AHRMA VINTAGE TRIALS COTOPAXI DAY 2

AHRMA VINTAGE TRIALS COTOPAXI DAY 2

AHRMA VINTAGE TRIALS COTOPAXI DAY 2

Are the Ends Cards up there ?

Sunday morning and a little low cloud obscuring the peaks and although still warm a little cooler than
yesterday. An earlier start and a few extra riders so once again battle commences with the 1 & 2’s on
section 5 down by the garage and everybody else on the difficult No 1.

A few rocks and small brush is getting cleaned out and once again I’m in no rush so observe how it
rides. For the most part it seems simple enough although I did see Bill Brokaw take a dab exploring
my “B” line choice. A simple uphill and ride round the bowl descending through brush and loose rocks,
round a tree and out. All goes well so out on the trail to find 6 & 7 which as yet I haven’t seen.

The trail ride is fun with a lot of fast narrow downhill taking us into the wash. Section 6 starts in the
wash and has a blind left turn in the sand to a gentle uphill and back round the tree and cross the
sandy bottom again. On the far side is a dead tree and rock combo to get through before turning uphill
behind another fir in soft dirt which leads to a double rock crossing and the exit. Clean here so push
on to 7 a little further back down the wash.

Simple entry to 7 for everyone then 2 liners ride along the bank above the wash before an uphill 180
turn in the loose dirt. Another one of those just off idle, stay in balance type turns. No problems here
and it seems most riders are through here unpenalized.

Over the top and back down to the start area for another look at 8 which has had the first half of the
section reversed on the banks but retains the same 3 step exit. Plenty of opportunity to screw up here
so pay attention to the line. Through this one and down to 1 which as I said in the preview was where I
think it will be won and lost on the 2 line.

Keith Wineland takes Ed’s spare bike to an easy overall win 

Bailey Tucker drops down the reversed 1 line entry of 8

Another win for Dave Lindeman in MC Experts

Watching this tricky section for some time I see many riders getting into problems on both the major
hazards. Bob Strohman stalls on the last rock, Bill Brokaw has a giant dab  while others are losing a
dab or two on the first hazard of the twisty downhill. My turn comes along and I’m a shade quick on the
downhill and hit the wall swiping my left boot off the rest, not sure whether the checker thought it was
intentional or not. Perfect line up for the rocks but I’m a little too quick and I’m forced to shut the throttle
as the front wheel is dangerously close to the tape, I hang on a nano second too long and the motor
stops! Brilliant, …. first marks of the day.

Section 2 is a variation on last year but the turns are not so tight and it should ride well. Uphill start in
loose rubble, small right, left jink then into a series of right, left,  rights but all with a bit of banking to
make the line easy. Back down from the top turn across some smooth boulders into a left uphill turn in
loose dirt on a small adverse to the exit. No problems here and on to 3.

Further down the trail Section 3 starts with a series of drop down steps, wide left hander into a rock
gully and right uphill 180 on adverse loose dirt, small recovery zone dropping back down to a few small
rolly rocks before the exit. Good solid clean here and follow the loop up yesterday’s “3” to the top of the
gorge and on to 4.

Section 4 is nearly identical to last year where I had 2 great cleans and then a terrible crunching fall!
Today we are forced wider at the bottom which makes a tighter turn in the loose dirt and rocks near the
exit. First half goes well over the rock jumble and onto the wider rock pile but coming back on the path
I’m a touch slow and forced to take a prod to get over a small rock……. v dumb! All in all 6 marks lost
where with more thought I could have had a clean loop.

Back at 1  Rick Wolff takes a 2 on the last rock outcrop where I had my 5 and many others are in all
kinds of trouble. I creep through the tricky downhill and using my previous line give the Cub a squirt and
she sails over the rocks on the perfect line for a very satisfying clean. Good booster that one! Through 2
and down to 3 where I catch up with Rick who is on his third loop and only on a total of 6. Trials being
trials anything can happen but realistically Rick should only have the tricky 4 and 8 to get home and I
have 13 sections to ride without making any mistakes to tie!

Ryan Lindeman on 3

Mike Wehling airborne on 3, and where did that front end come from?

I follow Rick through 3-8 and he rides well without dropping any more. Section 4 where I had the dab
earlier is easier with a little more power and 5-7 haven’t changed so time for 8 again. All well here and
up the final steps for a clean and a zero loop.

“Battle of the Rigids” with Marty Paulson on 8

Len Sims creeps through 8 for the Class win

John Knapp on 8 for his Class win. Will I still be riding at 77 ?

Steve Doyle with his second win of the season in MC Nov

So now with Rick home on 6 I have to go clean on the last loop to tie and as I have a 5 and he doesn’t I
know I’m ahead on the tie breaker of “most cleans” should I be able to repeat the zero loop. Back to 1
which is now effectively the crunch section as it is by far the hardest. A perfect performance here but as
we all know one mistake can occur anywhere. Rewalk 2, no change and 6 more to go.

3 hasn’t changed and looks good until the gully when the back steps out in the loose adverse and I’m
all over the bike trying to prevent the dab with massive power and upper body movement. A great save,
but it was a “moment”. Repeat performance on 4 so I’m half way home with only 4 to go. Carefully
re-walk the easy sections of 5,6 and 7 and slip through without any wrong doing. Up the hill and back to
the Falls for the last time. The steps can’t change but a quick look at the crumbly bank is a must. Final
checks on the bike, no branches or bits in the chain or anywhere near the brakes, fuel plenty, and on,
a quick circle, double check the gear and in I go. Through the lower pool and up on the grassy bank
and out to the edge for the drop down with light front wheel and engine braking. Line up for the bump
and up and over and into an immediate left drop down turn without brakes until straight……. good…..
now think steps! Into the lower pool, wide turn to the line up point, power, lift, weight forward, up and
out……… done it! Sorry Rick.

The drop down of 8 with light front wheel and engine braking

Power, lift, weight coming forward……………

Another great weekend at Tucker Ranch, what a fantastic family, and the last 2 wins for my Classic
Expert Championship. Dan Straka cemented his Championship and Len Sims didn’t have anyone
spoiling Premier Lightweight and looks set for his Rigid Expert title as well. MC Int as always is
interesting but Bill Brokaw should come through although Bob Strohman will have something to say
at Casper. Mike Buckholz strengthened his chances in MC Expert with another 40 points so this one
could come down to the wire at Casper. Only 1 week to go and all the final jig saw pieces will come
together.

What do you mean its finished ?

TONY DOWN

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AHRMA VINTAGE TRIALS COTOPAXI DAY 1

AHRMA VINTAGE TRIALS COTOPAXI DAY 1

AHRMA VINTAGE TRIALS COTOPAXI DAY 1

Marty Paulson’s gorgeous rigid Beesa

By the time we had finished viewing sections and got back to the start area a good crowd had already
arrived including Derek Belvoir, Len Sims, and Mike Parsley from Tennessee all going for the full week
of vintage trials and a bit of fun riding thrown in. The usual pre event banter around the fire pit and off to
bed and see what Saturday brings.

Another exhibit from Birmingham Small Arms

A warm morning with no wind and the place has filled up with the most noticeable thing being a very
good turn out from the big old bikes some of which are a true credit to their owners. By start time my
guess would be around 40 riders with some familiar faces missing, maybe the crunch or just too far to
travel.

Mike Parsley’s Cub on it’s good side

The event gets away on time with 3’s, 4’s and PI’s starting at Section 1 and the 1 and 2 line riders over
on the new section 5 to ease the bottlenecks. A nice warm up section with a large rock for the 1’s to
climb over while 2 riders drop down below the obstacle and take on a mini step into a loose left hander
followed by a wide right in more loose to pass either side of a little fir tree but inside a significant rock
before turning left again in loose dirt at the top of the hill to run out to the exit. I’m in no hurry as on
several of the sections I viewed yesterday there is a fair amount of “gardening” needed to  get rid of
low scrub bushes and grass to establish the line. Nobody seems to be having trouble here and the
section is riding as it looks so in we go and get the first clean of the day on the card. Where do we get
these punches? Nearly everywhere we go checkers struggle to get a metal punch to do its job on a
simple piece of paper!

