Some readers may remember that post Dickson TN in 2007 I made a comment that in 2008 I would
be trying for TWO National Championships so as we enter the season I’m hoping to be able to
complete the ambition if I can get the Royal Enfield in a fully competitive state.

Testing the Sections, AZ Cycle Park

The season opened at the new AZ Cycle Track and after some persuasion I find myself as
Trialsmaster for the event. No real problems laying out the event with the help of Ed and Evelyn
and Earl Burrows. This could easily be a 2 day in the future as there is plenty of scope considering
AHRMA wishes to co-locate events which of course is not always in the Trials riders best interest.
A good event, which I would dearly have wished to ride but as I laid the sections out it would not
really have been fair. At this stage the Enfield refuses to cooperate and the magneto is sent back
to the UK to be revamped.

Three AZ trials come next with a bit of a thrashing at Kingman and then two good wins at Table
Mesa and Alto Pit.

Table Mesa

Full Bore at Alto Pit

Back on the AHRMA circuit it’s a very wet Diamond Don’s which should have suited me, and indeed
I was leading after 2 loops then ended up losing 2 fives on the last lap dropping from first to second
equal,….. and then losing the tie break!

Wet and slippy at Diamond Don’s

The new Perris which is a bit limited in real estate followed and despite the short loop it was none
the less a good event which I enjoyed and rode well.

The New Perris

Time for Colorado and despite losing the generator on the bus this turned out to be a cracking
event with some great rides and a few ego brusing crashes! Cotopaxi has just about everything
a trials rider could wish for and I expect next year will be just as much fun. So now I’m on 3 wins,
an awful 3rd and the Trialsmaster points so things are looking reasonable in the Classic Class.

Cotopaxi Co

Day 2 at Cotopaxi

The Enfield is now back together and is due for its first competition outing. Although Milliken is only
a one day event I’ll try and ride both bikes in two different classes. I race round the 2 line on the
Cub and lose a dumb 5 by not taking my time but complete 3 loops in 90 mins so set off with 300lbs
of Oilfield on the PI line. 3 loops in 80 mins and a clean card!

First ride on the RE at Milliken

Mid July and time for Donner which has always been a favorite of mine. Day 1 is a clean ride on the
Cub then switch to the Enfield for 2 quick loops and a confidence building 0 score. Some discontent
from some people, who will be nameless, about riding in 2 classes so elect to ride the Enfield only on
Day 2. This goes well and I crash round for the loss of just a single dab.

Donner Day 1

Donner Day 2

Nothing now until the end of August when it will be a non stop 3 weeks will 3 Days at Casper, 2
more in Utah and then the Sandia one day at Albuquerque with Mick Andrews.

Casper goes well and the Enfield sails round 3 days for the loss of just one mark. Perhaps the PI
line is TOO easy but a trial is a trial?

Casper Day 2 in “Lego Land”

A wet Day 3 at Casper

Over to Tooele in Utah and a different kettle of fish with much more challenging sections. I need
just 2 more wins on the Cub for the classic title and apart from another crash 2 more wins are in
the book.

Some hard sections at Tooele Day 1

Day 2 at Tooele

Finally Sandia, and a good time meeting up with Mick and Jill Andrews after 30 years. Mick elects
to ride Glitzmobile and I have a good ride on the Enfield in the loose sand finishing with a clean
second loop and 7 class wins in Premier Heavyweight Int. The Enfield only lost 7 marks in it’s 7
outings so I’m quite pleased with the old girl and it will be interesting to see how it does in the
Expert Class next year.

We go back a few years…….??

Mick rides “Glitz” at Sandia

Win no 7 on the RE at Sandia

I didn’t ride enough events in Arizona to qualify for the Twinshock Class but it looks like I will get
two Rocky Mountain titles as most of the AHRMA events that I rode were dual events for both
series. Quite a year! ….. so 2009 may be time to switch classes again and have a look at Premier
Heavyweight Expert where Rob Poole and Derek Belvoir will give me a good run.
Depending on events maybe the Cub in Prem Lightweight?

Still hoping for the “Trials Viagra” of the Pre 65 and Robregordo if things go in my favor next year,
and if that comes to pass then AHRMA will have to take a back seat to National Lampoon’s
European Vacation.

The European plan for 2009


Tony Down

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Now if you think humping 300lbs round these sections is easy, give it a try!

Everyone has one, a lot of people share them, some I agree with, some I do not, but when it
comes to trials and Vintage Trials in particular, unless you know what you are talking about
perhaps you should keep your opinion to yourself, especially if you have never ridden in one or
have no intention of doing so.

Recently the ongoing AHRMA Twinshock saga has stirred things up with a lot of chit chat on
various sites. Some good comments, some genuine concern and of course the predictable
nonsense. One that really got to me was a ridiculous comment “AHRMA Trials are just a parade of
old men on old machines”
……. if your only comment is this then maybe, just maybe, you would like
to come to one of our events and show your amazing skills and dazzle us with the way you
handle a machine of this era so that we can see where we are falling short, and thereby be
humbled by your skills on these bikes which would undoubtedly have made you World Champion
back then. If you are not up to the challenge of putting yourself on the line on a bike of the era
then please keep your ill informed opinions to yourself.

Oh, I’m sorry, YOU WERE The WORLD CHAMPION! (…and unless you still don’t know
it is MICK ANDREWS riding one of my Yams, the “Glitzmobile”)

Of course it is true that many of us that choose to ride vintage bikes have no intention of
competing with them in modern trials at a National level and the reasons are surely very obvious.
The machines that compete in AHRMA events were designed to be ridden in the style of the day
and that was NO CLUTCH, SMOOTH THROTTLE CONTROL and an awful lot of BALANCE. Any clutch
work was always going to be a very hit and miss affair as when the drive was disengaged there
was going to be a problem when the clutch was released usually resulting in wheel spin and the
subsequent loss of marks. The same could also be said of rough throttle handling when big
handfulls off idle could easily stall the engine.

