OLD DOG……OLD TRICKS

OLD DOG……OLD TRICKS

OLD DOG….. OLD TRICKS

Glitz and Poofy go trials riding

 The first two Yamahas, “The Silk Purse”  and the “Poofmobile” are now built so its time for their
debut on the CAT scene at Alto Pit just outside Prescott. The silk purse is now called the Glitzmobile
but has some clutch problems as it won’t free off. As I NEVER use the clutch this doesn’t bother me
too much but as this is going to be a first timer on the old bikes I elect to ride “Poofy” with its
recovered cream leather seat, hence the name.

Poofy on Section 1

Another voyage of discovery commences and the learning curve has to start again after riding
the Gas Gas for 3 years. No, these brakes require a little muscle! ….. there is a flywheel and it’s
not going to stall, but it weighs 40 lbs more than your last mount. Plan the section a little better,
allow time for the engine room to stoke the boilers, don’t get over ambitious or it will end in tears!

I know its a big rock but you can do it…… I hope!

So Poofy and I set off in the TwinShock Class as this is a 77 model with the much softer and
smoother engine. Glitz being a 74 rides in the Vintage Class as 1974 is the cut-off. Those nerves
are back, and today if anything goes wrong there is only one person to blame….. you built it……
you ride it!

Over the top just prior to the “Bars” incident

One of the opening sections was a wriggle round some trees then a HUGE boulder followed by
a drop off into a sharp left turn to the exit. It powers up straight over the mountainous boulder
but as I drop down the other side the jolt flips the bars fully forward and I depart the section like
a road racer flat on the tank and both feet off the pegs either side of the backwheel! Thanks
Shade Tree! Back to the pits and find the 13mm socket….twit!

In the Groove

Can’t remember the Trialsmaster of the day but I do remember that the sections were some of
the best that we have ever ridden at that location. A lot were big rocks and loose rubble and I
loved them all. One got me every loop with a nasty tight downhill which needed a panic dab
every time as confidence was still building.


Just like I remember

So “Poofy” gets her first win and I’m delighted and even more pleased later in the afternoon
when Glitz gets warm enough and the clutch works again.

TONY DOWN

This is Article 80 Have you read them all?
Check out the OCT and NOV archives.

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THE NICEST BIKE EVER

 

THE NICEST BIKE EVER

THE NICEST BIKE EVER

The Real Thing

Seems that the “Nastiest Bike Ever” is the most popular item so here’s one from the other end
of the spectrum. Continuing my quest for the “Rothmans RTL” it once again comes down to, if you
can’t find one then build your own replica!

From time to time Adrian Lewis gets his hands on these RTLs and is most likely a “world authority”
on the machine whereas my expertise is normally associated with the TY Yamaha. Adrian tells he
has a disc brake version coming in from New Mexico and will be rebuilding later in the year. He
also has a “Rothmans” on consignment but says it’s a drum brake model and perhaps a tad
expensive. E-mail photos arrive, drooling begins!

Nasty business!

The Owner should be Publicly Flogged!

The RTL had not had an easy life and had been used for inspecting power lines out in the middle
of nowhere and judging by it’s original state had not been in the hands of a trials rider. Adrian
rebuilt the motor, suspension and found new fenders and a better exhaust. It arrived in a semi
finished state and I took it from there.

Old and Newer

It needed the stand, a rear wheel bearing, some new bars, some final polishing and the tank
shroud redone in the Rothmans colors.

New Wheel Bearings

I had been to see a local RTL that was for sale but again this was the drum brake model so the
appeal was not quite so high. I did have a test ride on the owner’s mini trial sections and found
that this machine has what I would consider to be the most perfect geometry. The stance position
is amazing and it feels as though you are on a bench as it is such a stable platform. Power
delivery is silky smooth but packs a punch when you call for it. In it’s day it must have been a
quantum jump forward over it’s competitors, and certainly if I had been competing in that era
would have been a must have!

Worth the Wait

Gorgeous

As most experts will tell me the “True Rothman’s” are as rare as the proverbial, the replicas have
the twin front downtubes whereas the works bikes had a single plus a host of other differences
….. and nearly all the works bikes went in the crusher.

All Polished

The Nicest Bike Ever!

The painter takes forever but somethings are worth waiting for and he eventually says both
shrouds are ready. Not cheap, but quality is worth paying for. So it’s finished and like the TLM
remains unridden in competition, one day, one day!…….. unless somebody makes me an offer
I can’t refuse?…….starting circa $8000 for the RTL and $6000 for the TLM

TONY DOWN     Still smoking, still coughing…. Hooray for ROTHMANS

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  • 2/5/2008 8:07 PM Doug Hunter wrote:
    Nice job on the RTL Tony. A real beauty.
    I rode Honda fourstrokes for years and lusted for the ultimate disc braked mono here, spending many hours gazing over such in my copy of the “Honda Trials Story”. Unfortunately too rare and rich for my blood as a kid…and not too much has changed since!

    My Honda is gone and I’ve been sorting out an Ariel HT5 replica the last few years. Might get it to an AHRMA event some day. I look forward to bumping into you and seeing this bike in the flesh if you have it out.

    Regards, Doug Hunter
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  • 10/15/2008 11:55 AM Kevin Johnson wrote:
    Hi, I have just bought RTL 250s that needs a lot of work, winters setting in and the kids are driving me mad and I needed a project. Can you help me by pointing me in the right direction for various advise. If I can get it any where close to your baby I will be delighted
    Best regards,

    Kevin
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YELLOW PERIL

YELLOW PERIL

YELLOW PERIL

I want a big brother

 As I can’t keep a blue one in the shop I’ll try for a different color scheme and do a TY250A in
Yellow/White to match the TY175 that I had done with the chrome frame and yellow accessories.

