Mixing It With The Aces

A couple of things to get out of the way before starting this week’s new thread and it refers to last week’s column which concentrated on the old and horny subject of dual routes, particularly in the Novogar series.

John Collins (Chairman of the Trials and Enduro Committee) and a decent guy if there ever was one (no, I’m not fawning up to him), has posted the fact that next year’s series will be permitted to have dual routes with the emphasis on the hard route being as it is now, and an easier route, which to my mind should increase the level of entries and allow some lesser lights to take part, thereby making the viability of the trial more likely.

I take Bikespace’s comments about his trials being held in deep gullies and to my mind, that’s acceptable and if it means some of the “easier” sections have to be the hard ones, then so be it, but I suppose that not ALL his sections are in deep gullies so he can ease the others to compensate.

Thanks also to the individuals who e-mailed me personally with their thoughts on this subject. The fact that the ACU have decided to have dual routes for next year does to some extent negate my arguments, however, it all seems to be for the better in my opinion.

Second point, and I don’t normally do “special pleas” but Paul Norman and Tim Walker, two capable Northern Centre trials riders with whom I regularly have battles, have entered the Manx Two Day next week in the sidecar class on a 20 year old 349 Montesa – and they have never ridden a sidecar before and certainly not in a trial. Of course, most folks will know that sidecars are close to my heart having contested the British Championship for a number of years in the early 'eighties, so I wish them well. It’s all for the benefit of local charities to the Carlisle area and already they have over a grand promised. They asked for a tip, and apart from all the usual silly stuff, I told them to remember that when it stops it is still on wheels, and that the passenger, when it goes wrong, has to be the first one off, just a fraction of a second before the driver so he can hold the plot steady.

This past weekend has been Nostalgia Weekend from the AMCA Kendal Classic Club. I’ve only been involved in this week long happening for two years now, having been coerced into doing the results boards and the final results last year and again this year.

It has to be said that it’s a wonderful gathering of trials enthusiasts whose interest is in older machines. Certainly Saturday’s trial with 166 entries had a significant gathering of spectators, certainly far more than one would expect to see at a British Championship trial and the atmosphere and general bonhomie from everyone there was delightful.

On a personal level, I’m proud to be there, to be part of it and as this event goes from strength to strength the sport has to thank the Kendal Classic Club members for what they are doing to keep the old bike trials alive – not to mention the Nostalgia Scramble of course, which was fantastic and had a great crowd watching.

It’s probably unfair to put individual names to the fore as so many people have worked so hard to get these events off the ground, but even so, Peter Remington, Ken and Geoff Shuttleworth and John Holmes, plus John Bethell, Norman Barrow etc, etc all have a hand in the event and I’m delighted for them that it is so successful. Long may it continue, but none of them are spring chickens!!!!!!

Perhaps the highlight of the week for me was last Tuesday evening and Friday. Somehow, Rem managed to get sponsorship from Triumph Motorcycles for the event and they sent six bikes up for general evaluation and on Tuesday, I was able to go out on four of them, and if you are interested, the 675 Street Triple is the beauty if you want to go bend swinging in the Lakes. Also sponsoring the event was Coniston Brewery who supplied dozens of cases of their famous Bluebird Bitter for everybody who wanted one. What an ace bloke.

But on Friday it was again the re-run of the 1913 ISDT course which took in a circuitous tour of the Lakeland passes including Kirkstone, Patterdale, Hard Knott, Wrynose, Whinlatter, Honistor and Newsteads plus the linking valleys.

If Rem had 'phoned any of the individuals to “come out and have a ride with me” probably none would have bothered. But when he rings and says come out and have ride with some international stars, you get a response. Nearly 50 took part on the widest variety of machines, old and new, that you could imagine. In the second group, in which I rode my Beta Alp, there was Andy Roberton, Vic Allan, Mick Grant, Bill Brown, Tony Calvert, Barry Briggs, Eric Kitchen, Alan Wright, Pete Jerred, Chris and Mike Myers - need I go on? A fantastic day in a fantastic part of the world and it was a privilige to have been asked to be part of it.

I could go on, but I’m sure you’ve got the message by now!