HISSY FIT !

 

HISSY FIT !

HISSY FIT !

Pretty ? yes, but a real pain to dig out

This morning I threw a “Hissy Fit’ with my Mother. Yes, I’m very sorry but I wanted to go to Buckeye but
Mother Nature decided to dump yet another foot of snow all over everything and once more I’m trapped.
All my work digging out is for nothing and I’m right back where I started !

Right back where I started !

A jokes a joke but this,even though I’m a skiier, is becoming very annoying. Also I’m due to drive to
Grand Junction on Monday which is around 200 miles and as the snow continues to fall and with the
blizzard and road closures over the passes  forecast I’m less than impressed.

Some work here !

The plow gets as close as he can

Brother! some fun digging here too

Hopefully tomorrow is the last day of this series of winter storms so we should be able to get the plow
back in here and dig our way out yet again. Yet more log splitting for Brenda as I’ll be away for a few
days and I don’t want her swinging axes and injuring herself. Then when I’m back from GJ we will see
if I can get in the workshop and start thinking Buckeye.

Need to get in here for the Cub and the tools

Phoenix is getting a battering of rain but the driving should be all clear once we are South of 4 Corners.
We will keep a good eye on the weather this year and try not to repeat last year’s disaster by attempting
to cross the reservation in a blizzard…… never ever again! Trials are Fun, but common sense has to
feature strongly this time.

Flash floods down the wash in Cave Creek AZ…. yikes!

Very pretty and Christmas Card scenes all around with trees bent over loaded with snow, people
shovelling and others walking by in the falling snow. A re-dig of the path to take the dogs for a walk as
what is good for the loopy labrador is a major challenge for the bambino King Charles spaniels.
Remove the 2′ high berm that the town plow has dumped in the driveway and thats one area done.
Next up beat a path out to the guest cabin as someone is renting that today and then time to find the
car.

Christmas postcard everywhere and the town plow has blocked us in !

About 1 it lets up and shovelling can commence to get the car out. Depth about 15″ so time to cut a
turn area and then make headway towards the road. Having cleaned off the car it starts snowing AGAIN !
and this time its really heavy. 2.5 hours of constant digging and I’m getting close but it continues to fall
and the snow itself has changed from a heavy wet sticky consistency to pure powder and by the time
I’ve finished the car is covered again as about 4″ has fallen while I’ve been out there.

4 pm and we can saddle up and get to the Post Office and venture out for a much needed beer. The
snow continues and the town is at a standstill apart from the Hollywood bar and the Brewery. We make
it back on the big Cadi tires and get established as the cabin tenant arrives after a very long drive from
Utah.

Dawn, and for the first time this week it isn’t snowing!! The depth guage on the balcony rail shows
about 15-18 inches, to go with the other 30 inches we have had already this season. Today we hope
the plow will come and we can get back to business.

Sure beats shovelling

The plow arrived and pushed and shoved its way through tons of the white stuff and now we have
mountains of it everywhere but other than the workshop we can walk around our park and there is a
danger I might get to the RV and trailer in February! Its now getting difficult to find somewhere to put the
snow as the banks are now towering columns. Certainly the most snow I’ve ever seen here and we are
only in January.

The snow banks get bigger

After my week away in Grand Junction there has been some melting but I still have quite a few hours
of digging to get to the assets required for Buckeye. the Safari shouldn’t be too difficult to get to but that
trailer needs a lot of work and it will be tough getting to the workshop!

TONY DOWN

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  • 2/7/2010 8:59 PM Tim Jackson wrote:
    Har, har! We’re in the same shape here in Idaho. Nothing to do but work and ski! Our ’84 Windcruiser is axle-deep in snow in our back yard, 200 feet from the nearest plowed road and me with my shovel. I figure at an hour a day, I’ll have it free by the 15th of March — if
    El Nino doesn’t trick us and lay down a couple more feet of wet between now and then!
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OUT THE DOOR

 

OUT THE DOOR

OUT THE DOOR

As the snow continues to fall and another dose of Cabin Fever sets in time to reflect on the “empty”
workshop!  The downsizing forced on me during the great recession I have to accept as being
something that I could do little about.  The once 30 strong contingent of motorcycles various is now
much depleted, but what I do have left I will be thankful for.

One of the rooms in the AZ workshop…… all gone!

2009 was the year of the survivor and most likely without my trials hardware I would now be living in a
cave or worse. Not being one to give in machines have been “retired” to others so that food could be
put on the table. Very sad to see them go but if you are not riding them or do not see them being used
on a regular basis then its the only prudent thing to do.

Of the remaining bikes that were brought to Colorado after the mega sale to Richard the first one to be
offered up was that 520 EXC KTM. Now that was quite something and I remember ordering it from new
when money was never an issue. Like all enduro bikes it was too big at the seat height presumably
because manufacturers have never really asked riders what they actually require to get the job done.
Consequently enduro bikes are capable of leaping over 30 buses at Caesar’s Palace but are a
nightmare to ride up muddy climbs or anywhere your feet are needed to suppliment traction. Fast and
furious, yes, but as anyone will tell you who has ridden ISDT/ ISDE being airborne in unknown terrain
is not the sharpest thing to do. In my early days it didn’t take too long to realise that a crowd standing
on the top of the hill was not there to see your riding prowess, more for the delight and amusement of
watching you fall off or sail into the unknown. Of course it is true that these machines handle superbly
well along fast rutted tracks but in mud or nadgery they can be a real handful.

