After spending my week's leave making 32 gallons of cider and getting some much needed DIY done, I was more than ready for the short drive down the M5 for Bath Classic
MCC's club trial.
With Masterchef on holiday, the factory were a man down but Teflon (410
Matchless), Dave Arkell (500 Ariel) & Pete Collins (500 Ariel) joined me
and a healthy turnout of over 80 riders on the outskirts of at the beautiful Ayford Farm venue near Bristol . Marshfield
|Pete Collins, Me, Teflon & Dave at the start|
|Approaching the turn in Sub 1|
After a comprehensive briefing we got away bang on time for four laps of ten sections and it was a long ride to the nadir of the venue for section number one. This was plotted on the slope of the field where animals had left some deep scars and the rock hard earth was somewhat of a struggle for the suspension of the older bikes. Dave and Teflon instantly dropped marks as first the rear, then the front suspension bounced them off line. I took time to pick my line and was pleased to get away on a good note with a clean. Sub 2 was a little further down the field and apart a tricky entry the dry conditions meant it rode better than expected. Despite looking a challenge the steep greasy exit generally rode well and surprisingly, there was quite a bit of traction.
After a short ride we arrived in the wood for sub 3. A tight, sinuous affair with two mud slots and an off camber exit with roots it was a real challenge especially on later laps. I was pleased to clean this on the first lap but the big Pre-Unit bikes don't float over mud very well and I had to take a three and single dabs on subsequent laps.
|The Teflon Don concentrating hard!|
Sub 4 looked quite innocuous but as the fatigue set in the rocky entry and tricky, off camber turn around a tree, took their toll and I must confess to being annoyed at having to take a dab in this section. Sub 5, plotted on a cleared woodland bank featured a tight, off-camber turn high on a loose scree bank. Jon warned us this would be a real test and as Dave took a pair, then Pete, I followed Teflon’s lead and was pleased to record a clean sheet here on all visits. Sub 6 had a tricky rock entry but plenty of throttle ensured I flew up the steep bank without penalty.
By far the most difficult and technical sections were those of Sub 7 and Sub 8. The former featured an almost “cobbled” entry to a tight off-camber turn and I had to grip the tank with my knees to prevent a loose dab. The steep climb was rock strewn and on lap two I hit a rock incorrectly and got “bounced” offline into a tree for a maximum. It compressed the forks so much there was nothing I could do and the subsequent rebound was a real eye opener. I recovered on subsequent laps but was disappointed to have got this wrong. Unfortunately for Dave he lost his clutch here and had to retire the Ariel. We bump started him and he headed back to the van.
Sub 8 was a horrible loose rock and root section on a steep bank. Having watched Kevin Miller (250 Fantic) I followed a high line here and was exceptionally pleased with a dab on lap one but I had to take a maximum on lap two as once again, I was bounced offline. Sub 9 and 10 were fairly rudimentary but I lost my head (following the maximum on Sub 8) and I took a ludicrous dab on lap two.The first lap went well and I was pleased to incur a solitary dab on the tricky sub eight. However, as the ground got slicker and the rocks got displaced coupled with some rider fatigue I began the inevitable accrual of points. The finish wasn’t that tight in the end and it was the venerable Bob Hill (500 Ariel) who won out ahead of myself, Teflon & Pete Collins.
Results for Pre-Unit Hard route
Bob Hill Ariel 500 16Jai Jacka Matchless 410 22
Nige Townsend Matchless 410 25
Pete Collins Ariel 500 46
Dave Arkell Ariel 500 DNF (Clutch problem)
Next up: Binegar Quarry for a Mick Andrews’
with Bath Classic! Trials School
|I was lucky enough to try local legend Martin|
Wilmore's Triumph Cub before the trial!