Monthly Archives: September 2012

2012 Sandiford Offroad Championship 23th Sept Dale Trial Rd 4 of 5

Results rochdalemc230912

Having been staged at several venues over the last 2 decades, the classic Rochdale and District Motor Club’s Dale Trial was held this year at Lee Quarry, Bacup.  A fine venue, with the usual offerings of a northern stone quarry, plus an excellent natural river. Fine weather, something twixt, late summer sunshine and a crisp autumn day.  A fine course, 10 sensible and very rideable sections, with the inclusion of 1 toughie to sort out the winners.

Only 1 ingredient lacking then riders!  A decidedly disappointing entry of just 34 riders ascended the track to the quarry, but why, with such a mouth watering prospect on offer?  One suggestion is the rough access road up to Lee , but surely all those with bike racks on their Aston Martins could find an alternative on the odd occasion? Or is it, more likely, that the reputation of the Rochdale Club for staging traditional and challenging events goes before them? Well , it is every individuals prerogative to vote with his or her wheels of course, and I am possibly lapsing into classic “wrinkly“ behaviour in my presumption that all trials riders should whoop and rejoice at the prospect of a 4 lap blast around a long moorland course, over entirely natural terrain, in near perfect conditions!

Every section, including the difficult No.2, was cleaned at least once. In years gone by, this was the indication to the clerk of the course that he’d got it right. And to further fuel arguments for, Over 40’s rider and Intermediate Chris Lord cleaned twice and lost a total of 4 marks on the section. An excellent performance this may have been, but, come on, the section can hardly be called a stopper can it? Large rocks with awkward angles, holes and a smattering of tight turns, yes, it was tough, but another Over 40‘s rider, Andy Fitzsimmons, again showed it was beatable with a single dab ride on the last lap when conditions were probably at their most difficult!

Anyway, there was a trial outside of Section 2,  and the opener, a series of rocks and turns set on a steep hillside, had riders scratching their heads for a while, until John Wilkinson wobbled his way through on his trusty Mont’  for a superb clean, sending the throng of pondering riders scampering for their steeds! Although this section was to mellow as the trial progressed, clean rides were somewhat rare on the opening lap here, only Stephen Robinson emulated Wilkinson on the clubman route, and experts Cripps and Julian Ingham tamed the hard route. Robinson was destined to shed slightly more marks over the day than he would normally expect, however, as he raced around his 4 laps in order to get home and deliver his ‘little girl ‘for her first day at University!

Club stalwart Brian Mills was officiating at Sec 3, a narrow hop over some of Lees’ best, culminating in a tight pivot turn (for some). For others, the turn meant the lowering of the landing gear!  As always, Millsy was vocal in his encouragement of riders, but trying to comprehend his mutterings often proves harder than riding his hazard!

It was then out of the quarry workings onto the open moorland, and 3 wonderful natural river sections, which gave everyone the chance to increase the amount of 0’s on their respective score sheets. Novice winner Ben Hanson was the pick of the clubmen through the rivers, casting just a single dab. Lance Ingham, winner of the O- 40’s, was also steady with just a brace on the tight exit of Sec 6 on his first lap.

A sting in the tail waited at the final section, which whilst difficult to clean, enabled riders to leg through with relative ease, thus extracting few maximums throughout the day. Only 3 riders recorded a clean sheet here, one of whom was the quietly impressive Wilkinson! Andy Cripps seemed destined for a blank scorecard here, but blotted his copybook with his only 5 of the day, on lap3.

So all in all an excellent day, well organised and thoroughly enjoyed by all those I spoke with afterwards. Thanks to all concerned, particularly Alan Lord who spent hours laying out but was unable to compete due to work commitments.

And to all the absentees you don’t know what you are missing!

By Andy Wright


Experts        Andy Cripps              Sherco                   13

Inter             Chris Lord                 Beta                         30

Youth A       Jamie Proctor           Gas                        67

Novice         Ben Hanson              Beta                         38

Youth B        Sam Metcalfe          Gas                          79

Over 40        Lance Ingham          Yam                      32

Over 50        Andy Wright           Honda                   17