The Scott and the Jungle Drums

It’s strange how chit chat at a trial can lead one up the garden path. At today’s trial I heard that the Scott Trial had only attracted 100 entries and that entries were being held open to get as many riders booked in as possible before the programme went to print. The reason given for the alleged lack of entries was the speed of the top riders making it very difficult for those who can complete the course being able to do so within the time allowance.

Having been to every Scott Trial since 1978, I took this all with a pinch of salt, but to be on the safe side e-mailed James Percival - a TC Forum founder member and also one of the Scott organisers, to ask for his views and an update on the entry situation.

Fortunately, whilst he couldn’t tell me the exact number of entries to date, he thought it would have topped 180 by now as there were 173 confirmed some ten days ago. So that was one rumour cleared up.

Secondly, to my mind, the fastest men have always been mighty fast and by the very nature of what the Scott Trial is, there will always be (and indeed, there always has been) riders who manage to finish the course but are out of time. That’s exactly what the Scott Trial is all about!!

Perce did acknowledge the fact that the current clerk of the course (Bruce Storr) has different views on the style of sections used from some previous clerks of the course, and he said that some of the very late sections in the trial may well be eased a touch this year. Having said that, it’s actually been very dry recently in the Dales and many of the gullies that were last used some eight weeks ago in the Reeth Three Day haven’t changed at all. But with a month still to go before the trial takes place, anything can happen so decisions on just how easy or severe the trial will be plotted have yet to be made. And if you are not riding, and maybe you have never been to watch the Scott, this year make a promise to yourself to attend. It’s a great day

The approach of October heralds some good events in the north, in particular the Lakes Two Day followed a week later by the Scott. Of course there are plenty of other good trials also to be had, including the two classic Devon nationals, the West of England and the Otter Vale Presidents.

I haven’t been to either since 2004 (I think), but both are long established trials and this year are both rounds of the Classic Trials Championship sponsored by Normandale. I first rode the West of England, when it was a Trade Supported national in 1966 on a 250 Royal Enfield Crusader, crashed on the first section of the trial (literally), snapping the kickstart shaft and breaking off half the gear lever – both being on the same side of those machines. Somewhat miraculously, I managed to get the bike going AND finished the trial without stalling the engine in a section for the rest of the trial.

And even more surprisingly, I was able to buy a new kickstart shaft and gear lever in Freddie Hawken’s dealership in Newton Abbot on the way home and despite no mechanical knowledge, replace the parts overnight for the Crediton trial the following day. Back then, the Presidents had either not been inaugurated, or was on a different weekend. There, that’s some boring old info, isn’t it!

Congratulations must go to James Dabill for securing his first British Championship title and to Sam Connor, Ben Morphett and Sam Ludgate for winning their respective classes following the final round of the championship down in Kent.

It’s good to see that the British series goes to most parts of the UK, from the far north east in Scarborough, via Scotland and Wales to climax in Kent. That way most folks that wish to see the top lads in action get the opportunity without having to travel excessive distances. I have to apologise and say that for the first time for many years I failed to get to a British round this year – shame on me, but as I said only last week, with only one Sunday per week, it’s simply impossible to do everything that you want to.

And concluding with a quick mention of last week’s column when I referred to a big turnout for road racing at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough, a big turn out it certainly was for the attendance figure as quoted in MCN on Wednesday was some 52,000. Now that is a lot of spectators for a bike meeting that is not part of a World Championship series.