The Dale Trial has been staged at many different venues over the years, but on Sunday 4th September 2016 the event took place for the very first time at Harrop Court, Diggle. We have the landowner, our good friend Bill Francis, to thank for kindly granting permission and also assisting with planning and preparation.
For those who haven’t visited Bill’s land, set in beautiful Saddleworth countryside, it can be described as the epitome of a ‘Pocket Handkerchief’ course! However, whatever it may lack in size, it certainly has in quality, with an enticing river flowing gently but purposefully down the valley from the top of the land, to the bottom. Finding sections has never been easier – the exception being that of the ‘Easy’ route, for at times the river banking’s are steep and the rocks a little too challenging for the ‘Beginners’ route. Due to the limitations as to the length of the course, eight sections were plotted, to be ridden five times. Numbers one to seven simply followed the river from bottom to top, whilst eight tackled a muddy groove in the field corner.
Despite forecasts, a fine dry day greeted forty riders on the morning. Unfortunately, few were accompanied and observers were hard to locate. However, in general riders were understanding of the situation and most did their bit with a few stints of observing. The action began at Section 1 – not the easiest of openers, with a pair of enormous tree stumps, providing the majority of head scratching! The easy route rode around them, middle route over one of them and the hard route over both of them. The latter proved difficult due to the narrow gap between them – just less than a wheelbase – and cleans were sparse. Inters John Holdsworth and Matt Dowd managed one clean apiece, but the ride of the day (entertainment value) was provided by John on his 2nd lap, with a wonderful, gracefully executed flying ‘W’ over the bars, to the rapturous applause of the heckling throng of waiting riders!! Anne Titley demonstrated her continued improvement with a measured clean on the third lap.
It was into the river next and sections 2 to 7 were at points similar to the SSDT, in that a variety of lines were available, and the sections hardly changed from start to finish of the event. The pick of the bunch were numbers 5 and 6, observed by Sam Blackburn and Margaret Whitlow respectively. A tight, and slightly loose turn around a tree in the river took riders under the wooden footbridge. Only Andy Fitzsimmons escaped unscathed on the middle route. The beginner route took riders from the river up a narrow rocky gulley, and again only eventual winner Chris Chew tamed this on each visit. Section 6 was possibly the toughest section in relation to the angled slabs, and rock steps, and consequently, the beginner route was run separately alongside the river.
Onto the final section, which was marked out in anticipation of serious deterioration – this didn’t occur and, in fact, a fairly firm base resulted in the muddy slot. The final step, therefore, remained relatively straightforward and losses were negligible.
Upon scrutiny of the final results, it is apparent that there was no one section responsible for major mark taking, all riders shedding a fairly even scattering of marks. In conclusion the, the trial would appear to have gone well, all riders reporting back at the finish with a smile on their face!
The icing of the cake was provided by the neighbouring farmers wife, who provided bacon butties, tea and coffee, all gratefully welcomed after the trial by the organising team.
Nine out of the ten sections had different routes for the classes, the exception was 7, which had one route for everyone, except beginners, this was the gulley, which repeatably caught out most riders, each trying in vain to get a well deserved clean, Anthony Farrow was one of these frustrated people, by only getting a clean on his last attempt, the stand out rider on this section was the silky Pete Clibburn, who I believe got 4 cleans on a very tricky beck.
So that was it, a bit down on numbers, but with everyone having a good trial, all the sections observed, a warm dry day with everyone finished before the rain came, thanks to landowner for the use of the land, the riders and the observers.
Teg was the venue for round 2 of our novice beginner series, high on the hills over Sharneyford between Bacup and Todmorden, quite exposed but with some cracking views especially with bright sunshine like we had on the day. Its not always been a place were we have been able to get a decent entry in the past, but this time it was pleasing to see yet another good turnout with people travelling from Yorkshire and Cheshire with the youngsters who had also made the trip for the first round back in Feb.
We had planned to set 10 sections and to make use of the top part of the quarry, but with the clay pigeon shooters finishing a bit too late for us, we put in 8 sections, staying in the bottom bit of the venue, but increased the laps from 4 to 5, this worked well with the riders who seem to appreciate the slightly different format..
We even had a visit from the boys in blue who had received reports from a local stating that there was 15 quad bikes tearing up the moor, but after giving them mine and the clubs details there were reassured enough to know that it was a well organised event, and they even showed some interest in some of the old bikes on show including Michael Whitlows, our club president.
The sections themselves were spot on, pretty long and flowing, the exception maybe was number 4, this is where I could have done with a sat nav, there was just a lot of flags to look at for the 3 routes, other than that it was all good with the novice route providing a good test for these riders because it was set a bit tighter, the novice easy was good for the twin shocks and the beginners spot on for the little ones on their electric machines…
So all in all it was a good day, the weather was good but cold, so as always we should thank the 8 observers, also the landowner for the use of the land, and all of the riders for supporting the series, hope to see you soon at the next event which will be advertised in due course…..
This year’s Sid Humphries trial was subject to 3 changes of venue before a suitable location could be found, the end result had the trial being held at the infamous 400 Acre venue. This place is like Marmite to the North West trial riding fraternity, you either love it or hate it. I must admit it is one of my favourite venues especially on a clear crisp and dry day like we had on Sunday, unfortunately it is nigh on impossible to be able to offer a beginner route. This had a negative effect on the entries with only 30 entries in total, but the positive spin of the situation was not a section queue in sight (happy days). Back to the trial I think the sections were bang on the money on the day, every section should have been cleanable at least once by the majority of the field. To the results there was a bit of an upset to the pecking order in the Expert class with Julian Ingham putting in one of his star rides to take top honours, this left runner up award to Andy Cripps who has been unbeatable at Rochdale trials recently. Third expert was Martin Sandiford he looked to be riding well and was closely followed by Adam McCanna aggressive as ever on his very tidy 4RT. Matt Hopkinson was top Inter losing 25 followed by Edward Berry on 33, in the Novice class a surname we have not seen for while Ben Cornthwaite took the win by a 21 point margin over Andy Hope. In the veteran classes over 40 went to Alan Lord and over 50 Pete Clibburn (but Clibbys victory might be under debate as he broke down on section 4 on lap 1 and had to double up sections to finish). The youth classes only had a single rider in each class but it still takes some riding around does 400 acres for a youngster on a little bike so respect due to the younger ones especially Charlie Cripps.
Berni Inn, The Fudge factory, Market street, Whitworth, Ol12 8DN
|2015 Club Championship|
|1||Charlie Cripps||Yth C|