A bit of fun trail riding to shake out the cobwebs and over the back of the ranch to the solid rock section
of 6 which short of a hand grenade is not going to change in this lifetime. The only portion that could
change is the turn area before the line up to the first hazard. From the entry stay by the tape and drop
down a couple of simple steps and take a wide left turn to line up for an adverse slice of rock which will
take marks if you go too far right. There is a 3″ wide ridge that leads over it and thats where I hope to
place the front wheel. A squirt here and line up for another simple step onto a plateau and drop back
on the path to cross the big root to the exit. On form here and the ride goes to plan.

From 6 drop down through the woods to the farmhouse and section 7. A couple of pits with turns, a
climb out over some rocks and another drop before a tightish left turn to take on the crumbly uphill
adverse then ride round the edge before dropping back in down the wide crumbly gully and a left uphill
to the finish. No problems for the Cub but I do see Derek in a spot of bother being dragged up the hill
by the Velo and then Mike Buckholz, who had a clear lead in MC Experts after 2 sections, goof badly
when he missed his own split!

A pleasant ride back to the start and take on 8 at Wehling Falls. Mike has used the falls and the shale
bank to put in some extra traps. We drop into the lower pool then exit onto the bank for an up, down, up
series and then meander back to the lower pool crossing our tracks before climbing out the 3 step
steep exit. Plenty of possible zones for errors but again the Cub makes little of it so off to 1 to see how
that is going.

Up Wehling Falls for the first time

The main line is well developed, nice easy slow climb up around the rock, slip past the fallen tree
and then 3 choices of line through the rocks, or not, and then line up to cross the fallen tree and make
the exit. The line I’ve chosen doesn’t look quite so good when I arrive at the turn in point  so I take plan
“B” with a direct assault on the rock pile and this rides nicely and sets me up for a good clean.

? where now…… ?

One of the lady riders on the 3 line

Ed slips by the fallen tree

Rick Wolff in fine form on the BSA

Section 2 which had all the mud last year has the same entry, without the mud, and we sail up onto a
plateau then bump through a tight left hander and back down over a solid rock, set up for an adverse
simple rock then a right, left uphill in the dirt to the exit. Would be great in the mud but today its dry and
easy for everyone.

Down the path to find section 3 which is part of the route and really should be a gimmee for 1 and 2
line riders as its only an uphill path with a kink for 1 and 2. As they say put a BEGINS and END card
anywhere and someone will screw it up! Today is NO exception with two noteable riders taking a dab.
Mike Parsley and……… none other than star rider Bailey Tucker!!!!

What were you thinking on Section 3 ????

Out of here and around to 4 which is my type of section. Today it has a very difficult start position but
looking at it I can just get the backwheel the other side of the entry slab rock if I lift it up a bit and that will
leave the front wheel spindle on the mythical line between the start cards. All looks good and I’m nicely
lined up, without the difficult turn and can do the uphill and into the left turn easily. Checker ready, off I go
……… but only about 2′ when she stalls! First marks of the day,……… stunned disbelief……. how did I do
that? Oh well, flick the shifter up for neutral to restart……. still in gear, back down, ……. still in gear, down
again, ……. still in gear?……. once more, now unless I’ve broken something this must be first! Yep, looks
like in all the positioning I must have caught something and got up into 3rd! Well that wouldn’t have been
a problem had I taken those few seconds are gone through my EVERY Section checklist.  1. Fuel on,
2. In the correct gear, 3. Glasses clean no sweat dribbling in, 4. Quick mental re-run of the walked section
and datum points to hit.

Seems I didn’t do ANY of that! and got the 5 to prove it. Gathering body and soul set off from the start
point and clean the section with ease.

So 5 lost thanks to stupidity on the first loop, out for loop 2 and stick with the wider entry on 1 and that
goes well although my line up for the fallen tree was not the best but I got a clean with a leap over the
log. 2 & 3 are no problem so back to 4 and go through the line up procedure again and this time try the
section in first gear which goes smoothly.

Through the first half of 1

The Leap of Faith Section1

Back to 5 which hasn’t changed so through here and onto the unchangeable 6 which rides well. At the
farm 7 looks the same and some of the loose has packed down. Round the last part of the loop and try
the Falls again which seems a little firmer too. A clean loop so with plenty of time out for the last one.
Stick to the plan B which has worked well and this time hit all the datums spot on.Sail through 2 & 3
and get lined up for 4 which rides well when you are in the right gear from the right start point. 5 & 6
present no moments so down to 7 which I don’t bother to look at and ride straight in, again forgetting
my Golden Rules, bump over the first hazard and find a large rock right in my path and have to take
quick evasive action as it is at my turn in point. Going further into the turn than I want I’m in the loose
crumbles and take a silly dab to get her lined up for the uphill. Score now on 6, and only section 8 to go.

Mike Parsley brings the big Matchless through the Falls

Dumb, dumb, dumb! Round the loop we go and back to 8 at the start where a big crowd has gathered
at the score table. I’m taking a different line to everybody else but stick with it and through the lower pool
and up the first bank and turn right, down the hill and line up with idle power for the uphill when there is
an almighty CLACK, BANG from the back wheel area. Up on the grassy area I can see the noise has got
the whole crowd’s attention and I’m looking back to see whats gone wrong. I still have forward motion
so ignore it and hope the chain stays on for the steps. Up and out and sail through the Ends cards and
now have a look for the mystery noise.

Down the ledge of 8

After the “Clack Bang” the chain is very sloppy!

Up the steps for the last time with the tensioner under my boot

Seems the chain tensioner spring snapped on the downhill and the tensioner just lay at the bottom
acting, fortunately as a chain guide. Well total for the day, 6 which on reflection should have been a clean
card with a bit more application. My main competition has lost 18 so another win and only one more
required for maximum points this year.

Scores are all in with MikeBuckholz getting ahead of Dave Lindeman despite his dumb 5. Bill Brokaw
took the win over Bob Strohman, in MC Int. Mike Parsley and Derek were riding together on the big
bangers finishing on 12 and 14 with Mike just getting ahead. Easy wins for Dan Straka who has his
Championship wrapped up and another win for Hugh making Casper the showdown with Fred. Len
Sims and Marty Paulson battled it out in Rigid Exp with Len getting by on the Lightweight. MC Novice
had a host of riders with Shane taking top slot. Bailey won his class despite the 1 on the gimmee
section!

New tensioner spring fitted and now time for the Pot Luck which as always has some very pleasant
dishes with all the ladies swapping recipes.

TONY DOWN

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  • 9/8/2009 1:56 PM Dana Salsman wrote:
    Up here at Chehalis we have tried all sorts of punches from cheap to expensive. They all seem to dull up quickly. If you know of ones that work well, please advise. Thanks, Dana
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THE TRUNDLE TO TUCKER’S

THE TRUNDLE TO TUCKER’S

THE TRUNDLE TO TUCKER’S

It all matches, and its clean!

At last! Departure looms, the revamped bus and trailer are ready, not quite so sure if I am, but they say
the Elephant never forgets although the last go was the end of May we will find out come Saturday
whether that is fact or fiction. While I’ve been out of action the Ahrma scene has not changed too much
with Len Sims only winning 1 out of 3 of the rounds in Classic Expert. It looks like he has won Premier
Lightweight without ever having competed in it which seems a hollow victory to say the least but thats
the way the rules are this year! For my part I need 2 more wins from the last 5 events so I’ll be trying my
best without over thinking it. Second Sucks!

