COTOPAXI 2010 DAY 1

COTOPAXI 2010 DAY 1

COTOPAXI 2010 DAY 1

Let Battle commence !

A warm but windy morning, but despite the blowing dust the wind is warm. A good entry with several
regulars missing with some finding the bite of the recession beginning to hurt. Ralph Foster from
California and Derek Belvoir along with Len Sims and Rick Wolff not to be seen. Marty Paulson, Mike
Parsley and the entire Lindeman family all missing but we still seem to have around 40 riders to enjoy
Ed’s efforts.

The Enfield was running yesterday and the top end seems clean and powerful but the bottom end off
idle was not as crisp as I would like it, so once again she sat on the sidelines as the No Excuse Cub
set off in pursuit of the Classic Experts Championship.

1 & 2 liners will start at the falls and then catch up with the rest who are starting at Section 1.  I watch
many riders through the falls and all seem to be coping well with just the odd mistake. I enjoy a simple
ride through clean but Ed wasn’t quite so lucky catching the shifter on the exit rocks, dumping him in
neutral and then a nasty crash into the hole to break the front brake lever!!

First time through the Falls

Section 1 rides the same as last year and if you stay on line is even easier for all lines as some of
last years rollers have either vanished or been beaten into the hillside. Stray off the line and the hill
will bite!

Up the first step of section 1

It will bite if its not spot on ! …..bad luck Rick

Everyone is called RICK today !

Dave trundles the Gold Star through 1

Out to “Split Rock” and see a few marks being squandered on off line hazards and even see Eugene
collect a 5 for missing a split. In I go, over the first hazard and idle turn left and then a right 180 to drop
off some rocks, reposition and squirt up the gully into an idle left turn to the cards. 1/3  of the way
round and clean so far.

Good fun track out to 3 and 4 with Mike Buchholz in charge on 3 and Todd Tucker doing duties on 4.
3 has a curving uphill in the granite marbles and then 3 choices of line from the upper plateau, either
straight on past the tree, or turn tight onto the lower ledge or a 45 left turn to slip behind another fir tree
before coming onto the ledge and then dropping off into a tightish right hander to the exit. I see some
of the Novices is trouble and one or two 5’s through a mixture of inexperience and inability. I elect to
take the last of the 2 line options and it rides smoothly for a nice clean.

4 has two options from the start but using a lower line will make the climb harder and add another
twist. I take on the more direct route with the dips and sail up the hill between the big rocks and keep
the power on until the upper trail. Idle and front brake down the steepish track to the ends cards for
clean number 5.

More narrow track riding to 5 appropriately called “The Maze”. Several tight lines through the pines
with a variety of traps for everybody and I see Dan Straka and Bob from Wyoming having trouble with
the PI line both mounted on short wheelbase Cubs ! The 2 line enters with a right, left into a downhill
right in the loose to an uphill tight right (my best side) between two more firs and then another left turn
to the flowing exit …… it goes well but I had to fight for it with weight/balance and power but its another
very pleasing clean.

Just 6,7 and 8 to go and 2 of these I had predicted would be the mark grabbers. A long look at 6 which
has people struggling with the first right hander and then a lot more rotovation has taken place at the
exit coming off the bed rock onto the loose dirt uphill turn. The first turn goes well, and now a twister to
get on a bed rock ridge to get up to a narrow top trail, still on line with no “moments”, now down and up
another angled piece of bedrock before a 45 cut at the exit cards. One less problem over so round the
cliff to 7 where I had not forseen any problems as nothing could change here unless you were riding a
backhoe!

Simple entry and downhill crossing a ditch before a turn in the ball bearing marbles of granite …… line
up for a solid ridge in the rocks then drop off into a generous wide right hander over rocks and a run
out to the cards. 8 cleans, just that nasty No 8 by the garage to complete the loop.

Spend a good time here watching this one and as expected marks are going everywhere! Every line
has rollers with very little leeway between the trees. Seems like the best line will be the widest entry
which takes you over the worst jagged rocks but might give enough room to turn and line up for the
upper cluster.  Several front wheel washouts and a lot of centipede threes. Ed takes a slightly higher
line on the smoother run but this makes the uphill turn tighter but he takes a planned dab which
was the best effort I’d seen and it looked to be going well until the front wheel rolled off one and his
front wheel went the wrong side of the exit tree.

My effort went well with a good precise turn, power and weight shift and a burst over the jagged pile
on the left side through the fir sapling and I’m out for the only clean of the first loop. A very pleasing
zero first loop so perhaps the lack of riding time is making me work harder ?