I have one really nice bike left that is nearly all original, if you like that sort of thing, and so this
should be easy. Strip the motor and it’s recently been rebored so leave well alone here and just
paint the barrel and head and cut the fins without removing fingerprints.

Downstairs, new points for the hell of it, new 12 tooth and bin the 14 that was on it, must have
been a road racer! Usual ignition cable mods and of course off with the oil pump, fabricate the
blanking plate and seal up the case.

Rear sprocket is new so just a new chain and then cut the old airbox off and re-rivett the holes.
Clean and spray white to match the frame and tank/seat unit. Super pair of wheels so just spoke
cleaning and tightening and some new tires.

A new Mikuni and reed set and Uni filter all at the ready, cables, throttle and Renthals all in the
shop and a leftover set of Fox shoks and some shorty yellow levers. All that’s left is respray the
last solid bash plate and the exhaust system.

From my stores, some polished forks and yokes along with the polished engine cases and now a
quick weekend build.

Recover the Sammy Miller seat, red doesn’t crack it and redo the side decals in yellow and black
and then the final touch of the little black cat.

Sure is a Pretty Thing!

It runs beautifully but the rear shocks that look good in the photo turned out to be crap and were
binned!

SOLD

I never got to ride it in competition as it was snapped up like a baby wilderbeast at the waterhole.
I did get to see it in action at the Perris 2 Day and the owner just couldn’t stop smiling.

I’m running out of projects!

TONY DOWN

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OUT FOR A DUCK

OUT FOR A DUCK

OUT FOR A DUCK

Well Bowled!

 I never really liked cricket and baseball doesn’t do it for me either (sorry) So this not a story of a
whistling ball zipping past you at head height more another adventure into the unknown.

Duck shooting in the UK was in my opinion a complete dead loss as wherever you were the ducks
were not! You could be up in the middle of the night, wade, crawl, and dam nearly drown trying to
cross frozen marshes in the pitch black only to arrive at the planned point and then find someone
else takes a shot and 20,000 mallard take to the skies never to be seen again.

Falklands? No, never heard of them…..

Well, how about Argentina?   Might be good as long as I don’t mention the War or call
“The Malvinas” the Falklands or make any mention of having been there. Argentina has about 14
different varieties of duck and in many areas they have no idea what a hunter looks like or does.
The week long expedition is planned and I take a flight to Miami and then to Buenos Aries.

Busy busy!

Arrive in the capitol and after checking guns I am now taken on a sightseeing tour before going to
another airport for a domestic flight to the middle of the interior. Fantastic architecture and a busy
and bustling city. Can’t help but notice that everyone is immaculately groomed and dressed.

I’m met at the airport and after a one hour drive we are at the ranch and I’m in a very nice private
villa. Over to the main ranch house and the lady of the Lodge tells me I’m the only guest this week
as the other party of 8 had to cancel at the last minute. Well at least there won’t be any argument
over who shot what.

DUCK!

Up at 2 a.m. (why do hunters get up so ******* early?) maid brings breakfast and I’m struggling
with waders and all manner of foul weather kit. Off we go and some time later in the pitch black
I get the impression we are at the destination.

Out we go and I have 4 “bird boys” with me and the host now departs in the Landrover (least
they have taste!) and now we enter the black lagoon with all the sucking mud, deeper and deeper
I go wondering when this is going to stop. Knee deep and on we plough, Senor…….senor, at last
the boy indicates this will do and starts handing me boxes of cartridges which I shove down the
front of my waders. Now the boy child produces coffee, things are looking up so there I am in the
pitch dark, in a swamp, up to my proverbial in the proverbial with a cigarette in one hand, coffee in
the other and shotgun cradled in my elbows.

Up to your……..

About 6’ish it starts and this is quite unbelieveable as ducks just come and go in every direction.
Some are leaving the marsh to fly inland to grain fields, others are coming back to the marsh from
overnight roosts and other feeding areas and then there are others who seem to just fly round the
marsh itself. I suppose with all the varieties they have different habits unlike our dear UK Mallard
that all go together! I’m knocking them down at 17/hour and they either just keep coming or going
so there are birds in front, from behind, left to right crossers and of course right to lefts for the
easy shot. Normally in game shooting footwork is the mark of the elegant shooter but when you
are up to your nuts in water and your feet are stuck in setting concrete mud that kind of goes out
the window!

Ten o’clock and the bird boys have had enough and start collecting the birds….. no idea why we
stopped they just keep coming and coming and I could have stayed there all day. All 50 or so are
in the bag and off we go for lunch which seems to be the Argentinean highlight of the day and is
always a bar-b-q. Then carrying on the Spanish tradition a siesta!

In the afternoon more ducks, from dry land with pigeons coming into a copse of high trees. Some
great sport but I actually came for the ducks.

Most days followed the same format with 0200 starts and the “maid” breakfast, waist deep in a
swamp until 1000 then lunch and then a choice of back to the marsh or some hillside shooting
for a strange Argentinean bird called the “perdiz” looks like a hen pheasant with a giraffe like
neck. It flies incredibly low and fast, a bit like a Harrier jump jet, and is about the same size as a
plump partridge. These birds hide everywhere on the hillsides and make a very strange call. The
Head bird boy brings their champion pointing dog out for the afternoon who is fairly useless and
spends most of his time rolling in cowshit! Now suitably covered and stinking to high heaven he
continually goes on point at every cow pat we come across. Now the bird boy starts making
strange noises (I hope he’s not gay!) and we are set for a real fun afternoon. After a while with
bird boy whistling and dog shit rolling there comes a return on the whistles? We trudge uphill and
very soon the perdiz flush at 6 inches off the ground. A couple of these and I get the idea of how
this is going to be and after shattering some rock outcrops pick up a “left and right” at perdiz!

