Traditionally, the last trial of the BMCA series is the AJS & Matchless Owner’s Club trial at Tardebigge near
. This beautiful wood is only used once per
year and as such it has become a firm favourite and a must ride event. Unlike previous iterations, the weather was
superb but the course plotters still managed to find some muddy sections in the
predominantly clay soils of the venue. Birmingham
|The beautiful bluebell wood at Tardebigge|
Having entered well in advance, signing on was a breeze and we got away bang on time for four laps of ten sections riding the intermediate route (comprising five clubman and five expert sections). Section one was plotted in soft clay below a huge spoil bank where the run-off had made things a bit slippery. Speed was the key here and having watched Teflon fly through I copied the strategy and flew through. Section 2 was a very steep climb up the spoil bank and what was very rudimentary on the first lap soon turned a bit tricky. Having failed to get the power on during lap two I began to lose traction and had to take a rather disappointing three dabs however, I kept the power on and went clean for the remainder. I was really pleased with the way I rode section 3; it was a really sinuous course up and down the steep spoil bank. The soft power delivery of NT410 was much in evidence as I gently rolled through for a clean each time.
|Spotting the turning point in slippery Sub 1|
Section 4 was a real tester and took most of the marks. The two steep climbs needed precise power management and on the first lap I overcooked the first climb and had to take a dab to get the bike back on course. The second turn involved a narrowing line between two trees followed by an immediate left-hand turn over slippery clay. On the first lap I aced it but but subsequent laps were not so kind a maximum and a few dabs saw me pick up too many marks here. Section 5 featured a really tight downhill off-camber turn followed by an immediate up-hill climb where power delivery was the key and I was pleased to go clean on all four visits.
|Smiling as the line is good!|
Next up we headed for the canal side sections where once again there was some tricky going. Section 6 rode well enough and I even had an innovative line worked out to avoid the worst of the muddy climb. However, having successfully negotiated the climb I got cocky, bunny hopped the front end around, over-cooked it and had to take a steadying dab much to the amusement of the factory. Section seven is so good that it is always features and in exactly the same format. The real killer is the big root exit but with no room to get the power on it is quite hard to master. On the first attempt I spotted another innovative line and having quickly got the front end pointing where I wanted I opened the big 410 up. All was going well and I got the front wheel over the root but the back end dropped and I had to take a maximum. This happened on a further two occasions and I finished with dab to take my total on this section alone to sixteen marks lost.
|But not that good!|
Section eight was fairly rudimentary but did demand some courage but I used second gear and a bit of speed to sail through each time. Section nine is an old nemesis of mine so I was very pleased to clean it on three occasions but gutted to take a three on my second lap as I mysteriously lost traction in the slippery mud. Section ten was fairly rudimentary although the exit over an angled log demanded some attention.
Overall, it was a fabulous trial once again and well worth missing the local trial for. Joe Owen, Andy Hunt and the gang did a brilliant job setting out ten tricky but sensible sections that tested everyone and there were no clean sheets. Congratulations must go to The Teflon Don who won the best AJS/Matchless award from the AMOC for his efforts. Well done Nige!
Jai Jacka 410 Matchless 35
Dave Arkell Ariel HT5 65
Ken Wallington Ariel HT5 111
|Exit of sub 10|
|Riding through the woods|