Today’s routing takes us through Durango to Pagosa Springs and then up the monster Wolf Creek
Pass where we will find out if the grille modifications were worth the effort. From there about 100 miles
cross country across the high plains to Poncha Pass and then down to Salida and the Arkansas River.
A pretty, but slow drive along the bendy river gorge before arriving in Cotopaxi and then the 5 mile uphill
run to the start area. This coach is about 4′ shorter so it might go round some of those dirt road corners
a little easier than the Beaver which was pushing things last year. The nomadic Peacocks seem
unable to stay at home and will probably have been there since late Monday or sometime Tuesday. If
all goes well I would think we should arrive mid afternoon Thursday as its only about 260 miles from
Dolores. About a 5 hour drive including the difficult road into base camp at 8000′, not exactly the
“death zone” but getting low on oxygen up here. The shorter coach should go round those tight bends
easier and we don’t have a rear ladder to get tangled with the trailer so I’m hoping for an incident free
arrival.

Rolling, rolling, rolling,……….

The 0900 departure predictably became 1000, but we are on our way and by 1100 we are in Durango
and onwards to refueling at Bayfield. I must have filled up here last time on the return and only get 20
gallons in. Full of fuel, LP gas, dogs and everything else the Starship rumbles on for Pagosa Springs
and new worlds. First thing to note is the “louvrectimy” achieved the square root of diddly squat and
engine room report the reactor going critical on any of the big hills. Wolf Creek comes, and goes very
slowly as we are down in 2nd and 3rd and struggling to make the 10,000+ summit. Down the other
side with Jake helping on the braking and back to flatter going and for once as we turn North on the
285 its not blowing a gale over the high plains. Onwards and upwards towards Poncha pass at 9010′
but now the big climbs are done and the motor can cool off on the descent to Salida and the Arkansas
Valley.

Wolf Creek Pass and still overheating!

Here we go ! ……..the “fun” road in

Tight and bendy, but very pretty we dawdle through the little settlements, passing the turnoff for Turkey
Rock in Howard its only a few more miles to Cotopaxi and the horrors of the dirt track to the start.
A yellow straight on sign shows us to be on the right road and eventually we crest the top and are at the
turn off. A steep entry and then an upward wiggle to that “Bend”. One chance here to get it right as there
is no second bite of the cherry with this one, but the 60′ rig makes it round and we creep up the
crumbly track to the next set of hazards and take a better line through the downhill right hander where
the trailer wheels went over the edge on a previous visit, and finally the last steep uphill into the start
area where as usual Ed has marked out our birth for the next few days.

Here comes that turn, you can just see the rock wall coming……….

Pretty tight on the rock wall

Made it!

Salutations and leveling complete, not much on the agenda tonight so just relax and reserve
tomorrow for section viewing.

Friday morning, and by now we have several riders and helpers drifting in so time to take in the route
and enjoy the scenery. The 2 days are using a common route and the sections have been laid out in
pairs, where possible such that the Sat and Sun numbers are in the same location.

The numbers 1’s are just down from the start with the Saturday opener beside a disused travel trailer.
A gentle uphill to get everyone in the mood then turn left and meander back down through the rocks to
the lower grass, cut up through a potential footrest grabber at the end of a fallen tree and line up for a
choice of line either around a rock pile or through it. After that a 90 turn into an up and over log
crossing and the exit.

Sunday’s first is a little further down the trail and has a lot more challenges! A continuous uphill turn
over a crest into a steep descent amid some large rocks turning left then right before a small recovery
zone to get set for the real testing uphill into a 90 left turn on some nasty gnarly embedded rocks by the
tape, this could be where its won and lost.

Sunday 1, with the path up the right, around the big rock, and down tight
against the rock wall before turning right

The second half of Sunday 1 with the 90 left behind the card and big rock

The 2’s are variations on previous years but are much simpler than before and very doable. 3’s are
fun with Saturday’s being part of the route being an uphill with a little kink for 1 & 2 riders around a rock.
Sunday has a little more meat in it with some potential hazards for those not paying attention.

Sunday 2, not so tight as last year

4’s again are variations on previous sections and although tricky can be cleaned with a bit of effort.
A nice run round the tracks to Saturday 5 which is a new one but again shouldn’t cause any grief if you
stay on line. Sunday’s 5 is down by the garage and providing you don’t stray off line or catch a roller
should be easy enough.

Over the back of the property to 6 which is almost a reverse of last year and is definitely a line critical
section. 7 is another reverse of last year and should ride easier than it looks.

8 will be at the “Falls”, by the start, on both days and Mike Buckholz the trialsmaster is busy laying this
one out, plenty of traps here if the mind wanders or the line and power are not spot on.

Overall these events will take a few marks both days but are possible to clean every thing if an “A”
game can be selected! We will see how it goes tomorrow.

TONY DOWN

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  • 9/17/2009 9:28 PM Steveo wrote:
    Ah,adventure and it’s challenges on the open road!I had an older unit that had an overheating problem once.solved it by adding a wired on air scoop(piece of 1/8 plywood)under the front bumper,forcing more air into the rad.Not pretty,but it sure did work!
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TARTING UP TRAILERS

TARTING UP TRAILERS

TARTING UP TRAILERS

As she was in January, unwashed but road ready after 4 years

Ever closer, excitement builds, as the long layoff comes to an end and some mystic trials loom on the
horizon. The Safari is being “detailed” which has been sadly lacking while it has been sitting in the park
for the last 4 years! However I have been giving the old girl a bit of a once over and although there is not
much that can be done for faded paint, she is 13 years old, I can certainly tart her up a bit. The rear mud
flap had to be removed as is got bent beyond repair on our last outing to Turkey Rock so it was a Makita
job as the thing was tack welded to the underside. The radiator vent was taken off and every other slat
was removed with the faithful Makita as this model has always had an overheating problem on the big
hills and I’m told this will allow more air to the right parts,… we will see what happens on Wolf Creek
Pass.

Having completed the rear end time to attack the main awning which deployed last time out coming
over Poncha Pass. It actually comes off with relative ease but the 20′ cover plate is not so cooperative.
Some serious hammering to get it to shift down it’s groove and then of course the 10 feet of overhang
was looking like it would damage the coach. Nothing for it but to get the Makita out again and cut off 10′.
With that gone the rest was easy to slide out and remove.

What I thought was peeling paint on the roof turned out to be many years of accumulated filth on gold
paint which has now been removed leaving a “bright” gold line where all the crap used to be. Today’s
task is the final side where at some time in the past either the water heater or something else of an
aquatic nature dribbled down the side leaving rivers of calcium and lime. Now within sight of the finish
and even I am quite impressed. With aching arms solice was sought in the shade garden to enjoy a
couple of well earned beers when Madam announces that the trailer no longer matches the coach! So
it looks like I’m in for another project prior to departure to wash the trailer and then remove the red and
replace it with a goldie bronze color to match the coach……. and all before we leave on Thursday. Having
done the rear grille and resprayed that I’m now told “why can’t you do the front?”……… it never ends!

Washed and detailed and NO awning!

Looking good

On a limited time frame today as its party season and we have a repeat “Fish Fry” by Bob Hanson, his
earlier event was for the entire town but today it is for selected friends only. Last time it was a nice day
until we arrived when it suddenly became very windy, heavens opened, and amid the pouring rain
people running for cover and trying to find some warm jackets. Today’s forecast is for near record highs
but with a 30% chance of thunderstorms and rain this afternoon. Chances of getting much more done
tomorrow don’t look good either with another must do event of pool over in Mancos.

Despite my earlier reservations up and around bright and early and after the F1 race on to cleaning
the trailer which took another 2 hours to clean and remove a ton of wet tar that had sprayed up all over
the diamond plate front. All types of cleaning agent tried but eventually back to good old reliable petrol
and elbow grease.

