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The Red Tape Trial

The organisers were beset with illness amongst the observers and this resulted in a course of 10 sections to be covered 4 times. Despite the recent weather, the Clerk of the Course managed to find plenty of dry land but grip was noticeable by its absence in a couple of sections. Assistant C of C was GRA member Peter Meek, supervising things on his Scottish.

The GRA were well-represented as can be seen from the ‘team photo’ below. As usual, this was despite a few pre-event woes. Dick Faggetter found his Anglian had broken a piston circlip which had made its way up the side of the piston trapping the rings. I can officially verify this; it was not just an excuse for him to turn up on his ‘Fairy Cycle’! Ian Webster has been working on his Scottish since the Jack Thompson trial when his fork bushes collapsed amongst other ailments. He has worked hard for weeks, borrowing the fork loop from his Hawkstone, fitting electronic ignition, lowering the gearing and modifying the footrests.

The course consisted of the usual 2 routes. Being wimps, Dick and I chose the easy route whilst the rest, apart from Ian, were on the hard. Section 1 was a pretty easy starter but before Ian got to it, his carb decided to flood. Out with the plug and pump out half a pint of petrol, not a good omen for the day! As it was Ian’s first trial with a sorted bike, I rode with him and soon became his unofficial guide dog as he tried to master actually riding between the section gates! I must admit, the mass of red and yellow cards was a bit confusing but he soon got the hang of it.

The sections continued with climbs and turns and a few sticky bits here and there. However, there was absolutely nothing hairy or any tight turns on the easy route and the hard route also looked equally good. All went well until section 9 which was a climb up and down a bank followed by a gentle ascent up a sunken track but for some reason, grip was at a premium and at one stage caused me to foot like a lunatic. Section 10 was the one that caused the trouble! This was a dead straight ascent up the hill between trees but where was the grip? I ground to a halt but ‘Newbie Webster’ sailed up it sitting on the back mudguard (the swine)! This was a tricky section and it got worse as the trial went on. I tried a run up in 1st, no good, same in 2nd, no good.

At the end of the lap it was time for the special test. This was a mini-enduro course through the trees, up a pile of concrete and stop in the box. This produced a bit of banter and some hilarity as we all tried not to fall off or hit a tree. Needless to say, Ian thrashed a few of us by about 3 seconds and on a 197!

Come the last lap and I think Ian and I were the last ones left on the course. Just as we got to section 8, I spluttered to a halt, out of juice! Damit, I knew there was something else I had to do besides the tyre pressures! Luckily for me Ian nipped back to the van for my can and soon we were back at the dreaded section 10. Not expecting to get further than just inside the 'begins’ cards, I set off and just sailed up finding plenty of grip – so how does that work then? Ian got up ok as well and back at the finish, poor old Dick just could not believe it!

So ended an excellent day out. All of ‘Team GRA’ finished without trouble and I think Ian was the most amazed of all that his little Scottish had performed faultlessly once it had had its carb tantrum. It just goes to show what good bikes they are and how much fun you can have without spending £8,000 on a ‘James’ or ‘Bantam’! If only we could have more trials like this, I’m sure we would get more riders out.

In the picture (L to R) Peter Meek, Jeff Morgan, Martin Kemp, Mike Tizard, Ian Webster, Dick Faggetter, Rob Thornton. Behind the camera, Jack Chalk