This trial had slipped off my radar so I was pleased when Dave phoned and mentioned that Bath Classic were again at the Lamb's Lair venue just outside
West Harptree in . With Pete
Collins on family duty the factory were a rider short and so it was that Dave
Arkell (Ariel HT5), Master Chef (Ariel HT5), The Telfon Don (Matchless G3LC)
and I (Matchless G3LC) took the short drive down from Gloucestershire. Somerset
|Me, Teflon, Dave & Master Chef at the start|
Bath Classic are a very organised club and it was no surprise to see on-site catering and a “Turdis” provided for the riders. Similarly, signing on was a piece-of-cake and the management were very accommodating. I inadvertently signed onto the Clubman route however, bowed to peer pressure and joined the rest of the factory on the Premier course and the organisers changed me over with no fuss whatsoever.
The rider briefing, conducted by experienced Clerk-of-the-Course Jon Cull, was hugely entertaining but also very comprehensive; mindful of the extremely hot weather he briefed that complimentary soft drinks were available throughout the event and encouraged riders to remain hydrated. In my opinion this was very sound advice and is testament to the level-headedness at this club. Furthermore, the democratic vote on the number of laps was spot on and we got away bang on time for four laps of ten sections.
|Jon Cull delivers an entertaining rider brief!|
Lamb's Lair was generally bone dry but the organisers still managed to find some water, roots and rocks at the nadir of the venue. We began at Sub 1 where a stream entry led to big root step followed by sinuous turns up the rocky stream bed. The root step got progressively wetter and on the second lap I got a three as I lost my line nevertheless, the rest of the laps I went clean. The bank of Sub 2 featured a couple of loose, dusty turns and finished over some big roots however, as it was dry this section rode well. The steep bank of Sub 3 was a challenge but it was the stepped exit that caught a few people out. I went a bit slow on the first lap but kept my feet up to record a clean sheet. Sub 4 was quite rudimentary in the end as a steep rooty climb looked worse than it was.
|Trying to keep the front down!|
Sub 7 was a sinuous affair over loose rock and baked earth with an acute turn followed by a steep climb. Again, it rode better than it looked but did catch out quite a few of the inexperienced riders.
The long Sub 8 was a cracking section but most of the entry ran well here. There was a sting in the tail and the last two subs were quite tricky. Sub 9 comprised a steep climb up rock slabs led to a steep gulley and up the other side over loose earth. Dave immediately missed the turn and took a maximum and a brave Teflon even rode it at break neck speed in second gear! Sub 10 was the real clincher and took marks off 99% of the entry; only the very best (or lucky riders) escaped penalty free here. Double rock steps led to an off camber turn then to a very steep and rocky climb. The lighter bikes had the advantage here but I generally rode it well and even cleaned it on lap two however, I hit one of the steps incorrectly on lap three and the bike was thrown down the hill and I incurred a maximum.
A Route Pre-Unit Pre-65 results
B Barthorpe Ariel 350 1J Jacka Matchless 12
Nige Townsend Matchless 43
Ken Wallington Ariel HT5 49
Dave Arkell Ariel HT5 52
All things considered it was a great day out at Lamb's Lair. The premier route was spot on; a good challenge for all classes of bike but eminently ridable on a big Pre-Unit. There's a real friendly atmosphere at this club and they certainly put on good, challenging events. Thanks to all at Bath Classic
MCC and to the observers who braved Saharan conditions
to mark our cards.
|Heading towards a tricky turn|
in Sub 7
|Cresting out in Sub 9|
|Steve O'Connor in top form once again has some|