his 500 short stroke Ariel to brother Graham.  Pete Collins goes all lightweight and turns up on his BSA Bantam while Rich Townsend goes from one extreme to another and rides Teflon’s rigid 350 AJS.  Only Teflon (350 Matchless) and I (410 Matchless) stick to our regular mounts.
Graham, Me, Dave, Godfrey, Doug Heeks,
Teflon and "Bantam Pete"

It’s a cold, blustery morning and once again we sign on in the Farm Shop Tea room where the majority of riders avail themselves of Bacon rolls and tea before getting the bikes out. 

The factory team all elect to ride the hard route and begin at Sub 3.  It’s a tight and twisty course over undulating ground with some loose Cotswold stone thrown in for good measure however, we all go clean and there’s a definite air of competition.  Sub 4 features steep drops, tight turns and a steep ascent; understandably, Rich has to take an early dab on the very steep exit as the rigid AJS nears the summit however, the springers go clean. 

On Sub 5 we have to ride off camber up and across the face of a loose stony bank which suddenly tightens as you have to negotiate a 90 left back down to the field.  I crashed heavily here last year and I’m pleased to go clean on my first lap but I do get caught out on subsequent laps. 

Next we head to some new land where the going is very soft.  Sub 6 is fairly rudimentary although the exit over a fallen tree followed by an immediate downhill run to the ends cards demands concentration.  Sub 7 is a real twisty affair off the old railway line into and out of, a gully. 
The camber of Sub 5
This catches a few people out including Dave and Teflon who both have to take dabs; I’m pleased to get through unscathed on all four laps.  Sub 8 is a real cracker; tight and twisty around the trees, followed by a rock step and descent plus a greasy exit.  A whole trial in one section!  I’m really pleased to clean this one on three attempts but I lose the front wheel and have to take a three on lap 2.

Sub 9 continues the theme by snaking into and out of a bomb hole.  A little rock step on the final climb catches a few out and I must admit I nearly took a dab here.  Sub 10 is another good, testing section.  The entrance features a jumble of loose rocks which must be ridden with care.  I go clean on three laps but lose the front end on lap 2 recording a maximum and smashing my fibreglass clutch case to pieces on the rocks. 
Entry to Sub 10 where I broke the
chain case

We finish the lap on Sub 1 and it proves a wise decision to let a few riders go through this one.  The loose, rocky climb catches a few out and those that make the ascent face an extremely tricky steep 90 degree downhill turn to get to the ends cards.  It does ride surprisingly well but I record two cleans and two single dabs as I drift out into the loose accumulated shale. 

Sub 2 takes tight to a new level nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable section.  The real problem is the final downhill turn over loose pebbles.  I record two single dabs here but really I should be cleaning this stuff every time.

I’m pleased with my performance as I rode really well at times nevertheless, I need to keep concentration when fatigue sets in to guard against silly dabs.  I finish third in Class 2 with 18 marks lost. An "extra 5" in sub 2 is due to poor observing but it makes no difference to my placing.

It was good to see Godfrey Hannam (500 Ariel) out again after an enforced lay off due to illness and also to get some good riding tips from David Eeles (Triumph).

Thanks to Chris Harvey and the VMCC (Cotswold section) for a brilliant day; it’s a shame this trial only runs once a year.  Perhaps that’s why it’s so good. 

A quick "Thank you for observing" is
always appreciated!

Next up: 2011 ACU Awards dinner followed by The TALMAG Trophy Trial

A Mike Yiend photograph

Our local sports photographer, Mike Yiend, was also on hand to record the event.  If you want to have a look at Mikes outstanding photographs which are also available to purchase, please click on the link or here:-
Mike Yiend Motorsports photography

Friday, 13 January 2012

Classic Trials Show – Stoneleigh Park

Some of you may remember that back in August 2010 an innovative 2 day trial was run at Stoneleigh Park in Leicestershire by Charlie Prescott and JS Events.  Under the title of The Classic Trials Show it featured a Mick Andrews devised continental approach to trials whereby the riders first walk all the sections then head off at one minute intervals and ride the sections in rotation i.e. no stop. 

Initially, it sounded a bit dubious but hundreds of spectators turned out out both days and with non-stop action it was not only good to watch but a damn good ride.  Dave and I thought it was brilliant.  Even now, it rates as the best 2-Day trial we’ve ever ridden.

