A DAY AT TOOELE
Tooele, a great venue in 2008
After the return from Casper I had mentally resigned myself to the fact that Eugene will creep away with
“MY” title this year using the old age rule, with him being one year older than me! I know that this year
MANY championship will go the same way and I would see “whippersnapper” John Dowson losing MC
Int to a determined Fred Martinson and Dan Straka losing Prem Lightweight Int to Jeff Smith should he
ride one of the remaining rounds which I’m sure he will do.
Those Championships that look secure are Dave Dewonia on the big BSA in Premier Heavyweight,
Bob Strohman in Classic Int with seven wins and as Mike Buchholz didn’t contest Tooele I believe Hugh
Campbell has stepped up for a win in Premier Lightweight Exp…….. which I might have a go at next year.
Rick Daniel looks fairly secure in the MC Expert Class on my EX Ossamaha which won the class last
year in the capable hands of Mike Buchholz. MC Nov is still up for grabs and has about 5 potential
winners trading places at every venue.
Well anyhooo, come Wednesday Brenda says “you need one more ride don’t you?”…….. Imagine my
surprise!……. so she suggests I slip over to Tooele for Saturday, sleep in the car Friday night and get
back here in time to pick her up at work and take the dogs out on Saturday night.
Obviously any trials man with a “pink chit” is going to jump at the chance so some feverish work begins
getting the Cub cleaned and ready after the Casper mud. Some new plugs are purchased, gapped and
fitted along with all the other “post mud” trial maintenance. Brenda supplies an air mattress and with
sleeping bag, pillow and an assortment of goodies I’m on the road at 1130 Friday.
Pulling into the venue at 1830 I note the track has improved over the last 2 years and how quiet
everything is ? Venture over to E & E’s and find everybody inside at the nibblies. Big surprise is to find
Eugene and wife present!!!!?????? Reason I’m surprised is that he made a point of telling me he
wasn’t riding any more events this year as his back was too painful. Of course he has 2 wins, from
Buckeye, 2 more from Terlton, which I didn’t go to, and a checker duty at Casper on the last day. With 4
second place finishes behind me at Cotopaxi and Casper he still needs 2 wins to get the magic 7
and win on age. I rather suspect he thought that as I wasn’t going to Tooele he could sneak a couple of
uncontested wins and make off with the title. Well when we talked at Casper I was convinced that my
season was done so my presence was not exactly a “pleased to see you” experience.
The “Miller Lights/Lites” from the car park
Friday night never really got going and by 2100 I’m in the back of the Cadi trying to get in the sleeping
bag and have a dog free night’s sleep. As nobody else is drinking I can look down the valley to see the
other Miller Lights from the motorsports park.
Saturday morning and about 25 riders are here with an awful lot missing from the last time we ran the
event. No sign of the Woodwards, Mike Buchholz, Lindemans, Rick Armstrong or Tom Maddux, no
shows from nearly all of the Californian riders with Derek Belvoir, Nick Turner, Rick Daniel, Len Sims,
Rick Wolff, Ralph Foster all missing. As we are also missing any checkers the event gets the go
ahead for a two half deal with the lower classes checking in the morning and roles reversed for the
All 1 & 2 line riders start at section one which, like many of the “Lipscomb” sections, could easily be
divided into 2 subs. We enter to set up wide in tall grass to make the first log crossing which is
securely anchored and is not going to move, no sooner over that then cross another log which I think
will fall to bits after a few riders, from there downhill adverse to make a triple log crossing into an
uphill “S” which could be problematic if it gets chewed up. From there over a blind crest into another
left, right flick to set up for the uphill and slip between 2 trees before an up down to the ends gate.
Dan, back on the Honda, takes on the “Triple Oxer” of 1
Now the uphill “S”
The final hill of 1
Most people are cleaning it with the odd dab an a few 2’s. A nice controlled clean goes in the books so
over to 2 to see what we have here. One thing about this place and perhaps my only criticism is the
amount of uncleared brush in the sections which can not only be distracting but is in some cases
unlucky and dangerous. In my opinion the line through any section should be clearly defined and
small saplings, prickly branches and dangerous obstacles should be cleared. Of course I’m not talking
about “hazards” which are clearly there as the test. 3 feet high sage brush bushes do not fall into that
category and should be removed!
John Clement, also on a Honda, takes the 1 line of 1
Through the extra gate of 1
Section 2 has a double log step into an adverse left, right and up around the tree before gliding across
a clearing for a double 45 degree log step to the finish. Hazards here are turning too early on the first log
step, too much power on the uphill turns and a wheel slip on the 45 logs. I cross the logs and I’m
comfortably established on the uphill when the engine dies for an exceedingly annoying feet on the
rests 5. Now I thought I had this “bug” sorted so a few more adjustments and on I go still fuming!!!
Passing two misnumbered Sunday sections we all arrive at Saturday 3. Another long Lipscomb
special. Trundle along the side of the dried up bog and meander uphill to the left picking a line through
the rocks and trees. Now a choice, either long and easy wide turn through stable rocks to the dry side
and then adverse 90 left uphill to the checker, or a much tighter downhill turn and then across the bog
direct to the checker. I elect the longer, wider route but the 90 gets me for a dab.
