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The Red Tape Trial 2016

Only a few years ago, attendance at this trial had fallen to a mere 34 entries. I think the main reason was that the CSMA, being primarily a motoring organisation, had only a limited reach into the motorcycle world. This being the case, a lot of people had no idea how good the event is or that it was even taking place. A couple of years ago, the GRA assisted with a bit of publicity in the form of event reports and advertising on the website and forum together with a facility to download regs. There has been quite a bit of interest in the event and, for various reasons, numbers have steadily risen to the high of this year.

GRA member Peter Meek was the scrutineer, having ridden down from home on his bike, the weather being that good. Observing on Section 2 was GRA member Chris Brown, unfortunately unable to ride as he is awaiting a new knee.

There were 9 Greeves entered of which 8 were GRA members, an excellent turnout. We assembled at the start for a group phot and that included a Greeves rider not in the GRA and a GRA member on an AJS 37T but we won't mention that Jeff!

The course consisted of 3 laps of 12 sections. Section 12 also doubled as the special test on the 3rd lap being timed but not observed so just what I did to warrant a ‘5’ was beyond me but it rather summed my day up! With riders starting in pairs at one minute intervals, the scene was set for some pretty heavy queuing and this was borne out as the day progressed. The Sunbeam trial the week after featured all riders starting together and commencing from the section according to the last digit of riding number. Apart from about 40 riders who still went to section 1, probably because they were not listening to the riders’ briefing, this system seems to work very well.

A choice of routes was provided, the ‘sportsman’s’ route and the ‘harder’ route. With only two sets of markers, getting lost in the sections was not too much of a problem although I still managed to do it a couple of times. Clerk of the Course, Neil Bowker, did a superb job laying out the sections with quite a variety considering the fairly compact area and sandy nature of the terrain. Despite being well-drained and fairly hilly, there was plenty of the infamous ‘black bog’ that takes a fair bit of cleaning off. Some sections were completely dry and after a slippery ditch in section 1, Mr Brown’s section 2 was a weaving climb up the sandy banks. The next couple of sections followed this format and then we came to the wetter side of the area. A couple of climbs with the soft boggy ground to start things off and wet roots farther up probably looked worse than they were once some traction had been gained.

Some of the sections were quite long and with various deviations, it paid to keep an eye on the course marking, just as I didn’t! The CSMA observers handled things in a very professional manner and couldn’t be missed in their hi-vis outfits. I think it was section 8 that contained a fair bit of mud and although I managed to clean it eventually, it was quite a challenge. One of the problems with the army land is that there are plenty of little fir tree stumps that although small, cause mayhem if ignored and ridden over by the unwary. Going around the course, there were a few minor delays. However, the only real hold-up in the trial was section 12 and the special test which was timed on the last lap. It seemed that a number of riders had missed this out earlier and at the end of the trial, still had to ride the section several times.

I think it is fair to say that this was yet another excellent trial. The sections were well-suited to our type of bikes with every section cleanable and absolutely nothing dodgy or dangerous at all. To prove this, Terry Sewell rode 3 laps of the sportsman’s route for a total loss of 2 marks, a truly excellent achievement. I thoroughly enjoyed the day too and although my riding was atrocious, at least I am consistent Worse luck)! All in all, the CSMA did really well yet again and this trial is definitely in the ‘GRA Approved’ category!

The GRA Contingent at the Start