There was entertainment and a bar on the Friday and Saturday night with Karaoke and a live band too.  In addition to the trials there was an auto-jumble, Classic Bike static show competition, trade stands, food and stuff for the kids to do.  Mick Andrews, Len Hutty, Neil Gaunt, Colin Dommet, Alan Whitton, Andy Bamford, Wrighty, Dave Dawson and a host of other trials stars were all there too.

Charlie wants to run the show again in 2012 but needs numbers to gauge interest.  So, please go to the link below (or click on the side bar) and register YOUR interest in riding or showing your motorycycle.  While you're there have a look at what we got up to in 2010 by visiting the gallery.

It was a fantastic weekend and it would be great to do it again in 2012.  Visit the webpage and register your interest with Charlie; it’s that simple!

Hopefully, we'll see you at Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth,Warwickshire. CV8 2LG

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

08 Jan 12 BMCA Rd 14 Hanley Childe

I’d never ridden at Hanley Childe before and seeing as it was just up the road, I decided to give it go.  Located about 5 miles away from the Red Marley hill climb track, the venue was on a beautiful old farm with wide stretching views from the Malvern Hills across to Clee Hill.  After heeding the warnings of slippery going from BMCA stalwarts Pete Reed and Pete Dawson I elected to ride the Clubman route. 

Sub 1 and 2 zig-zagged across a tree-lined gully and it became immediately apparent that I would have struggled to get the Matchless through on the Intermediate route.  It was perhaps a little rudimentary for the Clubmen but that’s no slight on the organisers.  Sub 3 comprised a slippery descent into a rocky stream bed which rode well over the four laps.  Sub 4 was tight and twisty through some trees but there was only one turn that demanded concentration. 

Sub 5 was a traditional section; a long blast through deep, thick mud.  The majority of my marks were picked up here.  I rode too slowly into the section and compromised my progress recording a 2, 3 and 3 however, on the final lap I follow the developing line and record a very pleasing clean.  It was a tricky section in many ways, not least the grippy section about half way along.  At least two riders came to grief here as their bikes, on full throttle, suddenly found grip and looped!

I incurred a dab at Sub 7 when I lost the back end on a greasy, uphill turn by not using enough throttle.  In Sub 8 I failed to look at the exit properly and I had to take a dab on the first lap to get over the lip of a steep bank.  Sub 10 initially caused some consternation.  I watched a succession of Clubman riders mess up the penultimate turn however, when I got there I found it rode pretty well and I went clean on all four attempts.

My 10 mark loss was only good enough for 5th place in the Clubman class and even then only on the “furthest clean” rule as Mick Hemming (Cub) and John Duncombe (BSA) also finished on 10 marks lost.

It was a bit of a cop out riding the Clubman route but to be honest, I would’ve struggled to get NT410 around any of the expert subs today; I’m just not that good a rider and having not ridden the venue before, I didn’t know what to expect and heeded the advice.

Hats off to Nick Woolley who, on his immaculate SERCO Ariel, took a convincing win in the Expert Pre-Unit/Twin Class beating the venerable Pete Reed on his Triumph twin; a mighty feat given the tightness of the expert sections.

Thanks to Pete Reed, Laurence Alden, Nigel Randall and Jim Pickering for laying on a very enjoyable, traditional trial.

Dave Jones' Dog waiting patiently at Sub 2

Thursday, 5 January 2012

05 Jan 12 – Changes to Sammy Miller series regulations for 2012

Following input from the series sponsor the Trials & Enduro Committee of the ACU has decided to reduce the number of classes for the 2012 Sammy Miller products National series.  This means that British manufactured Pre-Unit, Unit and 2 Stroke machines will compete in the same class on both the Standard and Clubman routes.  This effectively halves the number of Classes from eleven to just six.  Classes for 2012 are as follows:-

CLASS 1 Pre-Unit, Pre-65 Rigid frames

CLASS 2 British Pre 70 Pre-Unit/Unit/2Stroke (Twinshocks)

CLASS 3 Machines with twinshock rear suspension and drum brakes as at the time of manufacture which are not eligible for class 2

CLASS 4 Sidecar machines eligible for classes 1,2 and 3 ,
All the above to be run on the EASY route

CLASS 5 British Pre 70 Pre-Unit/Unit/2Stroke (Twinshocks)

CLASS 6 Machines with twinshock rear suspension and drum brakes as at the time of manufacture which are not eligible for class 5
The above classes to be run on the HARD route.

