The sun shone to welcome the 84 entries for the start of the Yorkshire Classic’s West Riding road Trial at the Guide Inn, Cullingworth. Bacon butties and drinks were provided for the riders and conditions were ideal for the British ‘Pre1965’ trials irons at round 4 of the Northern British Bike Championship.
Last year’s format of one lap of 30 sections on a 30 mile lap proved popular so had been retained by Colin Pawson and his merry men with the dry conditions making it easier than planned. At the finish it was Northumbria’s Eric McMeekin on his Bantam losing just 1 mark that edged it by a single mark over Lancashire raider Chris Gascoigne (F/Barnett) and Cub mounted Robin Luscombe. One mark further adrift were Cumbrian Carl Batty on the pre-unit Springer Norton and last year’s winner Yrjo Vesterinen (Bantam).
Carl Winstanley (Ariel) put in a cracking performance to stay clear for the day and repeat his last year’s top clubman route win. Best on the rigid machines was Andy Webbe on his big side valve 16H Norton losing seven with John Feather (Ariel) and Mark Francis (AJS) two marks behind with John taking the tie on the club’s oldest rider rule. The lightweights were not far behind with the top 14 riders remaining in single figures. Top dog here was Richard Tarn Bainbridge on a BSA C15 for a change, with Dave Pattison (Cub) and Mark Newman (James) tying on three.
Robin Luscombe’s pasture garden held the first four sections. Lusky had expanded his six foot wide gully to create more rock and mud challenges. Section 2 was the first to test the Premier riders who pondered long and hard on which line to take. The multiple rock steps took marks off all but five of the entry and only McMeekin left Lusky’s unscathed with four other top riders dropping a single dab. The clubmen could avoid the large rocks and several were able to leave still on zero.
Manywells Farm came next but the dry weather rendered the normally sticky mud harmless with few marks lost. It was similarly dry at Flappit Spring, Lord Lane and Upper Slippery Ford although Tim Hartshorne AJS was disappointed to find five unknown marks on his Flappit score card.
The two groups at Lumb Waterfall and Cowling Beck are always amongst the riders’ favourites being excellent rocky stream sections. The jumbled rocks needed special care and only Carl Batty (Norton), Lusky, Gascoigne and Ian Cheetam (Greeves) escaped the eight sections unpenalised with McMeekin dropping his only dab at the tricky third. The clubmen were tested a bit more than usual here although five riders left the eight sections clean including Chris Bacon showing a turn of form. Andrew Cooke and Ossy Byers on their DOTs were disappointed to more than double their scores with unlucky fives.
The sole section at Lower Slippery Ford is another annual favourite and the narrow rocky path climb out of the stream has to be treated with care. Among the clubmen to suffer, Pete Elvidge was unlucky to get within 12 inches of the ends cards before gravity claimed five marks.
The Turkey Inn at Goose Eye came before Branshaw Quarry where the old favourites had been lost to quarrying necessity. Their stand-ins took few marks although Judy MacDonald suffered the indignity of a nasty fall when her backpack drinks tube tangled with the handlebars leading to a sudden uncalled for change in direction. Thankfully both rider and machine were unharmed.
The sun continued to shine on their way back to Lord Lane with just Jack’s garage standing between the riders and the pie and peas at The Guide Inn after what was said to have been a really enjoyable West Riding trial with an excellent full day’s sport in scenic Bronte Country where several riders occasionally took detours as they missed the complete but discreet route marking squares.
The riders can now look forward to the next NBBC round to be held on the 6th August around the beautiful town of Llangollen, North Wales.