Entering the Falls on loop 2

Out on loop 2, but knowing the “roller” problem stop and walk them all and clean 1 through 4 using
the previous lines which had worked well. At 5, “The Maze” my traveling group are not having a good
time with some uncharacteristic 5’s. I walk the line a few times and apart from the dirt turn being
deeper stick with the same plan and it rides well enough apart from the front fork catching the tree on
the uphill exit of the tricky first turn which results in an off balance tipee toe dab for the first loss of the
day.

Over at 6 people are cutting up the first turn and the exit area is also getting chewed up. First turn
goes well with a little work to get to my line and I take the exit higher and faster coming off the
bedrock which worked well. No changes on 7, so back to 8 to see what sort of chaos has taken
place here.

Yet more rollers, and more loose dirt and it seems everyone is still struggling with this one. Eagle
eyed checkers are not letting any “gardening” boots come into play so having considered several
other lines stick with what worked first time round and all goes well until the back wheel skipped off
one just before the jagged cluster and another foot down doubles my score. No problems with the
Falls for a 2 loop total of 2. Certainly within the realms of possibility to have gone clean but 2 isn’t
bad.

Loop 3 on the first step of 1

Hugh Campbell on the second turn of 1

Final loop and sail through 1-4 again having walked them all just to be on the safe side. At The Maze
take a slightly wider line and glide through with perfect chuffing power. A spirited ride down the steep
track to the ranch and back to 6 to see what has happened here. Looks to be the same but on that
first turn I don’t get the weight right and pay the penalty with an inside dab taking my total to 3 for the
day.

7 for the last time and back to 8. Things have got worse here, and now any of my planned routes are
littered with boulders and lots of loose dirt. It would be easy enough to use the slightly higher line and
take a planned dab but having almost cleaned it last time I elect to go for the clean. Bad mistake on
my part as everything moves where I want to go and I have to fight to get through for a three! That
doubles the day’s total in one go! Oh well, thats trials as they say.

Through 9 for the last time to complete a very enjoyable and testing event.

Last time through the Falls

With the first day trial over time to think of the evening festivities and much cooking is taking place on
the barbie which has been repositioned behind the start area out of the never ending wind. Another
good spread of food and pot luck surprises.

Ahrma jackets and No1 plates are handed out to those that didn’t make the DD’s Banquet and it
looks like the Rocky Mountain regulars took home a good haul of the prizes. I think we made more
National Champions than any other region!!

MC Experts                                        Mike Buchholz

MC Intermediate                              Bill Brokaw

MC Novice                                          John Dowson

Rigid Lt Expert                                   Len Sims

Rigid Hwy Expert                              Marty Paulson

Rigid Hwy Intermediate                   Rob Stickler

Prem Lt Expert                                  Len Sims

Prem Lt Intermediate                      Fred Martinson

Classic Expert                                   Tony Down

Classic Intermediate                        Dan Straka

Prem Hwy Expert                              Derek Belvoir

So it looks like if you want to get one of these prizes you really should come and ride all the rounds
in CO, WY and UT !!!

TONY DOWN

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TUCKER TIME

 

TUCKER TIME

TUCKER TIME

Always thirsty Humming birds at Tucker Ranch

With the current phase of the Census now completed in my Crew Leader District we were put on
notice to be ready to travel TODAY to be sent into areas where other crews were running behind. That
was last Friday …… and so far NOTHING. Almost like the military with a clandestine op …… you would
think we were going to be dropped behind enemy lines, no info on where or when, and very strange
with a holiday weekend coming as I would have thought a lot of the people that should have been
interviewed will no doubt be away. We wait!

On the home front I’m planning on leaving Thursday or Friday to get up to Tucker Ranch Cotopaxi,
and give myself a much needed days riding. Prior to that the coach is having the flooring done after
the winter flooding and then the whole thing will need cleaning along with the trailer.

Still a lot of work to do on the Elefants but if there is no census work at least I can get in the shop and
get on with them. Brenda’s little TY125 still needs the “go over” fuel draining and and carb go through
or the photographer will be very grumpy if it fails to start and run at 8500′.

A load more work on the Census front arrived which requires about 200 miles a day driving to go and
get the remaining 155 interviews. These are in some pretty remote areas of Colorado so several of
my team were despatched yesterday to get on with the mission. I will personally get out there today
and do a few before loading the bikes.

