A clear sunny morning greeted a class entry of riders for the 71st running of this prestigious Open to Centre Trophy the ' Harold Avery Cup ' where in the past such great riders as John Avery Sammy Miller Don Smith Bill Faulkner Pat Lamper and John Reynolds have all been triumphant. Historically this event is a winter mud plug but due to the heavy march snow we re-scheduled to this alternative date where four laps of ten woodland sections were tackled consisting of steep climbs ditches cambers sandy drops and long fourth gear blasts.
The premiere award went to Daniel Greeves who made short work of the two mile lap with a loss of 15 with four superb cleans on section three 'Jakes Roots' a fourth gear climb clicking down to second at the summit before an awkward left hand drop then back to third for the final assault to the end cards. Another Expert worthy of mention was first time at the farm Thames Mcc Raider Joylon Walters 300 Beta showing much skill in many sections. But, best of all section five 'Axford's Hill' this was not for the faint-hearted a thirty yard run-up to the begins then twenty yards of the soft stuff before attacking a lattice of roots then a grippy climb to the ends too much gun on the latter part and it was loop the loop time. Walters took a steadying dab first lap and was by far the fastest rider up with the gathered crowd muttering he must be pulling fifth. Joylon suffered a sprinkling of fives which put him out of contention for the major silverware but third overall was good.
Best Intermediate on the hard course was 260 Montesa pilot Rowan Hill posting a score of 43 with the only clean of the day at section seven a notoriously difficult hazard where both speed and controlled finesse was required with correct gear selection paramount. After a steady drop in from the top field you are confronted with an offset camber over roots then a 3 foot fallen tree, next the tricky part over a low growing bough with swamp waiting for the unaware offline rider but not this time a perfect line made for a perfect clean for Rowan.
On the middle yellow course the 'Phillip Howkins Cup' went to 250 Beta mounted Clubman Adrian Steele with a loss of 19, runner-up Alan Taylor lost 26 Alan's mount was a bog standard 80's TY250. Adrian was on a mission to beat the forecast rain getting around in record time albeit shedding more marks than he would of liked but in end still managed to pull off the win. Steele was in pain suffering a broken toe from a previous jaunt but the pain was even more excruciating losing 12 of his 19 at section one a really tricky marshy downhill job then a controlled turn at the bottom before lining up for a third gear blast over a massive vee shaped root with no room for error into a splash of mud. Mud Miester Alan Taylor went well at section nine 'Robert's Copse' a relatively mild looking affair but experience shone though taking the perfect line though this multi hazzard sub.
Best yellow route Intermediate went to Mark George also on 26 his ageing 250 Yam coping well with section one. Choosing the ever changing right line would be crucial as a ditch crossing was ahead and a precise angle was required for a successful crossing.
The ever popular White easy course was well supported with scores ranging from seven to seventy and at the lower end of the scale it was Brian Ayres Beta 200 showing that the smaller cc machines were as competitive as the bigger capacity in these testing conditions. Wayne Hutton Triumph Tigercub was looking very handy at most subs with section eight of particular interest to the onlookers. A raft of timber straddling a deep marsh to cross then many cambered sandy turns also a rooted gully to navigate, now the ends were in sight as the sun burnt though the canopy only to expose a final outcrop of roots.
Many thanks to all the observers.
See you all in September for the Ivan Davis Cup.
Report Ken O'Brien
Harold Avery Cup and Best Expert
Dan Greeves TRS 300 15
Expert Joyan Walters 300 beta 48
Jason Clifford 250 Beta 49
Intermediate Rowan Hill 260 Mont 43
Ryan Tomkins Gasser 53
Yellow middle Route
Phillip Howkins Memorial Cup Adrian Steele 250 Beta 19
Clubman Alan Taylor Ty250 26
Martin Greeves 300 Beta 32
Lee Sullivan 300 gasser 34 mc
Brian Tomkins 250 Beta 34 5 x2
Peter Coor 250 Beta 34 3 x 2
Mark Woodburn 4RT 36
Inter Mark George Ty250 26
Novice Paul Gobey Sherco 82
White Easy course
Brian Ayres Beta 200 7
Wayne Hutton Tigercub 11
Nick Annetts 200 Honda 20
Adam Hughes Mont 260 21
Paul Hughes Sherco 26
Stuart Hayes Scorpa 27