On the Thursday we are in the marshes again for the afternoon and things are a little slow when
suddenly there is an eclipse of the sun as a massive ugly bird resembling a B52 Bomber glides by.
“What is that ?” I ask
“Izzz Caw Caw”…….. “Izzz good to eat”…….”OK”  So I swing on the monster and hit it in the left
engine and down comes a leg ….. the next shot takes out the rear gunner and then it starts
climbing and gets to about 100 feet when the other engine quits and it plunges into the marsh.
Jubilant bird boy goes in hot pursuit and retrieves this thing which is about the size of a 20lb turkey
with a 8 foot wingspan! It’s feet are the same size as the ducks!

The Caw Caw

The Monster from the skies is given to the cooks and is served at Friday’s bar-b-q. It is as tough
as old boots!!

Some of you maybe appalled at all this carnage on the duck community but believe me these
birds are there in their millions and ravage the crops throughout the country. Also all the birds
that are shot are given to local orphanages to suppliment their meagre diet of rice so another
win, win situation unless you are a duck and meet yours truly when he has his “A” game.

Now These are Big Ducks!

Homeward at the end of the week with a nice cold as a souvenir of Argentina and now the fun
of re-entry into the good old US of A. At Miami we are told to stand still in customs as the “Super
Canine” of the fruit and veg department sniffs our luggage for illegal plants and oranges! Never
mind the Shotguns and ammunition…. what a crazy world!

TONY DOWN

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  • 12/18/2007 11:55 PM Steveo wrote:
    sounds like a fine place for birds kind of reminded me of the duck hunting in northern Alberta,except you did’nt have to move away from your vehicle.the cars and trucks just lined up bumper to bumper,shooters often wearing carpenters aprons full of shells,usually 40-60 vehicles.Everyone just stood there blasting ducks,often not bothering to shoot to either side,instead just shooting the ones that were coming right at you,trying to time it so that the falling bird would hit your buddy.Somewhat off topic there Tony,but I wonder if theres any chance of picking up a used Wes exhaust system,for my 175?I know you’re well-connected with many suppliers and would like to know if you’ve any advice for me on this matter,or for that matter any idea of the price for a new one.Being new to the computer and having only had a 20 minute lesson,I struggle on this thing.Well on the bike topic I wish to get some trials tires when I get down there,Michelins or Dunlops,any ideas on prices or suppliers? Any help would be greatly appreciated,the ones I’d gotten last year went to my friend.Naturally now I need some,wish I’d kept a few!Thanks for your sharing some of your life with everyone,not only are your stories well-written,you are rather prolific too.Thanks and keep up the good work,much appreciated, Steve
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OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS?

OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS?

OLD DOG,  NEW TRICKS?


A Gas Gas? What is that? A Laxative?

 September 2000 and I set off for Alto Pit, a dedicated off road area, just outside Prescott
Arizona. My mission, after a 23 year layoff to go and watch a “modern” trial. At this stage I did
not know that Central Arizona Trials operates an all day event with all classes up to and including
Intermediate riding in the morning and then Advanced through Champ in the afternoon. A good
system as you ride half a day and check the other. That way everyone sees everyone and it
makes for a good atmosphere.

First impressions…… these sections are pretty ambitious! Great trials terrain, shame there isn’t
any mud, anyhooo, I walk round, introduce myself and people are genuinely friendly and helpful.
Sometime later, Sheldon Heffler, the President of the Club offered me a ride on his new Gas Gas.
I take it off for a trundle and then a few minor obstacles which of course it does without a thought.
I’m suitably impressed  and that “bug” is always there so the mind immediately says “Yeah, I
could still do this”.

The Ends Card…. The First Clean on GG

The following week I’m at “Hardrock Trials” and getting all the info from Mike Carlton. It just so
happens that if you order a new Gas Gas before the end of October there is a BIG discount so
things are really in my favor. The new machine arrives and I’m rekitted with new Hebo boots and
a YES helmet. Some feverish practicing trying to jog the memory banks and I’m mustard keen for
the first event at Oak Flats in November.

….Left, ..outside the rock,..over the steps

I don’t remember it section by section but I do remember being exceedingly nervous and trying
too hard I stalled the engine on the first turn in the first section! I think I then ripped the sleeve
off my new shirt in the next section and discovered that anything growing in this desert needs a
wide berth as it will stick you, stab you, grab hold of you, and generally spoil your whole day.

Now these are BIG rocks!

Things then got better and the sections soon had the memory banks lit up and I think I was on
some old auto pilot as I got to grips with things and ran out as class winner by a clear 10 points.

Don’t screw it up now

During the first couple of years on the CAT circuit there were some great venues, but regrettably
we seem to have lost all our desert areas through some nutter claiming we were destroying the
environment. These are the classic campaigners who champion every cause without ever looking
at the whole picture. About time WE (the victims) stood up for what WE want!

I Like IT!

The Gas Gas was a great bike and I rode it with a lot of success wrapping up 2 Senior Novice
Championships before switching back to the mysteries of 70’s engineering, heavy flywheels and
all that stuff. One fingering things had only ever had ONE application in my Life! Too late to
change ……. sorry boys …WHOOF…..WHOOF!

OLD DOG    Tony Down

Read tales of “Old Dogs,  Old tricks”

October Archives
November Archives….. lots of AHRMA stuff.