Unwashed in Red

Next phase get the stickers off and rough sand the area to be painted while madam masks off the
zones and I can get ready for the spray job. Needless to say these “stickers” look like they mean
business and may be tricky to get off. Brenda got all the stickers off with the aid of the razor blade and
then used almost a can of WD40 removing all the glue….. fine job! Meanwhile I succumb and take off
the front grille and give that a birthday of new black paint and then replace all the rusted self tapping
screws. Into town for the paint and despite having decided on the color when I get there I find another
color which I think is closer to Madam’s desired look. 6 tins of the new color and home I go, turns out
to be very, very, close so with the masking in place the first side panel gets sprayed…… looks good…….
…. and then it starts to rain! and then it rains some more! Project abandonned for the day, lets hope I
can get it finished tomorrow which is also loading day.

Don’t you dare spray me!

Just wait, I’m nearly done masking

Only one mini shower this morning, so 5 tins of the new paint take care of two coats of the new color
and all looks very good. I have to say I’m very impressed with some of these “new” spray paints, no
runs, no orange peel, and they actually go on and stick! The masking tape comes off and Brenda’s
hard work has paid off and nothing has been missed and there is NO overspray. Looks a little plain
without the graphics but at least it matches the coach.

Painted, washed and detailed

All done, just need to load everything and maybe we will be out of here on time.

TONY DOWN

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SMALLTOWN USA

SMALLTOWN USA

SMALLTOWN USA

Life at 7000′ can be a challenge, climbing stairs is not for the faint hearted, so the move to Dolores
Colorado from the bustle of Phoenix took a little adjustment. The lunacy of Phoenix driving, which must
rate as some of the worst in the World, is a pleasure to be without along with the summer heat, which
although as they say is a “dry heat” gets a little too much as the temps are usually 100+ from mid April
until October. Local driving is a more relaxed and the only local lunacy is dumb Elks and Deer who
think they have the right of way but they will be as rare as RHS in the next few weeks as we move into
hunting season.

Now you see me, soon you won’t

So what exactly does happen in Dolores, population 800+, ……… a very good question? Well it would
appear not much, we have a grocery, a micro brewery, a hardware store, a rundown hotel, a motel,
3 RV parks, 2 gas stations, 2 vets, a library, a post office, a hairdresser, some restaurants, a new
upmarket fire station, burger bars and a few shops including a cycle shop for all the tourists and
mountain bikers, and of course the hub of the town the Hollywood Bar.

There is a local newspaper but the main source of all news is the Hollywood. We have a group of
“boy sheriffs and deputies” tearing around in their new Chevy’s looking for trouble while the rest of the
town goes about its normal business of fishing and drinking or doing precisely nothing and waiting for
the tourists.

In late summer our other local town of Mancos, population 1100, has its Pool season and then circa
October the Pool competition switches back to Dolores on Saturdays when the reverse Snowbirds
have left before the first snowfalls. During the summer the two towns have their “parades”  with Mancos
kicking off. Quaint perhaps, describes it best, with all manner of floats, horses, random Harley’s, school
children, old cars, lots of fire vehicles, and children grabbing candy from amid the horse **** in the road.
Mancos’s answer to the Hollywood is the equally well frequented Columbine, their center of all town
knowledge, and post parade, several horses and riders join the customers in the bar. Don’t forget that
Harley as that will be in there too! It did occur to me that maybe I should ride the Cub through there for
a couple of loops!

Cash for Clunkers ?

Rodeo Queens, guess the year ?

Something different from the Library Ladies

Even a horse needs a drink in the Columbine

Two weeks later the scene switches to Dolores for “Escalante Days” to remember the Spanish who
once colonized this area and account for the Spanish symbols amid the state flag. Father Escalante
and his merry band tromped through here many years ago giving all and sundry Spanish names,
Dolores being one and others of course are Mancos, Cortez, Montezuma, and many others before the
band traveled into Utah.

Escalante Days is the “Big Happening” in Dolores which kicks off with the same style parade with yet
more horses and cowboys followed by marching bands and the same collection of floats with their
occupants throwing sweets and candy for the kids to hunt for amid the “presents” previously dropped
by the horses! The parade wraps up with all the town’s new fire vehicles blowing horns and wailing
sirens.

The Parade begins……..

Not in use today!

The current fleet negotiating the horse “presents” and candy

This must be a new one ?

The center for viewing all this activity is of course the Hollywood, and from here you can wander outside
to watch all the other mainstream fun with the finish of the very well attended mountain bike race which
is taken very seriously in these parts. With the leaders coming home in the bike race down our own
Champs-Elysees  we move into the log cutting competition. The local lumber yard provides a perfect
12″ diameter log which arrives on it’s trailer out side the bar and prospective contestants warm up their
high performance, tuned and honed chainsaws. Name of the game is 3 cuts, one down, one up, and
the final downstroke to complete the contest.

The rules may not be entirely clear other than it must be a complete cut, but eventually after a couple
of rounds of this and with the crowd suitably covered in sawdust a winner emerges with 3 good cuts in
16 seconds.

The organizer shows how

Donny covers me in sawdust

With a choice of several well meaning local charities serving hot dogs, burgers and turkey legs a low
grade lunch is completed before the Arm Wrestling competition gets under way on the trailer that
previously had the log on board, while some 3 hours after the winners arrived the last of the mountain
bikers are still pedaling their way to the finish.

The “ladies”, and I used the term advisedly, competition gets under way and having watched it last year
I am expecting a no contest event when they let that “one” out of the cage!  However, a petite, but fit,
woman easily wins her opening heat and moves on while “gorilla” shows her Amazon skills with
another easy victory. The men’s section have their first rounds in all classes and we now move into the
final stages of the ladies event. Petite sails through her semi, while Gorilla gets thrashed in hers by
another equally broad shouldered dress wearing individual much to the amazement of all and sundry!
So here we are in the final, Petite v Broad Shouldered Dress, and as our contestants take the strain I
fear for Petite as Broad Shoulders made short work of last year’s Champ, Gorilla.

Last year’s Champ goes down in the third place tie break

Little wiry Petite doesn’t look to be concerned and when the Ref takes her hands away Petite delivers
a killer blow and puts down Broad Shoulders with one easy press! A new Champion is crowned, and
this time there will be no drug testing as she is clearly of the female gender!

As my headache refuses to go away, (it was the day after my birthday) we elect to miss out on the duck
race on the Dolores River where literally thousands of numbered plastic ducks are released and make
their way down the torrent to the bridge where many helpers collect them in nets. First prize is $1250,
and last place some time in the future will be $250.

Dances, bands, fighting and DUI’s round off the evening and then for Sunday more drinking, Harley’s
up the wazoo, and tales of daring do from Saturday night. By Monday morning the town has returned to
normality and now we all await the hunting season and those dreadful orange baseball caps. The
colors will change and the scene will be gorgeous for a few weeks and then as the Winter pool season
opens we will see the first falls of snow. Then as the roads get covered in the white stuff the plows will
be out blocking all the side roads, log splitting will be the order of the day, fires will rage, Christmas will
come and go and the tour buses will make their way the 55 miles to Telluride for some World Class
skiing.

Meanwhile, here in sleepy hollow the parties will continue, the smokers will huddle in the back room
of the Hollywood wondering when they will ever get the heater fixed? Three years ago they put in a new
heater, it of course ran out of LP but nobody would walk the 50 yards to get it filled. A new tank arrived..
……. some clown singed their eyebrows trying to light it……….. a shade tree mechanic tried to fix it with
some vice grips……… the brass fitting is now buggered!…………. 50 yards away is a plumber’s store……..
nobody has EVER fixed it…….. and there it sits………

TONY DOWN

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THE STOP, NO-STOP NONSENSE

 

THE STOP, NO-STOP NONSENSE

THE STOP, NO-STOP NONSENSE

In a Stop permitted event

Currently we have an interesting debate on STOP or NO-STOP rules raging both ways on Trials Central
and although I can read both sides of the story or argument it never ceases to amaze me how adamant
some views can be and how little some of the authors know of our trialing heritage. Questions of how
we got to where we are today and why many of our competing brethren want to change the current
status quo to what they view trials should be are not discussed nor the fact that the current level of the
WTC has become such an extreme sport that only a few can compete with any hope of winning.