At 4 Jim himself is here. What does that mean, hard or just technical? Seems a reasonable section to
me, enter downhill, sharp right turn with a drop, recover and set up for uphill weaving blast through
some Aspens, turn through 180 left on an open ungated area and back down a steepish drop over
rocks,then trundle 7 yards to a little uphill blast on a bank around a tree. While I’m watching I see three
5’s here from people missing gates! All goes well here and straight into Rob Strickler’s section 5 which
is one we used 2 years ago in a no escape ditch filled with good size rocks. A bit like a Scottish section
on a dry day. Nice clean here so off to 6.
Up the banks of 4 in 2008
The rock filled ditch of 5
Section 6 is the most difficult by a long way with perils everywhere if you get it wrong. Entry into rolling
riverbed rocks, uphill right turn into downhill left/right severe adverse with rocks, roots and stumps into
further soft adverse with full right uphill swinger into down and out finish. Nearly right, lost one one the
adverse right, lost another on the uphill swinger. Elder statesman Knapp is in full control darting round
the section like a butterfly but NOTHING escapes his eagle eye!
7 can only be described as a disappointment as it had a lot of potential but due to some missing
gates was a very simple down hill over an awkward 9″ log then up a “no problem” bank and flat ride to
the exit. Looks like it was missing all the ups and downs in the Aspens that must have been in the
Forgotten split cards ruined Section 7
Over to 8, controlled by the Arndt family, and an uphill pumice affair then off the rock into loose then
back on the rock again to start a meandering downhill amid rollers and loose dirt. With cleans on the
last 2 sections back to the start knowing the stalling 5 has cost me dearly in what is a clean card day
with more application. First loop scores are not up so out for loop 2 with a determination to “get it right!”
Pull in to the start of 1 and more fun as the clutch cable snaps!!! Well this is turning into a frustrating
morning!! Repairs completed and through 1 again for a nice clean and now as I predicted the second
log has become matchsticks. Pull up to Gene Medeco(something or other) and FM! the nipple lets go
again and I see the said item fall out of the lever and drop in the vegetation! Lucky for me Gene’s
glasses are on max and he retrieves the mini nipple from the deep brush.
Fred on the logs of 1 en route to another MC Int win.
Back to the start and try and rethread the cable with the mini nipple and by now the cable is coming
unwound and with my failing eyesight threading the needle is v difficult. With multiple crimps of pliers
the worn frayed cable is persuaded back through the orifice and I know this as odd stray wires stick in
my thumb and bleeding commences like being bitten by “noseeums”. Now taking the mini screwdriver
the little silver barrel bolt is inserted into the Domino nipple and as expected falls in the vegetation
somewhere close to my feet!
…….7,8, 9……10, smile sweetly, say nothing! A few minutes later the shining silver screw is found…..
my patience and enthusiasm are rapidly going out of the window but as we know in trials even when
you are having a bad day others are having an even worse one!
Try again and tighten it all up ……. it pulls straight off but I catch it before it falls. I have about 1/4 inch of
cable to play with and once more after more finger poking the thing is back on the cable……… but, as I
try and screw it together the bloody screw slips from my watch makers fingers and this time I hear it
bounce on the trailer rack. I search the channel where it landed and can find nothing!
Walk away in disgust….. so near and yet so far! Time for a ciggy and a drink and calm down. Back to
the “screw in a haystack” situation and carefully search the immediate area either side of the rack to
no avail. At this point Hugh turns up an offers his bike if I can’t get going. One more search of the rack
channel and there it is gleaming right up at me!…… Ziss time Zere will be NO Prizzoners!
The little screw is finally in and a few very determined extra turns seem to have it fixed. By this point I’m
needless to say last man and I’m delaying everything. I’m given the choice to ride with the afternoon
team but I elect to rush round as fast as I can …… and I mean FAST. At the scorer’s table I see Eugene
has finished today on 26 and I now have an 18 mark cushion so off I go.
With section 1 previously completed out to 2 and zip through there for the clean I should have had the
first time. At 3 no time to walk anything so blunder straight in, use the same line and now lose 2 on the
uphill 90 to the exit. Steve tells me the tighter turn is the way to go and where the cleans are coming
from. High speed through 4 and 5 and a single dab lost in the tricky 6 which is cutting up. 7 and 8
clean so high speed back to the start for a 12 minute loop!
Last card, still a 15 mark cushion, so try not to make too many dumb mistakes. Through one with a
lot of wiggling on the loose uphill after the triple log but safe. Boot gets pulled off on a sage brush in
2 but I’ll take it in view of the speed. Take a tight turn on Steve’s advice in 3 and ride a nice clean.
Easy fast cleans in 4 & 5 and back to John Knapp at 6. No time to look and as I round the tree for the
tricky entry into the adverse there is a large round river rock right where I want to go and as it wasn’t
here last time I guess it will roll if I touch it, elect to ride round it which puts me on the low side of the
adverse and now as I put the power on the back slides away speedway style for an unsaveable 5 !
Through 7 and 8 in a blur and complete loop 3 in 15 mins. Not the most stellar ride and 2 silly 5’s in
the 17 mark total but as they say a “Win is a Win” no matter how it was achieved.
Well of course I would have loved to stay for Day 2 and dispense another can of Whoop Arse but as
the “pink chit” has run out I’d better get on my way. Seems the Utah people don’t really care to much
for speed limits and the home run is completed in 6 hours and 20 mins for the 400 miles. Everybody
drives at about 75-80 here regardless of the posted limit.
The intention was to take a load of pictures but with the “other” incidents of the day best laid plans on
the photo front did not come to fruition!
My season is done!