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  • 12/18/2007 11:26 PM Steveo wrote:
    Theres lots to be said for the joys of having a good relationship with a nice twin shock.Many riders on “modern”iron simply don’t know what they’re missing,if theres one thing better than beating someone in a modern trial,its doing it on an old bike-it kinda gets their attention. Happy Trials Steveo
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CENTRAL ARIZONA TRIALS PART 2

CENTRAL ARIZONA TRIALS PART 2

CENTRAL ARIZONA TRIALS PART 2

ALTO PIT APRIL

Mid April and the last of the CAT trials before the main attack on Rocky Mountain and AHRMA.
Up to Alto Pit again and arrive Saturday lunchtime so we can have a ride round and see what’s
cooking.

Brenda actually wants to ride so it’s out with the bikes and off to inspect and walk the sections.
Maybe I’m over thinking them but they look harder than usual. Round the loop we go and alls well
with just 4 & 5 to look at which are down the hill from the bus. The route however, takes us along
a path way above the sections and the parking area.  We come round a corner and there is a
fairly steep downhill so I stop and give Brenda a reminder of the correct technique. Down we go
and a little further on there is a BIG downhill leading to the start of 4. Re-brief and I go down and
turn to observe terrified female in full flight hurtling down the hill with clutch firmly squeezed! We
now know the brake is on the other side!!

  Try the new B-B-Q which works well and so to bed. Up bright and early and off to get Brenda’s
paperwork sorted. No turning back now! Off we go to Section1 which should be easy enough and
so it is for me with 3 cleans. Brenda turns a bit early and paddles through on lap 1, does the same
on 2 but tries harder and escapes with a dab on the last loop. On to Mike Meschade’s Section 2.
A tricky little adverse turn and I stall it much to my annoyance but improve with a dab second time
around and finally get it right on the last lap. Brenda has the right line but no power and the little
125 dies through lack of whoff. Second attempt, all wrong, poor line and straight into the rock for
a crunching 5! Lap 3, with more determination and a better line and a 3 goes in the books.

 Andy Saum has No3 and I have 3 cleans here while Brenda struggles and becomes attracted to
a bush resulting in a dragging 3. Next attempt sitting down, well we know that won’t work, and
finally start in the right place, stands up, turn dem bars! And take a tippy toe dab.

3 Cleans on No 4 !

 Elect to take the safer route to section 4 & 5 and Brenda whips through 4 with 3 cleans! Hooray!!
4 is challenging and rides better than it looks and I clean it twice before falling foul of the loose
which just caught me for a dab. 5 is perhaps the easiest for me with 3 cleans. Brenda has a tricky
45 degree log which takes the front wheel twice before a determined last lap effort for a three.

A Real Loose Downhill on 4

 Back through the parking area and off to 6,7 and 8. 6 is my kind of section and I clean it first time
but screw up on second and third attempts taking a dab on the first downhill turn (must practice
these!). Brenda paddles through on the first go but then stalls it on her second attempt. Last go
looks more promising but runs wide on the exit after actually clearing the big (big by beginners
standards) log. Greg Jones claims he baulked her so she has a re-run and gets away with another 3.

No7 is somewhat ambitious but doable. My first attempt ends in tears (literally!) as I ground out
on the first rock with both wheels spinning in air and feet dangling in air and me astride the fuel
cap, OUCH!! Regaining composure and everything else I ride the rest of the section which again
rides better than it looks. Second go and a bit more speed over the rock and through for a solo
dab. Third attempt and this isn’t pretty with 3 dabs and not much idea. Brenda gets through her
3 goes with 3’s but with a bit more practice could have cleaned them all.

The last section sees 2 nice controlled cleans for me but on lap three my boot catches the rock
and pulls me against it for the dumbest 5 ever! I’m seriously annoyed with myself! On Brenda’s
line it’s a fairly simple turning exercise but she turns the bars then immediately turns them back
sending her into all manner of obstacles with a 3 every time. We will be practicing this again and
again!

I Did it, I Did it!

 No matter, she finished in one piece, and now we await the fatigue to set in. Not my best ride
but a good learning experience on the Venerable Steed and this 4 stroke stuff is more of a
challenge than I thought but we will stick with the program.

ALTO PIT SEPTEMBER

 Back home for the local CAT trial at Alto Pit so set off Sat afternoon with the forecast of rain, and
sure enough we seem to be following the storm.  Leave the Triumph all ready for Dickson along
with Super Steed RE which now has a new bash plate with some super alloy welding. Can’t resist
moving the shocks 2 inches forward and they seem to have given the handling a boost. The Mikuni
from the Ossa has the motor running as sweet as a bird so all should be well for next season……
keep thinking about those A/T’s and how to correct the problem.

 Sunday and its an early start and Ossamaha gets ride 2. The first section of the day is an old
favorite and it amazes me just how many different sections you can lay out on this one rock.
Today is no exception with an up and over boulder, stay inside a ground boundary marker then
tight left turn into the step, up onto the plateau, drop down into a left/right uphill turn on the rock
before a sharp left exit. A real shambles here for a very average 3! Oh well, try again so Section 5
should be easier and had I ridden the cheater line I would indeed have cleaned it but another 1 is
punched. 6 is more my kind of section with its uphill twists and controlled descent.

 No7 has all sorts of traps with soft wash sand tight turns, and a slippery step, all of which prove
too difficult and another shambolic 3! 8 is easy enough and then to 9 which looks even easier
until I discover I’ve missed a split!!! No1 has an interesting adverse over a wet rock but speed
saves the day. No 2 has some tricky turns but I ride this well for a good clean and make little of 3
with it’s turns in leaf mould and loose rocks. An awful 12 for loop 1 but things improve with a dab
on 4 and then cleans on 5 and 6 before another improving ride on 7 with a dab. Clean the rest of
the loop for just the 2. Loop 3 has a single dab on 4 and then clean everywhere else for a total
of 1. Not bad but as always should have been at least 8 points better!

