Wednesday, 22 August 2012

18 Aug 12, ACU Sammy Miller Products Rd 5 The Frank Jones Trial

Once again it was an extremely early start for the trip over to Wales for Rd 5 of the ACU Sammy Miller products championship, The Frank Jones trial organised by Builth Wells MCC.  Having picked up an intermittent wrist injury I didn’t know if I’d be able to ride however, it felt OK in the morning so off we went via McDonald’s.   

The Class 1 entry featured the main protagonists and factory rider Peter Collins favoured his Rigid AJS over the big 500 Ariel.  As usual Dave and I contested Class 2 which once again featured a very healthy entry.  Peter Meeson and Gary Kinsman (Ariel 500) made the trip up from Devon and it was good to see Colin Hedges (350 Matchless) there.  In fact, the only notable omission was The Teflon Don who had a prior engagement.  After arriving early, Penny and I headed for the pub and while I signed on she ordered the tea and bacon rolls.  After getting changed we were waved away bang on time. 
Getting underway!

Heavy rain the previous week coupled with a torrential downpour overnight made for tricky going; indeed, the first two sections were omitted as the stream was in full spate.  Starting at sub 3 the whole entry seemed reluctant to start but those few riders that blasted their way through the tricky mudslots and streams had the best of the going all day.  Dave and I procrastinated and by the time we finished these two subs we were way down the field.  At Cilfodeg I broke the throttle cable and lost more time while I fitted a solderless nipple.  Each group got progressively harder as first the sidecars, and then the solos chewed up the ground.  What was cleanable as an early number was a three or a five by the time we got there. 

The beautiful rocky stream sections at Aberanell were a real torrent this year and made for some particularly tough going.  The first sub was particularly deep and for Ian Bullock, who lost control of his machine, it proved disastrous.  He lost his footing and his beautiful Sprite sank to the bottom of the stream!  Fortunately, Dave, Pete and I faired slightly better although I gained a three and a pair of dabs which was not my finest hour.  Nevertheless, time spent refurbishing the Rockshock units on AS500 was not wasted and they got a real work out.  Pleasingly, there were no leaks and I was really pleased with their improved performance. 
Dave (12) & I (11) at the start
Pete Meeson in the background

Once again, it was a brilliant trial however, some of the Clubman sections turned out to be more demanding than the experts particularly, where we had to exit or enter streams up or down muddy banks.  Nevertheless, it was a great trial and thanks must go to the Clerk-of-the-Course and the observers who were absolutely mustard and after all there’s not much you can do about the British weather.  Thanks to all at Builth Wells MC for another cracking Sammy Miller round.  Next up in the series it's off to the Midlands for Rd 6 at South Birmingham MCC and The Greensmith Trial.

Addendum:  Whilst washing the bike off I discovered another broken spoke!! 

Next up: The South West Classic Trials Association (SWCTA) Dartmoor Two Day classic trial!!
Godfrey gives AS 500 the once over with Gary
Kinsman in the background


Thursday, 16 August 2012

16 AUG 12, Gloucestershire Biker's Night at the Queen's Hotel

As a trials rider I don’t get to ride on the road that often; unless it’s a road trial like the ACU Sammy Miller products championship, PJ1 Northern championship or a blast into work on a Friday I tend to avoid the road.  Well, with IRC soft tyres going for over £80 a pop it doesn’t make sense to chew them up on the road.  I became a fan of the Gloucestershire Biker’s nights since I went to my first one last year.  They’re a real friendly bunch and it’s great to meet similar minded people, talk about bikes and pick up some mechanical hints and tips. 
Who needs a sidestand anyway?
(Thanks to Garry Morris for this photo)

All bikers are welcome on all machines and it’s not unusual to see everything from Mopeds through to sports bikes, custom choppers, café racers and of course some Old British Iron!  It’s not a club so there’s no membership you simply give a donation when you attend towards the Midlands Air Ambulance charity.  During 2011 these events raised £3327.31 and since the events began in 2002, the total amount raised is over £18300!  Check them out on Facebook under Gloucestershire Bikers Nite (you can check out the MatchlessMan page too!!)

After work I dived into the garage and finished rebuilding the rear suspension units on AS500 (report to follow) ready for this weekend’s ACU Sammy Miller products National trial over in Wales.  With both units refitted to AS500 I did think about giving him a run out but decided to save the IRC tyres for competition. 
Just like being at a Pre-65 Trial!
(Thanks to Nick Kelly for this photo of MH410)

I decided to ride my 1956 Matchless G3LC (affectionately known as MH410) and by the time I got there, there was a good spread of bikes.  With no side stand (extra weight you don’t need in trials!) I picked a stout looking tree outside the Queen’s Hotel and leant MH410 against it.  With so many bikes on show I did a few circuits interrupted by a trip to the bar for a coke.  I saw a lovely Honda 750 Café racer, a beautiful Z1000 custom and several of my favourite Ducati and MV Agusta models however, my favourite had to be a simply stunning Benelli Sei parked on the pavement by MH410.  You seldom see bikes like this so it was a real treat.  With the light fading and no lights, I left for home having met some great people and seen some wonderful bikes.  If you want to come along and experience it for yourself log onto the Facebook page and click events.  Hopefully, I’ll see you at the Bishop’s Cleeve event in September but this time I’ll bring AS500!!
Setting off for home!
(Thanks to Nick Kelly for this photo)
For those that are not regular readers, MH410 is a short-stroke 350cc motor that has been bored out to 410cc; which is ideal for the type of trials sections we have to ride these days!!  The bike was built by the late Maurice Hocking (hence MH410) and is a genuine Maurice Hocking bike.  I bought it to use in the ACU National Trials Championship so it does get regularly used/abused and secured the 2011 ACU Sammy Miller products Class 2 National title with it (You can see the dents in the tank!!).