The appointment of Dave Willoughby to the top FIM job with the trials commission is a real bonus for the sport. Any sport needs a man at the helm who has an intimate knowledge of the sport with which he is charged and in Dave Willoughby we have the right man.
I’ve known Dave for many years and when I was a full-time journalist, more often than not it was Dave who I first rang whenever I wanted to know anything about the UK trials scene from the ACU’s point of view, or indeed the world scene from the FIM standpoint.
Dave was always a guy who was fairly easy to get hold of when he was in full-time employment with ICI, which was a real bonus when trying to get trialing details during working hours. And of course once he had retired he has been able to concentrate the bulk of his spare time to the sport with unparalleled success, the end result being his new position as the top man within the FIM.
I’m positive the riders will be especially delighted in his appointment as they will know they have a totally fair and unbiased man to speak with and will undoubtedly accept that whatever he says will be definitive.
Of course Dave has been a competent trials rider in his time, and whilst it may well be some years since he has been a regular rider, he will be very familiar with the nuances of the game.
However I suspect that many folks don’t know that Dave has also been a capable enduro rider as well. Many moons ago when there was a British Championship enduro round based at Low North Park (the mid 'eighties I guess), I recall that I had a very good clubman class result and it was Dave who was my closest challenger that day.
So many congratulations on his appointment and I feel certain that he will be a success in the position.
The Pre 65 and classic trials scene has almost passed me by. Ok, I’ve ridden the Pre 65 Scottish a few times thanks to generous benefactors, and thanks to my good and generous friend Michael Batty I was able to ride this year’s Classic Manx Two Day. But apart from these odd outings, modern trials have been my main interest.
However, back in June I bought a tidy 200 Fantic, which although it looked the part was absolutely c**p. I only rode it three times in evening trials, finishing twice and retiring once. So for the past three months it has been with a trialing friend who has gently fettled it and last Sunday I gave it another outing. The bike has been transformed and it was most enjoyable to ride.
But that’s not the point of this story. I went to a Pre 65 and twinshock trial held by the Red Rose Classic MCC, an organisation of which I knew nothing apart from the fact that it existed. I was totally amazed at the number of riders and bikes at the trial, which was on a small piece of land with the obligatory four laps of ten sections. The scene is vastly different from the modern events of which I am more familiar, but none the less was most enjoyable and exuded a very friendly atmosphere.
I rather suspect that such events which are fairly commonplace throughout the UK are similarly enjoyable and I also understand that they cater for the riders who are well past the ability of tackling many of the sections they would find in a modern trial. This is not a criticism, merely recognising that not everybody can tackle modern bike club trials, but in these classic events find sections which they ride without fear or favour.
Good on them I say and good on the clubs that cater for them. I know I shall be back for the occasional ride as it allows me to expand my trialing friendship base and get the best out of my “new” old bike.