 The run home was almost incident free until I 17 when there’s been a crash at New River some
38 miles down the pike and we lose nearly 2 hours crawling along at 10 mph.

TONY DOWN

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CENTRAL ARIZONA TRIALS

CENTRAL ARIZONA TRIALS

CENTRAL ARIZONA TRIALS

OAK FLATS FEBRUARY

All Prepped and  Waiting

Oak Flats is the CAT season opener and time for OSSAMAHA to show her paces. Section 1 has an
entry step followed by some turns through the rocks and all is well here recording 3 good cleans.
Section 2 has awkward turn into an uphill off cambered rock which was fine on the first 2 laps but
on lap 3 my position was off as I arrived at the turn and I needed a 2 to escape.

 No3 was seemingly made for Os but a clumsy dab on lap 1 went into the book. The second loop
was one of those hang on, hang on type turns and a late squirt pushed me close to the tape
necessitating another 2! The third lap was going well, right line, right speed when the bush grabbed
my arm pulling me right around the turn and all but ripping my finger off the throttle, another dab
but I’m lucky to escape with that.

 Onto 4 owned by Carl Miller and 3 good cleans here despite never really being comfortable on the
bike. No 5 should have been my favorite but another dumb dab is punched. Loop 2 and a disaster
when I stall the motor on the turn. Lap 3 just a dab but that’s 7 lost on a section I should have
cleaned.

 No 6 causes no problems and the full lock turns are perfect for this bike. 7 looks tricky but I get
through the 3 laps for the loss of 1. Section 8 causes no problems so a reasonable total of 15 which
should have been 6 on a good day.

A little Pre-Trial Testing

KINGMAN MARCH
Kingman is next and I elect to take the Steed and get used to this 4 stroke performance. The big
BSA forks give a much higher stance which feels good and the Del Orto gives good consistent
response through the range.

The New Del Orto

BSA B50 Forks grafted in

  A standard buddy check trial and I’m with Eric and Steve. We start at 5 & 6 which look decidedly
ambitious! Our line has a harder entry than the Ints and then after crossing the rock filled ditch it’s
a difficult turn up over a rock, then into the sand and the changeover to 6 which has a soft sand
start into a massive boulder which I don’t like at all as there is nowhere to put your feet should
trouble arrive. After the boulder a tight difficult turn before arriving at the gap between some huge
rocks and then multiple lines to the exit. I manage to stall the motor hanging on too long for the
clean and the start of 6 sees a panic centipede 3 on the rock. Not a great start!

 No7 is a variation on previous years. Cross the river, up the gnarly crevice, turn left either tight or
wide down over the rock steps into a right turn over a big rock before lining up on another step to
the exit. Take a dab on the sandy turn and another panic dab just before the finish.

 Section 8 and one that looks definitely more like a Vintage section. No problems here and all 3 of
us are through for a clean. Does wonders for the confidence! On to No 9 which again is a good
challenge but I feel sorry for the Ints who have an impossible task. An adverse climb up a rock
gully, but plenty of grip, back off, lift and squirt over the step an idle to the exit. Punch a clean as
our group gets the ride through like golf, and watch Rich Palmers gang struggle to literally find
lost balls! Eric is through for his clean but Steve takes a bad line and escapes for a nasty 3.

 A ride around the property to some new land and sections we haven’t used before. No 1 is fair
but can cause plenty of problems, however it looks doable. Eric completes the first portion in the
soft dirt and turn around on the bank before dropping into the hole and attempting the big step
where it all comes to grief. Steve goes next attacking the sand bowl but too much weight on the
front and she casters away from him with a step off 5. Hum! Well through the sand and up the
bank for no problem and drop back in for the step but arrive on the wrong line and a lot of
footwork for yet another 3. Section 2 is a nice downhill glide over the rocks and we all slip through
without penalty. Hum, these BSA forks aren’t that bad.

 Round the corner to section 3 which requires just the right speed on the final turn where there
is a drop off beside some huge boulders. Everyone through without problems and on to 4 our last
section on lap 1. Looks easy, should be easy, and lo it is easy and the three musketeers are
away back to 5 & 6.

 Nearly through that step but a dab in the sand and 2 more to get away from the tape ****!
Here comes that rock and over for a 2 but now an impossible turn so may as well walk out for
a very beginner 3. So, lap 1 returned an awful 13, and now another 6 on the opening sections
of lap 2. Eric and Steve fair better than I did so I’m not too pleased with my performance on this
double section.

 Back to 7 and I have a lucky clean after nearly losing it in the gully. Mes amis take dabs so on to
8 which is plain sailing for everybody. Section 9 has the Ints in all manner of problems and we
observe their lack of progress while trying to be supportive. A few rocks have been knocked off
the step but the upper line still looks best. Steve gets into trouble again on the lower line and Eric
has a dab. I stick to the plan and Steed complies with my request and another clean is in the books.

 Cross country back to 1 and a bit more walking of this tricky beast. By now a “cheater line” has
emerged after the step but still has problems. Steve blasts through on the intended line for a
great clean and Eric is looking good but takes a dab on the loose rocks on the cheater. I blunder
into the second turn and Steed is non compliant to steering demands (check this later) but
corrections with lean get me out of the mess and I take a dab on the step and then stay clean to
the exit.

 Steve is into 2 and records a clean where both Eric and I stumble on the same little rock.
Everybody through 3, and on to 4 where, Eric and I, are amazed to see Steve take a silly dab in
the soft sand. Well that’s 2 laps done and only 8 this time.