The 520 EXC from the Bakery…… very, very quick

With the approach of the 2009 Pre 65 Silver Jubilee Scottish Mike Buchholz bought Ossamaha, a
machine I never thought I would sell, and that more or less paid for the Scotland expedition.

A major engineering effort but it handled very well

The final road bike that I didn’t want to sell was eventually collected and I nearly cried as I watched it
being test ridden and loaded up for departure. This was my Rothman’s Racing Honda 929RR which
was a one off and a true delight to ride with predictable handling and immense power.

Had me in tears when this one went

Another Yamaha was offered up on Ebay and was soon on its way to its new owner. This was my
1977 TY250C with its all alloy finish. This bike was another joy to ride and to look at and had I not
been riding 4 strokes it would have been campaigned in the Modern Classic Expert’s Class and
would no doubt have done very well.

The very pretty Ty250C

The year moves on and now its time to rebuild my baby Glitzmobile which had been retired at the end
of the 2004 season and was in need of some main bearings. Duly completed she joined other
machines on Ebay and was soon on her way to her new owner on the East side of the country.

Baby Glitz complete with new mains ready for sale

So what was left to spanner in the workshop? All my bikes, save for my Scottish replica “53” have gone
but lurking in the corner is “Ugly Betty” the SWM Jumbo that belongs to Richard. About 6 weeks to
rebuild the wreck and when Richard comes to collect it his check book stretches further and “53” joins
his collection.

The end of an Era…. “53” joins Richard’s collection 

Well I have nothing left to sell ! All that remains is the BMW for her ladyship to glide round mountains
on, her own baby TY125 Yamaha with the chrome tank, my Superglitz TY250A Yamaha, as ridden and
signed by Mick Andrews in 2008 and my thumper collection of the Royal Enfield Don Morley Bullet and
perhaps my all time favorite the NO excuse Cub.

TONY DOWN

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A DIFFERENT SORT OF CHECKER ?

 

A DIFFERENT SORT OF CHECKER ?

A DIFFERENT SORT OF CHECKER ?

99,991, 99, 992, 99,993, 99,992,…………..@#$% !      1, 2, 3………  Let the counting commence. Yes, its
2010 and time for the US Census to find out just how many people are on this huge land mass.

Last year during the winter months I applied for a job with the Census Team. First step take the 28
question test, not that easy ! and then wait. In March last year I was called forward to become an
Enumerator. 3 days of intensive training at the Cortez public library followed going through all the rules
and much reading verbatim from some very dry manuals while our Crew Leaders struggled with some
parts of the English language.

Hours spent fumbling with the hand held computer/GPS and then finally out in the field to see how it
all went together. Well of course if you only do this once every 10 years, and you employ people who
are learning the info themselves and are not qualified instructors or teachers then I’m afraid things will
not flow and knowledge will be difficult to impart.

Our task was phase 1, the mapping, and so now newly qualified and demi proficient with the hand
held GPS (made in China) I set off like Vasco de Gamma to map the world. One small problem with
the GPS was that it doesn’t like the Dolores River Valley and 1/2 way along main street it starts playing
up !……. and by the time you get to 17th Street its telling you that you are at 18th Street ? well never
mind I can live with that. A few weeks working my way through all my assignments leading up to last
years Pre 65 and then nothing !!

All tasks complete and no more work. Well fairly obviously rural SW Colorado is not a high density
area when it comes to the population and a lot of houses here are for the reverse snowbirds who
migrate out of Texas and Arizona to avoid the summer heat. So not really a surprise that the work
comes to a halt, but now we are moving into the final phases when the actual count begins in earnest.
With all our work mapping every dwelling the postal forms can now be sent out and one would hope
these forms will be correctly filled in by the said occupants and duly returned for the count. Well like
most forms of any government nature I suspect about 50% will never get completed, some will never
be delivered, and a good number will end up in the trash bin. So that is no doubt where we are going
on the next phase with a lot of evening and weekend work knocking on doors.

During my mapping phase work I did meet a very unpleasant individual. I could see a new house that
was under construction down by the river but had no number or street address and was not on my
map. A gentle inquiry with a neighbor gave me some information that some gentleman was building it
and so far it had taken 5 years but was not occupied. I duly set off down the track to see if there is a
number on the house or a building permit but, nice house that it is…… nothing. Oh well map it anyway
and as I’m doing this a Dodge dually flatbed comes hammering down the rough track in a cloud of
dust and parks sideways in the entrance.

Not what I was expecting !

The Neandrathal shuffles out from behind the wheel and cocks his 9mm as he verbally assaults me.
No amount of showing him my Census badges is going to placate this ruffian so I advise him that if
he continues pointing the weapon at me he will be taking a visit to the ER to have it removed from his
sphincter muscle where it will be holstered in about 30 seconds!!!

The badge of Office

This year I have been called forward to be a Crew Leader and I’m off to Grand Junction for 4 days of
training next week. Being a Government organization they at least pay well on the mileage so the 400
mile round trip will net enough for some of the trip to Buckeye.

