Resurrecting The British Experts

I’m not one of those people who switches off his phone when he goes on holiday (sad though I may be!) so inevitably there were some calls to my mobile whilst on the biking holiday to the Dolomites.

Two were from trials people, one being from Graham Jarvis who wanted me to give the British Experts Trial a plug which he is helping to organise at Nord Vue, between Penrith and Carlisle on Saturday July 26th.

The British Experts was once a well established trial organised by the Birmingham MCC on Remembrance Saturday until its demise some years ago. For many years it was traditionally held in the Rhayader area of Mid Wales, then it moved to a number of other venues including the West of England and Gloucestershire, before finding a permanent home at Hawkstone Park.

You couldn’t just ride the British Experts, you had to qualify and whilst I don’t remember the exact qualification requirements, it was something like first ten in a national trial, first six in a regional restriced trial, first three in a centre trial or a Scottish Special First Class award. That meant the entry was amounted to around 30 solos and probably around 20 sidecars.

It was always well supported by spectators and Graham Harrison, who was the clerk of the course held the trial together for many years as things became difficult. I can’t recall when the last Experts was held at Hawkstone, but it was probably well over ten years ago, so to learn that it is to be resurrected is good news.

However, life has changed over the last decade, and this year’s trial is open to allcomers with no qualification required. Graham tells me that there will be three routes, one suitable for British Championship grade riders, one for very good centre riders and one for clubmen. It’s only by having three routes that the viability of the trial can be judged, and this time it’s solos only.

Selecting a Saturday is a good day to choose – it maintains the tradition and shouldn’t clash with much in the way of other events, though sad to say it does clash with the Reeth Three Day so there will be a significant number of riders unable to ride who may otherwise have done so.

Whether it will succeed or not, only time will tell, but at least Graham and Dirt Bike Trax are making an effort, and of course as this is the venue where next year’s World Round will be held, it does give you a chance to pay a visit there and see what is likely to be offered next year.

Back in the mid 'eighties, just after I had finished riding sidecar trials on a regular basis, I acted as the clerk of the course for the sidecar boys (under Graham’s overall direction) for three years, and I remember plotting some ambitious sections for the barrow boys at Hawkstone.They were good and interesting days, and whilst you can’t relive the past, I do wish the revived British Experts well.

Entry details are available from the usual sources, so if you are able to ride on that Saturday, give this event a go.

Another call came from Anthony Rew, a member of the ACU Trials Committee and main organiser behind last week’s West of England British Championship trial. Anthony is the driving force behind the British Cyclo Trials Championship which somewhat surprisingly runs under the ACU banner. He rang to ask my permission, on behalf of my local club Lancs County, if we minded a round of the above championship being held at Half Moon Bay, Heysham, next Sunday, June 29th.

He didn’t need our club’s help, and was calling to clarify the situation, and naturally I said yes because Lancs County is not involved with cyclo trials and is not likely to be in the forseeable future.

I don’t quite know how such an event came to be planned for Heysham except for the fact that Lancaster City Council is keen to promote cycling and has been designated a cycling city for a few years now. Suffice to say that the event is planned and no doubt will happen next weekend without most people even being aware of it.

Lancs County has a normal trial that day (at Barkingate, Roeburndale, Wray) if you’re interested), so it’s no problem for us if the ACU/West of England want to run on our patch, indeed, as many young trials riders also play on cycles, we wished the event well.

Without mentioning names, somebody had a bit of a go at me the other day; they were complaining that my column isn’t controversial every week, and I had to point out that being controversial is not what column writing is about.

I tried to explain that each week I do my best to marshall my thoughts, and put together some words pertaining to what has happened over the past week, or may happen in the near future. Inevitably, some weeks will be more interesting than others. And that has proved to be the case as sometimes this column gets thousands of hits whilst at other times interest is minimal. Nothing I can do about that except keep churning out the stuff in the hope that bits of it are interesting to a few people!