A Look-Back Over 2009 – Part Two

The weather has certainly caused some problems around the UK, with trials cancelled all over because of the snow. I don’t recall there being much in the way of cancelled events when I was a youngster starting out in trials and I can remember both riding and observing at trials when the snow was very deep. But like so many things these days, that’s now the way of the world and we have to put up with it. However, it was possible to get a couple of rides in over the long weekend and both turned out to be very good trials.

Now, as promised, on with the second half review of 2009’s columns.

On June 29 I bemoaned the fact that one of my errors in life is failing to take advantage of a special situation when it is presented. I said that in 1988, I regretted not going canoeing with my enduro friends down the Gorge du Tarn when I was at the French ISDE that year. Some 21 years later I managed to partially achieve what I had missed in 1988, by riding the length of the Gorge from Mende to Millau on my VFR with five good friends during our summer biking holiday.

Not missing out on special occasions is something that I intend to indulge in again this year.

Just two weeks later the hot topic was the suggestion that the SSDT start area would move from the West End car park to an industrial site off the road to the Nevis Range chair lift. I was horrified at the suggestion, and said so quite forcefully, and thankfully it will not happen, we are staying with the Fort William lochside start and in my opinion, so we should.

Two consecutive columns in August attracted lots of views. Both columns concerned no-stop marking in trials: the first was about the Reeth Three Day and the occasional over-zealous observer, and the second was about the Lakes Two Day going no-stop. Both proved to be extremely successful and most enjoyable trials and the trend is gradually shifting towards no-stop in a good many trials.

Many of the clubs and centres that have made this decision has come following the column in September headed “Make Way For Dynamic Trials” The strong feeling from information received back then was that the World Championship was going no-stop, but now, some three-and-a-half months later, there’s no sign of that happening. However, that September 7 column produced the greatest number of views and postings of any column this year, though the November 15 column “What About Us Spectators” produced very nearly as much response.

That column referred to the likelihood that riders in WC events would not be able to inspect the sections on the day, thereby depriving spectators the chance of seeing them as they walked the sections and watched other riders go through. I’m still not sure exactly what is to be allowed (or not allowed), but no doubt somebody better informed that I will enlighten us all.

At the end of November I had an enjoyable two days in Scotland with Dougie Lampkin and Jake Miller as they did a promotional tour of numerous locations and businesses in the run up to next year’s World round at the Nevis Range near Fort William.

It was a great trip and good to be in Scotland outside of Scottish week, and let me say right away, the two world rounds and the Trial des Nations, scheduled for the next three years at Fort William, are in very safe hands with the Martin Lampkin/Jake Miller partnership. They will be ultra professional promotions, and for those who would say they miss the good old days of clubs organising such events, forget it boys, those days are long gone; times have moved on.

And that just about brings us to the end of my 51columns this year. Only 51 I hear you ask? – yes, I had a week off when I was on holiday, but in mitigation, I did try to send a column but couldn’t work out how to send an e-mail from the French youth hostel in which I was staying. The language barrier prevented me from asking how to do it, so I missed one.