Thursday, 28 March 2013

24 Mar 13 ACU Sammy Miller National Championship Rd2, The Cotswold Cups Trial

I'll try and get a full report done in the near future however, here are some selected results from last Sunday's Cotswold Cups trial and a couple of pictures.  Master Chef tried out some new GPS tracking software and as you can see in the picture below the result is pretty good.

Class 1 (Pre-65, Pre-Unit Rigid)

Jon Cull 16, Mike Holloway 28, Tig Hartwell 38, Peter Collins 47, Steve O’Connor 47

Class 2 (British Pre-70)

Godfrey Hannam 16, Ian Wixon 28, Dave Arkell 31, John Edmonds 31, Jes Flower 31, Jai Jacka 33, Nige Townsend 37, John Cart 37, Colin Hedges 42, Chris Harvey 51, Ken Wallington 52, Mike Newman 63

NT410 after the Cotswold Cups trial

The Teflon Don still smiling at the end of the trial
Master Chef tried out some new software during the trial
which resulted in this track of our route

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


The Red Marley Trial and Hill Climb event that was to be held over Easter Sunday and Monday has been cancelled due to the weather taking its toll on the land.  For more information please visit the Red Marley Hill climb site HERE.

The factory at Red Marley Trial 2012
Rich Townsend, Dave Arkell, Teflon, Pete Collins & me

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

17 Mar 13 ACU Sammy Miller National Championship Rd1, The Vic Ashford Trial

The 2013 ACU Sammy Miller national championship got underway this weekend with the opening round run by West of England MCC (WEMC) in Devon.  The Vic Ashford trial usually encompasses the rocky streams, woodland and granite outcrops of the Dartmoor national park however, this year the organisers used a completely new course away from the moor which was predominantly muddy banks and woodland.  On a sad note, this was the first running of the trial without Vic Ashford who passed away last year and whilst I didn't know him personally I certainly missed his presence at signing on.

It was a full factory day out and there were quite a few Gloucestershire riders in attendance.  Teflon and Pete travelled with Dave in the Sprinter while Penny and I followed on with NT410 loaded in the Transporter.  Teflon had worked extremely hard since the Bill Peters trial to sort the oil pump problem out and I was looking forward to getting reacquainted with the short-stroke 410cc motor rather than the long-stroke 500 of late.
Getting underway at the Vic Ashford Trial

Parking was a bit tight but expert marshalling by Pete Meeson got us a good spot and after scrutineering and signing on we had a cup of tea and a bacon roll.  Clerk-of-the-Course Robin Hoare got us away bang on time and we were all nervous to see what the new course would be like.  After a mile or so we happened upon the first group of two subs at Gotem Hill.  It was immediately apparent that this was going to be a tough trial as simply getting to the start gate required great control.  I selected second gear and was pleased to have got up the greasy slope however, I misjudged the next part and took a tight line which saw me grind to a halt for an immediate maximum.  Surprised, I headed for Sub 2 but again the steep climb up the sodden bank was too much and I incurred another maximum.  Bitterly disappointed and rather vocal Dave advised that I should let some air out of the rear before proceeding.  The next group at Hettor comprised a double and a single sub; Whilst I cleaned the first a tight uphill turn caught me out and I incurred a three.  It was a similar story for Sub 5; it was cleanable to a point but a tight turn over big roots incurred a three.  There was a theme building and it was quite difficult to maintain focus whilst losing lots of marks nevertheless, it was the same for all of us.
NT410 ready to go. Definitely a Belstaff's day!

Clennon Park Woods rode pretty well but I took a needless dab in Sub 6 before cleaning a rocky Sub 7.  The next group entitled Al’s Design were in a large woodland but the ground was so poor that I took a host of threes before finally cleaning Sub 12 and incurring a slack dab on the rocky exit of Sub 14.  We finally got a break at Tor Newton where we enjoyed a cup of tea and a pasty at the mid-point tea stop.  This was very welcome fare however, upon reflection we should’ve rode the sections first before tucking into lunch!  The first objective was a double-Sub and perhaps the longest section I have ever ridden in trials.  I selected third gear and gunned the bike up the bank incurring an immediate three on the tricky slope however, I wrestled through and to my surprise cleaned Sub 16.  This buoyed me slightly and a host of cleans followed; I was particularly pleased to have cleaned Sub 18 as only me and Gary Kinsman achieved this on the day.  The ripple of applause from the factory was also very welcome.

After Tom’s Quarry and Penny’s Wood the road marking was a little poor and there must have been forty or so riders outside the Tally Ho! Public house looking at their maps for the next group at Bittams.  Fortunately, a hunch proved correct and we arrived at Bittams ahead of the game however, the going was particularly poor and I was not pleased with a three and a maximum which was incurred as I could not physically hold the bike up any longer.  The penultimate group at Rock Park were tough and I incurred mainly threes and fives.  Finally, I got a Devon stream at the final group of Clennons where I finished strongly with a pair of cleans.