Yesterday was a mixture of census/bike prep/cleaning. The trailer got a quick once over to remove all
the winter grime and the BMW which has been in there since January had the battery recharged so
that I can get it back in the shop. Major reshuffling in the workshop to get the trials bikes to the front,
shove the mighty Ducatis to the back and sides so that the recharged Beemer can get back in its
nest.

Today a host of “old” fuel drains on everything and then get Madam’s little jewel up and running.
Game plan to get it all loaded by nightfall and then get on the road by lunchtime tomorrow and aim for
an evening arrival at Cotopaxi on Thursday now that Madam has got someone to cover her shifts for
the weekend. Yesterday morning things were not looking good and it seemed the trials rider would be
having yet another missed weekend!

Thursday and a ton of things to do. Census paperwork all done so after meeting with the
enumerators time to brief them on their work and who’s doing what while I’m away. Meanwhile fill the
coach with water, unload the Beemer from the trailer, take the trailer off the car and now drag the coach
round and get connected and start loading. Off to Cortez for some shopping errands and then back to
load the bikes…….. time is slipping away and I have one “soft” tire on the coach which needs air.

Finally the dogs are ready to board and off we go with a stop at the Post Office then another stop to
inflate the tire. 50 miles done and we are at Durango but Brenda wants to stop and get videos for the
weekend. Now find myself in a difficult one way system but make it back to the main road and Bayfield
to refuel and take on LP gas. Time to adjust an annoying mirror and off we go again with the time now
5 o’clock and only 70 miles of the 270 done! The chances of making Cotopaxi tonight are looking slim
and there is no way I’m driving this thing in there in the dark!!!

Creeping up Wolf Creek

Up Wolf Creek Pass at a snail’s pace with the bus continuously trying to upshift only to find it can’t pull
the higher gear on the never ending gradient. Finally off the mountains for a while and turn North for
Salida. Looking at the ETA our best bet is a night stop at Walmart, get all the food and leave early
Friday morning to make the start at around 10’ish. Oversleep after an exhausting Thursday and now
need coolant and oil for the bus along with funny funnel to pour it in. Another task done so only one
more stop to get some fresh gas for the bikes. Beautiful drive down the Arkansas Valley with the river
in full spring flood and finally here we are for the last uphill to the ranch. The drive in goes well with no
incidents and we make it to our berth by Ed and Evelyn on time at 10.

The Arkansas in full flow

10 o’clock Friday…….. made it!!

Bikes out and time to set off and see what Ed has in mind for Saturday. 9 sections all laid out and
No1 seems to be very similar to last year and not too hard providing you stay on line. Good fun ride
out to the end of the property with section 2 being a reverse of the one used 4 years ago where the
picture at the top of the blog was taken. 3 & 4 are together at the end of the cliff face and should ride
well unless you apply too much brake on the crumbly granite.

Section 1, Saturday … nice gentle opener

Saturday 2, “Split Rock”  where the blog photo was taken coming down

Saturday 4 with some twists and climbs

Nice trail ride to 5 which Ed has called “The Maze” with some interesting tight turns in the pines with
loose dirt and a few tree roots. Down the tough narrow crumbly track to the Ranch and across the
road to a loop through 6 and onto 7. 6 has a turn with 2,3, and PI riders all going through it which
could cut up and get tricky. Out of 6 and arrive at 7 from an unusual direction. 7 itself is all solid bed
rock so shouldn’t change throughout the event. Back on the main track and down to 8 above the
garage. This is an interesting section and should be the mark taker on all lines!! Make your way back
to the start and the traditional section at Wehling Falls and this year a little easier from what I can
see.

First turn of Saturday 6 which I think will get nasty !

Quick drink and lunch and time to see what Ed has in mind for Sunday. No1, called the “Horseshoe”
has a drop into some wash sand and then a 60 turn in it for all lines, then climb up a bank before
coming off at an angle down a very soft dirt slope into the top of the horseshoe with a very tight turn
out for the 1’s and a steep climb for the 2’s. Lots of marks will be lost here I’m sure.

Sunday 1 which could be a real problem !

No 2 has an interesting start, slightly downhill with a twist between 2 rocks and a choice of a wide
line or turn tight into an uphill to pass through a gnarly tight gully before a 90 left turn and then simple
run out to the finish. Very undecided on line for this one!

3 & 4 could be tricky and several lines in both. Might be worth seeing how these ride before trying
them.

5 requires a bit of thought with a longish meandering downhill over the shale crumbly granite into a
gorge from where there are many choices of how to get out. Straight up the dirt looks good but I’m
told it is very soft or two lines over solid bed rock with turns before the climb out to the cards.

