Monday, 31 December 2012

26 DEC 12 VMCC (Oxford) The Ron Amey Boxing Day Trial 2012

For Boxing day there really is only one trial for me and that is the Ron Amey Trial organised by the VMCC (Oxford section) which is held at Rockley Copse.  Despite the exceptionally wet weather the venue was just about viable so I made the short journey over to Besselsleigh.  Having won the Pre-65 Class riding the hard route last year I was rather disappointed not to have picked up any silverware at signing on this year. 
Steep banks and off camber turns
were the orderof the day!

Riding AS 500 I elected to ride the hard route again and it was immediately obvious that the slick going and steep banks were going to be a challenge.  Nevertheless, the sections were fair but you had to get a move on as the ground quickly cut up and got progressively more slippery.  The steep bank of Sub 3 rode pretty well but I did take the run up to the absolute limit of the tapes.  Sub 4 was exceptionally tricky; the tight sinuous turns on the clay banks demanded lots of concentration.  The theme continued and the tight 90-degree right hand turn up a loose bank in Sub 5 caught all the Pre-65 field out at some stage.  A rather innocuous looking clay bank in Sub 6 proved anything but and I slipped back down for a maximum rueing my gear selection.
Determined not to make the same mistake on the steep, loose bank of Sub 7 I selected 2nd gear half way through the section and gunned AS500 up the bank, fighting it all the way; sometimes you have to ride downright aggressive!  I left the bike in 2nd gear for the last sections too as both Sub 9 and 10 really needed the extra grunt.  Sub 10 was a real killer but I was really pleased to have cleaned it on the first lap.

Unfortunately, and somewhat inevitably, the rain returned and an almighty downpour made the course too dangerous for the big 500.  I had a massive accident in Sub 10 on the second lap as AS500 suddenly found grip, the front end climbed and I had to bail off.  Regrettably, the bike then crashed back down heavily causing some front end damage and I was forced to retire.
Getting some air!

Nevertheless, the trial wasn’t over and it was a real struggle to get the van out of the sodden venue.  I would like to thank all those who helped push me out; if it wasn’t for their kindness the van would still be in Oxford!

Many thanks to Celia Walton, all the observers and the Oxford VMCC for staging the trial and hopefully, we'll have better weather next year.  My disappointment at signing on has been resolved; I'm pleased to report that Celia posted the 2011 Pre-65 Hard route trophy to me and I received it on Jan 2.  Thank you, once again, Celia!

Local photographer Gary Dowzall was in attendance at the trial and took some great shots of the day.  Why not take a look at Gary's efforts by clicking HERE and support you local photographer.  There are lots of formats available to suit all tastes.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

23 DEC 12, STOP PRESS, The Gordon Francis Trial is postponed

Dave Fisher from Somerton Classic MCC has been in touch to say that the Gordon Francis Memorial trial due to be run on 27th Dec has had to be postponed due to the adverse weather affecting the Lime Kiln venue.  This outstanding commemorative event will be re-run early in 2013. 

For more information you can contact Dave Fisher on 01458 252667.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

08 DEC 12, The Perce Simon, Downland Trophy & Zona1 MCC trials

It’s been a hectic few months with work and trialling so here's a round up of what's been happening to Matchless Man.  The weather was awful at the beginning of November so I decided to stay at home for the Guy Fawkes’ Trial at Bisley.  Dave, Pete and Teflon turned out for the factory and were joined by Pete Meeson and Gary from Devon but when they told me about the snow and deep mud I was happy I sat that one out (even if Mossy did get my £20 for nothing!).
Sub 1 of the Perce Simon Trial

