A WET gloomy Friday morning

Awake to the pouring rain, thunder and lightning and the ever noisey moto-crossers …… what
a lovely morning. The once grass field is fast becoming a lake and I dread to think what the
enduro course will be like. Early morning riders splash by wearing plastic bags or rainsuits and
wet dogs paddle in the mud much to their owners displeasure. Moto cross bikes are now all wet
having been taken out of their trailers and a good many refuse to start, others are already in
pieces and while I can be sympathetic it is exactly the same as last year! Some people don’t
seem to learn.

The planned cross country is delayed and the knock on effect means the trial will also be late
as with 400 acres to play with it is amazing that 2 bodies end up using the same terrain! The
enduro even goes through the START of section 1 !!!!

A lot of ATV’s and moto-crossers are riding over Brenda’s carpets and it’s only when Sheldon
arrives and pulls in along side that this exercise comes to a stop. Early morning news from Ed is
that due to the delays we are losing 2 sections and we will be down to 8. We lost the hillside
section at the end of the property and the other one in the same area with the big descent on
the pine needles and the long uphill adverse.

Breakfast done time to have a look see at the second enduro event, which starts and finishes
at our section 1. The rain has stopped but everything has degenerated into the bayou quagmire
that you would expect. The next group get ready for their races and the first class set off at high
speed and shoots down the track to the first corner which has become a huge mud hole with a
deep slot. A big pile up here and when the second group arrive its total mayhem as riders collide
and ride over each other to get through. Watch this for a lap or so and now time to get ready
for my event.

Today none of the TN crowd are here so no head-to-head with Bob Ginder or Mike Parsley and
Graham Foster. I elect to ride Classic, and I do see Steve Smith on the GRM (last years Champion)
and I know Eugene Waggoner is here from New Mexico.

About 1415 we get under way with 1 & 2 line riders starting at 1.  Apart from a large trench after
the first turn where the enduro guys have been the section seems much the same as yesterday
apart from being wetter and the bottom could get sloppy after a few riders have been through.
I see Sheldon take a 5 which I’m sure hasn’t pleased him and I follow and glide through for a
good clean to open the account.

First clean of the day Section 1

Over to 2 and despite the rain this one doesn’t look like it will change. Over the first pile of trees
and recover for the turn around the tree, but the rain and wind have blown the tape in and I
need a dab to stay inside the course. (not very bright!)….. around the next turn and no problems
with the log crossings but slip on some broken tile and lose yet another dab!

Sheldon leaping the Logs Section 2

Fast action on 3 with Dick Mann and Debbie Poole checking and this rides easier than it looks for
a good clean.

A bit of cross country to 4 which is in the ruins and this rides well until I come off the big concrete
block and end up completely undecided as to which side of the bollard to go. That cost another
stupid dab and my total is now three. Brenda is here but at this point her battery dies and that
completes photography for today.

Section 5 has a wet slot start and looks pretty slippy with a lot of areas for mistakes. This one
cost me another 2 but that was reasonable in the conditions as I saw quite a few 5’s while

Along the levee to 6 and despite having walked it I get confused when I get on my bike and
watch others go through. Another walk and sure enough there is a cheater line I hadn’t noticed.
Take the new line and sail through for an easy clean.

Section 7 is quite a different matter and all the 3 liners have chewed this one up in the
“common” area. The up an over the bank entry looks difficult and I elect the round the wall on
the narrow path which in my opinion gives a better line up on the uphill bit before tackling the
chewed up area. Around the wall fine, first dab on the uphill but it was possible and then down
into the swamp, round the tree and a lot of leg work to get up and out for a three. Oh well, try
harder next time.

On to the last section which I thought yesterday would be the “gimmee”. Well this has
changed big time and the muddy slot entry has become bottomless and the uphill over the
roots very difficult with very little traction coming out of the mud. A hard work three here and
that gives a total of 11 for the first loop. Should have been on 7 with a bit more thought.

Loop 2 clean on Section 2

The second loop goes much better with a dab on 1 then cleans on 2,3 and 4 before another
dab on 5. Now this was a real fun ride …… I came through the trees and then convinced
myself that the front was going to slip away on the roots so took a safety dab, which with
hindsight I didn’t need, rode the next portion well and rounded the bottom turn in a perfect
position, a squirt of power and I was up the bank clean but a good 8 feet away from my
intended line but  there was plenty of room to correct before the next awkward turn. I lofted
the front wheel and overdid it and almost shot into a bunker like hole full of branches but
somehow the Cub ploughed on and took me to the ends card with smiles a plenty!