The snowy conditions were not too bad and it seems Dolores itself got the most snow of anywhere.
With clear roads I’m at the hotel 4 hours after departure. Tuesday morning and training begins for 15
Crew Leaders for our phase which is the Group Quarters Enumeration which includes basically
everything that is not a normal house. What I mean by that is hospitals, prisons, shelters, bunk houses
and places like soup kitchens. When the facts are at hand you realise just how bad it is for some
people and for a small rural town like Grand Junction they estimate there are between 3-4000
homeless!

A week of bookwork and learning the task and I’m back on the road for another 4 hour drive at 1730.
Quite pretty as its a very bright full moon so the light is reflecting off the snow in the fields and the
mountain tops look spooky. Reminded me of my cross country escape and evasion exercises in
Bavaria during Winter Survival many years ago.

Home now as a fully fledged Crew Leader……. let the count commence!

TONY DOWN

P.S. If you are coming to Buckeye for the 2 Day WE NEED CHECKERS so let me know.

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24

 

24

24

The following takes place 3 weeks before the event…………”.   seems appropriate as the new TV
series gets under way and I too, need to start thinking of our “24”, sections that I need  to provide for all
comers with some new and old challenges for the 2010 Buckeye Bonanza.

Of course with the passing of another year, winter flash floods in Arizona, other projects that we are not
privy to and all matters pertaining to a MX track it will be the standard surprise on arrival to see just what
we have available to test Buckeye regulars and first timers alike. I can think of quite a few sections we
have used over the last 2 years and some that I didn’t manage to incorporate.

The Graded Climb will be in both days, so that leaves 22 ! The Brush Hole by the start where we have
had the 2 sub affair for the last 2 years lends itself to old bikes and is easy enough to find 4 lines, so 2
there on each day,…..now down to 18.

Dan sizes things up at Camp 5 while Fred sets off for the summit from
Camp 2

Ed on his ascent

The Sherpas and Guides watch Rich Palmer about 1/2 way up

“The Pit”  2 subs, will be in again on both days

Over the back and away from the MX course there will be variation on a theme at the Ironwood Tree,
and Stumps 1&2 will most likely be back in as fun sections that take a few marks, and in the same
area  the very soft egg timer sand, the mark grabbing, “Az Mud” as we named it. So that leaves 14 !

The Ironwood tree with all it’s roots

The delights of the very soft “egg timer” sand in  “AZ Mud”

“Palo Verde 1&2” which were new last year will be in again, as although popular, we missed a cheater
line after several hours of work hacking through the undergrowth which spoilt the section as I had it in
my mind’s eye. Down to 12.

Palo Verde 2 where we missed the cheater line!

Jim Wagner on the 1 line

Also over the back are all the imported rocks which have been attractively placed to contain the sides
of a major “wash” and I’m planning on finding a few here so I’ll assume 6 can be found here without
too much trouble. Only 6 to find !

Back on the top of the MX track there are some Ditches that lend themselves to old style vintage
sections so maybe two here again to be easy on the junior classes. So that just leaves 4 and with the
old favorite up by the cliff in the SE corner of the facility we are down to 3…… and I haven’t used
“Grand Canyon” or the “Barbie Fence”

“The Ditches” always good for a couple of sections

Unless they have moved all the concrete rubble and asphalt in the NE corner  that only leaves two to
find and I’ll keep those a secret until we get there……….

Derek Belvoir  crunches through the busted chunks of “Asphalt” in the
NE corner

Jim Crain on the lower turns of “The Cliff” in the SE corner 

“Thank you Madam president, I think we have the situation contained”

“Make my Valentine’s Day” …or words to that effect

JACK pp TONY DOWN

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SHARKS !

SHARKS !

SHARKS !

From about mid October when the reverse snowbirds have migrated for their southern climes the
Hollywood Pool competition begins. $6.00 secures your entry for this double elimination contest and
should you be lucky enough to finish in the top 3 at any of these Saturday competitions you are
automatically entered in the Final which takes place this Saturday, 16 Jan.

Last year I made it to the final but the date clashed with the Buckeye 2 Day so I didn’t get to play. This
year despite the acquisition of our own table the best I could do was a series of 4th places. My
learned colleague has come on in leaps and bounds and shot into the final so I’m left in the wings as
head coach. She is on a strict training regime of TEN frames a day minimum and will be trying hard
for the coveted prize.

Brenda swims alone in the Sea of Pool Sharks

For those not aware of the dedication to this fiercely contested affair it is quite amazing at the quality,
skills and number of talented players who compete. This is not a pushover event!  From a personal
experience it is not necessarily the “winning” but more a case of not losing!  What I mean here is if you
are 5 balls up and on the black DO NOT play any risky shot that you might scratch off as that bloody
white ball has a mind of it’s own and will sniff a pocket somewhere and pick up speed to get there!!

So double elimination means you get a “freebie” if you are really that good, and can come through on
the losers side of the comp but if you meet someone who hasn’t lost in the final then you must win twice
in order to get the victory. Should you be the first OUT with two straight losses then you get the rewarding
prize of a free drink. We have both had a couple of those!! The secret is to win the first 3 frames and
then you get a rest while the others fight their way through the eliminations, this of course can be
counter productive as you are in a bar and if you are not playing…… well then you tend to have another
drink.

This weekend the cash prizes are quite substantial with first place taking home $100, Second a
crisp $50 note and third place collecting the leftovers of about $25 and perhaps a few quarters that
didn’t get used on the tables.

