Boring A Glass Eye To Sleep

When I lived in Devon some 32 years ago I regularly rode with the Torridge Club, though not at venues that they use now, so to see that the club have hosted another successful British Championship round is something I appreciate as the club was always very welcoming and a good one to be involved with.

James Dabill has confirmed his 2010 British Championship success with a maximum score to date, as has Jack Sheppard in the Expert A 125 category, so congratulations to them, whilst Gary Macdonald, who has to travel all the way from Kinlochleven for his trialing experiences is very close indeed to securing the Expert A class, and barring a disaster at the final round in Kent, should take that championship back home to Scotland.
As for Darren Brice, he didn’t make the trip down to Devon this weekend but needs to travel to Kent if he is to claim the Expert B crown from John Crinson when the final round is held in a month’s time.

The Torridge Club is one of those organisations that seem to do everything well, for whilst I haven’t been to any of their events for many years, the club keeps on producing class events for all categories of the sport, not just trials, but motocross as well, and back in the late 'nineties, they also held British Championship enduros, not just on their own patch in North West Devon, but also in other countries – like Wales

It’s not right to name a single person as the head of the club, but there can be no doubt that Brian Higgins has always had a strong influence within the organisation, and his commitment to the sport as a whole through the ACU, has certainly paid off as from next January he is likely to be the Chairman of the ACU, according to the excellent Sportmoto magazine that the sport’s governing body produces four times a year.

Just a few days before my wife and I moved from Devon to Lancashire in 1978, we had dinner at Brian’s home, and I remember then that he was keen to get further involved with the organisation of the sport. He’s done just that, having been at the helm of so many varied disciplines. And of course he has been a superb rider in his time, taking the South West Centre Trials Championship several times, been a member of the British ISDE team and a decent scrambler, so if he does become Chairman of the ACU, at the helm will be a guy who truly knows his sport, having been there and done that

Talking of scrambles, I had occasion to relate to some poor unfortunate today that I only ever rode one scramble in my life, and that was on a 250 Husqvarna borrowed from Brian Higgins, at an Otter Vale meeting at Windgate Hill, Honiton, a venue now lost to the sport as far as I know. I was hopeless, with a capital H, but enjoyed it though not enough to try further. The only other time I was ever on a start gate was for the final motocross of the one and only ISDE that I rode in France some 22 years ago. Keyed up to make the holeshot as the gate dropped, I hesitated for half a second which proved to be sensible as I missed the first corner melee which promoted me from 40th out of the gate to about 22nd in the space of a 100 yards to then trundle round at the back for 20 minutes.

All this history that I related (I could bore a glass eye to sleep) came at the Nostalgia Scramble today, organised by the AMCA based Kendal Classic Club at Middleton near Sedbergh. This is a truly old-fashioned classic scramble held over a swooping Cumbrian field with 31 races that can be seen in their entirety from the best vantage point and which cater for just about any machine from 1960 through to 1984ish and any rider under the age of 70.

So slickly was it run that Chris Myers, who was sharing a bike with Norman Barrow, had to start his races from the back of the grid as there was hardly enough time for Norman to get off it at the end of his race and for Chris to mount it in time for his outing.

This year the Nostalgia Trial had been separated from the same weekend as the scramble, to ease the load on the organisers, but this didn’t go down particularly well with many of the riders and rumours have it that next year the two events will again run on the same weekend. I’m told (for I wasn’t there last weekend as I was at the Ulster GP) that the trial proved to be about right and the queuing that has blighted it in the past was virtually non-existent due to a smaller entry, more sections and one lap fewer.