Next up were the final two rounds of the 2012 ACU Sammy Miller products series which were held consecutively on the weekend of the 17th / 18th November.  First up was The Perce Simon Trial run by Ringwood and District MCC at the beautiful Somerley Estate on the South coast.  A particularly foggy morning gave way to beautiful sunny day which went some way to making this a great day out.  The organisation was slick and after signing on we had bacon rolls and tea from the hot food van.  Again, the going was slick so Dave and I got away quickly and maintained a good rhythm.  Section 1 was the worst of the lot; deep mud with a hidden double log caught out most of the field and I started with an instant maximum.  That was the only one of the day though and I finished in second place with a total of 8 marks lost.  Such was the pace that Dave and I finished before others had started their second lap.  Once again it was great not to have the long ride out to Godshill and we visited some new sections in the vast woodland of the estate.  Thanks to Ringwood for another cracking trial; Dave & I have this in our top three of the series.
Sub 5 at the Race Techniques trial
(by Heath Brindley)

The next day it was off to contest the final round, The Downland Trophy Trial run by North Berkshire MCC.  Always a long and hard trial it proved so again this year.  The weather ruled out a few of the old favourites this year which made for some new and interesting sections.  Once again, we made haste and by the time we left The Stadium group of sections we were at the vanguard of the entry.  The bitterly cold morning and the exertions of the previous day had obviously taken their toll and I had some slack dabs from the start.  I didn’t feel that I was riding poorly but a look at the results was sobering as I trailed in all but last in the class. 
This was a poor ending to what was a poor series for me.  The rule changes are unfair to those of us with big Pre-Unit bikes which did irk me somewhat.  On top of that I decided to take NT410 off the road and get the front end and both hubs sorted.  Looking back on it, that was a big mistake.  I bought Tony Sullivan’s beautiful G80C but struggled to tame the big long-stroke 500; furthermore, some personal issues have made riding a bit of a chore at times so I was really pleased to have finished in third place this year (and second of the Pre-Unit Heavyweight singles!).  Hopefully, next year will bring some better form and an improved NT410
Sub 8 approaching the step
(by Mike Yiend)

Next up was my ACU club’s meeting, The Race Techniques trial at Nettleton run by Zona 1 MCC.  It was a full factory outing with Dave (Ariel HT500), Pete Collins (Ariel HT500) and Teflon (Matchless 410) joining me and a couple of others in the Pre-65 Class.  I picked up a couple of trophies at signing on, got my new membership card (for previous wins) and had a warming breakfast bap and a cup of tea at Suzi’s hot food van.  There was a bumper entry of over 120 riders with every type of trials machinery being ridden; from Pre-65 through to twinshock; mono through to electric – the latter being quite novel!

Despite being monoshock biased Zona1 MCC know how to lay out sections for Pre-65s and it was a good challenging trial.  As the hard frost started to ease the thick clay soil made for some tricky going especially over the rocks of the quarry.  I had a cracking ride for the most part.  Sub 3 was a real cracker for us with a tight right hand placed immediately after a steep climb.  This caught a few out but I managed to go clean on all four laps.  The rock jumble that was Sub 5 was a real test for the old forks and I had to manhandle the bike to keep it on line. 
That blasted climb in Sub 8!
(by Mike Yiend)
The double Subs of 6 and 7 were similar and on the first lap I had to take a three in Sub 7 as I lost the front end on some loose rocks.  My real downfall was Sub 8 and I remember being told at the rider briefing that it was a tricky exit.  How right they were; the steep exit climb over greasy rock slabs was too much for me and I took a maximum at each attempt.  Nevertheless, the rest of the factory managed to scrabble their way through with Pete Collins actually cleaning the section on his big Ariel to hearty applause from the rest of us. 
As it happened the results were close but Sub 8 was the difference.  Pete Collins topped the field ahead of Teflon on the most cleans rule; both finishing with 18 marks lost.  Dave was third on 20 marks lost and I was fourth with 23 marks lost.  It was a cracking trial made all the better for being a factory outing.  Thanks to all at Zona1 MCC for a brilliant day’s trialling and to the observers who braved the extremely cold conditions; without you, we couldn’t do it. 
Another view of Sub 8
and another maximum!
Local photographer Mike Yiend was on hand to capture all the day's action.  As you can see he certainly knows which sections to pick for maximum action!  If you want to see Mike's pictures of the day please visit Mike's webpage HERE or use the link in the sidebar opposite.  Why not treat yourself for Christmas and support your local photographer.
Sub 10 at Zona1 MCC

Next up: BMCA at Bedlam