20 more frames to play before we get her ready for the comp. The day will start with some light
skipping, black coffee, a couple of glasses of water and then poached eggs with lightly buttered toast.
The final 10 frames, then into makeup and wardrobe before leaving the house with all her cues and
equipment. A couple of settling Vodka Cranberry cocktails prior to the drawing of numbers then battle
should commence at 1400. The “Token” female is no more, she will have a few tins of arse whoop
with her so we are all wishing her well.

Full report with frame by frame commentary from our man on the spot Tony Down.

The Sharks begin to gather at the Hollywood

The day of the contest dawns, the duty 10 frames are played and we leave for the Hollywood at 1300
where the Sharks are already gathering for the feast to come. As a spectator I should enjoy this and
be able to enjoy a fair quantity of liquid refreshment along the way.

The crowd gathers

Team Mancos, Captain Mike left early after potting the 8 ahead of time

1400 and the tables are brushed down, the pink numbers are thrown like “chum” to the circulating
hoard and soon the order of play is announced. Brenda draws Lloyd in her first go while established
pros Joe and Jeb sail through their first rounds. Team Mancos from the Columbine has four finalists
but two of the team lose their opening encounters.

The “Chum” is thrown on the table

Brenda breaks but having got one off the break finds herself in a hopeless position and has to take
a safety. Now you never know with Lloyd as some days he can be on it and others as we saw with
the snow plow he can have a real off day !  Regrettably today he seems to be on and slowly bites off
balls as he  moves round the table. Towards the end Brenda had a slim chance but a pocket
wobbler returned the play to Lloyd who gobbled up the last balls and sealed her fate.

Brenda breaks against Lloyd

Winner Lloyd does his “Jaws” impression

Game two was against Donny from Mancos, and after a good run Brenda was left playing catch up
but never quite got back on level terms before the black was put to bed. Well never mind, a good
effort and now she can attend to some serious drinking.

If only it had gone in…………….

Sadly Brenda gets gobbled up in frame 2

In other games the favorites sailed through with a small upset for Joe losing to Tracy after an
unbelievable shot on the last stripe ball and a perfect set up on the 8. The final saw the
undefeated Jeb up against Joe with Jeb taking it with a great run. Well thats it for another year and
maybe I shall qualify next time.

TONY DOWN

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FAVORITE TRIALS

 

FAVORITE TRIALS

FAVORITE TRIALS

Taking a nostalgic moment during these early morning ramblings my mind takes me back over the 48
years in the sport to many events, some good, some bad, the ones not to be missed and those
relegated to the “never ever again” box!

Having achieved the magic age of 16 life took on a new meaning after all those years of
accompanying Father to “Club Night” at the Barham Village Hall where all things motorcycling were
discussed over much coffee and many games of snooker. Countless weekends of trudging up
muddy hills to view sections with the old man as he completed his duties as an ACU Steward would
soon be coming to fruition!

So now as a fully fledged member of the said club, I too, can join in all the fun of the upcoming trials
season.The Barham MCC ran grass tracks during the summer months, a hill climb for cars and
bikes in the autumn and then into trials all winter long with its own AC & D Arter trial in January, the
annual Mutton Lancer’s Open to Center in November and a group trial for the East Kent Trials
Combine (EKTC). We also had our own practice area called Jumping Downs where on any Saturday
the hopeful would be out trying to get that “edge” fine tuned for the weekend’s event.

From early October until May a trials rider in my area could guarantee an event every weekend within
50 miles of your doorstep with entries up to 200 in Open to Center events and around the 120 mark for
the Combines…… and so it was! Our EKTC had many clubs; Ashford, Barham, Birchington, Folkestone,
Rochester, Sittingbourne and Tenterden as I remember. These events were perfect for the beginner as
they were divided into two classes, Expert and Novice. Awards were given for obviously the Winner, the
various engine capacities and the Best Novice. Within each sector there were also First Class and
Second Class awards to the next 10% of finishers in Experts and Novices. Single line section for
everybody so clearly if the Experts finished in single digits the Novices would be up there in the 40’s to
60’s but at least you got to see how it was done as we were all jumbled up in the entry. If you were lucky
enough you could ride round with one or two of the accredited Experts of the day and see how they did it.
Names that come to mind were Gordon Farley on his Comerford’s Cub, Murray Brush (Brusher)  also
Cub mounted, guest appearances from Brownie Usher (complete with collar and tie) my Uncle, Tom
Arter, Mick Waller and other big banger expert  Aussie Haywood who used to whip my knuckles with an
ash twig if my fingers ever strayed towards that clutch thing!

A couple of pathetic attempts at the “game” on the Triumph Bushman quickly showed what needed to
be done and as soon as cousin Tom got his New Greeves I was aboard the his old Greeves Scottish
with it’s Villiers 9E engine and monstrous exhaust system. With 197cc’s of raw power I was set to take
on the World !

Ready to take on the World !

Trials being trials you are going to have to do your apprenticeship and for some this can take forever,
others may be more gifted and achieve results quicker, but  trials more often comes down to some
basics; Experience, balance, throttle control and technique.

Well in no time I won my Best Novice at the Folkestone Combine in 1963 and was immediately
booted up stairs into the Expert’s division. I also managed a clean sweep in the Club’s AC & D Arter
Trial winning the Overall, and Best Novice. So now time to do it all again until achieving my first
Second Class Experts award. Other than my own club of Barham my favorite Combine event was
always at Tenterden with tons of mud and deep ditches to wiggle along.

