Red Rose Classic MCC ventured into ‘enemy’ territory for round three of their club championship. Work by the National Grid at their original venue, Pendlebury Bait, meant the Lancashire-based club moved the trial at short notice to Yorkshire. The quaintly-named Higher Sheepwash Farm in Rathmell was popular in the 1980’s for the Bolton Youth Club, and over 60 riders turned up for a four laps of ten sections at what proved to be a tough course.
It was hard going for many of the riders, which accounted for the high scores and a number of retirements, particularly on the clubman route. The rocky gully that comprised sections 1-6 were slippy for the first riders, but eased in as the day progressed, but conversely, the mud in the transit sections made it a challenge for a lot of the riders, with little respite.
Sections 7-10 were set out in a boulder field, but the wet grass in between became increasingly difficult as the grip levels disappeared. One rider who had little trouble with the tricky terrain was Ramsbottom’s Ben Butterworth, who finished up with a brilliant score of nine marks, the only rider to achieve single figures. The result marked Ben’s second win in a row in the Red Rose club championship. He also clinched class A on his Ariel – once his brother Jack had retired on his Triumph.
Former Pre-65 Scottish winner Paul Heys took a narrow victory in class C, squeezing out fellow Cub rider Tony Calvert by three marks. Mark Quinn completed a Cub hat-trick by finishing third on 32.
It was also tight at the top of class Ce, with Craig Asbridge (Cub), Bob Baker (James) and Steve Rayner (Cub) all vying for the honours. In the end, just 11 marks separated them.
Class T went the way of John Hird on his Yamaha with 20 marks, but John Maxfield, also on a Yamaha, finished right behind him on 30. Mick Clarke rounded off the top three on his Ossa, on 35 marks.
With over half the class Te field retiring, it was Chris Forshaw who claimed top spot on his Montesa, with John Wilson (Yamaha) and Paul Charnley (Yamaha) completing the podium, and, after 40 sections, there were only three marks between the trio.
Despite the difficulties, Red Rose officials were delighted to secure Higher Sheepwash at short notice and look forward to another outing at the farm. We would like to thank the landowner, observers and the clerks-of-the-course Malcolm Bell, Trevor Bennett and Mark Wilson. Our next trial is at Top Quarry, Lothersdale on Sunday, April 2. Nearest postcode is BD22 0LW.
Class A: Ben Butterworth (Ariel) 9. No other finishers.
Class C: Paul Heys (Cub) 20, Tony Calvert (Cub) 23, Mark Quinn (Cub) 32
Class T: John Hird (Yamaha) 29, John Maxfield (Cub) 30, Mick Clarke (Ossa) 35.
Class Te: Chris Forshaw (Montesa) 70, John Wilson (Yamaha) 71, Paul Charnley (Yamaha) 73.