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The Perce Simon Trial, Ringwood, Hants

Staged by the Ringwood Motorcycle and Light Car Club, this former trade-supported event has been run in various forms since the 1930’s on the New Forest. Originally instigated to commemorate Perce Simon, a scrambler who unfortunately lost his life in a local event, this trial has stood the test of time well.

As with a lot of trials these days, the ‘old bike’ classes have sadly diminished, the emphasis now seeming to be on twinshock and trail bikes. That said however, there was still a reasonable entry including the Anglians of Dick Faggetter and myself.

Section 1 comprised a bottomless black bog around a tree with large hidden roots! We wondered what we had let ourselves in for but the next section was dry, a steep climb and although neither of us made the top, it was a good section. The following sections were a mix of climbs and turns, all very reasonable but tricky enough here and there to take quite a few points.

Having completed the group, we set out along the estate and public roads for a few miles to the next group, enjoying the New Forest scenery as we went. We were then confronted with some banks and swoops among the trees, some of which I managed to tangle with, much to Ace Faggetter’s amusement!

Next we came to another black bog! I had just got through for a dab when the bike ground to a graunching halt. Closer inspection revealed the chain so tight that the wheel would not turn. Having just changed the gearbox sprocket, I feared the worst. However, I could find nothing obviously wrong and slackened the wheel, eventually the noises stopped and I cautiously got underway. On the next lap, all was revealed. In the same section it was Dick’s turn only this time, his chain came off and he gracefully sank into the mire for a very definite 5! Sammy Miller was having a ride around and he also just ground to a somewhat unusual halt at almost the same spot. We found that the bog contained a gravel that was picking up in the chains and causing all the trouble – I must admit this was a first for me but we were adjacent to a gravel pit!

We eventually completed both laps, returned to the start and took stock of the bikes. My chain had sorted itself out and now required re-tightening and some lubrication but apart from that, was fine. This was the first trial the bike had completed since being rebuilt after 30 years in pieces. Its original debut was this event last year but the flywheel came adrift after a dozen sections and it spent the next 12 months in the shed whilst I stuck to riding the Royal Enfield. Only 2 days before this event, the bike was unusable due to severe detonation and overheating but a 1 hour counselling session with Anglian guru Dave McGregor put things right! Even so, I still had the trusty Enfield in the back of the van as Plan B

I found I was starting to like riding my first Greeves trials bike since 1969, especially as I wanted an Anglian in 1970 but bought a Bultaco instead! Dick’s bike also survived the day which was just as well as we were riding in the Downland Trophy the next day without returning to base.