Back on the fun loop to 6 for an over the big rock into a series of very tight clutchy type turns on loose
dirt. Rideable now, but could cut up on the turns. Then back to the loop for 7 called “Nukin Futz” which
is a great full bore climb up a hillside in the small shale rocks into a series of turns line dependant
before coming back down to the end cards.

A fun uphill blast on Sunday 7

Another short sprint round the loop and back to the start for another go on the reverse of Wehling
Falls.

Friday night is party night and much talk of “daring-do”……. fire pits going, beer a’plenty….. lets see
how they ride tomorrow.

TONY DOWN

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JUST FOR SQUID

 

JUST FOR SQUID


JUST FOR SQUID

 With only one week until departure for Tucker Ranch, Cotopaxi the question has been asked………
“Brenda do you want to take your bike??”  ???? ….. after much thought the answer came back ……..
“Yes”. Now some of you may remember that I built this little beauty for Brenda several years ago and
it was the subject of the article “Just for Her” and it is a Yamaha that was not imported to the USA
and was a rare find in a Sony warehouse in Hawaii.

One of our readers is Squid from Trials Central and he is currently in France where he has acquired
one of these baby Yams, namely the TY125.  A popular bike in Europe,  but in my opinion never really
a serious trials bike, he is fighting all the teething problems of getting a vintage bike to run like new
so with a week to run as I ressurect Brenda’s bike from 9 months of non use this article is dedicated
to him.

Technically the TY125 is nearly the same as the TY175 using a sleeved down barrel and slightly
smaller carb. Designed more as a “dual sport” bike it came with a tool box, turn signals, lights and
some add on bits on the frame.

A Steering lock ???

Now what went on here?

Some more interesting lugs

Her’s was virtually unused and once the engine was apart it was clear that it had most likely only ever
done about 25 miles from new! There was no carbon at all and the piston wiped clean to reveal a
shiney original crown. Cosmetically it was a mess! Usual front mudguard fitted backwards, frame had
been painted in some bed liner material and all the alloy spray painted silver….. yuk!

On arrival, front mudguard on backwards !

Frame & exhaust in bedliner and ALL alloy silver painted!!!!!

The tank was unblemished but had been “picaso painted” white with what looked like a primer and
the seat was a bit tatty. The seat was recovered and the tank, being steel, was sent to my platers for
chroming. A new front wheel with a chrome rim was fitted and after all the new cables, throttle, bars,
grips and fenders a better air system was installed.

After some “Blackcat” magic

In good old USA and I suspect in many other places around the World with our Green Party Do
Gooders we now all suffer from crap fuel and oils that combine on initial mixing but lose the “WOOF”
after about 2 months. Perhaps our Green Party activists should have thought this through a little
more as I regret to say that once I start draining Old fuel, if my cleaning/washing cans are full then I
return the excess directly to the environment……… WHAT !!!…….. no doubt I will have the Environmental
Nazis on my doorstep once this gets published.

So lesson one, always have freshly mixed fuel in your 2T and change every 2 months. Not only does
it lose its power it also decombines leaving nasty resin like deposits in fuel cocks, in line filters, and
of course everywhere in the carb itself and the jets. What used to be a rare event is now a pre event
must and the carb is on and off the bike for cleaning like the proverbial whores whatnots.

So, let battle commence and lets see just how bad it is this time.

Off with the Whore’s Whatnots again!

The final “go” for Cotopaxi came down from management so mini TY was hauled out from the back
of the shop and now time to get her up and running and loaded. After all the dust storms of the last
few weeks she looks like she has just come in from a pretty stiff event. A quick blow over with some
air and then drain fuel and get in that carb.

Dull and dusty

All completed and a quick go over with the new Autosol and ready to transport the photographer to
whatever section she desires. I did notice that it still has the original back wheel in with the painted
rim and spokes! I’ll be changing that and fitting another chainguard which seems to be something
people keep removing here in the USA.



Better than new

The Yamaha TY125

So there we have it, a clean little workhorse for Madam to run round on and get some great pictures
of everybody over our 2 Day’s of AHRMA Trials. ……. and for Monsieur Squid, all I can say is these
smaller Yams can do it but for proper trials the TY175 is a much better tool.

