Be Nice To That Secretary

I see under the SSDT forum that Highland Lassie, Mairie, the Scottish Six Day Trial secretary is still waiting payment from 34 potential competitors in this year’s trial before she can issue riding numbers.

With the United Kingdom in deep recession – or is that just a media plot to sell
newspapers -, it’s hardly surprising that come Friday, February 27 when all entries had to be bought and paid for, there were still outstanding balances from more than 10 per cent of the entry. It didn’t surprise me when I read her posting, and I rather suspect it doesn’t surprise you, my reader.

Being the forceful and efficient lady that she is, I rather suspect that after a week or so of leeway and goodwill, those that haven’t paid will have lost their chance and the reserve list will be broken into. Serves 'em right!

Being a trial secretary is not an easy task, but it can be made a lot easier if you have the right attitude. It has to be said that the vast majority of competitors, whether they be entering for a massive event like the Scottish, or even a minor event like a club trial, do the job properly. At least that’s how I find it.

I look at it this way. Riding a trial on a Sunday is your weekly bit of sport. There’s enough hassle and problems through the working week for most folk, so I try to be kind and gentle and accept the few shortcomings of folk when it comes to filling out their entry forms and turning up at the start with a £20 note for a £15 entry. That’s life, so why should I be snotty and horrible, I go prepared with loads of change, loads of pens, a table to write the entry forms on so they don’t lean on my van and it all goes off pretty smoothly.

As a result, clubs that “do the job” properly, and that’s the majority of them, can expect a reasonable entry given the type of trial they offer. I know it works for my club, but I also know from my own personal approach to riding, that if there are two comparable trials, the club that does the job properly by having a decent set of results and generally observers on most sections and with the “come and ride with us” attitude, then that’s where I’ll go.

What really bugs me is the rare occasion when a club official goes out of their way to be as awkward and as cantankerous as possible to all and sundry. It used to happen in my sidecar days and the early days of solo riding in the north, but thankfully, generally speaking most secretaries and officials are great.

I believe that any club that organises events is offering a service which is no different to any other organisation that offers a service. It might well be sport, but it could equally be plumbing, heating, sign writing or whathaveyou – those that offer the best service will always get the best results.

Time to blow my own club’s trumpet now. Lancs County have the second round of the ACU Traditional Trials Championship next Saturday and when I opened entries back in January I felt that in the present financial climate if we got 100 entries we would have done well.

So having just finished typing 159 names into my laptop for the trial next week, I reckon we have done remarkably well. I’ve not ridden many Traditional Championship trials since I did the complete series a few years back, but I don’t recall ever seeing that number of riders in any event that was part of the Traditional Championship – and it’s not made up with out of championship guest riders, there’s only four of them who always travel with their mates.