Latest On Lakes Visitors

Sherco don’t get much coverage in my column, for no particular reason than there’s never much to mention with regard to the machine Malcolm Rathmell imports. So it’s good to see that they have introduced a model, priced a touch lower than other new bikes on the market, in an effort to attract newcomers to the sport.

Ok, I realise that with a new Sherco model due any day now, the Sherco Access is a cut price version of the bike that has been available for a good many years, but at least MRS are trying and for that alone they must be encouraged.

Many folks ride Shercos with great success, including Michael Brown of course who has had a good year on the bike, and the machine that is now designated the Access will do a good many folks for several years. So, if you fancy one, snap one up whilst they are still available.

It’s strange how some subjects that get covered in this column attract more postings, and views, than do other subjects, and last week’s comment about the enduro bikes ripping up the Lakes has certainly set the ether chat buzzing. For sure (as they say in Franglais), it’s not the bikes that do the damage, it’s the riders, and I understand the point. But having accepted that, those who ride enduro bikes to carve up and down the land that has been lost to the Lakes Two Day Trial have a mentality that is alien to those of us who ride trials on Lake District (and other national park) land. And if they were to ride in such a manner on a trials bike rather than an enduro bike, there’s no doubt the land damage would be considerably less, but so too I presume would be the fun.

This is being written almost as soon as I returned home from the Lakes, it being the first time I have ridden this event for six years, having been involved with the organisation in more recent years. As has been fully reported, the Lakes went no-stop this year and a great deal of effort was put into creating sections that could be ridden no-stop.

So whilst I can’t speak for the hard course riders, certainly the clubman course was very “doable” as the expression goes – and that’s my comment, from somebody who lost a great deal of marks. The trial was fairly difficult, but with perhaps four exceptions, I felt that even at my level of ability, with a good ride I could clean every one, and that’s not something that many of us sproggers can say about a good number of trials that run as no-stop.

Whilst not wanting to take credit away from the bunch of lads who actually mark out the sections, the bulk of the section planning was down to Norman Cooper, a local farmer and capable clubman trials rider. He has ridden for many years but has only recently ventured away from home and following his first trip to the Manx Two Day, understood exactly what was required for a no-stop trial – remembering of course that no-stop has not featured in the Northern Centre for many, many years.

Undertaking such a massive effort (40 sections a day), it’s important to understand what’s suitable and what’s not and despite a fairly high loss of marks all through, the judgement was pretty accurate. Having said that, with Norman and other Northern Centre riders doing the Manx, and some of the Manx lads doing the Lakes, I find it strange that none of the Yorkshire lads involved with the Reeth Three Day, or indeed other Yorkshire Centre trials, ever attend the Lakes to see how other organisations tackle the promotion of multi-day trials.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not criticising Reeth, the Manx or the Lakes in any shape or form. All three are very different trials, but I would have thought visiting and riding each other’s events would have been a “good thing”.

Earlier this year, despite not really being into the classic scene, I went to Alan Wright’s Classic Show at Telford. It was a great day with the opportunity to see some superb machinery and meet old friends. If you are interested, Alan tells me the date for 2010 is two weeks later on February 13/14, again at Telford and this time the parking/getting in arrangements will have been improved.

Wrighty always has a theme to his shows, and next year it is Matchless machines, sidecars and bikes from Italy. So there’s a great opportunity to become re-aquainted with a wealth of interesting machinery. Book the date into your diary now.