TONY DOWN

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  • 6/1/2010 9:11 AM squid wrote:
    Ahhh Tony.
    Thanks for this article made me grin. Its a shame the motors got such low miles on it as I’d like too see you rip it to pieces and get your usual guality words to go with it.
    Hope your lady has lots of joy with it.
    Thanks as all ways.
    Squid.
    Reply to this
  • 6/2/2010 4:35 PM Outlaw Dave wrote:
    Tony – You should try using Opti 2 for your mix – it comes with a built in fuel stabilizer. – I have been selling all the Opti Products for 22 years in Western Canada, and I would guess that at least 40% of all trials riders up here use my oil at 80-1 ratio – You can buy it in various size mix bottles, but most people use the small one gallon mix pouches ( mix to 4 liters for 80-1)
    The head office is Interlube International in Blaine Washington, but the product originated in East Germany back in about 1920. check out the web-site and contact Paul at Interlube for more info.
    Reply to this
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THE SPRING BROKE !

 

THE SPRING BROKE !

THE SPRING BROKE

A weekend of intensive gardening and clean up and then the mind is gathering thoughts of planting
and getting the mower out to get the place looking ship shape for our “late” spring. Summer is just
around the corner, the dead looking grass is turning green again and growing like there is no
tomorrow. Tulips are pushing through, the rhubarb has reappeared and the clematis is making an
amazing recovery……. but then ……. IT SNOWED!!!

I don’t believe it !

Another week of misery for the gardener, show showers, low temps and high winds. More branches
down, fences looking sad, but the trees don’t seem to care and are taking on a greenish hue. Some
hectic work takes place at the pool and all the stinky water is replaced, soggy leaves removed and
the waterfall flows once more. Various sanders and wire brushes leave the workshop and Brenda
attacks the table and repaints all things blue with a more durable paint.

……. and then it starts! The sky changes color and goes a dirty grey tinged with pink and orange, the
wind increases and everything is on the move, trash bins roll by, yet more branches fall, piles of
leaves depart our garden for some one elses as the wind howls…… and of course it snows AGAIN
and is now a blizzard ……. when will it ever end?

In dawn’searly light the weather vane is no more as the winds exceeded it’s critical speed limit and
the welds attaching the vanes have all broken and the blades are we know not where!! The rest of
this week was much of the same with alternating periods of snow and cold high winds to chill the
very soul.

Beyond repair!

Today its Saturday and its bright and sunny and the trees are upright and the flag is still. The Broken
Spring needs some repair and we will try again. Colder and colder, and the wind continues and
every time I venture outside with good intentions I’m greeted with another snow shower! I give up.

Sunday and initially it looks better but early morning dog walking is less than pleasant ….. and then it
snows some more! Internal chores only and then time for Moto GP on speed…….. all set for a TV
lunch, and channel selected only to be greeted with some left over NASCAR truck racing where it has
been red flagged due to rain. Time moves on, but nothing else does and I’m stuck with interviews
from pick up drivers who all speak in plurals and put in as many sponsors names as they can in
between “loose” and “awesome”. The fascination of driving hi-speed in top gear on a left hand oval is,
I’m afraid beyond me! Another hour of this nonsense and no indication as to when Moto GP will come
on is doing nothing for my good humor. Finally some bikes but this is Moto 2 which is better than
nothing so now a long wait until the next screening on Tuesday morning.

Another week of the same, minus the snow so maybe this weekend will see some action.Finally the
mower emerges from it’s hibernation and another fun hour cleaning the primitive carb and then it
bursts into life and the first cut of the year is complete. A run to the local nursery and the duty hanging
baskets are brought home but after some outdoor sunshine that wind picks up and they are taking
too much of a beating and have to be brought in before they get destroyed. This morning, another
howling gale and as I type this its SNOWING AGAIN!!!

This year the SPRING has definitely broken!!

TONY DOWN

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TIME TO THINK TRIALS

TIME TO THINK TRIALS

TIME TO THINK TRIALS

On the 1/2 pipe section at Cotopaxi

Watching the Scottish and Pre 65 goings on and all the Ahrma events I have missed this year I’m
feeling somewhat left out of it. Looking back I’ve only had ONE ride since last September which was
at Casper. This is a far cry from the way it was when money was no object and I could zoom off to
any event I wished and take care of business over the phone.

I’m really missing all the winter CAT trials in Arizona which would serve as my practice for the Ahrma
events, and now here we are in May and finally it looks like it might have stopped snowing at last!
Beginning to wonder what a trial is all about and certainly looking forward to getting out there and
having a go again.

The bikes are ready, although neither has been started since early Feb, much of the trials gear is still
in the loft and here I am only 2 weeks away from Cotopaxi and still undecided as to which bike to ride.
In theory the weather forecast is reasonable for this weekend although wife has just informed me its
cold outside.

