AHRMA VINTAGE TRIALS SANDIA 2008
One of Mick’s students Section 1
A good turnout, perfect temperature, and by 0930 I’m out doing the “Checkers School”…. WOW
there must be nearly 25 volunteers! Very impressive, all keen and lots of questions. We cover all
the “rules” and then ride a whole series of demos so that they can judge the scores including some real “dummies” and other “close” call situations. Everyone seems happy so now time for them to
depart and the rest of us have our briefing.
Evelyn tells us its time to start
My group starts at that sandhill section and as predicted this one will not get better but the others
should improve as riders knock the loose shale off some of them. I see Clint Welsh take a 2 here
and then my turn comes but I’m too slow into the bottom turn and egg timer sand takes me for 1.
I don’t see Don Kelley here so move on to 6.
Marks are being squandered everywhere here in the soft left hander going over the ridge and
also around the tree. The Enfield being so heavy sinks rather than floats so I take a lower line
and get a good clean. Clint rides the section well, but unfortunately, missed the first split and the
checkers were right on it for a 5.
We cross the road and descend to 7 where 1,2’s and PI’s turn left after entry and then cross the
gully. The loose is taking its toll on all lines but as 1 & 2 are behind us we are the first on the 2 line
… not good! It sure is loose and difficult to walk. Clint has his go and rides the first part well but
then I see the hand go up for another 5 and then I see him dabbing in the soft stuff up by the tree
turn. The checkers show him that he missed a blue ribbon tied in the vegetation. I have my go and
it takes power and a lot of wriggling to get across the gully and then it GRIPS!…… I very nearly
miss the ribbon and a dab and a “full locker” is needed to stay inside the boundary. Further up by
the tree turn, I too, take another dab certainly harder than it looks. Score now on 3 lets rewalk it
and see where it went pear shaped. Well just seems like early morning incompetence so move on
A lot of effort here getting the 300 pounder lined up but eventually I’m ready. The meandering
wash is very soft so stay well back and keep to the sides as much as poss with power just up
from idle. The road roller flattens all but I arrive just off line for the shale hill and she takes a big
prod to crest the summit with a rooster tail of rocks, dust and granite chips showering all! 4
sections gone and 4 points lost….. this is either hard or I’m losing my touch.
Ride up the gentle path to regain the main track and over to my left I see a group of bikes and
people on the track leading to 9.
When I arrive I see several people giving CPR……… it seems Clint was riding down the path
to 9 & 10 when he collapsed and fell off his bike. When he failed to get up they rushed to his
assistance but, although they could get a weak pulse from their efforts he refused to breathe.
Para medics soon arrived from Sandia but despite all their continuous efforts GOD had
already made his decision. While, of course this was a tremendous shock to all that were
there, if I had to GO then it would be difficult to find a better way to pass other than to DIE
quickly doing something that you ENJOY and is your HOBBY. Dr Clint Welsh was an active
member of AHRMA and always competed at Sandia on his Matchless in Trials and also in Motor
Cross which he would have ridden on Sunday. Sadly, he was only 60 years old.
For my part, as there was nothing that I could assist with once the medical team were on hand
I rode 9 & 10 with 2 nice cleans and then completed the last one of the loop over at 11 where I
told the Checkers the bad news.
Back at the start there was a very somber mood and the trial was shut down for a delay while
procedures were followed. Some time later we were given the go ahead and the checkers were
all taken back to their sections and we were allowed to complete the event. Some riders elected
not to continue, either as a mark of respect or fearing their own mortality! The event was reduced
to 2 loops due to this unfortunate incident.
No Zach, the Motor Cross is tomorrow!
The Bigguns demolish the bank, Don Kelley drives through on the Ariel
The Gun Carriage crashes through the canyon
Out on the course I’m due to restart at No 1 which must be the only “gimmee” of the day and the
Enfield chuffs through for a very easy clean. The 1 and 2 liners were having some problems with
the “Hole”and a lot of modern riders were losing a hatfull of marks in the soft dirt which does not
work well with clutches and mega bursts of power. Mick, of course, shows how it is done.
Rich Palmer having a great ride in MC Exp with Mick looking on
The Master Class…..” go high up the bank, weight back and out…..”
“Stay high with a little front brake…. look through the line…”
“power on smoothly … just enough ….. weight coming forward….”