16, and a Clean Sweep in the AC & D Arter trials


February 1964 and my first Second Class Experts !

Out on the bigger Open to Center events, again the Mutton Lancer’s was always right up there as it was
a good excuse to come home for the weekend from whichever RAF base I was on during my Aircrew
Training. Another perk of being in the Armed Forces was a little known obscure rule whereby you could
turn up at an event and enter on the day under some Queen’s Regulation that the ACU endorsed.

Back from an overseas tour in Cyprus and now armed with the Montesa I could go more a less
anywhere I wanted with the RAF providing  me with a van and driver. Too many trials to remember as
favorites but I enjoyed riding in the West Country and also had a great time in the Midlands riding at
Bewdley and the very friendly Wolverly club’s events on Saturday afternoons.

Then it was time to go to the Olympics of Trials Riding……… the Scottish Six Days! So 1970 and I’m
entered under the RAF banner with team mates John Hambrook and Dick Clears. A voyage into the
unknown but what fun ? Once you have been there you are sucked in forever and your whole life
revolves around this week long event. All the advice, the memories, the mind games and trying to keep
yourself in check and no matter the conditions finish the event at all costs!  1970,71 and 72 were clean
sweeps for the RAF picking up the John Bull Trophy and in my case a hat trick on the RA Castle Trophy
as well. More SSDT’s from 74-78 and three more wins of that John Bull made the Scottish one of my
all time favorite trials. There is No equal.

My third Scottish (1972) on the Bultaco

The 1974 Scottish with the Yamaha

During the 70’s Geoff Chandler persuaded me to do the Nationals with him and for the most part it was
like being a Novice all over again. The two events that stand out as being enjoyable were the Bemrose
and the Perce Simon. I liked the Bemrose as the sections were very much like Scotland and I reveled
in the Perce Simon as it was bottomless mud and right up my street! The great thing about riding the
Nationals was that despite being an “also ran” your riding improved in leaps and bounds and on return
to the normal Open to Center  I found myself finishing way up the order and beating some of my trials
riding idols.

The Services Trial at Weaver’s Down was always a favorite and one that I usually rode well as it was
in April and was the last shake down event on the new bike of the year prior to leaving for Scotland.

The “Services Trial” Weavers Down Hampshire

Other favorites of that era were all the Police Federation 2 Day events that were a rip roaring hoot both
in the field and afterwards at the Police Clubhouses. Very fond memories here with some great long
time friends and long distance motorcyclists namely the Met Team of Dave Hobbs, Dave Randall and
the unstoppable Dennis Glover.

Of course there were many other highlights riding in the Lincoln area with my great friend and
colleague, Ted Thompson, and the Boilermakers was always a superb event. I could never beat Ted at
the Enduro game but I usually managed to stay ahead in trials despite all his trash talking and as I told
him on many occasions….. his legs just weren’t long enough for trials !

On the Edge, The Boilermakers 1974

Another annual pilgrimage was the Jersey 2 Day in November and if you could remember any of it
through the alcoholic haze it was probably a great event and about the same severity of a genuine UK
National. Certainly the sections had it all with rocky beach sections, cliff top hazards and lots of mud in
the bottoms of wooded areas and huge full bore climbs to get out. The RAF then had a private trial on
the sister Island of Guernsey which was an annual Team trial against the Guernsey Club. I think I won
it twice but as on every visit to the Channel Islands most things are misted in an over abundance of
duty free hospitality !

The RAF Team without a glass in hand at Jersey November 1971 

A winning ride in the Guernsey v RAF Team Trial 1975

Another across the choppy waters event was the Manx 2 Day in the motorcycle haven of the I.O.M.
A tough event for sure, but a lot of fun with everything on hand from some big climbs on the mountain,
rocky sections and mud holes to the rocks and deep sand on the beach and my favorite was a 2 sub
affair up the man made section of over 100 public steps leading out of Douglas Harbor…. a good
test for the “hangover” and somehow always reminded of “Town Hall Brae” although the sections
have nothing in common!  Maybe it was the spectators lining the steps?

My one and only modern bike the 280 Gas Gas 

In the USA initially riding a modern 280 Gas Gas that wanted for nothing and never ever went wrong
or gave trouble (I believe thats called maintenance) I had some very enjoyable rides and the CAT 2 Day
at Holbrook was definitely my favorite but using old style techniques could lose a 5 or two when the
engine stopped as there wasn’t any flywheel to keep it running. So time to rebuild some vintage iron
and try the Ahrma circuit.

The rocks at Holbrook and now back on the Yamaha

Within Ahrma there have been some power struggles and lack of forward thinking but fortunately that
does not manifest itself at the events which for the most part are very well run and a good challenge for
period machines. Luckily for me Ahrma tends to run a lot of 2 Day events which make the traveling
worthwhile and to date the best ones have always been the old Perris, Donner Ski Ranch, Tucker
Ranch Cotopaxi and for sheer trials riding bliss Casper in Wyoming.