 Back at the dreaded 5 & 6 we all do much better and after cleaning 5 (I knew I could do it!) I
approach the big rock, and hey ho I sail straight over it as though it doesn’t exist but in my
surprised state take a dab to round the top turn. Wow! This is more like it. A great clean on 7
leaping off the last rock to land beside Rich Palmer and Jim Wagner. Section 8 has the Ints in yet
more trouble but because of their right turn on the hill they have rotovated the one and only
problem out of the way and its now the proverbial main road.

 Another good ride through 9 and I think Steve and Eric did OK.  Only problem left that tricky
section 1. I power through cleaning the step and out on the new line in perfect control until a
random rock takes the front wheel and its duty dab time. Steve has a 3 and Eric was in great
position until he went the wrong side of the marker for the worst 5 there is! 2, 3 and 4 see us all
through without penalty and I’ve only lost 2 on this last lap which is very pleasing and gives me
the best ride of the day on the N line. Steve lost 31 to my 23 and Eric finished on 40 after that
annoying 5 on section 1.

Game Over

  Brian had said he wanted “25” so he was pretty close in what was a pretty tough trial. Back at
the start my “new” Triumph helmet has left a lot of the black leather dye on my neck looking like
I’ve been in a coal mine but nothing compared to dogs who have all changed color in the dirt,
where Brenda, once gorgeous in white, is now a filthy grey with dirt and dust and drink splatters
from excited dogs. They look like they have been in a supermoto!

TONY DOWN

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  • 12/16/2007 10:10 AM Outlaw Dave wrote:
    Another good write-up Tony – you have a good memory for an “Old ‘un”
    Reply to this
  • 12/18/2007 11:15 PM Steveo wrote:
    that Oak Flats is one of the nicest places that I’ve had the pleasure to ride.Glad to see the German copper barons haven’t turned it into an open pit yet.Too bad its so far from Canada,I’m hoping to see it again in the new year,sometime in Feb and /or March.Theres a canyon there full of balancing towers of rocks,very inspiring.The trial sounded great,wish I could have been there to share it.thanks Steveo
    Reply to this
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4 x 4’ING IN COLORADO

4 x 4’ING IN COLORADO

4 X 4’ING IN COLORADO

Ready to Roll

 $5000.00 changes hands and I set sail for Collbran Co and as it is mid October take the scenic
route up through Telluride and enjoy all the fall leaves and the magnitude of the mountains.
Arrive at the ranch around 8 p.m. and then the fun starts.

“Got your licences?”
“No”

Back we go to the village store which is a sea of hunter orange (are Elk color blind?) and the
band of assassins is purchasing all manner of hunter things. A brisk trade on the licence front
(almost take a number) and at last my turn comes.

“What do you want Hun?”
“Umm, Elk, deer and black bear please”
Guide steps in and assures me and the little old lady to forget the bear!  more money changes
hands.

0200 and alarms are going off everywhere and no time for sleeping this is fun! Over to the
cookhouse and while they cook your breakfast there is a do it yourself lunch pack section. Make
your own lunch, load your own thermos.
0330, and the clandestine group assembles in the parking lot with all the equipment to take up
the mountain. We are split up into 3 groups and try and bundle ourselves and guns into 3 vintage
Suburbans.

Careering down a muddy mountain track we screech to a halt as a big buck is standing there
gazing into the lights (well I did get to see a deer!) A bit further on and we stop and 5 of us get
out. It’s pitch black and without more ado “mountain man” says follow me and disappears uphill
into the darkness. Within 5 minutes we have lost him!
After crashing through whippy bushes and thick undergrowth I’m finally at the top of the draw and
told this is my position and when the sun comes up there will be a track on the other side where
the “beasties” go.

Sit down and wait, time for a coffee……. useless new thermos couldn’t keep anything warm, a
starbuck’s cup would have been better. Gun out of slip, bullets at the ready, lukewarm coffee and
cigarette in hand wait for the sun. Dawn breaks and there is the track and then a rustling in some
bushes and as I sit looking at the shaking bush a big black bear stands up looks at me sitting there
opened mouthed! Before I can do a thing it’s gone.

For the next 6 hours I sit in splendid isolation looking down the valley and watching the cloud
coming in. Nothing other than the cloud moves! As the cloud creeps up towards me it gets darker
and darker and by 1 p.m. it starts raining and the fun meter is now nose diving. 2 p.m. in the
slanting rain , with the wind now gusting a good 30 mph, Tonto pops up and announces “Good
news” we are staying for an extra hour!”
2.30 p.m. the gun is back in it’s slip, the lukewarm coffee is now stone cold, the wind and rain are
increasing, I’m pissed off and the hood is up.
3 p.m. I’ve had enough and now struggle down the muddy wet hillside through all these little oak
thickets as the rain turns to snow and starts to settle. Great!

A good supper and lots of hunting stories and things don’t seem quite so dismal with plenty of
home made booze.
0200 and the clangers are going again and the cycle starts once more, the only difference being
6 inches of crisp white snow.

The Guide says same places as yesterday, and that doesn’t exactly thrill me. Up the hill in the
dark again, only difference is that today when the branches whip back you get covered in 2 inches
of wet snow. Top of the mountain to you then, and another day passes and the snow starts to
melt! I think I heard a gunshot once during the day, although that may have been wishful thinking.

Day 2 and the snow starts to melt

Day 3 and I ask for a change of location, (I am paying after all) So mountain man says ” You follow
the footprints in the snow and head off up there and I’ll take Mrs Lovejoy to her stand and I’ll catch
you up”

I dutifully trudge off up the mountain to Camp 3 following the footprints in the day old snow.
I have been walking for about 1 and half hours and still no sign of the guide. As the sun comes up
I enter a clearing an on checking the footprints go no further as this a dead end. Time for a “ciggy”
as Tonto leaps into the clearing to tell me I have gone the wrong way in the dark. Well, whoopeedo!
So we set off cross mountain into all those nice thickets with him leading and me humping all the kit
and getting covered in snow. 45 mins later we emerge on a wide 4 wheeler track and can now see
the ridge up ahead.