Well, some fence repairs to kick off the day after the howling gales of last week but maybe then ……
a little sneak into the workshop and trundle one out for a test ride? Well that didn’t happen, maybe this
week if the weather warms up.

Not sure who is setting the sections for Cotopaxi but I seem to have had some good rides there over
the last three years and all of them on the Cub. The first year was in the pre development stage with
the other carb and the Miller hi footrests so not the best performance wise although the marks lost
were of the “stalling” variety the first year with 3 unexpected fives when it refused to pick up. That is
now thankfully in the past and the second visit there was a vast improvement in performance and
handling even with some crunching ego brusing fives on a few very tough sections.

Two “5’s” going through the mud to the big rock, wider line and up by
the tree

…..and it worked!

Last year, as I remember I should have been clean on both days but ended up on 6 in each event with
a five on each day and a dumb dab for good measure. I remember the Day 1 five as it was a departure
from the norm. The section was a downhill entry against a big rock and then a tricky right hand uphill
adverse straight into a very tight left hander. On the opening lap I could see the best line was to get up
on the big rock as the start point and thereby be pointing directly up the hill avoiding the adverse
camber, but this meant having half the front wheel in the section and the axle just behind the starts
cards. I manouvered the bike into a good spot humping the back wheel up on the rock and in the
bushes while everybody waited to see what the English clown was doing. I then failed to go through
my own “pre section checklist” ……. fuel on, mental ride, in the correct gear, nothing in the wheels, look
up, observer ready?, final check of gear and GO! …….. well go I did but not very far as in all the set up
humping and bumping I had the little girl in THIRD!

The Day 2 five was another first lapper when I had all but cleaned the hardest hazard of the section I
ended up very close to the tapes and tried to hang on at idle but it stalled. However that was the
incentive and I went clean from that point for the win and tie break.

Overall I very much like Cotopaxi with all the natural rock sections even if some of them can be a bit
ambitious for old bikes and I look forward to seeing what will be in use this year. No doubt there will
be some of the old favorites, and Wehling Falls by the start I’m sure will be in both days as will the
groups over by the ranch and the ones leading in on the side of the dirt road. Usually all cleanable if
you can avoid the rollers that seem to take the marks so always worth walking the section on every
loop!

Up the steps of Wehling Falls

Being up there in altitude at around 8500′ there might well be some snow or some run off muddy
sections out the back in some of the rock streams and if they use the land above the ranch there are
real fun sections off the top road. These were not in use last year as the trail up from the ranch was
deemed too hard for Beginners and Novices, although the trail itself would make a great section.
Having so much prime trials land any Trialmaster is spoilt for choice as to where to go and what to
use. I’m hoping for some new sections as it is all too easy to just use what we had last year without
trying something new.

Ultra tight turn with the Clutch ????

…… and for those that haven’t been there then there is always the drive in to test your ability with a big
rig and trailer! There are some VERY tight turns, a few drops, and some crumbly corners, all of which
are blind before you finally arrive in the upper plateau and the start area.

Sign up, Awards, and the evening bar-b-q by the “Falls”

The start area itself has a nice purpose built area for sign in, awards, and the Saturday night pot
luck barbeque which is set right beside “Wehling Falls”. The Falls is a great piece of landscaping
with pumps and pools and some huge rocks which I believe was built on Cliff’s instructions and
must have been gorgeous to see water cascading over the boulders and filling the lower pool. I have
never seen it in action as the Tucker family now tend to use it as a practice section and Bailey Tucker
and Kieth Wineland normally show us their skills on the modern bikes after the Vintage event.

One day they may have the water running….. until then a great section

With the current phase of the Census now wrapping up I might just be able to get there on the
Thursday and get myself some desperately needed bike time. Anyhoooo, whatever goes down I’m
sure I’ll enjoy it. Full reports when we get there.

TONY DOWN

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  • 5/21/2010 4:59 PM Ralph Foster wrote:
    Tony. All of your stories are great fun,thanks. Im in the same boat as you as far as $$$ and riding time goes. I would like to go to Cotopaxi,but too far and too expensive at this time. Donner will probably be my only 2 trials this year. Thanks Ralph Foster
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  • 5/25/2010 1:39 PM B40RT wrote:
    Hi Tony
    Good to see your still hard at it.
    You picked the wrong year to do the pre-65 Scottish. This year, although cold for spectators, was perfect for riding.
    The bike also ran perfectly which is always nice.
    Ross
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A WEE DRAM FOR THE MIND

 

A WEE DRAM FOR THE MIND


A WEE DRAM FOR THE MIND

The “Pipes” they are a’calling !