Classes 1, 2 & 5 must have British Engine, Carburettor, Forks (Max 35mm) and hubs, Original or Replica Frame.

Whilst this achieves the sponsor’s aim of reducing the number of classes, I suspect that this rule change can only further reduce the number of Pre-Unit riders competing in the Sammy Miller series.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

02 Jan 12 - Herefordshire Classic Trials Club at Clyro

Colin Hedges, Tony Sullivan, Rich, Dave, Pete
and me

Penny and I are up early and I load NT410 into the van for the long drive to Wales.  It’s a full factory outing to Cwmshirhwy Wood at Clyro on the Welsh border.  Dave Arkell (Ariel HT5) brings Pete Collins (Ariel HT5) and Teflon (350 Matchless G3L) brings his brother Richard (BSA B40) over from Gloucestershire.  We’re joined by Oxfordshire legend Tony Sullivan (BSA) and it’s great to see Tony out and about following his nasty hand injury sustained in 2011.

The roots of Sub 1

We elect to ride the hard route and there’s a definite air of competition brewing between us.  After one of the most comprehensive rider briefings I’ve ever witnessed we get underway.  It’s 12 sections over 3 laps however, with no observers (but, bizarrely, plenty of spectators) we have to mark ourselves.  We group up, grab some punch cards and a punch and head for the wood.

We begin at Sub 1 which is a twisty hill climb that has a thick double root half way up.  I immediately come a cropper incurring a maximum as I get stuck on the thick second outcrop.  I do the same on the second lap but following a discussion with Richard I throw my weight forward on the last lap to record my only clean on this sub.  Sub 2 features a greasy climb followed by an immediate tight turn followed by a right hand drop down over plenty of damp roots.  I take care to get the speed right but have to take a pair of dabs on the first lap before eventually going clean over the rest.

Sub 3 is the Yew Tree waterfall; this old favourite demands respect and I take care on the steep and very slippery, algae covered rock of the waterfall.  There’s a few spectators here and it’s nice to show them what NT410 can do.  Sub 4 immediately follows and is a (now) rather rudimentary rocky climb up a bolder strewn stream bed.  I follow the water and go clean over all for laps.

Then it’s a short cross country ride to the gully sections.  Sub 5 is a deep bolder strewn ravine that has a pair of high steps in it.  However, NT410 seems to float over them and I record cleans on each lap.  Sub 6 continues the theme but I get caught out on the first rock step and take a dab on the first lap.  Sub 7 uses the last part of the stream then out onto the greasy bank but it rides well and we all record clean sheets here.
The gully of Sub 11

We then head to the bottom of Cwmshirhwy Wood for Sub 8.  The entry features a stream crossing which leads to a tight, banked turn in the pine mulch.  This catches a few out on the first lap but I take care and come away with three cleans for my efforts.  Sub 9 is a belter; the greasy entry leads to a root step which immediately catches me out for a dab.  This leads into a pair of tight, off camber, greasy turns through trees and over roots before finishing with a large, damp rooty exit.  I’m pleased to record a clean on the second lap but third time around I take another pair of dabs which is needless and annoying.

Pete Collins and the Ariel HT5 eyeing
up Sub 12

Sub 10 continues the sinuous and undulating theme ending in an interesting rooty step that catches a few of the unwary.  Nevertheless, I go clean on all three laps.  Sub 11 and 12 are both bolder strewn gulleys and could have been a double subber but we ride both separately.  Sub 11 is slightly easier and I go clean on all three laps but

Sub 12 demands respect and I have to take 3 dabs on lap 1 before recovering nicely to clean both remaining attempts.  This was my section of the day and it was very pleasing to clean it with some spectators in attendance.

Entering Sub 12

Factory honours go to Teflon; his 14 mark loss was good enough to take the day.  I came in second with Dave third and Pete Collins in fourth.  This is just the result for our group NOT the whole trial.

Teflon in Sub 12

Thanks to Mike Ruck and the Herefordshire Classic team for laying out a cracking trial.  The sections were spot on and the mixture of rocks, streams and mud was perfect. It was well worth the trip over to Wales and we’ll all be back next year. 

I think I’ll get a factory trophy made up so we’ve got something tangible to aim for!

The Clerk-of-the-Course walks
Sub 12

Next up: BMCA Rd 17 at Hanley Childe (I think!)

NT410 after the trial