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The Downland Trophy Trial

Held on the day after the Perce Simon, the same quartet of Greeves riders set off from the Plough & Harrow at West Hagbourne in a steady drizzle. Again, the entry was predominately super competitive twinshock men and machines with some of us old British bike enthusiasts seemingly not wanted on voyage!

The going between sections was sticky to say the least. Instead of an 'easy' and a 'hard' route, it seemed more like a hard route with some even harder bits added, in fact some sections were exactly the same. The 3rd group, Seymour's Arena was not too bad last year but this, the first section exit (if you got that far) was across some very nasty rocks, already bearing large quantities of alloy residue. Having watched former hard-route ace rider Mick Holloway come to a horizontal halt, Dick Faggetter and I opted for a 5.

The next group was not much better and it was here, a few years ago that Dick broke his leg! This year it was hard and harder still but we soldiered on. The next but one group was all up and suicidal downs and Dick, having already crashed between sections and cut his knee, called it a day and rode back to the start. I carried on, having paid my money, and found the rest of the trial a slight improvement.

Star of the day, yet again, was GRA member Alan Nicklin on his iron-barreled Scottish who got around the hard route for 2 and one of his dabs was an observer error, an unbelievable achievement! Well done again! As for me, I finished a resounding last in class. My only excuse was my mid-week cross country injury but nevertheless, I only had 2 5's in the second part of the trial and one those was me missing a flag. It seems that all the rest have seen the light and packed it in. Of the mere 11 rigids in the programme, only 4 finished the event. Ironic really when you consider these events were introduced for those very bikes! They now seem to have been replaced by ultra competitive riders on twinshock and trick machinery with a win-at-all-costs attitude. At least this is what it seems like having watched one rider threaten another because he moved his bike, parked thoughtlessly in the way of the section. There was also the rider grabbing an observer by the throat because he did not like the way the section was marked out! It does not bode well for the future of Pre-65!