Sunday, 22 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all Matchless Man blog readers.  I hope you've had a good 2013 and I wish you a happy, prosperous and "Feet-Up" 2014. 

I wonder if this bike is still around?

I got this wonderful card from West of England Motor Club and loved it; Thank You very much Robin, Pete and Gary; the factory wish you all the best for 2014.

21 DEC 13, Cheltenham Auto-jumble at the racecourse

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a relapse with my leg this week when succumbing to peer-pressure I walked to and from the pub for a Christmas libation.! Everything seemed fine until the morning when it was horribly apparent that I was back to square one; hobbling around with a lot of pain in the calf muscle area.  Nevertheless, I was determined to keep the leg active in the hope of being able to make a few of my favourite Christmas trials and when Pete Le Plain phoned on Friday afternoon I thought I’d sling my leg over a bike and see how it went.  Heavy overnight rain gave way to a generally dry morning and so it was that I dragged the ex-Alan Saunders long-stroke 350 out of the garage and gave it a run to Cheltenham auto-jumble.  After six months sitting in the garage I checked and topped up the engine and gearbox oil, checked the magneto and gave it a kick.  A very well set up bike, I wasn’t too surprised that it fired first kick and sounded as sweet as a nut.  I haven’t completely ruled out using AS350 at the 2014 TALMAG instead of NT410! 

AS 350 utilises a racecourse fence stake!

The car park was already packed when I got there just after ten o’clock however, it was disappointing to see that there weren’t too many stalls and I guess the weather must’ve put a lot of traders off.  Nevertheless, the stalwarts were there including John Budgen (Ariel spares), Wrighty (with his beautiful, trick Bantam on show) and Andy the Chain Man showing off his new mobile shop; which was quite fitting since I have two of Andy’s chains on AS350!  I've known Andy for a number of years and it was good to catch up with him.  He's been around chains for years and I value his honest advice on chains which, is completely free!  If you'd like to benefit from Andy's knowledge and experience you can visit his website HERE or use the link in the sidebar opposite.
Andy and his new mobile Chain shop
It was good to see a lot of the Gloucestershire and West Midlands trials “scene” at the venue where we discussed the pick of this year’s Christmas trials and reminisced over everyone’s trials year.  With not much on offer I purchased a metric/imperial thread gauge as my Christmas present and headed off home to rest my leg ready for some post Christmas trialling!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

8 DEC 13, ZONA 1 MCC, Race Techniques Trial at Nettleton

Having had a two week lay off following the last rounds of the Sammy Miller Championship I was looking forward to getting back on a bike.  The BMCA were running one of my favourite venues; the aptly named Bedlam on Clee Hill however, with my licence needing to be renewed I decided to ride with my local ACU Club, Zona 1 MCC at Nettleton in their Race Techniques Trophy Trial.  With Dave Arkell still feeling under the weather it was nearly a full factory day out however, Dave walked around giving moral support and indicating some riding lines that I clearly had missed!  Pete Collins and Master Chef were Ariel mounted leaving Teflon and I as the sole Matchless entries.  Dave Eeles got the big Triumph twin out of the garage and it was good to see John Edmonds who was running in the new engine on his lightweight BSA C15.

I entered in advance so signing on was simple and I was pleased to pick up my key for the practice club and the Best Pre-65/Twinshock trophy for the Les Davis trial which I won earlier in the year.  Despite being a monoshock club, the Zona1 team have a wealth of trials experience and are able to cater for all styles and classes of bike and it was pleasing to see a bumper entry of over ninety riders signing on for ten sections to be ridden over four laps.  All sections were really sensible being plotted over the varying terrain of rooty banks, mud and rocks.  As the rocks got covered in mud the going got particularly slippery and with each lap the concentration had to increase in order to avoid needless penalties.  I was riding with confidence and taking care, I was able to clean all sections bar one; Sub 7. 
Taking it steady on the rocky
bank - Photo by Mike Yiend
This sub was the real killer for old bikes.  A long, technical section comprised of a jumble of big loose, mud covered rocks much care had to be taken and I spent a lot of time searching for the optimum line.  This paid off with two single dabs on the first two visits and I was sure I could clean it however, on lap three I lost the front end, my foot slipped on the muddy rocks and I got my left leg trapped between the frame down-tube and the left-hand fork slider.  They smashed into my calf, crushing the muscle which left me immobilised on the deck.  Fortunately, a spectator lifted the bike off me and I cleared the section by crawling away to safety on my bum where I took stock of the situation.  I could hardly walk but with a good result in the offing I persevered through the pain.  Determined to clean it on the final lap I gritted my teeth but the pain was too great and I had to paddle through for a three.  Nevertheless, with no penalties accrued on the other sections this was good enough to take the Pre-65 win.

In a lot of pain I headed back to the van where it quickly became apparent I could hardly walk and I’d like to thank fellow Pre-65 competitor John Edmonds for helping me get NT410 into the van and strapped down.  Even as I write I am still not walking properly and NT410 remains untouched in the garage.  I guess I was lucky not to have broken my leg or worse, got the dreaded compartment syndrome which saw Master Chef off the road for six months.  Nevertheless, it was a brilliant trial and there's not too many trials where your card is marked by a 10 times British Trials Champion!!

Pre-65 Results:

Jai Jacka             Matchless            10   Best Pre-65 award
John Edmonds     BSA C15             10
Dave Eeles          Triumph 500       16
Ken Wallington    Ariel                   16
Nige Townsend    Matchless            16
Pete Collins         Ariel                   18

It was good to see local photographer Mike Yiend on hand to record the event.  Mike is a stalwart of the West Country trials scene turning out in all weathers to take top quality photos which can be found on his website HERE.  Mike offers a variety of formats to suit every taste and ordering could not be simpler.  With Christmas fast approaching why not visit Mike’s site, get yourself an inexpensive present and support your local photographer.

Thanks to everyone at Zona1 MCC for putting on a great trial and to the observers who were Rob Workman, Robin Isaac, Steve Saunders (Yes, THAT Steve Saunders!), Alan Smetham, Brian Valder, Sarah Saunders, Andy Colbourne and Andy Coopey who ran the Green Route.

Next up: Getting back to fitness for a plethora of Christmas Trials riding!