Through 6 for the clean and back to 7 and time to rethink this one. Round the narow path by
the water and up the bank with a bit of bodywork and down into the swamp and round the tree,
and still clean. A big burst and I almost make it but have to take a long dab until she finally grips
and rockets up the hill. Very nearly shoot off the top so grab a panic dab to stay in and never
seem to get back in control for the twisty downhill and despite a fantastic and enjoyable ride I
can’t stop that 3rd dab about 2 feet from the ends card. A great ride but a 3 just the same.

Back to 8 and Woody says there is a firm bottom developing in the mud slot. Run the front
wheel wider and power up for a surprize dab. This loop has been 6 and should have been 4
with some good riding but its a good score nonetheless.

After 2 loops my class is pretty tight with myself, Steve Smith and Stan Bollinger also going
well and making a return to the fray on his GRM and also the winner at Florida. Eugene has
decided not to get his pristine Bultaco dirty and elected not to ride or check?

The 2 loop scores look like this;

Tony Down                                  11      6
Stan Bollinger                                8     11
Steve Smith                                 11     11

Merlin Clausing                            12      6

Big Air from Ed on the logs Section 2

So off into the final loop with a good clean on 1 and then on 2 rounding the last turn all clean
the engine stalls! please don’t ask …… maybe it was something I said. Cleans on 3 and 4 and
then over to 5 which I had been riding well but on the first uphill I completely run out of traction
and need a three to get to the top. Needless to say I clean all the rest of it. Clean on 6 and now
try and get that elusive “2”. Same plan but rounding the concrete block my boot catches on the
wall and I steer away but the wheel slips off the path and goes down a deep hole in the water
which I can’t rescue. ****!!!  At 8, another good dab but those 2 fives have cost me dearly.

Final scores;

Stan Bollinger                             8      11      7
Steve Smith                               11     11      9
Tony Down                                11       6     14

……….and yes, I slipped from first to second = and then lost the tie break

Had I been riding in Prem Lightweight ?

Merlin Clausing                          12      6     14

So Classic this year or Classic Mistake ?

Friday night and the Crawdads and Brisket, never saw the beers but as my jeans were getting
wet from the bench time to return to the RV and think of next year. By now Ed and Evelyn can
hardly get in their’s as yet more trailers and bikes have them completely surrounded.

Let’s go to Town!

Where that “other noisey train” goes

Po-Boys all round please

Saturday and into town on the train for the now traditional Po-Boys. E & E join us and now the
weather has picked up so time to load up and get ready for tomorrows departure.

We came to Jefferson and all we got were these lousey t-shirts

On time the Starship fires up and my only way out is to reverse  over a non broken pot area.
Well nearly! but once again the swamp has us in it’s clutches and after some pottery shovelling
by Ed and playing with the TAG axle we are finally on our way. An incident free Sunday drive
back to Walmart at Pecos but Brenda is less than pleased when she goes shopping and finds
that all the shelves are empty and despite being on I 20 this place has not been resupplied
since last WEEK!

Monday morning and the 665 mile leg home moving through 2 time zones and fairly light traffic
goes well and as we get in AZ we join in with some Vintage car rally and get treated to some
interesting cars as they go past.

An Allard?

It was doing 80+

A Mercedes

2 weeks to go to Perris, then another 2 weeks to the double header at Cotopaxi. Time I
started getting some results!

Tony & Brenda

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  • 4/19/2008 1:46 PM Doug Hunter wrote:
    Nice 300 SL convertable there.
    You could buy a few vintage trials bikes for the price of that ride!
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On the Road again 2008 begins

 Tuesday morning and we set off fairly close to the scheduled time with the plan of 665 miles to
cover to the night stop in Pecos TX.

Ostrich ranch outside Tucson

The run takes us South on I10 to Tucson and then across the bottom of New Mexico and into
Texas. A very windy leg with lots of blowing dust but it does enjoy some fast freeways of 80
mph so we can keep the average up. On the way to Tucson a phone call from an old friend,
Sheldon Hefler, who is going to be there for the event and maybe next year will be making a
full attack on the Modern Classic Expert Championship, and quite honestly if he does I can’t see
anyone beating him.

Sheldon in top form last year

A bit of roadwork in Tucson (must be an ongoing project!) refuel in the wind and push on to
Walmart at Pecos. An incident free run and now we have slipped through 2 time zones so a bit
of TV and then a good sleep.