” Excuse me Tonto, I’m getting mighty pissed off with this. I’ve been walking for over 2 hours now
and I have had enough. Had I wanted a mountaineering holiday I would have booked a flight to
Nepal and tried Everest… where the F*** are we going?

“Sorry Sir, if you see the ridge…. and just down from the top there is a single fir … that’s your spot”
“Great!”
Another 20 mins and while I pause for breath at 10,000 ft I see some orange up on the ridge
“Excuse me Tonto, are those hunters?”
“Oh yes Sir”
“Alright how did they get up there before us?”
“They drove up the back way”
“**** ****** ******K!”

So at last after 3 hours walking up a mountain, wondering what an Elk has ever done to upset
me, I’m established under the fir tree with my cold coffee as the snow drips off the branches and
trys to soak me. Some time later a group of Elk emerge about 50 yards in front of me but they are
all yearlings with just bumps on their heads. 2 p.m. and I’m off down the hill and it takes me one
hour less going down.

Day 4 and a completely new area. The snow has all but gone but it was -35 last night so pretty
crisp and crunchy! I draw the wrong slot yet again and when the sun comes up I can see my rifle
is covered in frost and the sights are frozen over. With nothing happening I can calculate that as
I’m in the shade and the sunlight is coming down the other side of the valley it will be 10 a.m.
before I feel it’s rays. Lunchtime and the Guides say we are going somewhere else.

I’m dropped off at a tree stand overlooking acres of these oak thickets and by now the weather
has changed and it must be 70. Buzzzzz buzzzzzz buzzzzzz oh, oh, BEES and they just love
hunter orange! About one hour later another guide turns up on an ATV   ” How good a shot are
you?”

He takes me on the ATV (no walking) and stops at the base of the mountain. “There” he says
“Right up there”
I gaze into the distance trying to find what he is so excited about but clearly I’m looking in the
wrong place.
Eventually I see what he is talking about and looking through the glasses I can just make out
2 Bull Elk standing and eating on a ledge near the top of the hill.

Out with the Bushnell rangefinder and it comes back with 372 YARDS! I’m using a Colt Sauer
7mm Mag which was harmonized at 100 yards so this should be interesting. Sling on, line up on
the ATV and find the ledge, one is head on and the other a classic side on shot. I place the
horizontal cross wire just over it’s spine and with controlled breathing fire!………… the shot
echoes round the hillsides and the Elk carry on eating.

Reload, back in position, deduce the shot must have gone low and especially as I’m firing uphill
at about 45 degrees. So this time move the horizontal bar right up until only the smallest bit of
Elk is in the sight. Boom!
Elk falls off cliff, and the other one carries on eating. It then goes over to the edge and looks
down, turns and just saunters off into the trees. After much high fiving the guide says we had
better go and get it as it will be dark soon.
“WE??”

Nightfall and we find the 5 X 6

At nightfall we come across the creature and the guide calls for assistance to move the beast
but by now everyone else is enjoying supper. We try to get it down the slope, all 850 lbs of a
5 x 6 Bull Elk on a 2:1 slope!

It either comes free all at once and all 3 of us hurtle down the mountain in the dark crashing into
every bush, tree and rockface, or it gets jammed in everything, hooves and horns and we can’t
move it for love nor money until we hack a bush to pieces when all hell breaks loose again and
we become another furry avalanche in the dark!

We make it to level ground just as the guides arrive with a big Dodge.

A day later, as I never saw a deer, they invite me to shoot a Hog, no a pig, not a Harley Davidson
and so it was… the biggest ugliest sabre toothed pig I have ever seen.

Well that was big game hunting, can’t say I truthfully enjoyed it, and NO I wouldn’t do it again.

That’s ONE Ugly Pig!

Tony (Daktari) Down             The Last of the Great White Hunters

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4 X 4 GUARANTEED

4 X 4 GUARANTEED

4 X 4 GUARANTEED

“Keeper’s Cottage” Patrixbourne Kent

My grandfather was a Gamekeeper and I have a lot of fond memories of spending time with him
as a boy. He taught me many things, nature, basic gamekeeping, trapping, woodcraft and of course
shooting. I progressed from “keeper of the ferrets” to eventually the “poachers 4.10” and finally
the “bank robber’s sawn off 20 bore”.

Not Moggy but a good lookalike

As “keeper of the ferrets”, Moggy and Poggy, 2 albino ferrets, would be put into a canvas duffle
bag and I would carry them over my shoulder on one side with the lunch pack and short handled
army spade over the other. Grandad had the 20 bore, all the nets, 2 dogs and other gamekeeping
equipment and off we would go. No ATV’s or 4 wheel drive then!

So Sweet, with TEETH like Razors!

One day Grandad catches me with a good trick……. we had just come out of a wood and now
need to cross a small field with cows in it. It has been divided up by a single strand electric fence
and Grandad says it’s best to check to see if it’s on as we don’t want to get a shock. He tells me
you can hear the “pulse” coming, so without thinking I lean down to explore the theory…….zzzzzz
……..BANG!! something mule size kicks me in the side of the head and I become the first child in
space! After re-entry is complete Grandad explains that you just wait and you can hear the ……
zzzzz…. in the wire as the pulse passes. It’s a BIG learning curve when you are 7.

