Secretary’s Job Is Not A Happy One!

I had to chuckle when I read Mick Wren’s posting on this website regarding the Lakes Two Day Trial.

Mick, secretary for the event and a ACU Trials and Enduro Committee member said words to the effect that entries are now full, and that he will ensure that all riders get to ride with their mates and all riders will have a number between 60 and 90. All tongue in cheek of course, but he deftly illustrated the problems that secretaries of popular trials face, trying to keep everybody happy. But of course that’s not possible.

The Lakes is a very popular trial, it caters for about 180 riders and due to the nature of the trial, i.e. it’s usually better to have a later number rather than an earlier number, riders make cryptic notes on their entry forms hoping that the secretary will be mug enough to give them what they want.

I can understand the reasoning behind making notes on the form “can I ride with Fred Jones, 'cause we are travelling together “ or “a middle of the entry number would be best as I’m working late and may not be able to get to the start on time”.

Yea. Right, who are you kidding chummie, you are trying it on, just like everybody else. Yet even when you have read the entry forms and taken in all the requests, there is still a soft side to most secretaries who possibly do try and accommodate the rider’s wishes – just in case that what he says is right, and he can’t get to the start on time.

Who are they kidding?, I can’t believe I’ve just typed that. The fact of the matter is that if you have made an entry into a very popular event, no matter what the circumstances prior to the trial, if you want to be there, you’ll fight dragons, wade through deep seas and rebuild the van engine overnight if it makes the difference between turning up on time and risking the chance of not getting your ride.

I’m secretary of a national every year and I get asked to provide special services. This year I decided that I would strictly put all the envelopes in a date order pile and allocate entries in reverse order of receipt, no arguing, that’s as fair as I could be. Then when entries arrived at the last minute from locals (why is it always the locals that send in the later entries?) I felt guilty about them being towards the front of the entry. Thankfully, some even later entries were received from away, so they were even closer to the front of the entry list, which made me feel a little bit better.

Over the years I have found that some secretaries are very easy to deal with, whilst others can be quite strict. I was going to say intolerant, but the moment the rider starts asking for favours, he is in the wrong, not the secretary. I’ve always tried to enter on time and correctly, as requested. To be fair, most riders do the job absolutely spot on, but others – and it’s always the same persons, are the exact opposite. No names, no pack drill as they say.

One of the other bugbears about being the trial secretary comes at award time. No matter how a club allocates trophies, whether it be on an individual trial basis, or on a year’s results, time always has to be spent sorting out the awards. Some clubs have award secretaries but whatever way it’s done, at some point the person whose job it is needs to know who won what, what they won, what their address is.

And calculating the club series positions, then finding the rider’s address is SO time consuming. Assuming, as the secretary, you have retained all the entry forms, you then have to decipher the scribble on the form, to get the address Over the years my club has aways had trophies, but getting rid of them to the rightful recipients is a total nightmare. First of all you hope to see the rider at the next trial and after perhaps half a year of carting several boxes of trophies to every trial you go to, you still have a box left and don’t know what to do with them.

I ended up like that recently following the club’s treasurer/trophy secretary moving house and depositing the lot with me. Being a chicken I ended up boxing them all up over a period of time and posting them off, but what a faffing job, not to mention the time involved. Thankfully, we had provided gift vouchers for most of the award winners which made it much easier – next year I hope everybody will get vouchers!

So going back to Mick Wren’s posting, ignore the lot mate, just chuck the whole lot up in the air and whatever oder they land is the order the rider will start the trial. Simple!

Right, time to make up the programme, first entry form, Graham Jarvis, oh sh***!!