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The Jack Thompson Trial Canada Heights

I rode for the first time last year and found it to be a very good trial, just right with nothing at all dodgy. I entered again this year and following my past form (??!!), decided to enter the easy route as usual. A first for me was entering via the ‘ACU On-Line’ system which was certainly easier (and cheaper!) than messing about with envelopes and stamps. The club produced a list of entrants on their website complete with mug-shots taken from the licence picture, marque and club logos. Looks like the days of forged ‘papers’ are over!

A full entry of 120 British bikes was reached before the closing date and amongst these were no less than 14 Greeves. GRA members included John Pattinson (who has ridden in all 23 previous JT’s), Terry Sewell, Greg Radley, Chris Brown, Brian Williams, Dick Faggetter and I. On the day, the weather was perfect and the ground fairly dry. In fact, at the end of the day, the bikes seemed to end up cleaner than when they began. The start point was split into odd and even numbers and there was no queuing, aided by the sensible spacing and approaches to sections.

The first half-dozen hazards were mostly loops up and down banks and around trees. The biggest problem was navigation amongst the red, white and blue markers! Oh, how I remembered those days of trials with a single route that all could manage. Mud was noticeable by its absence, however, there was a little on the exit from section 4 but it was possible to avoid it. Section 8 incorporated the special test and had to be ridden on both laps. This was quite a long mini scramble course taking around 50 seconds to complete and also being a section, was observed.

The remaining sections were mostly climbs on the banks surrounding the motocross track and again, were very dry and straightforward. Plenty of spectators turned up to watch with quite a few arriving on classic bikes. With 120 British bikes in the trial, there was plenty to see and I think this trial could compete with the Talmag as the one to come and watch. I have to admit that, just for a change, the easy sections were easy. I got to section 20, the last, without loss of marks. This involved a log and having decided how to ride it, watched another rider do what looked easier. I followed suit – and got a 3!

The second lap was much as the first and this time I did my own thing at section 20 and cleaned it to complete a clear lap. I didn’t see too much of the other Greeves rides as I had a late number despite entering early. Dick rushed off, probably in too much haste, as he had a couple of ‘navigation issues’ in the sections which cost him dearly. By the time I got to the finish, a lot of riders were already loaded up and as a result, I didn’t get much of a chance to get around and find out how the GRA fared.

John had a very good ride to finish runner up with 1 mark lost on the red (intermediate) route followed closely by 3rd placed Terry on 2 marks. In 4th was a Greeves-riding Mike Smith so that was Greeves in 3 out of the top 4 places. This was repeated on the blue (easy) route with me 2nd (due to that silly 3), Dick 3rd and Brian 4th, but with 3 GRA members in the top 4 places. The white (hard) route produced a number of clean sheets but the special test sorted placings out. The Jack Thompson Trophy was won by a 500 Ariel with another 2nd so at least, the big 4 strokes are still around. There were a few moans from the aces that it was too easy but looking at some of the technology, mainly 2 stroke replicas, I think they should ride in the Sidcup 60 next month for a real challenge.

This trial proved to be a total contrast to the battle-zone (both on and off the bike) that was the recent Downland Trophy. Could it be the absence of the more modern twinshocks and replicas that are swamping that type of trial and the need to win that seems to go with it? If the Club keeps the trial like this, at least it is one you can recommend to anyone who wants to bring their bike out for a bit of fun. Oddly enough, isn’t that what Pre-65 trials were invented for in the first place?!