Monthly Archives: August 2016

2016 4th September Dale trial, Championship Rd 4 of 5

Results rochdalemc2016.09.04

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.

Andy Wright