CLOWN ROCK opposite the entrance to Alto Pit

 The CAT season is in full swing (excuse the pun) and yes you can swing a CAT around at ALTO
PIT. Due to a load of circumstances, blow-out on the coach, Rossi giving birth etc, etc I will be
doing this one as an early morning out and back with the Cadi and rack. I was thinking of giving
the Ossa an airing but I’m just loving the Tiger Cub and after last weekend I’m eager to get on
her again.

My main rival in the Twin shock class is Rich Palmer who is having a great season at the moment
but says he won’t be at the “Pit” due to social commitments (second time). So far we have
swapped wins and Rich has a 3 point advantage after the first trial at Kingman so it could be an
interesting season.

Rich and I take a breather last year at Alto

A whole load of fooling around with the RE with no result other than a thundering backfire.
Methinks I timed it going the wrong way! So after a few phone calls I pulled it all apart again and
follow the specs again, reglued the cases and we will wait for later. Then a frantic rush to load
everything in the dark finishing around 2030 and then a nice dinner and bed minus the labrador
as the puppies are in the bedroom and too much protection and growling = no sleep for anyone.
I have to say without a 70 lb dog on your feet you can really enjoy the night.

0500 and the show starts and I’m away on the 2 hour run to Alto Pit, seems a bit windy and by
the time I get to Prescott it’s 55 and blowing a gale. The Start area is a bit chilly so I elect to wear
a jacket but this gets discarded after the first 4 sections as the temps are rising and the wind has

Not a big turnout today, maybe because it was a short notice event but, a trial is a trial. I’m riding
with Jon Mills on the Fantic and we set off for No1. Bob Pennington has this one and really it is too
easy as all that is required is a simple up onto a big smooth rock then back down to the path
leading to the exit. Some discussion about moving a split plate to make it a bit more challenging
but it stays the way it was laid out and should be a certain clean for everyone.

Hacking our way through the timber, as logging is in progress, we get to 2 which has the Miller’s
in charge. Same old rock that gets used on most “Pit” trials and today the theme is downhill. Start
up by the tree, wiggle through the crevice, or up and over the bigger slab, downhill then a squirt
up onto the plateau, drop off and tight lefthander over the rocks to the exit. My line works and
through for the clean.

Just over the way to 3 where Mike Carlton has another old favorite and today we are coming at
this the other way round. Simple uphill into the rocks before a “s” turn with a couple of immovable
outcrops, back in the crevice for a wiggle then stay line perfect for the last jumble of rocks before
the exit. Clean this one and now for a pleasant run round the loop down the gulch the other side
of the fence to a good steep uphill in the pines and over what will be loose rocks after a few riders.

Section 4, variations on a theme, last year

A couple of turns in the trees before coming back downhill through some tight twisty turns on
either loose adverse or loose rocks. This is going to require clutch and both brakes but all goes well
and I steer her through for a pleasing clean. 4 out of 4 could this be my day?

A bit more on the loop to the continuous 5 & 6 controlled by the Saum’s. Up, down, up is the order
of the day on 5 with a choice of lines in some very loose dirt, wash sand and pine needles before
the last Up. Proves to be very loose and takes me for a 2, but with a bit more thought, and speed,
it can be done! 6 is another downhill twister in the loose dirt and pine needles through the trees
and is another both brakes and clutch affair. Not one of my favorites and another 2.

Through the felled trees to 7 which looks a little intimidating but actually rides a lot better than it
looks. Several choices of line over the first hazard of a big rock. I elect to turn first and take a
straight line at it but the back wheel slips and sends me off over the rock at it’s highest point. Not
the line I had planned but it worked.

Retrace our wheel tracks to 8 on the well used gulley. Today it’s fairly simple drop in from one
side, straight up and turn round a rock, back down again, and up the other hill side into a couple
of gentle wiggles before the exit. I see Brian Crawford struggling for grip so worth a second look,
and indeed it’s difficult to walk up the first hill, but the Cub makes it with some bodywork back and
forward for the grip. So first loop total of 4 with the double 2’s on 5 and 6.

No problems with 1 & 2 but a dumb dab on Mike’s in section 3. Over to 4 and its getting chopped
up but I have a good confident ride for a nice clean. Now for those problem children of 5  & 6.
Clearly the wider line on 5 must be the way to go and I was just a shade late on the power but
get away with a dab (poor planning) and then improve a bit on 6 for a single dab.

7 and 8 ride well on the correct line this time, so I finish the loop on 3 but there is still room for

The last loop with 75 mins to complete it in. Through 1 and into 2, just a little fast and on the
drop off I’m going to be close to the tape so take a dab to prevent the disaster. Again poor
planning on what had been a good section for me. Rewalk Mike’s and ride it like I mean it for the
clean. Round the loop for the last time for 4 which is getting torn up and could have problems.
A good crowd here and I see great rides and horror stories alike. My turn comes and the uphill
over the loose rocks goes well and then after the turn I smack my head really hard on a branch,
thank God I’m wearing a helmet! Down the hill and now I clout my shoulder on another tree, but
struggle by and make the last turn to a good clean. Now Greg and Smack are giggling and saying
it was a DAB? I’m not seeing the humor in this and do a McEnroe. Anyway after dismissing the
Head and Shoulder as being a dab a clean goes on the card. Is this trials? You can be stationary
with one foot on the floor, bike in neutral, taking a lunch break and lose 1, or you brush past a
hazard, cut yourself to ribbons and also incurr a penalty?

A few extra turns this year on the downhill

Back to 5 & 6 and this time I know as it’s even worse, get the power on quicker! this I do and
enjoy the clean I had been looking for on 5. Nearly through 6 but take a dab towards the end.
Cleans on 7 and 8 finish the loop with 2 and a total of 9 which could have been 7 with a bit more
thought. Jon finished on 17 and I saw young Mike Carlton had a pretty good ride to finish on 11.

So the last 4 trials have been low scores of the day shared by Rich and myself, just shows the old
bikes can still do it with a bit of willpower and management. No more CAT events for me until the
middle of July after Donner at Jones Crossing, but after today and last week at Perris I’m feeling
good for Cotopaxi which I really enjoyed last year while learning to ride the Cub.

No pictures today as the photographer is with the puppies.

Tony Down

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