Sunday, 6 January 2013

06 JAN 13 A New Year of trials riding

A new year of trialling has arrived and with it, hopes of success in the competitions that I enter this year.  I haven’t made my mind up about which national series I will ride this year; due to a couple of clashes in the calendar it will have to be either the PJ1 Northern British bike championship or the ACU Sammy Miller national championship.  Still, these competitions don’t begin until March so I have plenty of time to decide.

January is all about one competition; the TALMAG Trophy.  In preparation for the 2013 event I took runner up spot at Thames MCC’s Mike Kemp Classic trial and I’ll be heading over to Hungry Hill again on the 13th Jan for the Pete Simmons Cup organised by Kenton and Kingsbury MCC.  This should provide good intel on the ground and help refine my TALMAG ride.  I’m still undecided about which bike to ride this year but with NT410 off the road it’s either the 350 Matchless (which went brilliantly last year) or AS 500 (which I’m having some shoddy results on).  With tricky going over the sand it may be wise to stick to the 500.
Me & the 350 on the way to a clean
sheet at TALMAG 2012

I now have most of the bits to put NT410 back on the road and I’m hoping that the factory can set about it in earnest this month.  I certainly want to be ready to go by the annual March Hare Trial on March 3rd.

As previously posted, Sammy Miller Products are not supporting the ACU series in 2013 therefore; Sammy Miller himself will be providing sponsorship and support for which we (Pre-65 riders) should be grateful.  Thank You Sammy!!

Disappointingly, the series drops another round this year with only seven rounds in total.  The loss of Builth Wells Frank Jones trial is a great shame as this was by far, the best trial in the series. 

ACU Sammy Miller championship
Mar 17     The Vic Ashford Trial (WEMC)
Mar 24     The Cotswold Cups Trial (Golden Valley MCC)
May 19     The Sam Cooper Union Jack Trial (Stratford on Avon MCC)
Jul 14      The Yorkshire Dales Trial (Ilkley & DMC) (Was 23 JUN)
Oct 13     The Greensmith Trial (South Birmingham MCC)
Nov 16     The Perce Simon Trial (Ringwood MC & LCC)
Nov 17     The Downland Trophy (North Berks MCC)

PJ1 Northern British bike championship
Mar 24     Poachers’ Bag (AJS & Matchless club)
Apr 14     Derbyshire Trial (Midland Classic club)
Jun 2       Reliance Cup Trial (South Liverpool club)
Jul 14      West Riding Trial (Yorkshire Classic club)
Aug 4      Croesi’r Ddfryn Dyfrdwy Trial (LLDMCC)
Oct 13     Waterside Trial (Red Rose Classic)

I had intended to ride Cheltenham Home Guard’s trial today but whilst helping to lay it out I got a nasty Hawthorn injury to the palm of my hand.  It didn’t seem so bad at the time but I think there’s some wood still in there which affects my grip.  Therefore; I decided to give it a miss on safety grounds. 

I hear that local photographer Mike Yiend was on hand to record the event and I’m pleased to announce that Mike is using the ZENFOLIO site now.  Purchasing is easy and there are lots of formats to suit everyone.  Why not visit Mike’s new site HERE and support your local photographer. 

Hopefully, I’ll be OK for next week at Hungry Hill. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Any opportunity to ride the famous Hungry Hill venue in Aldershot is a must and with the TALMAG Trophy Trial less than a month away, Thames MCC’s Mike Kemp Classic trial featured high on my priority rides.  Unfortunately, this meant I missed a factory day out with the factory boys (Dave, Teflon & Pete) at Clyro as Hereford Classic brought forward their traditional New Year’s Day trial.
Tight & Twisty at Hungry Hill!

Penny & I were on the road for 0730 and despite a few showers the weather was reasonably good.  The sandy soil meant no repeat of the van debacle at Oxford was on the cards and with such a variety of sections on offer the trial itself was always going to be doable.  Having entered in advance signing on was simple and there was a good turn out of a hundred riders.  It was good to catch up with a few friends and I bumped into Mike Holloway who was on a springer AJS for a change.  Fellow Gloucestershire rider Ken Wallington (350 Matchless) used the event as his comeback ride following a nasty leg injury sustained during a scrambles event.

We got away bang on time for three laps of twelve sections and headed to Sub 2 which comprised a twisting, uphill ride on loose sandy soil.  It rode pretty well however, coming off one of the steep banks into the loose earth, I took an immediate steadying dab (along with a few others!) but rallied to go clean on subsequent laps.  Sub 3 was straight uphill blast through what can be best described as Weston beach on a hill.  I elected to use 2nd gear on the first lap but as the sand got progressively broadcast I used 3rd and hung off the back end.  Subs 4-6 were tight and twisty affairs over undulating ground plotted between the trees;  the clay and loose leaf litter took marks off the unwary but I managed to keep my feet up. 
Clay/Leaf litter give way to sand

Next, it was off to Hungry Hill itself; Sub 7 looked innocuous enough but was a real mark taker.  Really loose, pebble-strewn sand and a tricky off-camber turn led to a greasy clay climb which caught out the entire field.  An initial clean led to subsequent paddle-threes but that was OK in my book.  Sub 8 was the long climb up Hungry Hill and it was a real stinker.  Having watched a few riders come tumbling down and with lots of paddling going on on the soft sand I selected 3rd gear and gunned the big 500 up the hill for three cleans.  Sub 9 was another TALMAG favourite which saw us ascending and descending the steep banks with tight, loose turns in between.  I had to take a dab on the exit during the first lap but subsequently went clean.  The final subs 10 through 12 were standard fare which resulted in cleans.
About to descend in Sub 9!
Overall, it was a good day out.  The nature of some sections meant I had to over rev the bike on occasion as second gear was just a bit too tall.  Nevertheless, I used third gear quite happily, something I’ve not done before and this has given me confidence on the big 500 Matchless.  My eight mark loss was enough to take the runner up spot on PRE-67E route; I was beaten by a Greeves of all things! 
Thanks to all at Thames MCC for a cracking day out, especially the observers who endured a long, cold day; without them, there'd be no trials.  I’ll definitely look to ride this popular trial again next year.  If you'd like to see the full results please visit the Thames MCC webpage HERE.

The end of Sub 11