I was definitely getting much more used to the 410 by the end and it does appear to be easier to handle and more responsive than AS500 which, due to a high engine position, feels top-heavy to me.  I was suffering from a cold and severe tooth-ache which didn't help my mood and sapped strength from me.  That's not an excuse; I had root canal surgery the next day!!

Keith Wells, who was out for a bit of practice before the Scottish, ably demonstrated his superior talent by taking the Class 1 win on his 197 DMW with a paltry loss of only 22 marks; a top-drawer ride in those conditions.  Second and third spots were tightly fought but it was Guy Stanley (RE) (66 ML) who pipped Mike Holloway (400 AJS) (67 ML) by a single point.

In Class 2, somewhat predictably, Gloucestershire expert Steve Allen took the class win ahead of myself with Ian Wixon coming third by virtue of the most-cleans rule.  The Teflon Don had to settle for fourth  spot while the current Sammy Miller Champion Godfrey Hannam came home in fifth.  Devon Pre-Unit ace Gary Kinsman was eighth ahead of factory stalwart Pete Collins in ninth; with Dave Arkell in tenth ahead of Leicestershire’s Jes Flower.

Class 2 (selected results)
Steve Allen                  RE                      42
John Jacka                   Matchless G3LC   58
Ian Wixon                    Triumph 5TA       64 (9 x 0)
Nige Townsend             Matchless G3LC   64 (6 x 0)
Godfrey Hannam          Ariel HT5            67
Gary Kinsman              Ariel HT5            78
Peter Collins                Ariel HT5            88
Dave Arkell                  Ariel HT5            90
Jes Flower                   James                 92

Full results are available at the WEMC website HERE and some photographs of the day are available HERE

Grateful thanks as always, to the hardy Devon observers and to the West of England motorcycle club especially Secretary of the meeting Kailee Coffin and the course plotters Robin Hoare, Pete Meeson, Tom Kinsman, Clive Causer and Andy Cheeseman.  I know I wasn’t best pleased with some of the sections however, with the prevailing wet conditions and heavy overnight rain there really wasn’t a lot the organisers could’ve done apart from cancel the trial and none of us would’ve wanted that would we?  Hopefully, next year we can return to the rocky streams and woodland that make the Vic Ashford trial such a wonderful series opener.

The ACU report of the event can be found HERE

Next up: Rd 2 of the ACU Sammy Miller championship, The Cotswold Cups Trial at Minchinhampton

Saturday, 9 March 2013

03 Mar 13 Golden Valley Classic The March Hare Trial

With NT410 back in the workshop of The Teflon Don I was left with little choice but to get back on AS500.  I had thought about giving the long stroke 350 Matchless a run out but the deep mud and tricky going would not have suited what is a pretty stock bike.  As befits such a famous and local trial it was a full factory day out; Dave Arkell (500 Ariel), Teflon (410 Matchless G3LC), Master Chef (350 Matchless G3LC) and Pete Collins (350 AJS Rigid) who decided to ride in Class 1 on the rigid once again.  True to his word, Master Chef did the pre-event catering and remembered the brown sauce this time. 
Jon Cull, Dave P, Master Chef (with HP sauce!)
and Dave Arkell at the pre-trial catering
I’m pleased to report than unlike the 2012 event the weather was much warmer for the over 150 of us that took part for this 50 mile lap through the beautiful Southern Cotswolds.  Having entered in December signing on was a breeze and we got away bang on time at 0919.  This year the course was run in reverse and I must say it was very enjoyable as you get to see a lot more.  The first couple of sections were non-inspection and I’m pleased to say that whilst testing there was not too much technical stuff.  One of the first inspection Subs saw a lot of riders umming and ahhing over the steep banks and tight turns over loose earth and sensing a chance to get ahead of the game I watched a few go through then went for it gaining a clean for my efforts.  This put me well ahead and by the time I got to the next group at Nymphsfield there was no queuing. 
Negotiating the rock in a Sub at Heartbreak Quarry
The first Sub here was non-inspection up the rocky creek with a greasy exit but I did go clean.  The next sub was very technical and I decided take some time over my route which resulted in a clean.  The next Sub was Sub 7 and I incurred a maximum with a nasty fall down a steep bank as the front end gave way on the loose earth.  I was initially alright but when the adrenalin subsided I realised I had injured my right but decided to carry on.  After a short ride to Uley we came across what looked like an impossible rock section and I was rather surprised to see this in.  Admittedly, I was one of the first through but I had to a three and paddle through the rocky outcrop. By this time Dave Arkell had packed up as an oil pump failure forced him to retire so Dave Priestner took on the role of minder and followed me around on his XR Honda.  This was invaluable on the road as his lights and indicators helped on the way through Dursley to Breakheart quarry.  Four Subs were plotted in the rock gulleys and the final section featured a tricky exit up a near vertical rock face.

Following a refuel for the bike and rider (lovely cakes and a couple of cups of tea) we headed off for the return trip to the start via the traditional sections of Chavenage, Ozleworth and past the beautiful New Inn (I must visit this pub one day!).  However, there was quite a bit of unnecessary track riding as we took a long and needless diversion near Ozleworth for no apparent reason.
Grateful for the tea-stop. That's icing sugar on my
jacket pocket!