Later at the rabbit warren when all the nets have been positioned the two white pink eyed
monsters are released, and down the holes they go, reappearing at nets with angry faces and
gone again in a flash…. several booms from the 20 bore and within half a hour there are 20+
rabbits either shot or netted and no sign of ferrets.
“Grandad, where are Moggy and Poggy?”
“Oh, sleeping by now”
…… and now the digging begins helped by 2 dogs until 2 white and pink rodents are found fast
asleep and gorged to bursting!

Age 14 with the Rifle Team

Grandfather was in the army during World War I and had been a sniper in the “Buffs Regiment”
and had picked off quite a few of the opposition during the trench warfare of the Somme. He
therefore taught me pretty well and by the time I joined the Air Training Corp I was a better than
average shot with the .22 rifle.

It’s a BSA MKI International Martini Match Rifle

As the biggest game in the UK is a 7 lb Hare I had never tried “Big Game Hunting” so when I was
at a Phoenix gun show I was quite intrigued with the ad on one stall’s desk…….. “4 x 4
Guaranteed”…… here was an opportunity to go shooting (sorry Hunting) in Colorado for a week
for $5000.00 and you could shoot Black Bear, Deer and Elk. If you didn’t get a 4 x 4 Elk the money
would be refunded……. guaranteed!

TONY DOWN

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SOMETHING TO DO WITH CHICKENS AND HATCHING

SOMETHING TO DO WITH CHICKENS AND HATCHING

SOMETHING TO DO WITH CHICKENS AND HATCHING
(The Story of the 1974 Welsh 2 Day)

 The joke Minarelli Cottons that we were forced to ride have thankfully been disposed of or given
away to some poor unsuspecting souls, may have even been given to Shepherds to round up their
flock although I’m not sure they could keep up.

Imagine my surprize when in late March of 1974 we are told we will have the Monark 125 with
the 6 speed GS motor in a true ISDT bike.  They had been ridden the previous year in the ISDT
and I personally didn’t ride that year so I hadn’t seen one of these machines in the flesh. It
arrived (not cleaned) so it was stripped a bit for cleaning and general knowledge as during these
crazy events you must know exactly how to change all the components that the rules allow. NB:
if you want to get into the team, you must be able to change a tube and be on your way in FOUR
MINUTES!

Things you notice immediately about the bike are the massive fins on the engine, that would
make Jaws jealous,  and the diddliesquat 3.50 rear tire. Nice seat and good position on the bike
both sitting and standing.

Very little time to practice as the Scottish Six Days is taking priority so the Monark is sidelined as
the Yamaha needs all the attention. Post the SSDT it’s time to take Sweden’s answer to the KTM
out for some green laning …… man it’s ‘king QUICK!

June finds us in Llandrindod Wells, and this year it has been raining (it always rains it’s Wales)
but the forecast is bright and sunny. ….. and so it was. The thing about the Welsh is the wide
variety of ability levels of the riders ranging from World Class Enduro Champions, members of the
British Team, fast “balls out” motor cross men, good trials riders “having a go”, local clubmen,
green laners (this should be easy) to rank novices and complete beginers!

Well we all started somewhere but this is not the place to have a go as these boys mean
business.

Day 1 and lots of riding on this wonder bike and after about the first hour we stop using the
clutch as the tendons in the back of my wrist are begining to ache from all the gear changing.
Got to keep this little baby on the “bugle” especially with that little back tire in deep mud.

On the “Bugle” in the Mud

Power Slide coming on in the Special Test

On time everywhere and the 2 or 3 special tests are great fun. Difficult to describe the
differences from previous machines other than the Cheshire Cat Smile! Night one and the
Doctor’s advice is followed to the letter! The results are in around 10 p.m. and we have just
about a clean sweep

Class Leader                                                  Ted Thompson                    RAF      125cc Monark
Best One Make Team                                     Monark
Best Services Team                                        R.A.F
Best Club Team                                              R.A.F.M.S.A.

Some Big Holes in the Heather

Day 2 things go well and no problems at all, no “moments” that I can remember other than a
self plucking chicken that tried to run through the front wheel and missing a falling tree in a logging
area, I thought they were urging me on rather than slowing me down …Oh well, it missed.

Welsh ACU Marshal  at the Start of the Last Special Test

About 3’ish in the afternoon I’m heading westbound towards the final check about 3 miles from
the start and as I climb this big, big hill on an open sheep track there comes a snatching sensation
from the back wheel, like the suspension is locked and the wheel is hopping. I remember turning
round and seeing bits of rubber and alloy flying out of the hub in a cloud of silver and black! ……….
not NOW!…… I don’t ‘king believe it!!!

I try and stop but it’s too late all the internal splines have been chewed out of the hub, the rubber
cush spider is no more….. all gone and now the wheel won’t go round. Take the chain off and toss
it, then start pushing, but sods law, this is like Everest! One eye on the watch and the other full of
sweat I try running ,pushing, crawling, anything to get to the top of this hill.

Finally at the top with 45 minutes of the 1 hour allowance gone it’s now downhill to the check, so
freewheel downhill and now there are some real “hairy moments” and at last out on the road
leading back to civilization and without the constant laughing sheep, baaa…. baa ….. Haaaa! Haaa!
…   bbaaa…..

Running up the road with helmet in hand and flat soled motorcross boots the watch tells me that
the WAR is over, but knowing that sometimes organizers scrub the timing on certain stages the
punishment continues and I arrive at the end of the event 1hour and 20 minutes over my time.

No such luck today and I join the ranks of DNF!  So close and yet so far……… what was that
about not counting chickens?…….. as it’s Wales just count SHEEP!

Now as a final note and one that “Shade Tree” would use, if you have a crap design rear wheel
then carry a bundle of cable ties as had they been available back in 74 I could have lashed the
sprocket to the spokes and made it to the finish………… baaaa!

A Sheepish     TONY DOWN

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