What interest is there in World Trials? It has become so EXTREME that only “those” very FEW can
compete. National Champions are reduced to NOVICE performances as the magnitude of the
sections have become an “all or nothing attempt” over severe terrain that requires “minders” and
“bike savers” ….. at this level it is only a matter of TIME before someone is killed or seriously injured
attempting these near suicidal sections. Here again what is the purpose of these events? ….. well of
course like any avenue of motor sport, WINNING means SALES, but right now as interest at World
level means so little the average prospective purchaser is NOT using the World series as his
yardstick for his next “must have machine”.

Although I’ve waxed lyrical on this subject before it seems a good time to reiterate some of what I’ve
said previously. Trials HAS moved on over the years, and for the most part for the better, but right now
the sport that I grew up with has become a collection of different events all sheltering under an
umbrella calling itself  TRIALS.

So how did we get where we are today? What changes have there been, and why? Where are we
going and what is the likely outcome?

When I first started the “game” your progress was a natural evolution from beginner onwards and as
trials of the day were ALL single line sections you could see progress, or lack of, when the results
arrived with a section by section print out for the entire entry. Clearly the winners would have some
amazing scores that you could only dream of or marvel at their skills but over time you learnt the way to
overcome various hazards and eventually moved through the ranks.

Vintage Non Stop, but very tight and tricky

The scoring for trials in my youth was 0 for the clean, 1 for a single dab, 3 for anything further, and
finally the dreaded 5 for failure, stopping, becoming improperly seated (both legs on the same side
of the machine) or when the front wheel ceased to rotate in a forward direction. A momentary feet up
pause in balance was never penalized as it was considered a rare skill and unless the back wheel
was spinning required the use of the dreaded clutch which when re-engaged would usually result in
more lost marks. …….and for those that think endurotrials are something new nearly all trials of the
day had a “SpecialTest” to resolve ties which was a WFO style section or bit of ground …standing
start, to flying finish against the stopwatch!

Full Bore Climb in 2nd, could have been an old “Special Test”

Trials were on every Sunday throughout the winter as during the summer it was considered too easy
over the same terrain. At the bottom there were the Club Trials and then on every second Sunday there
were the Group Trials when 6-8 clubs all joined forces and ran one event each during the trialing
months. Moving on the next step on the ladder was the Open to Center with entries usually around the
200, and save for that 2nd Sunday you could ride one of these events every weekend. Once in a while
there were Novice only Trials and you could ride in these until you had achieved a Best Novice in Open
to Center when you were automatically upgraded to Expert.

Throughout the season there were all the big named Trials with the Scottish, Scott, Bemrose, Perce
Simon, etc, etc, if you were up to it, or wanted to do something that was harder and more challenging.
Even then some of these events were so hard that only the best could shine and I can remember riding
“The Greensmith” which was a real killer where entries were seldom more than 60, and on reflection I
can see why!  Of course many of the Nationals were British Championship rounds but the rank and file
could still have a go and compete on level terms and gain valuable experience which would normally
show itself on the rider’s return to Open to Center events.

The first major changes were the introduction of the “2” which had always been a bone of contention
between the great ride in a long muddy ditch where the Expert had a dab on entry, rode 100′ in perfect
control only to dab again by the Ends card compared to the centipede sit down on entry and leg it all
the way to the finish performance of a lesser light both scoring the same 3. About the same time we
saw the arrival of the Intermediate Class as it was deemed that the transition from Novice to Expert
was, in some Centers, a huge gap.

During the 70’s there was a huge upswing in bike sales as the Spanish bikes entered the fold and
were shortly followed by their Japanese rivals. Many riders would have a NEW bike every year and in
some cases a new one every six months. Whatever was winning on the day was going to be the bike
of choice for the rank and file, and worked on the premise of “if only I had one of those” or “nearly all
the top riders were on Bultacos etc etc”. Top riders of the day went from factory to factory and their
followers joined forces buying machines as their idols changed colors. Mick Andrews of course
moving from Ossa to Yamaha, Malcolm Rathmell swapping from Bultaco to Montesa and Don Smith
playing the field from Greeves into Montesa and then the awkward Kawasaki.

Exposure came to the fore with the BBC and the Kickstart series which featured all the big names
arsing about in an arena type environment of man made obstacles with such lunacy as teeter totters,
skips or dumpsters full of rocks and tires and of course the Volkswagen Beetle and now for extra
crowd involvement make it all against the clock rather like the “Jump Off” in Show Jumping which was
proving very popular with TV audiences at the time.

While this was quite fun to watch it wasn’t  REAL trials, more a way for the top lads to show their
undoubted skills, earn some extra money and have a bit of summertime fun. As the obstacles became
more extreme and ridiculous the top riders practiced this discipline until they could make some of them
look easy and all too soon organizers were laying out real trials with some of this nonsense included.
For those that watched Kickstart you may remember back then some horrendous crashes by the top
men falling off pieces of scaffolding, cars, and piles of cable drums stacked on trailers. I can’t
remember any serious accidents back then but of course these hazards would be further developed
into what we have today with the Indoor World series.

As a refresher you can go to www.youtube.com  and then select

Kickstart Trials Easton Neston Park 1982 Part 1, and then see Part 2. Also if you can find it look for the
1983 Kickstart Final. There were some quite nasty falls here, once again very skillful, but trials NO !!

About the same time we saw bigger and bigger steps included and absurdly tight turns that would be
quite impossible to ride round in a traditional feet up manner and instead of steep descents some
“life and limb” jump offs to make it to the next part of the section. Back then many riders would walk the
section, see it was outside their abilities and take the 5 rather than destroy their reputation. We saw
more and more of the unrideable turns creeping in and then the start of the 3 point or multiple point
turn, feet up and running backwards until the desired direction was achieved ! Incredibly skillful !
Trials No!

As riders bought uni cycles to train on, the sections continued getting harder and regular scores for a
Sunday ride had moved from the traditional 30-65 marks lost  depending on weather and other factors
to scores in the 100+ level. Now I have to say that when this started to be the norm in trials of the late
70’s it altered my perspective of what was fun or an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday. Don’t get me
wrong I enjoy a tough but fair trial and back then would relish a really foul weather event where 3’s
could sometimes be the ride of the day on many sections. On the other side of the penny trials can’t be
so easy that we all finish on a zero card either so there must be some middle ground.

I can remember the Scottish going the same way through the 8 rides and finishes I had there. Let’s
remember the Gordon Jackson One Dab event for 6 days of severe riding around the Highlands on a
big old AJS. The ever rising winning scores of the 70’s when I rode until Dougie’s father, Martin, winning
in 78 on a score of 99!  Now when the leader is on 99 you can only imagine the scores for those
finishing at about the 100th position when your score was around 600. Certainly an achievement to
finish but for the life of me it can’t be enjoyable to have effectively failed in over 2/3 of all the sections?

Still on a single line in the sections, numbers began dwindling for the reasons I have given until the
“hard and easy” routes were introduced. By now the stars are all graduating to lightweight
monoshocks and by the 80’s, and 90’s we have watercooled motors, 150lb bikes with hydraulic
clutches and disc brakes. Within no time the “stars” are using these improved tools and making the
absurd look simple.

Rules changed to accommodate all this trick riding and hopping and bopping around. A stalled motor
incurs a 5, whereas in Non stop regs there was never, and still isn’t, any mention as to whether the
engine is running or not. The interesting Stop with feet up incurs no penalty which sounds fair to me,
but what is with the stationary dab? Is this a dab? or is it a 5? and what happens when it was the
second or third dab and the rider is still stationary? …… and now we add in that a feet up stop is only
a 1 ? Does this now make the stationary dab a 2 or a 5 ???? Perhaps someone will introduce the 4 !
With all those borderline scores heaven help the checker or observer.

