Getting Excited Now

As I write this on Sunday evening, there’s just six days to go before the World Trial at Nevis Range, Fort William, and I have to say that I’m looking forward to this trial more so than I have done for a very long while.

With all due respect to last year’s trial near Carlisle, I knew well in advance what type of event it would be as I had ridden at the venue occasionally in the past, and though it was OK, it was a totally manufactured trial. No harm in that and the guys did a good job, but this year, we should have a PROPER trial.

However, going up to Fort William and knowing the Nevis Range venue as well as anybody else who watches the Scottish there, the bulk of the sections are going to be totally natural, and these combined with the superb infrastructure at the site look set to provide a perfect weekend.

But there’s just one snag. I can’t be at the trial on Sunday. However, it has always been my opinion that the first day of a two day event is always the better of the two, so I’ll just have to be satisfied with the one day of action.

But of course it’s not just one day as there’s plenty happening on Friday what with the two Kickstart trials and the opportunity to take a lingering look at the very best of Eric Kitchen’s 38 years of World trials pictures.

He has selected 200 of them and at least 150 have been enlarged and mounted for display and if you wish to know what was Eric’s first photographic venture into World trials, I can reveal that it was as long ago as 1972 when it was a European Championship trial at the Cadbury Country Club, Congressbury near Bristol. Mick Andrews was the winner that day, and like Eric, I too was at that trial

“I didn’t see you there” said Kitch when we spoke, “and I didn’t see you” was my reply. But of course, neither of us knew each other back then, though we have shared many moments together in the intervening years.

Yes, I shall look forward to seeing Eric’s pictures, many of which I shall be familiar with as back in my TMX days, more often than not I developed the film and printed the pictures that were going to be used in that week’s edition of the paper. Digital photography is still a relatively new aspect of Eric’s hobby and close on 25 years of his pictures are all on film, though I do know he spends hours scanning them onto disc for the future.

So on Friday there’s Eric’s pictures to view, two Kickstart trials to watch as well as the chance to wander among the vehicles and see what’s happening, followed by TC’s Bash On The Ben, before the trial itself on Saturday and Sunday. But as I said, Sunday is out for me as I’m off down to Stranraer that morning to catch the ferry to Belfast, then it’s down to Dublin to meet up with friends for a week’s road bike touring of southern Ireland.

Which brings forth a potential problem. A laptop loaded into a top box on a road bike is not a good idea, so there may not be a column next week unless I can find a computer to borrow on Saturday evening to write next week’s contribution. We’ll see, as I don’t like missing a week, pride you understand. However, if that’s the case, then the following week I’ll be back on line.

Quite by chance I bumped into TMX’s founding Editor Bill Lawless last week just as he was unloading the shopping from the car. He lives quietly with his wife in a small bungalow in Morecambe and still has a passing interest in bikes, having just bought himself a 125 Honda Innova. Bill was always buying and selling road bikes in his TMX days; if it was big and roarty Bill wanted it, with Dougie Hacking usually the supplying dealer, but these days arthritis prevents him getting his leg over so now it has to be a step thru.