Now if you think humping 300lbs round these sections is easy, give it a try!
Everyone has one, a lot of people share them, some I agree with, some I do not, but when it
comes to trials and Vintage Trials in particular, unless you know what you are talking about
perhaps you should keep your opinion to yourself, especially if you have never ridden in one or
have no intention of doing so.
Recently the ongoing AHRMA Twinshock saga has stirred things up with a lot of chit chat on
various sites. Some good comments, some genuine concern and of course the predictable
nonsense. One that really got to me was a ridiculous comment “AHRMA Trials are just a parade of
old men on old machines”……. if your only comment is this then maybe, just maybe, you would like
to come to one of our events and show your amazing skills and dazzle us with the way you
handle a machine of this era so that we can see where we are falling short, and thereby be
humbled by your skills on these bikes which would undoubtedly have made you World Champion
back then. If you are not up to the challenge of putting yourself on the line on a bike of the era
then please keep your ill informed opinions to yourself.
Oh, I’m sorry, YOU WERE The WORLD CHAMPION! (…and unless you still don’t know
it is MICK ANDREWS riding one of my Yams, the “Glitzmobile”)
Of course it is true that many of us that choose to ride vintage bikes have no intention of
competing with them in modern trials at a National level and the reasons are surely very obvious.
The machines that compete in AHRMA events were designed to be ridden in the style of the day
and that was NO CLUTCH, SMOOTH THROTTLE CONTROL and an awful lot of BALANCE. Any clutch
work was always going to be a very hit and miss affair as when the drive was disengaged there
was going to be a problem when the clutch was released usually resulting in wheel spin and the
subsequent loss of marks. The same could also be said of rough throttle handling when big
handfulls off idle could easily stall the engine.
Another easy turn ?
….and we might not have even tried one this hard in the 60’s
It is true that many top Vintage riders, who also compete in Modern, strive for ultra light clutch
action, and the fastest throttle response that can be achieved. Equally you can ride a modern
bike using “old techniques” and while a level of skill, experience and balance will get you through
a lot of sections you will periodically stall the machine due to it’s lack of flywheel action. Both
machines need to ridden in the manner that was INTENDED, if you try to snap the throttle open
on a 1960’s 300lb 4 stroke and expect it to do an instant wheelie you are in for a big surprize, but
also close the throttle and equally be amazed that the machine will find grip and overcome all
manner of obstacles.
Exactly TWICE the weight of a Raga Gas Gas
True basic skills will always win
The sections laid out at most AHRMA events represent an approximation to those of the 50’s, 60’s,
and 70’s and let’s remember there were NO alternate lines in those days just a BEGINS and ENDS
cards. Machines progressed from chain guides to chain tensioners, footrests went from solid weld
ons to bolt ons with springs, cables became nylon lined and bikes got lighter and slimmer with
more purpose built machines being developed rather than adaptations from road going bikes.
Yes, another “Parade” section…….give me a break!!
A very promising youth riding “Old Iron”
Deep Mud and banks …. and the modern bikes didn’t exactly shine on this one
Personally I consider the section severity to be about right for the line that the classes ride. You
may walk the 3 line and think its pretty simple but in all probability YOU are not riding a 1950’s rigid
framed BSA weighing 300 lbs with 6 inches ground clearance and 55 inch wheelbase. Don’t knock
it until you have tried it. Some things DO NOT need to change! Also on a personal level I spent
time on many SSDT sections in the 70’s thinking am I missing something as they appeared
“too easy” but a lot were traditional sections from years gone by and while some were definitely
“gimmees” on a 1972 Bultaco the new sections for “the year” offered a real test to World
Champions and Clubmen alike.
Bailey Tucker enjoys both the Nationals on his Gas Gas and Vintage AHRMA
on the TLR, and maybe next year on the “Glitz”
A young man that enjoys both styles and techniques
So for those that are eager to critisize and complain, please remember that like all sports Trials
is an “evolution” both in machines, styles and rules and for some of us the older machines have a
special “magic” of their own and the satisfaction of building, maintaining and competing on them is
without comparison. For the most part the “older gentlemen” of the sport are equally concerned
over current developments in the World Championship scene where only a handful of riders are
up to the challenges. Even our best riders here in the US would regrettably look like Novices in the
World Series and unless something is done, perhaps to go to non-stop, then the series would
seem to be doomed unless more rideable sections are included that would increase entries,
spectators, and factory support. Remember you can’t be a World Champion unless there are tiers
of clubmen and lesser riders involved in the sport.
…..and finally, like fine wines some get better with age, some get bitter, and some are just laid to
rest! Enjoy whatever faction of the sport you compete in but be respectful to others who may just
have been, or still are, fine riders in their own chosen discipline…… thank you.