Now with the reintroduction of NON STOP in a lot of UK events and maybe the WTC we have some that
want a momentary feet up stop to be scored as a 1. Well sorry boys, you stop you get a 5, very simple
no argument! Taking this years Scottish as a classic event held on a single line section for all with Non
Stop rules, and probably one of the nastiest, weather wise on record, it was interesting to see the
results were comparable to some of the 70’s and the middle riders were losing 200-300 marks for
their 6 days of hell in the Highlands. Bikes have moved on and are clearly much more capable than
those of the 70’s, the sections have obviously become harder, but fantastic to see that the “test” has
taken the same number of marks so well done to the Edinburgh Club again for keeping the balance
and maintaining the traditions of what can only be classed as the best trial in the world.

Quite a surprise for me when I started riding here in the States to find “lines” for just about every entry!
We have the Champ Class, Expert, Expert Sportsman, Sportsman and finally the Advanced class who in
state events ride in the afternoon. In the morning we have Beginners, Juniors, Novice, Intermediate and
the Elite Class. Throw in a few Vintage and Twinshock riders and that completes the line up with every
section a mass of “pie plates” cards and ribbons!

Moving into the Vintage scene and trying the AHRMA series I’m still presented with 4 different lines in
every section and more often than not a good Vintage rider will lose marks for missing a “split” rather
than a true failure in a section. Of course riding Vintage sections on an old bike I find very enjoyable
both as a rider and as Clerk of the Course or Trialsmaster. If I were to run a trial purely using the “TD”
rules then I would have a SINGLE line set of sections, Non-stop rules, and for the most part use
“Buddy Check” as the scoring system. Now what does that do for the sport or your Sunday
entertainment? Well it means we don’t need a dedicated team of Checkers and Observers, it means
the lesser lights can get some “free instruction” from the more able riders as we go round the route,
and a little round of applause goes a long way for a good attempt when you are a beginner. Also,
generally speaking, it means the event will finish earlier than the morning + afternoon sequence.

Now of course I fully appreciate that with single line sections for all, like the Scottish, the disparity of
scores will be high but each class is still competing within its own limits. What will be a “main road” for
Champs, Experts and the like will provide excellent sections for Novices and Intermediates. By using a
“group of sections” we would see the sections getting progressively harder so it maybe that in a group
of 4 Continuous sections, everyone should clean 1, top Novices and Intermediates should clean 2,
most of the lost marks for all classes will be in 3 and section 4 is where the top riders get their
challenge but at the same time a Novice can at least attempt it and maybe struggle through with a
working man’s three rather than a visit to the ER. As was once said you only have to put up a “BEGINS”
and an “ENDS” card and someone will FIVE it! ……… and that was always true of Town Hall Brae,
Fort William in the 70’s when it was always included being in the center of Fort William but for most
riders was little more than a joke, however on my last visit there I saw some enormous boulders have
appeared to bring it up to today’s standards.

A few changes on Town Hall Brae

……and finally IMHO I think NON-STOP rules are the way to go for the foreseeable future, it will never
make trials easier, it just means the sections will be more flowing with less extreme hazards and
should therefore be seen as more “do-able” to the beginner or would be trials rider.

TONY DOWN

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  • 8/23/2009 9:14 PM Outlaw Dave wrote:
    Thank Christ somebody else thinks like me !!!
    Reply to this
  • 8/24/2009 10:21 PM Mark O’ Neill wrote:
    Could’nt agree more, why change the rules now people don’t seem to know the difference between 5&3 when self scoring. Nice to meet you at the scotish & have a crack,I ride vintage & some modern in Alberta canada, I do the outlaw series which dave does a tip top job of & atra. Would like to come down your neck of the woods & do some avents down there someday like yourself i have a soft spot for ty’s
    Reply to this
  • 9/11/2009 5:49 PM Glenn Swanson wrote:
    Tony , Again you hit the nail on the head , Square and true … I grew up in New England and started riding trials there just before the TL125’s came out … And back then we had novice , int. and expert sections . all Single line and you rode a combination of them . Much like ITSA does .And if you won a few , your points got added up and the club told you what class you were riding .And a well executed floater was the ultimate move back then . I did learn how to do a rollback turn backthen which no-one allows any more … Which of course requires use of the clutch and good balance to change directions and only works in choice locations .But we never dabed while doing it and it would be either that or a well placed dab /or floater to make a turn .
    Last month I rode a itsa event in N.C.(brought my son and his Fantic 50 too !!) That I had the opportunity to help lay out , and was amazed (as it was a combo event , modern & twinshock )
    how many modern guys/and a few ahrma riders left after 1 loop !
    Stating it was to hard with no stop and hop rules !But my beloved twinshock experts all got scores in the teens and twenty’s out of 30 sections …And yeah there were a few sections that only got cleaned a few times all day . But it is supposed to be a test of skill , isn’t it ? But then again after all was said and done , all the folks that mattered said it was one of the best events theyed ever rode … And I dnf’d but still had a ball ! Balence is a skill !
    Glenn , And check out my youngest son’s TY80 whitehawk replica actually burning fuel again !!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kHEd3pwEx8
    Reply to this
  • 9/20/2009 11:24 AM alex wrote:
    I hope this is just me subscribing to this blog?
    I love how much you write. I am new to Trials riding at 47years old. I already have a Montesa 348 and a sprite with 37A villers.
    There is so much I do not know.
    Reply to this
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ANOTHER ONE GONE

ANOTHER ONE GONE

ANOTHER ONE GONE

August 7th! Another year goes in the history books and perhaps not the best out of the 63 done but one
with a lot of memories nonetheless. It was about this time last year when the final realisation that there
was zero hope for the building industry in Arizona and it was time to close the business was made.
Last payments were duly made on houses, vehicles and equipment and with no further income the
chips had to fall where they may.

Last remaining trips in the Beaver would still take place and the end of August 3 weeks were looking
good for the 3 day event at Casper, 2 days in Tooele, and then Sandia where Mick and Jill Andrews
would be the guests of honor. A trip down memory lane was planned for Napa and Hollister to round
out the trials year. Sadly the prospect of the big “B” was all too apparent and despite some wild ideas,
without income and a failing economy, causing many assets to become worthless, the situation
seemed grim.

The move to Colorado was made, precious assets were discarded, and eventually the “walkaway”
from the 1.2M home was done. The luxury motor home was returned with all it’s equity, my personal
car was duly collected and anything saleable was sold at criminal low prices.

The Beaver Marquis at Cotopaxi

Winter life in Colorado became a ritual of snow shovelling, log splitting and walking to the Hollywood
for the Saturday Pool Competition. Too cold to work on trials bikes or much else outside so plenty of
time to consider the future and how to survive in hard times.

Small Town Saturday afternoon pool

On the trials front a lot of fun securing 8 wins in Classic Expert, and a further 7 wins on the RE in Prem
Heavyweight Int. However some soul noted an obsure rule that despite the fact that you can ride one
class above what your Ahrma card is stamped you can’t get Championship points for ANYTHING other
than the rating on your card! So despite the 8 wins I was disqualified!  Casper was 3 great days on the
Enfield and after all the fun of the passenger slide deploying while on the move we finally made it
across the country to Salt Lake, had the system checked and then made it on time to Tooele for their
2 Day. Two good days of trialing in a new venue with a good turnout for a first time event and one that I
felt sure would be a regular on the calendar. Oh well, maybe next year? Then time for Sandia which I’ve
done since they started it 5 years ago and this year a lot of fun was had with Mick and Jill Andrews and
Mick decided to ride Superglitz in the event, so quite a honor there.

Mick tries Superglitz at Sandia

Finances, or lack of, prevented the run to Napa and Hollister and the Beaver was duly returned to
Phoenix where it remained with not so much as a sniff at the Dealership. Several trips back to Cave
Creek to collect those items I could use up here and then get rid of the Screamin Eagle VRod to survive
the winter.