Missing the “Moderns only” of 2 & 3, I now have the hard section 4 which has really cut up and
of course our group is the last through here. The first uphill has several grooves in it and the
upper turning area is now 2 inch deep powder which will make the uphill around the rock tricky.
The rest looks simple enough but don’t overshoot the last gate or it will end in tears on the loose
dirt adverse before the cards. All goes well including the “S” turn on the top. As I glide over to
the last gate the groove has cut out and now the rock spacing is exactly Enfield size and damn
nearly stops be dead and a dab is required to lever my way through….. almost knocked the card
over , but not quite! Another 1 for a first loop total of 5. Mick was on 2 at this stage both having
been lost in this section.
Rich in a monster turn…. full lock, full counterweight
Out for loop 2 and sail through 1 without hassle. I watch all and sundry for a while and can’t help
but think that many of the modern riders who are brilliant over hazards I would not even attempt
seem to have little knowledge of some of the basics and they seemingly wouldn’t have a clue in
good old deep mud!
Chuck Sutton, in a class of his own
Back to 4 and I watch Mick take another “2” so it must be hard on that 1 line. Jill watches and
winces! My turn and I know I must stay up on that last gate and ride the rock rather than the
groove. Up the hill and some spectacular riding through the “S”….. then compose myself and
attack the gate and whoopeee! a clean.
Mick has already lost 2 getting up here
Mick cleans the rest……. damn thats a good looking Yam
Ooooh ! thats not good a 2, …Jill winces
Now its my turn, easy up on to the soft turn
Just high enough with the front….. work it, work it
Change weight to counteract the front sliding (Must be the Picture of “MY” year)
NB the “Don Smith” pose
Ride the rock, not the gully
Ed in a spot of bother on the tricky 2 line
Massive improvement from Sylvia
Robert Rowland winning MC EXP on the Ossa
The fun ride over to the sandhill reminding myself to get the power on earlier, with weight back
and out, then wiggle it if you’ve got it, and play the power up the hill. It works and I’m delighted.
6 stays the same, albeit a better path having developed on the first gully. So still clean arrive
at 7 where I lost a 2 on the first loop. I change my entry line here after a lot of thought and as I
open her up she coughs and complains but on closing the throttle engine room reports “all clear”
and just using impulse power she digs in like a farm tractor and crests the ridge setting me up
nicely for a good clean on the rest of the section.
Back to 8 which has a whole new set of adventurous lines, but stick with the original plan and
sail around the wash bends and arrive in good shape for the uphill which the Enfield makes
9 has bedded in and is no problem and 10 should be OK now as the team have rotovated all the
loose and a good line has appeared. The wash bottom is still loose so ride it a little quicker and
don’t let the front dig in. Up and out for another clean so just 11 to complete.
A quick break and chat with Darrel Boone who is checking here and then up and in and drop back
in the wash, all goes well with no moments and I record a clean loop on the faithful RE and
capture the Prem Heaveyweight Int Championship with 7 wins in the class. Time to get the PI off
and put a 2 on to take on Derek Belvoir and Rob Poole over at Hollister on the EXP line.
From all accounts Mick stalled the motor on a section when the brake locked on by a branch or
rock…. he does have the brake a lot tighter than I do, but he can ride these blindfold so I will be
quiet. The 4 he lost were good genuine points, no argument, no excuses and as the great man
said, tough but fair,……. “AHRMA Trials are nothing more than a bunch of Old men on Old
Machines in a PARADE” amazing how some stupid comments really get to you !!!
Well that was Sandia. Mick and Jill join us for supper and stories and a whole load of wine flowed
freely. As my Doctor once said “My advice to you is DRINK HEAVILY!”…… which we did !
Lots of pictures of sections 1 and 4….. if you rode you will be on film. www.trialsphoto.com
Sunday morning and Mick is riding Motor Cross today or “Scrambling” as we used to call it. His
hand is still giving him grief so he will only be riding the big BSA twice. Predictably he wins both
races with Jim Crain coming second both times.
Mick gets ready on the BSA
Coming in to land
Jill gets sandblasted by a paddock “Dirt Devil or Twister”
“Thanks for a Great Weekend”
A joy to watch, and like all motorcycling greats it just looks so fluid and easy
Do I get TWO jackets this year?