Time for a wee dram……… and some memories

Being lucky enough to ride and finish in last year’s Pre 65 Silver Jubilee the mind turns once more to
the Highlands and Trials Central tells me of all the stories in and around Fort William this week. Of
course when I rode my 8 Scottish Six Days back in the 70’s it was a different event in so much that it
was twice as long but still the same flavour. It seems from reports that little has changed in relative
terms. The event is still one of the toughest out there and obviously the pinnacle of every trials rider’s
ambitions.

A return to the Highlands for the 2009 Pre 65 Silver Jubilee

Of course I was lucky and some what priviledged being in the Royal Air Force with a full support
team and all the transportation and accommodation aspects being covered by others. For a privateer
it is still an exceedingly daunting event and for a first timer even moreso. The magnitude of the
moors, the fear of getting lost or breaking down, the unknown of passage controls and section
delays, the energy sapping riding across those bogs and trying to mentally adjust to every new line
as it appears from nowhere. Keeping the will to ride when the body is saying take a rest, and hoping
against hope that you are going the right way until the relief of seeing the next group of sections.
Believe me this is NO, two mile loop around your usual Sunday afternoon event!

1974, the main event and close on 1200 miles of riding

Route marking was always adequate but as the trial progressed markers started to vanish, either for
legitimate reasons or better riders running late after a mechanical mishap giving them the “boot trick”
worked on the premise that “If I’m going to be late, then so will everyone else!” Usually if enough
protests came in then the sympathetic organizers would abandon the afternoon timing and everyone
was happy again for bar time. I do remember some of those rides, cresting ridges and looking for
some sign of flags only to be presented with a sea of black mud in every direction and tire tracks
going everywhere. A whole load of “deja-vu” as the mind tried to remember previous years routes and
questioned navigational ability as you wondered if you had gone round in a giant circle ? Always try for
the high ground and remember the color codes of the grass on the moors….. Brown= normally safe
and dryish with embedded rocks, Green= wet with rocks, but excercise care, Lime Green= Too Late!
up to the bars in all manner of the proverbial!  Water?……. is it 2-4″ on solid bed rock? or 2′ + deep in a
bottomless hole? Usually only one way to find out but sometimes a clue if there were plenty of tracks
on the other side. Open moors with all color grass and mud and water = constant jumping of ditches
and brooks and burns and hoping for some drive as the swinging arm touched down and the rear bit
into the far bank. Too much power and the back wheel would cut through the peat and you were going
down in another bottomless stinky hole.

Another mini burn to jump

Another goopey peat bog to get through

Sometimes you would get a breather with a relatively easy track or a faster ancient Roman Road.
Plenty of surprizes here too! with bridges that had no middle, turns that got ever tighter on loose shale
downhills and the sickening bang from the front wheel on sharp faced rocks that came out of nowhere
at 30+ mph! …… and then the wait to see if your nightmare was coming true with another concussion
burst ?  The long seemingly never ending jaunt over Callert with the very uncomfortable goat track with
rocks placed at the perfect distance to hit front and rear at exactly the same time…… and then the long
downhills trying to hold the line and escape the worst going by venturing just slightly off the track to
find some hard ground. As the years went by I seemed to get better at this, and of course it DOES help
to have some experience of where you are going compared to earlier efforts when the mind is in a
total state of shock and saying  “Idon’t believe it! how much more of this is there?”

The joys of a flat tyre on the moors

……..and then just when you thought your day was done and you were back on tarmac….. “what can go
wrong here after all we have been through?” ……. only to find the so called road was more akin to a
series of ski jumps and you were airborne over most of them with a resounding WOIINK! to come on
landing as the back shocks bottomed out.

I suppose the most pleasing thing from an “Oldtimer’s perspective” is that whilst the bikes have
become more capable, so therfore the sections have become tougher, the Edinburgh Club has
maintained the perfect balance of severity versus ability over all these years and if I look back to my
days some 30-40 years ago the rank and file clubmen are losing EXACTLY the same number of
marks on a daily basis today as they were back then.

Some would say the reliability portion has gone out of the trial with the almost perfection of the
modern bike, but I think things are much about the same seeing Dougie have an ignition problem
losing him a big time penalty, and this morning the current leader’s bike refused to start in parc ferme
within the minute allowance losing him more marks than he has lost all week! I often sit and wonder
about the tubeless rear tires and how you would cope if you knocked one off the bead? I think if I were
riding this week I would have a different back wheel and a spare tube to get me on my way again.