The Old Perris, what a shame the land was lost

The Best USA Vintage Trials……. Casper Wy

Rating all this lot some sort of list falls out and is as follows;

Scottish Six Days
Casper Ahrma 3 Day
The Mutton Lancers
Guernsey 2 Day
The Perce Simon
Old Perris Ahrma 2 Day
CAT Holbrook 2 Day
Donner Ahrma 2 Day
Thames Valley Police 2 Day
Tenterden EKTC
The Bemrose
Cotopaxi Ahrma 2 Day

TONY DOWN

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  • 1/22/2010 8:46 AM Dan Sutherland wrote:
    enjoyable reading!
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  • 1/22/2010 7:28 PM Bill wrote:
    Great history of the sport! Thanks!
    Reply to this
  • 1/25/2010 11:06 AM Al Ussher wrote:
    Hello Tony, I don’t think our paths ever crossed, but I rode in the 1969 Scottish on a 252cc Bultaco FOT4D, reputedly built by Sammy Miller and then owned by the RAFMSA. And as a result, two of my longtime good friends are Dick Clears and Jack Knoops. The Bulto big- end cried enough just after Laggan Locks on the Thursday. My fault, as there was a trace of “up and down” apparent during the preparation, but I thought it would last just as an old Villiers would!! Wrong! Poor Jack was also out due to I think, primary chain trouble, with the Cheetah. Dick, I believe, had a good ride and finished well up in the awards. And he is still sweeping the competition aside with his rigid Bantam, over in East Anglia. I had bought a trials machine from Alasdair Thompson in about 1967,at Bordon trials camp, and took it up to Valley. It turned out to be a Dot, albeit with a Sprite tank and only one piston ring… And so began an association with the Manchester marque, and who, if you give them a call, will still answer “Dot Motorcycles, what are you after?” to this day. The sole surviving factory of a great industry. And it’s about a Dot that’s prompted me to contact you. You mentioned Geoff Chandler in this blog. A “GCS” has recently been found. It’s a round tube Dot frame, 32A engine, Norton forks and Ariel front hub. It has been suggested that the machine was originally a works supported bike supplied to Andre Baldet, in Northhamptonshire, before being built by Geoff as a Special. Do you recall such a machine? Any information would be very welcome to the Dot Motorcycle Club. Dick alerted me to your website, and I’m now a regular reader, heaven help me!!! Best Wishes, Al Ussher
    Reply to this
  • 2/7/2010 8:53 PM Tim Jackson wrote:
    Bravo, Tony, on your retrospective. From your photos, clearly you Brits back then were a far more gentlemenly lot than we Hoosier MX hillbillys who blitzed the rolling pasture lands and forests of Southern Indiana in the early ’70s. Makes me sentimental for those old days when Sunoco 260 sold for 58 cents a gallon and my teenaged buddies and I rode after school every day until well after dusk, plonking home through the woods in the dark. Cheers and good luck to all in 2010! See ya’ll on the AHRMA trials circuit!
    Reply to this
  • 4/19/2014 4:08 AM Ernie Small wrote:
    Happy memories of days of yore!!!
    Reply to this
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DIGGING OUT

 

DIGGING OUT

DIGGING OUT

Yet more snow !

Having had the main area of the RV park plowed out it is time to do some digging to rescue my trailer
and the RV and get them in an area where we can escape to Arizona for the 2010 Buckeye Bonanza.
Ed and Evelyn are planning their great escape around the beginning of the month to seek warmer
climes and get a duty visit in to Tuscon. Not sure at this point whether Hugh Campbell and his wife are
accompaning them as last year. It certainly made for a very pleasant layout team and we had the place
set up with 24 sections well ahead of schedule without any of the “Wouldn’t it be better if…..”  type
comments on every section.

1st plow

The first plow by Lloyd resulted in one of the electric stands getting bumped and much flashing and
sparking until it tripped it’s breaker! That of course resulted in the “heat tape” having no power so we
now have no running water to that site and will patiently wait until the thaw when it will no doubt leak,
and then there will be running water everywhere!!

Thanks Lloyd !

The second plow was with the big machine we used last year so at least I can SEE my trailer but I still
have a bit of digging to do to back the car in and drag it out as I can’t open the rear doors to get at
Brenda’s machine and the gun carriage Enfield. Then more digging to beat my way to the workshop
and get the tools loaded.

The Workshop is in here… I think

With departure only 3 weeks away time to get the trailer out and get inside, usual ritual with Brenda’s
Yamaha of draining old fuel unblocking the carb and gas tap and getting it ready, should she choose to
use it. Without this pre mix both the Enfield and Cub can work on old fuel but once you do one might as
well do them all. The Enfield just needs a bit of spit and polish and she is good to go. Maybe come
down one more on that main jet but that can be tested in warmer surroundings at Buckeye.

Some digging required

A little bit of a thaw starting but it won’t last for long and in itself is problematic as the melt usually turns
to rock solid ice and makes the shovelling even harder. Time for the semi annual haircut as I can’t see
out and I shall persuade the hairdresser that I’m Samson and don’t want it all off, just a serious trim will
do.

With temps up the shovelling began in earnest and now I can see the trailer wheels again, so providing
we don’t get another foot of the stuff I should be able to get some pre Buckeye servicing done on the
bikes and crank the mighty Safari engine back to life.

Just renegoiated my 2010 contract with Brenda who proposed a Cruise in exchange for all the
“wish list” motor cycle weekends. A very fair compromise in my opinion and one that I had no trouble in
reaching for the pen to give my full agreement. The last time a cruise came up was when I was in the
Falklands and for those personnel who had survived the 4 months in “You have to be joking land ?”
it was a very pleasant return to normality as you returned to Ascension Island aboard a luxury liner.
Sod’s Law my boss at the time insisted I be flewn home all the way from Stanley to the UK, so I missed
out on 3 weeks at sea in the lap of luxury.

