|Me, Dave, Teflon & Pete (162) at the start|
The course comprised fifteen sections to be ridden over two laps with a special “speed” test to be ridden on lap one between section fourteen and fifteen. Riders began in pairs from 0931 and being number 100 I had to wait just under an hour to start so Penny flashed up the stove and we had a cup of tea in the back of the van to wash breakfast down. I re-rendezvoused with factory at the start and despite getting to the line bang on time we had to wait what seemed like an age to get going and I was pretty much soaked by the time I got away.
|The Factory get started. Pete Collins, Dave Arkell|
and The Teflon Don
Sub 1 eased you in and this flowing section plotted up and down a hummock was already quite cut up and greasy when I got there. A healthy crowd was enjoying the spectacle and it’s always a pleasure to ride to knowledgeable spectators who appreciate the bikes. I went first and was pleased with a clean as were Teflon (Matchless G3LC 410) and Pete Collins (Ariel HT5) however, Dave (Ariel HT5) gassed the short stroke Ariel up a bit too much on the final rise and having found some grip the bike climbed on him and he incurred a maximum. Undeterred, we headed for Sub 2 which was a little changed this year due to the weather however, it was tricky especially the exit climb which forced you towards a deep, central gully that had little real grip but I managed to keep the bike going in second gear and went clean on both laps.
I was pleased to see that the organisers decided to omit the root laden, greasy bank that normally makes up Sub 3 to 4 and sensibly moved us along the venue to a deep sandy gorge. Despite a jumble of wet roots for an exit it rode well on both occasions. Sub 4, which comprised nasty off-camber turns, greasy roots coupled with that infernal sandy soil that makes traction so difficult was really tricky. I recalled my lesson with Steve Saunders and was pleased to have cleaned it first time around however, after the chairs had been around it was impossible and I paddled through for three on the last lap. The sinuous Sub 5 culminated in a really loose sandy climb but I gassed NT410 up it on both occasions for cleans.
|Easy does it on a slippery descent|
Sub 6 was nearly impossible and only a handful of people cleaned it throughout the day. A very loose, ninety degree turn up a similarly sandy bank was a real tester but using second gear again I managed to go through for a two and three respectively. However, Teflon was rock solid and cleaned it like a main road on the first lap to applause from the factory. Next up, we headed to the eponymous hill for five sections this year.
|Lining up NT410 for the gullied climb|
Sub 7 rose from the nadir to a root laden summit via sand and mud however, it rode really well on both occasions but Dave, Teflon and Pete did, understandably, incur some penalties as fatigue and cold set in on the bleak hill. Sub 8 was another long blast up a spectator lined hill and I duly obliged by hitting third gear and gunning NT410 at full throttle. Whilst we all sailed up it first time the chairs had once again made for some tricky going and I had to take a dab on the last lap while others spun to a halt. The “hill” itself was very tricky but I was flat out in third on the last lap and pleasingly cleaned it to some applause (see the video; I’m the first rider through).
Thanks to LuckyRich01 for this video clip
Leaving the hill behind we headed for Sub 12 where, whilst waiting in the queue for my turn, it was an absolute pleasure to hear John Pym’s Triumph on full song up the initial steep bank! The Sub itself was quite tricky, with lots of off camber mud and roots to deal with so I used second gear once again and fairly blasted through it foregoing my normal slow-and-steady style. Sub 13 had a nasty turn in it followed by an extremely steep climb that was devoid of traction and I was livid to have taken a couple of completely unnecessary dabs on the first lap however, I ensured I got it right on the last lap for a well deserved clean. This year’s special test was a speed event around the sand dunes and I was glad I heeded the observer’s advice to have a look first. I never normally thrash my bike on these sections but having lost out on a class win in 2012 due to “taking it easy” I resolved to be a bit more competitive this year. I’m happy to report it certainly paid off as I beat the second place man by a whopping four seconds! Of the factory riders Pete Collins is the most competitive and always gives this big Ariel a damn good thrashing but this year he ground to a halt for what must surely be his worst time ever.
|Hanging off NT410 getting ready for a steep|
drop off in Sub 4
The final sub, plotted on ground overlooking the pits, had a nasty cambered turn in the middle but I rode it aggressively to record a clean on both laps not, as in the results, for a three! But I guess the hardy observer would’ve been completely frozen by that time so I’ll forgive him.
TALMAG 2014 was a good day out for the factory; I was very pleased to have won Class D especially as I am recovering from a broken leg (see previous posts!) and I’m so glad I finally got some speed on the special test (which offset the errant three mark penalty). Teflon came in fifth with Dave Arkell fifteenth in the Clubman class with Pete Collins gaining sixth place in the Over-65 class. Master Chef had to leg it
so only did one lap but
fair play to him and Jon Cull for contesting what was a very testing expert
route. Zurich ’s John Pym rode
superbly for his fourth place in the Over-65 class. Somerset
|Getting ready to gas NT410 up on a climb|
|Fighting for some grip on an off-camber|
root-laden turn typical of the venue
Thanks to The TALMAG
MCC for their outstanding
efforts in putting this huge trial together and to the tenacious observers who
braved cold, wet conditions all day to mark our cards; a truly Herculean effort
so Thank You one and all!
I’m going to rest my leg again so won’t be contesting the Zona1
MCC trial at Birdlip this
weekend and may have a few weeks off to recover fully for the next big trial
which is Golden Valley Classic’s March Hare Trial in March.