Arguing About Pre 65 Eligibility

Hell Fire!!!

This Scottish Pre 65 Two Day Trial entry list and the eligibility of the machines argument that has cropped up in the last week since the posting in the classic forum of the accepted entries, happens every year and is one that I simply can’t get excited about.

Now you all know, if you’ve looked, that I’ve got an entry, (and grateful for it), riding a rather bedraggled James that I borrow from a pal who rides them every single week of the year. You also know that I only ride a Pre 65 bike perhaps two or three times a year. So there’s an argument that I should not get a ride. There’s also the argument that if I do get a ride, then the event will gain some publicity through my contributions to the various publications and website to which I contribute.

I know that to 318 potential entries it’s the greatest trial of the year, and apart from the Reeth Three Day, I’ll go along with that. The Pre 65 Scottish is a FANTASTIC event and I’m delighted that it happens and I’m delighted to be part of it.

What I can’t get my head around is all the arguments about eligibility. As far as I understand, and correct me if I’m wrong, the Scottish committee have a far more rigid requirement for eligibility than other organisations. They are entitled to do that, after all, we know full well that the Edinburgh Club has always gone their own way with both the Six Days and the Pre 65. Nothing wrong with that, and nobody is likely to change that attitude.

What I can’t see is why there has to be such a big argument every year. 1965 is now 43 years ago and inevitably, the passing of time and natural progression and development of machinery and materials, means that bikes manufactured prior to ’65, or bikes manufactured to a design from that era, are always going to be substantially superior to a genuine bike of the time.

Frankly, if you were to ride a bike just as it was prior to ’65, then there’s a very good chance you wouldn’t get it round, unless you were a pretty special individual. I think the trial is very rideable, but it’s also very tricky.

I don’t think it’s possible to insist on bikes being as they were Pre 65. I suppose that the restrictions and specifications imposed are acceptable as they are, but it doesn’t stop a significant number of machines being ridden that seem – to my uneducated Pre 65 eye – not in the spirit of things. The Montesas that have been ridden in recent years, may just possibly be legal, but are they in the spirit of the trial? You tell me, but when I look at the James I’m riding, and the apparently new Montesas some Spanish guys are riding, my answer is they are not.

There are other machines coming out of the woodwork from countries abroad, and whilst I can’t say they didn’t exist prior to 1965, I know that when I was riding and spectating prior to ’65, such machines were not around, and if they had been, I think they would have been an absolute bombshell – just as the arrival of the first four speed Bultacos caused such a storm.

But I don’t envy the guys who run the Pre 65 Scottish. Short of assembling 250 riders at Kinlochleven and picking 180 of those riding the most obvious Pre 65 machines to make the start, I don’t see how anything other than the current format can work.

I wish them the best in their efforts and look forward to another jaunt round the hills of Kinlochleven.

Which brings me to my final point this week. Last year we (through this website) tried to make it apparent to just about everybody that no machines other than those of competitors could be allowed on the course, yet on Friday morning I followed a host of Spaniards up Loch Eild Path and it was only when we had reached the top road and were about to dive off across the moors did they get stopped.

The influx of foreign riders is one that brings lots of colour to the event for the whole week, but even so, we can’t allow them to put our events at risk. Simple as that – and it also applies to British folks out for a trail ride.

Probably, more of this nearer the time.