The return was not as fruitful as my leg started to play up and tiredness crept in.  I was unfairly judged to have incurred a maximum on Sub 27 but it would not have affected the result.  I eventually finished on twenty-seven marks lost which was way off the pace but I never do particularly well at this trial.

Jon Cull continued to demonstrate his liking for the ex-Teflon Don 350 Matchless rigid by coming second in Class 1 (with a paltry 4 mark loss) while the evergreen Pete Collins finished fourth on his rigid 350 AJS with a 13 mark loss.  Teflon’s brother Richard rode his lightweight BSA to a class win recording a measly 9 mark loss while Nick Wooley (12ml) pipped Steve Allen (13) who was out on his Royal Enfield vice the rigid Matchless. 

Richard Townsend        BSA                    9
Nick Wooley                 SERCO Ariel        12
Steve Allen                  RE                      13
Ian Wixon                    Triumph              22
Jai Jacka                      Matchless G80     32
Nigel Townsend            Matchless 410     36
Godfrey Hannam          Ariel 500            38
Ken Wallington            Matchless 350     58
Dave Arkell                  Ariel 500            DNF (oil pump kaput)

Exiting a steep bank in the
This was the final March Hare trial to be organised by long time secretary of the meeting Dave Powell.  I would like to extend my personal thanks to Dave Powell for his considerable efforts over the last fifteen years in making this trial such an outstanding event.  Well done Dave.  Thanks to the ladies who provided the cakes; I can say that the Victoria sponge was truly out of this world.

Thanks also to all the land owners, The Woodland Trust, Dursley MCC and Breakheart Community Association for their kind use of the land.  Thanks also the observers for their sterling efforts throughout the day.

Local photographer Mike Yiend was once again on hand to record the event and I believe he was the only photographer at the event.  Mike is a stalwart of the Gloucestershire trials scene so why not support him by purchasing some of his fantastic work HERE.  Mike has recently improved his outstanding service by using Zenfolio; ordering your shots or downloads, which are perfect for Blogs, Facebook or Twitter is fast and simple.  Why not visit Mike’s Zenfolio site and order your photograph; just the thing to record your ride.


Monday, 4 March 2013

24 Feb 13, Somerton Classic MCC, The Gordon Francis Memorial Trial

After the rigours of the previous week at Breakheart Quarry the factory was somewhat depleted. Dave and Teflon decided to strip NT410 down and investigate the oil problem whilst Master Chef had family commitments.  With fine but cold weather predicted I decided to contest the Gordon Francis Memorial trial which, due to the poor weather of late, was held a Binegar Quarry rather than its traditional home of Lime Kiln near Langport. 
I wasn’t the only one; there was a bumper turn out of riders at the venue.  Pete Meeson (250 Francis Barnet) made the trip up from Devon and I saw riders from Wilts and even Hampshire.  It was good to see Rob Halliday (410 Royal Enfield) out after a long lay-up and Jon Cull (500 Ariel) who decided to give his springer a run out instead of the ex-Teflon 350 rigid AJS. John Pym had the beautiful 350 Triumph out once again but it seemed to be running a bit quicker than of late!  After signing on we gathered for the presentation of club awards which were presented by Jill Francis.  Dave Fisher and the team laid out ten sections to be ridden over four laps to the quarry and the subs featured a mixture of rock and loose screen in addition to the traditional mud and greasy tree roots of the adjoining wood.  Erring on the side of caution I elected to ride the B route but in hindsight I should’ve given the A route a go as it was sensibly laid out for big Pre-Unit singles. 
With NT410 off the road I had little option but to ride AS500 and having never ridden at the venue before, I thought this would be the better option.  I began at Sub 1 and was pleased that my dancing lessons had paid dividends.  The tricky exit meant you had to move your hips in order to miss an errant limb blocking a straight run.  The rock of Sub 2 rode well as did the mixture of rock and mud for Subs 3 to 5. 

Sub 6 featured a small but tricky climb with a greasy big root at the summit.  With an immediate right hand turn following on it was hard to judge the amount of throttle needed and I had to take a dab on lap two and three.  We headed to the woodland sections next where Subs 7 to 9 were plotted over predominantly muddy banks.  Nevertheless, they rode well and I incurred no losses here.  The final Sub was a tight and tricky affair and I had to take a couple of dabs on the first lap but subsequent laps were fine.  Overall, my four mark loss resulted in second place sandwiched between Rob Halliday (clean) and Jon Cull (9 marks lost).

Colin Legg receiving the Gordon Francis Shield
from Mrs. Jill Francis
AS500 went well and second gear was perfect for driving through the mud and up the steep banks in the wood sections.  Many thanks to Dave Fisher and all the team at Somerton classic for a wonderful day’s trialling.  It was great to see Jill and Chris Francis supporting the trial once again.  Congratulations to Colin Legg (Triumph Cub) who won the Gordon Francis Shield.

Results and photos of the event are at the links and the club website is HERE

John Pym on his beautiful Triumph