The V Rod on a rare outing

Workshop completed and then it snowed and it snowed some more! Christmas came and went but at
least it was white and then we moved into 2009 when it snowed some more! The old Safari was
de-mothballed and she became the trials transporter for 2009 and took her first run to Buckeye for the
season opener. Mental plans are still in place for the Pre 65 Scottish but common sense says it is not
going to happen. More bikes are duly sold including the KTM and Ossamaha and a whole load more
stuff on ebay. A master sponsorship plan is put in place and when the chips are down you very soon
find out who your friends are, some wonderful surprizes and very generous contributions made the
whole thing a reality but equally a sign of the times with some downright rudeness from others who
could not even respond with a “Sorry”. Needless to say when you want something so much, the World,
Universe and Karma all have a way of putting it together so never give in.

A White Christmas

The Pre 65 operation ran smoothly, even though the crap BSA did not! Many old friends and
colleagues were on hand in Scotland, namely Dick and Lyn Clears, Mick and Jill, Jack Knoops and
another fellow competitor from the 70’s George Webb. Many stories and memories were relived over
some pleasant evening bar time and even Brenda’s reservations about the whole trip were dispelled
as she fell in love with what is the magic of the Highlands.

The event itself, despite the attrocious weather, kicked my arse big time as I was not expecting the
sections to be anywhere near as tough and equally the BSA was not up there in my “favorite bikes of all
time” and was a real struggle to ride. Never mind, I know I could have ridden better on a more suitable
mount but I finished nonetheless which is still an achievement in anyone’s books.

NO, I’ll never have a BSA !!

Back home and another Yam gets sold, this time the gorgeous all alloy TY from 77. Now time for all
those gardening projects and getting back in to the run of Ahrma events. Milliken and Howard at Turkey
Rock all came and went and for the most part I rode very well returning two zero cards with a
determined effort and improved concentration, mind you the Cub is a delight to ride and I only wish I
could have had her with me for Scotland.

The 77 before shipping

Then came the “broken feet” saga with Brenda managing to break her foot, and this only 4 months
after breaking a finger walking the dogs. I followed up dropping the 500 lb rock on my foot and that
stopped all plans for Steamboat and Donner. Well we both survived, parties are now all the small town
rage as all the reverse snowbirds are here for the summer and the “pool” sessions have now reverted
to Wednesday afternoon and the cycle ride on Thursday morning to recover the car from the Hollywood.

So the birthday was one day ahead of “Escalante Days” and after much pool & drinkies in the
Hollywood we made it back to CC where the game continued polishing off the last of Tequilla Rose
before slipping into Drambuie and all the memories of the countless flights into Dhahran aboard the
riotous drunken British Airways party bus to the Middle East.

The bikes are ready, so am I, and we will try some more of this trials riding stuff in a couple of weeks
and see if I can capture that Classic Expert’s Title that I was denied last year…..another year older but
not much wiser!

TONY DOWN

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  • 8/18/2009 10:23 AM Outlaw Dave wrote:
    Hey Tony – Happy birthday mate – It really was a shame you didn’t get to ride a “Decent’ bike at the Scottish, after traveling all that way.
    As you saw by the video clip – I still like to ride, and will maybe visit Steve Richardson on his “Treasure Island” just off the coast of Vancouver next month ( It’s my 72nd Birthday on Sept 5th – so might do a Birthday thing)
    All the Best
    Dai
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WHIZ BANG FLASH

WHIZ BANG FLASH

WHIZ BANG FLASH

Now thats a Spark !

Once again a reader has asked for some guidance and stories of the Magic of the Whiz, Bang, Flash
sequence that is the key ingredient of the trials bike’s pie, namely ignition. Using the KISS principle I’ll
try and keep things on a level plane without going into high tech electrics and ohms and other technical
terms.

Going back to my youth and first bikes, ignition was one of those things that I was first given instruction
on and all the settings were the same then as they are today when dealing with vintage bikes. Let’s look
at what the ignition system consists of and then see if we can improve it. The following is the basic set
up and goes like this for all the bikes that I usually deal with:

Stator Plate, comprising:
1. Source Coil
2. Lighting Coils
3. Points
4. Condenser
5. Wiring

Flywheel, with magnets to create the field, according to Faraday and other sages

Wiring Loom

HT Coil

Kill Switch

Plug Lead & Cap

Plug

An Earth point

Going back in time a lot of trials bikes were also used by their owner’s as everyday street transport and
come the weekend lights were removed ready for the Sunday trial. Getting home on a winter’s evening
could sometimes be problematic in the gathering gloom and sometimes the mustard keen police
would pounce and try and give you a ticket for riding without lights. Clearly it was illegal to be riding
without lights in the dark but the rules were that if lights were fitted then THEY must work.  If you didn’t
have any then you were good as long as it was still daylight. Super Plod would sometimes say that if
the lighting coil was still fitted that constituted “lighting” and therefore you were illegal………. so we took
the coil off just so we could argue the point. Currently I tend to leave them in place just for the balance
of the plate but they can be removed and tossed.

Taking our standard TY motor as it arrives prior to rebuild  it is often worth a quick kick to see if anything
is there but do not despair if it isn’t as all parts of the system are readily available. The Yam system has
a fixed stator which works well and is one less thing to slip or go wrong in the heat of battle. I would
personally replace the three philips retaining screws with allen bolts when you take the stator plate off.
Obviously you will have already removed the flywheel, and don’t forget the TY250 and TY175 pullers are
different so make sure you have the correct one on hand. More often than not the 3 wire harness
running from the stator plate to the back of the engine will have become brittle as the heat of the engine
cracks the plastic sheath. I normally cut all this off and then remove the 2 Yellow colored wires leaving
only the live Black wire.  If these wires are “hard” or “brittle” I would replace the Black wire with a new
one. I like a nice firm ignition wire and protect mine with a piece of color coordinated petrol piping
running all the way from the top of the flywheel case and then up the frame tubes to the HT coil.  I take
the rubber bung out of the ignition case and drill out the 3 wiring holes to make one 1/4 hole in which I
insert a 90 degree rubber vacuum bend. This will protect the Black hot wire and the 5/16 petrol pipe will
slip neatly over the unit. The hard part of this operation is getting the wire through the rubber 90! ….. so
while I’m prepping other parts I shove a small guage allen wrench through the rubber effectively
straightening it out.

The 90 bend with hot black wire on a prepped motor

With any old competition engine you may as well always start with new points and a condenser. Some
of these may require a little soldering. New points, especially some of the later OEM ones arrive with a
dull teflon looking coating over the faces and this MUST be removed before fitting. When you remove the
old points you might as well replace the adjusting screw as these usually have all manner of abuse! I
normally fit the points at the mid point on the adjustment scale and this can be reset if required once the
flywheel is back on. While the flywheel is off I normally give the magnets a clean and before reassembly
make sure you remove all the little bits of metal and filings that are stuck on the ends of the magnets
and between each other.

The protective tubing (in yellow) from source to HT

Running the new wire up the frame tubes to the HT Coil I use a connector with a 5/16 diameter at the
top end. I drill out the top screw in portion to allow for a double thickness of wire so that I can mate the
wire from the coil and a single wire which I will use for the kill switch. On the Yam frame there are plenty
of holes in the frame and the kill switch wire can easily be run forward and up to the headstock and
handlebars.

The 90 bend again with the slip over in red

Protective purple tubing running the other way on Ossamaha

HT coils don’t usually cause too many problems and can always be quickly interchanged if there is any
doubt on their serviceability. A couple of things to check here are the main core wire and the plug cap
itself. A quick inspection of the inside of the cap will tell you whether the screw on metal at the top of the
plug needs to be retained or removed. Also worth a check is the condition of the main wire and whether
that is rusty and corroded. A quick snip back to bright wiring is all that is required.

