Sidecar Anybody?

It’s funny, but when I read the feedback regarding last week’s column, I expected most of the feedback would relate to the ever increasing drop in the number of riders prepared to ride the national course, however it seems that most folk that took the trouble to reply were more interested in the petrol in the top tube question.

Strange really, but I thought the national course/clubman course discussion was far more interesting.

However, having said that, it was good to have you good people remind me of the fuel in frame machines, most of which I had forgotten about, which was one of the reasons I posted the question in the first place.

Whilst the Manx Two Day is still fresh in my mind, I would love to borrow a competitive sidecar outfit to ride next year’s trial. In 2009 it will have been 25 years since I last rode the Manx on a sidecar and though I can’t promise to get my old passenger Mannix back in the sidecar, I would love to try and persuade him and I’m sure he would like the challenge. He knows absolutely nothing about this, so if this comes as a bit of a surprise, sorry Mannix, but how about it?

I know borrowing a sidecar is a big expect, but is there anybody out there in chair world prepared to oblige. I was chatting with Martin Bracey at the presentation on the Sunday night, and he got me all fired up again. Building a one-off for the Manx is not practicable, so it would have to be a loan outfit. Cheeky, I know, but if you don’t ask you don’t get!

The horrendous weather we have had of late has caused the cancellation of a number of trials this weekend, and whilst cancelling in the depths of winter is not unknown, cancelling at this time of year must be pretty unique.

I guess that most of the cancellations are due to parking problems rather than problems on the land, though I suppose the extremely wet conditions for the time of year can’t be helping. I know that Westmorland, who are very local to me have called off Sunday’s Howie Trial because of the parking. They normally use a field with a gentle slope to it and there’s absolutely no way they could get vehicles on and off it and there’s literally nowhere else left to park at the venue.

Looking after landowners is always a crucial aspect for any trials organiser and it’s fair to say that in my experience the bulk of the landowners that give permission for our sport are as enthusiastic as us to go ahead with events, but there comes a time when common sense has to prevail – and wet conditions as we are experiencing now simply don’t allow us to drive a plethora of cars, vans, 4x4s etc onto fields that are at the very best, soggy.

Quite how these conditions bode for the immediate future I don’t know, but I rather guess there will be a number of events called off over the next few weeks.

Despite having been chasing World Championships for well over 15 years now, it was good to read that Dougie Lampkin managed a fine fourth in Sweden last weekend. The usual three (Raga, Bou and Fujinami) were all ahead of him, but even so, and as the “veteran” of world trials now, fourth place is pretty good. Well done.

Talking about World Championship events, when in the Isle of Man two weeks ago, I was chatting to Maria Conway at the last section on Sunday and she pointed to a grassed over rut in the grass at White City (the last section) and looked amazed when I told her it was where the Trial des Nations riders had been practising before the event. “Where were they going?” she asked, and when I pointed to the virtually sheer rock face in front of her, she found it difficult to believe.

Of course, she had not been able to see the men practising before the event, because she had been too busy riding her own World Championship round and helping win the Women’s Trial des Nations for Great Britain.