Doof ready to reverse after refuelling

Day 2 and another 107 gallons of fuel goes in and away we go on the 80 mph freeway of I 20.
Our navigation system decides to take us along I 30 and then back on I 20 so we follow the
instructions and after another refuelling the other side of Dallas we are left with the last 150
miles to Jefferson and the swamps!

Arrive in daylight and find we have a reserved slot (very nice) and after parting with $240!!
(damm these AHRMA events are getting expensive!) we drive round the hard road to our
assigned slot which is very close to Ed and Evelyn Peacock and nearly all the berths have fresh
broken pottery to stop everybody sinking in to the hubs. Duly docked, power on, time for a
couple of beers and then some chili courtesy of Evelyn.

Thursday morning join in with the layout party and see what the team of Trialsmasters, Don
Kelly, Rob Poole and Ed and Evelyn have designed and set off to finish up the sections and check
for those “cheater” lines. Section1 is more or less the reverse of last year and looks simple
enough in the dry but might change if we get the expected downpour tonight. Section 2 is very
close and a new one going over some fallen moss covered trees and then a series of turns
before a daunting criss-cross of more trees leading into a tight left hander round a tree just
before the ends cards. Trialsmasters abound with yet more tape to seal off more cheater lines
that personally I would not have seen as being a help to anyone!

Between the walls in the ruins of section 4 last year

Over the railway to 3 which is a reverse of one of last years and should ride well in this
direction unless it gets a lot of flood water in it. All the way round the road to Section 4 in the
ruins with the “little mice” on top of all the concrete bollards. A tricky entry downhill turn
between the walls, the up and over the berm for 1 & 2 liners and then around the tree with
the gnarly roots. A bit more room than on previous years but then its up onto the big concrete
block with a 90 turnoff into a choice of through or round a bollard. I did see a very easy cheater
line here and we closed this one off with the stroke of a pen!

5 was our last one for the morning and had a whole series of adverse banks that could go either
way in the wet from, padding in and being very easy or very slippery verging on downright

After lunch we meet up at 6 which is a new section and should ride well and comprises a couple
of tree crossings and an uphill climbing exit. 7 is way down on the levee and is a variation on one
used in previous years. A long twisting downhill in the pine needles before the narrow adverse
back up into a right hander in the needles before a run to the exit. The natural line would put you
into another turn but closer inspection shows there is another way out.

Down to the end of the property an old favourite, No 8, with its up and downs in the trees by
the railway line. Looks “doable” but the last uphill might be interesting after a lot of rain?  Back
on the lower track to 9 in another pile of ruins and where I “blew” it last year on the last lap!
This time we are coming the other way round and in dry conditions it is technical and if wet????

Finally up to the last section which is a new one and the way it is I can’t see many marks being
lost so I would call this the AHRMA gimmee. Just some route marking to put out and the job is

Back in the pleasant RV parking area things are getting busy as all and sundry arrive. Now I
personally have nothing against moto-cross riders but, they sure are a different breed. It seems
they must all be on top of each other and on arrival there is much shunting of vehicles to get as
close together as possible. Then when the trucks,trailers and RV’s have formed up its time to put
up the “easy-up” bike canopy. Now drag out all the bikes and start them up in turn making,
seemingly, as much noise as poss to advertise your arrival, a bit like a dog marking it’s spot.

This ritual continues until around mid night when Ed’s new neighbors arrive and make camp all
round him blocking every which way! Prior to this Brenda wants to put out all the new black and
red chairs and carpets which I make comment that it might not be a good idea as it is forecast
to rain…… however the chairs and rugs go out and the moto-cross guys ride all over them!

During the night the train wakes up everyone with it’s whistle which went on for a good 20
minutes. Now that was at 2 a.m. and then at 3 a.m. it starts raining and storming. 4 a.m. and
a noisey moto-crosser takes a ride??? is this for real? 0600 and I’m up and it’s still raining and
the forecast is for more. Lakes all round us, thunder and lightning and lots more people riding
over Brenda’s rugs……. all this all we haven’t got to the trial yet!

Tony & Brenda and 4 wet and muddy dogs, not forgetting the carpets.

145 Articles in ARCHIVES with over 1400 pictures!

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  • 4/18/2008 8:50 PM Steveo wrote:
    Nice comment,comparing noisy bikes and dogs,marking their spots.Hard to beat the quietness and skills required to competently ride a trials bike!Weather sounded a bit challenging,I sure would like to see that venue some year,Steveo
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