As I pen this I can visualise being there, or even riding it, I can see “those” tracks and moors, and this
year the weather seems somewhat kinder with perhaps near perfect riding conditions. The Scottish,
was and is, a balance of many things, preparation of machine and body before the event and a fine
tuning of the mind during it. The will to finish must be paramount as it is all too easy to give up as the
many hurdles come in front of you on a never ending basis. As we always said ” No good being the
best rider on day one if you aren’t there on Saturday”. Other than continuous long distance riding there
is little you can do to prepare for an event of this nature, sure, physical fitness will help especially if you
are not up there in the very top division but its the mental mind set that will get you to the finish and a
whole truck load of determination and mind over matter.

While the Experts and top riders flow over sections and zip across the moors the less talented are
losing energy with every 5 and rotovating 3 as they struggle their way round lifting bikes out of rock
piles and huge black lagoons. To see those faces, and the all telling eyes, it is a wonder that so many
finish, but finish they do, and by week’s end many arrive at the sections and never bother to walk them
as they know what the section will be. Just follow the muddy line through the rocks, keep an eye on the
cards and hope!…. as the section will be similar to what you have been riding over for the last hour or
so. I have seen many through the years collapsed over the bars gasping in the highland air and
wondering if last night was such a good idea?  but each evening the “relief” period in the bar and
rehydrating, however you choose to do it, has it’s own stories to tell and does somehow dim the pain.

More rocks! and another energy sapping Three.

Another “quick dip” and then pick it up and start again

More lifting and struggling

Very close, now pick it up and struggle out for the next one

New plastics ? Bars ? and levers?

On the mechanical side our preparation was pretty intense stripping the “new” bike down about a
month before the event and getting to know how exactly the manufacurer had put it together. Lots of
“Locktite” on known problem bolts and a fair number of bolts and nuts drilled and then wire locked to
stay in place. Cases maybe filed away to give access to sprockets and brake pedal linkages and a
whole host of things on the ignition side and quick release systems to get into carbs and air cleaners
in the event of a “drowning”. Wheels painted where security bolts and valves were and new nuts and
distance pieces fitted to save time.

Feeling sorry for Dougie I can only say that we ALWAYS fitted a spare COIL under the tank for
Scotland complete with a quick changeover. Very simple, no spark? change the plug, still no spark
change the hot wire to the new fitted coil. Still no spark off with the side case and look at the points.
Things improve, but they STILL go wrong!

The Last Day. Well having dragged your battered and abused body down to parc ferme the mind
thinks of many things, the route, the sections, where refuelling and support will be and how to make
it to the end. Normally if the bike has made it this far it will probably last another day despite all the
battering it has taken. One final go over in the allotted time checking for loose this and thats. Fender
or mudguard brackets may now be twisted and bent and all the plastics will need changing after the
event. Wheels are no longer round and many other parts are in a sorry state to. All the rattles, ding,
gerding noises from the motor have to be put to one side, no more riding it like you stole it, and just
nurse it to the finish. In my day the trial effectively finished at luch time and then it was a 90 mile ride
back to Edinburgh hoping that it would stay together and not fall apart. In later years it was usually a
run off the Mamore Road or in from Ben Nevis to Town Hall Brae, which although a section was
always a bit of a joke, but many have 5’d it over the years.

The old “joke” of Town Hall Brae circa 1975

………. and then there is always next year!

Town Hall Brae today with a few imported rocks!

So to all those that finished , Well Done, and to those that didn’t for whatever reason, Bad Luck,
I Salute You All ! ……. and of course there is always NEXT YEAR.   Now where is that “Special Whisky
and my Scottish Glass?”

TONY DOWN

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  • 5/15/2010 7:55 PM David GMcGaw wrote:
    Hi Tony , being a scotsman ,my mind drifts to the ssdt in may , thanks for sharing your memories of the trial. great trip down memory lane
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  • 5/16/2010 10:25 AM Outlaw Dave wrote:
    Congratulations Tony on an excellent article – Every rider from this side of the pond that is thinking of riding the Scottish, should read it – Can I use this on my site?
    All the Best
    Dave
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  • 5/31/2010 1:01 PM Steveo wrote:
    Whew,what a totally exhausting spectacle,it fairly makes me tired to read about it.Such punishment ,it is tough to understand why there are so many repeat offenders,especially the older riders,we are supposed to get wiser as we age….
    good on you for attempting it again,and my thanks for sharing!
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