It’s Tuesday afternoon, I’ve a spare hour in my packed daily schedule, but no time to relax in the conservatory with my feet-up and a cup of tea, got a column to write, so here goes.
I said right at the beginning, some seven weeks ago when I started this column for TC, that at times I would veer away from trials occasionally, though there will always be a tenuous connection, well, this is one of them.
I rode the Bemrose last weekend, and what a great trial it was, though to be fair I had “one of those days” with a disappointing result, nowhere near my real capabilities, but as we all well know, that’s life. If you know the Bemrose countryside, it’s in the Derbyshire Dales and starts not far from Buxton. The terrain is open hills, winding tracks and lanes, rocks in grass and mud with the odd beck section for good measure. A cracking trial in a cracking environment, one that has been used for many, many years – literally in the case of most of the Bemrose sections, for I first visited Hawks Nest as a schoolboy back in 1961, and photographer Eric Kitchen remembers riding to the trial in 1953 from Lancaster and back home again.
Another section that I visited back then was Cheeks, and the same hazard, a narrow, rocky stream with the rocks covered in green algae was used once again. It’s no real section these days but a good way to end the trial as it’s not far from the start, parking is good for spectators and it’s a traditional section, and whilst we can use them, we must.
But it must be increasingly difficult to obtain permissions when others create a situation over which we, as a sport have no control. What I’m referring to is that the section, or more accurately the gully in which it is situated was littered with around 70 or 80 old car,van and truck tyres. They had obviously been rolled down the hillside from the layby at the top by some despicable, obnoxious ignoramous whose idea of getting rid of his rubbish is to dump it in the countryside.
Nobody collects that quantity of old tyres in such a variety of sizes unless they are a trader, so obviously a local has seen fit to dump his rubbish with no thought as to the consequences, rather than pay to get rid of them in the normal way. He, (and it must be a he because I can’t imagine a woman carrying out such an act), probably has no idea that Cheeks is used for motorsport, and if he did, why should he care? If anyone can throw that quantity of rubbish into the beautiful Derbyshire countryside with no thought for such a wanton act of vandalism, why should he consider the implications for our sport.
To make the section accessible for the trial the tyres had to be moved onto the banking sides, but that must leave the organising club with a conundrum. There are 80 old tyres where they have no right to be, so what do the North Derbyshire Youth MCC and Manchester 17 MCC do about it?
In theory, to protect the section, the reputation of the sport and to be a good citizen, it would be best to get a working party out to gather up the tyres and dispose of them properly. But there lies the problem. Reputable tyre dealers have to pay to get rid of their old carcasses and if the club members were to collect up these old tyres, then they would have to find a way of dumping them. Who do they approach? Who has the authority to organise it and if money is involved, then who has to pay?
No idea I’m afraid, so is it a case of do nothing? Again, no idea.
But what I do know is that in my humble opinion, written from the safety of 100 miles distance, doing nothing is not an option for us, as a sport, if we are to protect the land for future use. The Bemrose organisers have no idea that this is the subject of my current column, but I sympathise with the predicament in which they find themselves.