Another easy turn ?

Parade indeed!!!

….and we might not have even tried one this hard in the 60’s

It is true that many top Vintage riders, who also compete in Modern, strive for ultra light clutch
action, and the fastest throttle response that can be achieved. Equally you can ride a modern
bike using “old techniques” and while a level of skill, experience and balance will get you through
a lot of sections you will periodically stall the machine due to it’s lack of flywheel action. Both
machines need to ridden in the manner that was INTENDED, if you try to snap the throttle open
on a 1960’s 300lb 4 stroke and expect it to do an instant wheelie you are in for a big surprize, but
also close the throttle and equally be amazed that the machine will find grip and overcome all
manner of obstacles.

Exactly TWICE the weight of a Raga Gas Gas

True basic skills will always win

The sections laid out at most AHRMA events represent an approximation to those of the 50’s, 60’s,
and 70’s and let’s remember there were NO alternate lines in those days just a BEGINS and ENDS
cards. Machines progressed from chain guides to chain tensioners, footrests went from solid weld
ons to bolt ons with springs, cables became nylon lined and bikes got lighter and slimmer with
more purpose built machines being developed rather than adaptations from road going bikes.

Yes, another “Parade” section…….give me a break!!

A very promising youth riding “Old Iron”

Deep Mud and banks …. and the modern bikes didn’t exactly shine on this one

Personally I consider the section severity to be about right for the line that the classes ride. You
may walk the 3 line and think its pretty simple but in all probability YOU are not riding a 1950’s rigid
framed BSA weighing 300 lbs with 6 inches ground clearance and 55 inch wheelbase. Don’t knock
it until you have tried it. Some things DO NOT need to change! Also on a personal level I spent
time on many SSDT sections in the 70’s thinking am I missing something as they appeared
“too easy” but a lot were traditional sections from years gone by and while some were definitely
“gimmees” on a 1972 Bultaco the new sections for “the year” offered a real test to World
Champions and Clubmen alike.

Bailey Tucker enjoys both the Nationals on his Gas Gas and Vintage AHRMA
on the TLR, and maybe next year on the “Glitz”

A young man that enjoys both styles and techniques

So for those that are eager to critisize and complain, please remember that like all sports Trials
is an “evolution”  both in machines, styles and rules and for some of us the older machines have a
special “magic” of their own and the satisfaction of building, maintaining and competing on them is
without comparison. For the most part the “older gentlemen” of the sport are equally concerned
over current developments in the  World Championship scene where only a handful of riders are
up to the challenges. Even our best riders here in the US would regrettably look like Novices in the
World Series and unless something is done, perhaps to go to non-stop, then the series would
seem to be doomed unless more rideable sections are included that would increase entries,
spectators, and factory support. Remember you can’t be a World Champion unless there are tiers
of clubmen and lesser riders involved in the sport.

…..and finally, like fine wines some get better with age, some get bitter, and some are just laid to
rest! Enjoy whatever faction of the sport you compete in but be respectful to others who may just
have been, or still are, fine riders in their own chosen discipline…… thank you.


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  • 10/23/2008 8:25 AM Glenn Swanson wrote:
    As always, very eloquently Stated Facts of Life …
    Reply to this
  • 10/23/2008 4:47 PM Jeff wrote:
    Wow!! Someone actually rattled Tony Down’s cage. You’ve always struck me as very cool and collected.

    Hey, Tony

    Let me introduce myself to you. My name is Jeff and I probably “hit” your outstanding web site way more than anyone does. I’ve viewed all of your archives numerous times and I have so many comments about many of them that over time you’ll come to know me well.

    I’ve been riding motorcycles for almost 30 years. I have “raced” vintage trials
    and modern trials for 18 of those 30 years and have multiple shelves full of trophies to show for the 18 years.

    I’ll try and keep the first of many, many of my comments to come as short as possible.

    I’d love to know what these “various sites” are so I can read for myself how things have been “stirred up”.

    I’ll just touch on a couple of things for now and then close untill my next comment.

    In my opinion, “parade” in this case does not describe the sections you are riding in but how you go from one AHRMA
    event to another. Am I the only one to get it? I’ve never been accused of being the brightest crayon in the box, but it’s pretty obvious what “parade” means in that comment.

    You know what they say over here on the east coast don’t you? “Observed trials is the bastard child of AHRMA”.

    More comments soon. Many more soon.

    Keep up the outstanding job you do with your web site. It ROCKS!!

    P.S I may as well start telling you this now because obviously no one else has. You really need to ditch those goofy white sunglasses. They are in no way shape or form your friend. Trust me on this one. If you can wear top of the line riding gear as you do and top of the line ski wear as you do, you should have top of the line suglasses. Image seems very important to you.

    Also, what’s up with the cancer stick hanging from your mouth while you’re riding the section?

    Reply to this

  • 11/20/2008 1:52 PM Steveo wrote:
    Well spoken Tony.I ride both modern and vintage,my friends often asked me”why do you spend so much time on your “old” bike?”.To the point where my modern bike was getting dusty.It took a long time before I was able to respond as I mulled that question over.Finally the light bulb came on,my vintage bike,like me is older and slower,like me,we simply get along really well.I can ride the older bike much closer to its full potential ,than I ever could on the modern bike.So thats it.Besides,easier trials are,in my opinion,simply more fun.So what are the reasons that you all ride-to have more fun or to try and win?
    Reply to this
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