TONY DOWN

P.S. Another 9″ overnight and forecast for HEAVY SNOW until midnight with more on the way!

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A DAY ON THE SLOPES

 

A DAY ON THE SLOPES

A DAY ON THE SLOPES

Spoiled for choice

As we are only 55 miles from Mountain Village Telluride its time to venture onto the slopes again after
all the December snowfall. This year we managed to buy the cheap rate “locals” 6 day pass which is
about 1/2 the cost of the normal daily rate and well worth the money. It also seems that no matter how
much older I get than the “age” for geriatric skiing goes up at the same differential….. one day, one day,
I’ll get that 1/2 price senior citizen discount !!!

The plan then, is to depart with fully fueled car at 0830, 1 hour in transit, and then get down to the lift
ticket shop and have the photos taken for our passes. Over the years Telluride has gone from strength
to strength and must rate as one of the best ski resorts in all of the USA. Last year they opened up a
whole new area way up the mountain which has meant that some of the lower runs are now  virtually
deserted. However other than a “look” I rather feel that we will be fairly close to our favorite watering
holes and enjoying the fun and music at the halfway house

On arrival there is a multi level car parking area and while you struggle into your cold ski boots a golf
cart will arrive and convey you to the Gondola which will whisk you down to the ticket shop in the center
of Mountain Village right by lift 4. On return and at the end of the day there are willing bodies
(NO Tipping) on hand to carry your skis to the Gondola and then a stream of golf carts to run you to
your car, and I mean car not just the floor you left it on.

So tonight out with all the kit and check it over and make sure it all fits. This year after a spate of skiing
deaths, and nearly all head injuries we are wearing helmets although I have to say that they don’t seem
to have a great deal of padding and protection and I really can’t see them being much good in a real
humdinger of a head plant into a tree or large Colorado boulder. Well, never mind at least our ears will
be warm.

This one is fitted with “The Key to Success”

Also comes with the “Missing Link”

The mission gets underway at just after nine fifteen, so we are close. Crisp and crunchy but no wind
and clear skies so conditions are looking good for the fair weather skiers. The roads are all  clear and
dry and one hour later we are on the top floor of the parking lot and can easily managed the 50 yard
walk to the Gondola. My feet are persuaded into the Tecnicas and are eventually buckled down for the
day. Down in Mountain Village we are photographed and in no time have our lift passes and are ready
for action. The slopes are not busy despite the 12 x 60 seater coaches from Phoenix that hammered
past the house yesterday.

Off we go, Day 1 of the 2010 season

Over the top of the Lizard and looking down on Trout Lake

Skis on and up the Misty Maiden for the first run. Everything is beautifully groomed, the snow making
equipment is in full flow on a couple of runs to make some wacky snowboarding half pipes but the rest
is just gorgeous. A couple of runs and Brenda’s courage meter light comes on so a quick stop to top off
the system and back to the action. Several more runs and she is back finding her form having not been
on the slopes in 2009.

Looking good, conditions perfect!

Perfectly groomed and hardly a soul around

Soon the call to the bar goes out and we stop at Camp 1 and regroup around the fire pit with a bloody
mary. The band is playing and the holiday makers are in fine form. A lot of camera swapping for the
tourists as everyone enjoys the superb conditions and the refreshments.

First “Bloody Mary” of the year

……. and the band played on

Suitably lubricated we take in a few more runs on some different terrain and then on the 1530 lift up the
hill the temperature takes a sudden dip as we pass through a shaded part…….. well thats terminal!  So
this is the LAST run, and despite Brenda having an uncooperative leg we made it down unscathed and
are soon back at the car. All loaded up and I have a one hour drive in solitude as my partner has drifted
off and is no doubt reliving bumps and turns. A quick stop at the Hollywood Bar for a single and then
back to the duty dog walking.

Excellent, and yet another empty run

As Brenda said this morning “that was fantastic….and we still have 5 more days left”

TONY DOWN

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ARE YOU READY BOOTS ?

 

ARE YOU READY BOOTS ?

ARE YOU READY BOOTS ?

Yes,…… no not helmets, that was YES-terday, (sorry) today its boots, perhaps it was the crunching
over squeaky snow while walking the dogs, or perhaps just dealing with safety equipment,
anyhooooo……for some reason the mind is replaying the Nancy Sinatra song…………….
“These Boots are made for walking……”

Boots ??? returning to the little village of “Wayback” not far from the towns of  “Trialsbackthen” and
“Wheniwas” I’m reminded of what we used to wear on our feet to get this trialing business done.
Seems primitive now but we all wore “Firemen’s thick leather boots” with the big pull straps and had
the flat leather soles studded with cricket shoe cleats to get some traction, or even football boot studs
or maybe some golf spikes. ……… I can remember being chased out of the kitchen on many occasions
for screwing up the tiles or lino !