Although it should be obvious plugs come in many types both in heat ranges and reach. NEVER use a
long reach plug in a short reach head!!! Know the plug that is the right one for your engine and wherever
you go on a trials bike ALWAYS carry a spare. The plug gap for bikes of the 60’s and 70’s is usually
18-22 thou and of course modern day plugs have many uses and invariably come with a much wider
gap anywhere between 25-35 thou so do remember to reset yours to the design spec.


The latest in plugs

Back downstairs to the points and with the flywheel carefully reinstalled time to check the points open
when required at the desired 15 thou. I usually put the flywheel on using both hands to stop the
magnets grabbing the stator and knocking the woodruff key out of place. It might seem obvious but start
with the key in the vertical 12 o’clock position. Push the flywheel in place and rotate to where the points
are just opening.  There are holes in the flywheel where you can insert feeler guages and screwdrivers
but sometimes this can test your patience as the magnets are pretty strong! You can use a timing tool
at this stage in the plug hole to determine TDC if you so wish. With the points set correctly time to
tighten that screw! …… and with the new plug suitably grounded on the fins a test kick or two should give
a nice blue flash. Time to recheck that woodruff key is in place and then tighten up the flywheel. If the
motor has been taken down starting will normally take 3 kicks as you are establishing crankcase
compression before it will start. Finally seal up the flywheel cover to stop dirt and water ingress and
the job is done.

Another question that some are interested in is the effect the flywheel has on performance? Well,
a Trials engine on a Vintage machine is designed to have a “steam roller” type flywheel where the
engine will just keep ploughing on thereby providing grip and traction at idle and good pick up
without violent wheel spinning when the power is reapplied. A light flywheel will most likely give many
“feet up 5’s” as the motor will stall unexpectedly when power is reduced to idle. Most modern machines
have a much lighter flywheel and are designed to be ridden using the clutch whereas our vintage
bikes are not! In my opinion removing flywheel weight from an older bike will make it rev quicker
but it will also stall a LOT easier and most likely INCREASE your score for the day. Overall opinion,
leave the system as it is!

Size is important!

Now for those engines with movable stator plates you will need a timing tool and a simple light that
can be fixed on the wire. A machine where timing was absolutely critical was the early Bultaco and I
used to spend a fair amount of time getting the ignition set to exactly the right point which if memory
serves me right was 4 degrees BTDC. A simple enough task with a bit of practice and with the correct
tools. With the bike on a stand you can select top gear and rotate the rear wheel to find TDC using the
tool in the plughole.

Simple TDC tool

Depending on what lighting system you use as you rotate the wheel the light will either DIM or go out
completely as the points open. So knowing where TDC is and where the manufacturer suggests the
timing should be you can see exactly where you are or need to be. After all the flywheel on and offs
remember that woodruff key! as it can easily be dislodged. We often used to use a cigarette paper
between the points and with a light pressure you could see the point at which the paper came free.
When you have the ignition system set precisely to your liking worth just scoring the plate and housing
such that if it does slip for whatever reason then you have a “datum” to go back to without going through
the whole procedure every time.

Electronic ignitions? When they are working great, but some of them can be fiddly to set up. Some
offer all sorts of auto advance/retard devices and may indeed give some advantages but for my money
the simple systems when correctly set up and maintained are equally good and for a lot of riders I
doubt that anyone would notice the difference. Of course having a perfect ignition system is one thing
but if your carburation doesn’t match it then you still have work to do, but that again is another story!

TONY DOWN

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  • 5/27/2011 7:18 AM Jon Dearie wrote:
    Hi Tony, when running this single wire conversion, do I need to ground the wire somewhere?
    Thanks, Jon.
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THE LAST TWO

THE LAST TWO

THE LAST TWO

The  “Real Thing” Edinburgh 1974

The time has come to get my proverbial in gear and sell the last two trials bikes from the now much
depleted thirty strong collection. Top of the shop will be my museum piece “53” which has only seen
battle once following it’s build several years ago.

The Replica on it’s one and only ride

Back then, realistically money was no object, and I was at the height of my Yamaha building phase.
Machines were sourced, mainly through E-bay, and then rebuilt to whatever standard and color
scheme I had in mind. Several of the TY250A models were rebuilt and finished to a high order of
polish and chroming, suitably revamped with modern day throttles and carbs and sent on their way
to their new owners. The sequence usually followed the same pattern and it became almost
automatic from the “wrecks” arrival until dispatch.

A pair of rebuilds ready for sale

The truck would pull into the yard and once the crate or package was off loaded the first inspection
would begin. In the early days a good amount of used stuff would depart for the dump as I had no
intention of using it but in later years it was preserved and re-sold through ebay at some outrageous
prices.

Once the original decision had been made to concentrate on Yamaha’s rebuilding them became a
breeze as I had all my sources for parts available and a large collection of equipment and spares on
hand including many rechromed and repolished items all ready to fit. At that stage I had been through
3 different metal shops for chroming and polishing and eventually settled on a reliable firm who
produced the work on time and to a very high quality.

Sprockets, Mikuni VM26 carbs, cables and throttles all came from BJ Racing, while Cycle Gear
supplied all tires at trade along with air filters, racing chains, levers and a selection of oils and petrol
piping. A local company, Copperstate, was a good source for all replacement metric nuts and bolts,
and the local ACE hardware at the end of the road was always on hand for that oddball item that I
didn’t have in stock. Some items such as bars and the one piece tank and seat unit and footrest
conversion units all came direct from the UK and that man in New Milton.

OEM parts were always available from Speed and Sport in PA and usually a lot cheaper than
anywhere else.

The project that would become 53 was acquired from E-bay and it looked very good in the picture and I
was amazed that nobody even gave it a second look and it just sat at it’s asking price with, no reserve,
until bidding closed at my opening bid. Sometimes that happens, I know, whereas a piece of real junk
can take off and get an absurd price. It duly arrived with cheap shipping from a dealership and was
even better than in the pictures. Flawless tank, no signs of abuse anywhere and totally original.

Better than expected “53” on arrival

Extensive chroming of frame, exhaust, footrests, kicker and shifter and polishing for engine cases,
fork legs, yokes and brake anchors and with all the new parts on hand it was reassembled and given
its one and only competitive ride.

Engine redone!

Building the masterpiece in the lounge

As she is today

At the time I had several other TY250A’s that were in regular competition use so 53 was assigned to
the museum where she sat until our enforced move up to Colorado. Now she sits below the “I love me
wall” but its time for her to be on her way and join someone else’s collection.

Pride of place in the museum

Baby Superglitz was another TY175 that was built shortly after completion of the first Glitzmobile and
at this stage I was looking to do something really special and like a Harley I went the whole hog and
chromed everything including engine cases forks and yokes. I must confess that I was amazed at
what a TY175 could do as I had always thought they were underpowered and a bit on the small side
for trials. Just how wrong can you be! She won the Twinshock Class against some stiff competition
and also won a few rounds in the Ahrma Nationals before being retired to make way for other projects
namely the Superglitz Mk 2 which I still use today.

The First “Glitz”


Chromed everything!

More chrome than a Harley!

Ready for action

Big Brother the “Superglitz”

The 175 was rebored as they seem to be a little weaker in that department than their big brothers and
now I must change the main bearings before turning her loose once more. So a few days in the
workshop rebuilding the baby then finish her off with a new set of red fenders and she too, will be
ready to grace e-bay.

53 will be up for sale this week starting at $3500 and the 175 Babyglitz will be on at $3000 if anyone is
interested ?

TONY DOWN

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  • 8/13/2009 10:14 AM James Graham wrote:
    Hello Tony- I want to say that I have read some your writtings and you are a great writter who leaves the reader wanting more. I love vintage TBs, and had owned a mid 70s TL125. I plan to buy a couple old scooters and keep practiced on my Sherco. I would like to get involved with vintage trials comp so look forward to meeting you oneday. I routinely watch EBAY on vintage bikes and could easily see myself owning 6 or 8. Thanks again for the great reads. James
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