A Look-back Over 2009 - Part One

I’ve just seen in the Forums of this site that the Farnham Royal Club’s Home Guard Cup trial last Sunday had to be cancelled due to the snowy weather that hit the area recently.

It’s ironic because the Home Guard Cup Trial was the very first trial that I rode back in December 1963. I had a Triumph Tiger Cub at the time; I had not passed my bike test and I had to ride the bike to the trial from my home in Slough because my dad hadn’t managed to sort out a trailer to hitch to the back of the car. I can even remember that I wore a light blue and dark blue bobble hat.

I don’t for the life of me remember where that 1963 Home Guard Trial started from, or exactly where it ran, but I do still have a picture taken at the time. Perhaps ACU Vice President Colin Moram will remember, because he was deeply involved with the Farnham Royal Club then, indeed he may well still be involved with the club as he is currently President of the South Midland Centre.

And if you make a quick calculation, when I ride again on Boxing Day (God willing!), I will be starting my 47th year of trials riding. Naturally I’m proud of the fact that I’ve ridden for so long, but I’m not alone for there’s a good many riders who have been at the game for longer than me.

But I digress. It was (and indeed still is) my intention this week to have a quick look back over the past year of columns keyed for this website, so here goes.

On January 25th I reported that I had just returned from Alan Wright’s Classic Show at Telford, followed by a ride in a Midland Centre mud trial at Kinlet. My interest in classics was and indeed still is limited, but it was a fantastic experience that Saturday and I shall be there again in February 2010, not only to revel in some nostalgia but also to enjoy Arthur Browning’s ISDT/E riders reunion on the Saturday evening. Fortunately I qualify, having ridden an ISDE (France 1988) and will look forward to renewing many old friendships from 20 to 30 years ago.

Another event that is on the agenda for 2010 is the Ian Pollock Memorial Trial. This year’s event was a cracker and as the SSDT is now well beyond my capabilities, and getting a Pre 65 entry is increasingly difficult, it’s the only chance for riders of my ability to ride part of the genuine Scottish course.

My column the following week (April19) had me moaning about the quality of results some clubs produce. Nothing has changed of course. There are those that provide a full detailed sheet of what you lost and where, and there are others that do nothing more than list your trial total and the finishing order. Nowt has changed. More than most, I realise that compiling a section by section result is time consuming and involves a great many keystrokes. Well done to those who manage it; personally I am a halfway house secretary, detailing a section total score which is not as good as a full detailed list, but a lot better than a trial total. It doesn’t take too long and seems to keep all my entries happy.

On May 10, immediately after Scotland finished, the talk of course was the awful weather that hit the event. Wednesday of SSDT week was appalling and it looked as if Thursday might be cancelled. But Mark Whitham and the team did a sterling job overnight and came up with a drastically shortened route that suited everybody, riders, spectators and officials, and the 2009 Scottish was saved from disaster. Here’s hoping that the 2010 event fares better.

Many considered that the World Trial at Nord Vue, Carlisle could be a dismal offering, but Graham Jarvis and John Kirwan produced the goods that weekend and my May 17 column offered praise to Dirt Bike Trax for managing the organisation of an event in such an impeccable manner. Sure it was anything but a natural trial with the bulk of the sections machine made. But it produced the goods, the attendance was enough for the organisation to turn a profit and Graham emerged with his reputation intact.

As we move into June, I’m running out of space for this week, except to remind you all that I was just one of thousands of road race fans who were diddled when the two TT races on the first Saturday of TT week were postponed, not until Sunday, the following day when the weather was glorious, but to Monday, all because of sponsorship pressure from Dainese the Superbike race sponsors.

So we’ve reached the half way point of the year, and I did think I would struggle to pick out enough comments to fill this week’s offering. Whilst I’m not limited to the number of words I have each week, I know that there is a healthy point at which to stop. And it’s here, so part two will be next week.

Enjoy your Christmas