“Going Commando” with no barbour trousers, but at least you can see
the Fireman’s Boot we used to wear (1969)

So these fireman’s boots must have been at least a 1/4 inch thick leather and hours would be spent
with “dubbin” trying to achieve a waterproof finish (it never did but it came close) but these were your
best friend and without you were in for a miserable time. Should you forget to clean them after the event
or have left them outside in the cold then the next time you tried to put them on the leather would have
gone soggy around the ankles and collapsed before freezing and now you had to endure at least 10
mins with your foot in a vice like grip until the leather relented and warmed up. Back in those days
we would blast on down the road and stop at the village pub for a couple of pints and it would not be
uncommon to see muddy trials bikes in the pub car park and  rows of boots with barbour trousers still
attached lined up by the entrance door like garden gnomes.  Inside we were supping ale and
wandering around in our seaboot socks.

Crumpled leather around the ankle

The next thing in the footwear evolution was the appearance of the Dunlop Industrial Wellington and in
no time at all we were all wearing the “Trials Welly” and enjoying dry feet! These Wellingtons were
developed for the mining industry and had a steel toe cap, a metal bar under the instep which was
great to combat the bear trap footrests which were being fitted to all the new bikes. They also had
rubber fins on the ankles and all the way up the front offering pretty good shin protection as well. They
retailed for about $25.00, a far cry from what we pay today for a stylish pair. Being Wellingtons they had
a wide top and would flap about behind your calf but as they were all wide fitting another Christmas
present of seaboot socks fixed that.

The “Man” with Dunlops on his feet

Tops crimped up with tape, rubber fins all the way up the front

Doing a little research for this article I see these boots have come on a pace and they are now colorful
and look pretty comfortable and robust and after last years very wet Pre 65 Scottish I wished I’d been
wearing something similar to deal with the conditions. In all my years trials riding I can’t think of any
leather boot that is fully waterproof but there again other than Scotland very few trials are run in
constant running water!

The same thing from Dunlop in today’s styling

Whoa ! ……. just what I need to match the Enfield !!!!

There are some excellent leather lined Wellingtons which are zip sided and fully waterproof which I
wear for pheasant shooting. These are cut narrower around the calf and don’t flap around but of course
you don’t see them at a trial, other than a Sheep Dog Trial!  Does it matter ? ….. unless you are in the
SSDT or living in Yorkshire most trials don’t involve wading through streams using your boots as sonar
to detect underwater hazards so the World has moved on into the hi-tech, hi-cost, purpose made exotic
3 strap flexible trials boot. A good treaded sole, hopefully a well stitched welt, not much in the way of toe
protection but with sole overlap I can’t remember really ever hurting my tootsies that much. 3 adjustable
straps, the critical one being for the ankle like a ski boot, ankle cup protection to stop the “rollover injury”
and a lot of shin guarding against rocks and trees, and all topped off with an annoying bit of velcro to
seal up the entry.

Sidi for me, good design, very comfortable, but NOT waterproof

Over the years I think I have tried most but now my personal favorite is the Sidi for design, comfort and
quality of manufacture. I also use their products for all forms of motorcycling and instructional duties
and when I have a mind to I have a pair for cycling too.

My full range of Sidi’s, love the ratchet straps on the cycle shoes

Whatever footwear you use remember to take care of them, and clean them just like the bike after the
event, it will save money in the long run and if you turn up with a clean bike and polished boots its
usually worth about 5 marks as it annoys the opposition and while they are mentally thinking what a
“poser” you are they are not concentrating on the job in hand!

A Gentleman does not turn up with dirty boots !

….. and finally when to use them ? Simple answer, always, many accidents happen in the yard in the
classic “I’ll just kick her over and trundle round”  the number of times that plain kickstart has gone up
the inside of legs taking divots of skin, or even walking the bike out of the shop and getting the
footrest on your shin are legion! tennis shoes are for tennis !!!

For a long time now I’ve been expecting to see a more advanced approach to boots almost along
the lines of a ski boot. Granted we need more flexibility, especially fore and aft, and in the toe and
sole zone but believe me it won’t be long before we see something like this…….

Only a matter of time, cleated sole and a bit more toe flex ?

Something new from Nike

Well with the riding done you can always try a different kind of boot…………as Nancy Sinatra told us
“These boots are made for Walking” or in our case Trialing, but boots are made for all manner of
things and during my Royal Air Force years once in a while I took on the challenge of a Very
different type of boot !

The German “das boot” = the British “yard of ale”…….yum, yum ! Is it
Boddington’s Laughing Bitter ???

TONY DOWN

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  • 1/19/2010 10:28 PM Steveo wrote:
    What a novelty it would be if there were again to be a water proof trials boot.I have used dubbin and others,presently am trying “Thompson’s Water Seal” with mixed results.It seems odd that proper riding boots worth $3-400. can not equal a common set of rubber boots for being water proof,in this day and age!Oh well,I’m sure that it will be dry at Buckeye!
    Reply to this
  • 4/6/2010 10:22 AM Mens Hiking Shoes wrote:
    There are some nice boots. You need good boots for dirt bikes.
    Reply to this
  • 4/12/2011 3:28 PM Justin wrote:
    This blackcatvintagetrials.com is awsome. Keep posting buddy !
    365 bet
    Reply to this
  • 4/20/2011 1:21 AM bashplate wrote:
    hey tony,the old dunlpop trials wellies were great,used them for years. i tried leather boots but didn’t get on with them….way too stiff, i’m back in “rubber” now, and much prefer the flexibility they offer, even with the added steel bits.
    Reply to this
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