The talk on Trials Central this past week has been about Paul Bolton who is down to ride an enduro bike in the Scott Trial in a couple of weeks time (October 24 to be exact).
There’s been lots of banter about whether he’ll get round, will he set standard time, is it the right thing to do – loads of stuff in fact, so let me give you a considered opinion.
First of all Paul Bolton is a VERY capable rider on both a trials bike and an enduro bike. He’s tall, youngish, fit and has a lot of Scott Trial and enduro experience. So first of all, the question to be asked is: would he suggest doing it if there was any doubt in his mind as to whether he could get round?
Of course not. He knows perfectly well of what he is capable on an enduro bike in the Scott, and for what it’s worth, I think he will get the bike round (assuming no mechanical issues) comparatively easily. Sure, there will be a significant number of places where he will find the bike a real handful, particularly up Blind Ghyll, Braithwaites Ghyll and of course Punchard, as used in the Reeth Three Day. But to a guy of his fitness and ability, I fully expect to see him return up the start/finish field well within the time limit allotted to finishers.
But to even consider he might set standard time is a no-no. An enduro bike with a fast man on board will be incredibly quick across some of the Scott Trial open moors, but when the going gets tight and nadgery, he’ll be a touch slower than a rider of equivalent ability on a trials bike.
Of course he’ll be using trials tyres and that is actually an advantage over enduro tyres, for a trials tyre always grips much better on rocks than does a knobbly, and on fast open going, it’s not that much of a disadvantage.
Whilst I’m not even remotely comparing myself to a rider of Paul’s ability, a good many years ago I took a Kawasaki KDX 200 across Clunes during the Scottish, and whilst it was certainly a bit of a chew, it was not that difficult, and I consider that Clunes as a moor crossing is a lot more difficult than any moor crossing to be found in the Scott.
No, it’s in the tight stuff that Paul will find the bike a handful, but as I said earlier, expect him to be up the finish field well in touch with the rest of the entry that posts a finish.
Of course, as we’ve heard, he won’t be eligible for any award as he’s doing it for charity, so if you get the chance to make a donation, please do so for his initiative – and the welcome response from the Richmond Club for allowing him to do it – as it has certainly given Scott Trial enthusiasts something extra to talk about in the last few weeks leading up to the classic event.
Thankfully, after a bit of a stumble, the entry list has just about topped 190, and whilst that’s still a few short of the maximum, it’s healthy enough during these financially straightened times.
Now, who’s going to win??
But before the Scott, we have the Lakes Two Day which is this coming weekend. Rather unfortunately the organisers have suffered the loss of several significant chunks of land, in particular Dunnerdale Fell and Top o’Cross, all of which is owned by an absentee landlord in London. I’m not criticising the fact that the gent lives in London, but it does illustrate the difficulties the trial organisers face.
One of the problems, as I understand it, is that the steep hills at Top o’Cross have been a big attraction to riders of enduro bikes. In a nutshell, they’ve been charging up and down the hills, ripping them to shreds and making black scars on the hillsides that will take years to heal, assuming they are not ridden over in the meantime.
To most folks, one bike is the same as another bike, so inevitably when news of the land damage reached the landowner; he was in no mind to grant permission for the Lakes Two Day to pass over his land – hence the loss of a great chunk of land from the north’s best known two day event.
This brings me to a conclusion. When trail riding in the UK came to a virtual halt a couple of years ago due to the change in the law, whilst it may well have prevented bikes being used on trails, it certainly hasn’t prevented enduro bikes from being used where they are not allowed. Even though I am the most enthusiastic of enthusiasts, if I see trials bikes on the road it doesn’t bother me; when I see loads of road bikes being ridden to their full extent it doesn’t bother me; but to see a bunch of guys riding through Lakeland and Yorkshire villages on noisy, dirty enduro bikes, fills me with horror.
I’m certainly not against enduro bikes, for I rode them for 14 years IN ENDUROS, but outside of an organised event, they do untold damage to land, to our sport and to the reputation of motorcycling in general