Wednesday July 19, 2017 at 4:11pm
The Berkhamsted, Hillingdon & Uxbridge and Kenton & Kingsbury MCC’s combined to run the South Midlands Tough Ten Trial, sponsored by Putoline Oils, for the 7th time on 16th July, 2017. After a long spell of rainless weather Clerk of Course Graham Haslam, assisted by brother Ray and the HUX setting out team, were faced with a difficult task due to the exceptionally dry conditions. South Midland sections are usually renowned for being wet, but not this time. With an entry in the seventies Graham set ten mostly long, challenging and technical sections for the riders who travelled from as far as Cornwall, Yorkshire and around the South coast.
The trial is run on the punch card system with riders handing in each card after ten sections so that lap scores can be displayed as the trial progresses. Starters and lap scorers Bob Brown, Kevin and Jason North got the action underway at 10-30 starting classes in their groups to different sections to save long waits to get going and a late finish. Youth C and the Elite Experts started their day at Section One up in the top woods. This section was all on natural ground with a sharp step and climb over beech tree roots with a camber and dry, tight turns causing few problems for the Elite riders but taking plenty of dabs from all other classes. Section two, in the same area, was a different story. It was mainly natural with a couple of manmade features thrown in. Toby Martyn lost the first of his two fives on the near vertical climb when his back wheel slid off to go outside the marker and Gus Oblein, riding up a class, failed to make it to the top, but cleaned it on his last lap, much to his delight. This section took marks from the majority of riders but helped to set up a great fight in the Over 50’s class between Martin Greeves, Andrew Earnshaw and Tony Cowley on three, zero and one so far, but check the closeness at the finish!
Down into the main area for number three, the first of four sections in the deep, natural dell. It started for the top riders with a three step climb and back down to the bottom over a root covered knoll. Another stepped climb up the other side of the dell followed by a drop off again to the bottom and it was here that Toby lost his second five, and only marks for the trial, by riding outside a marker. A standing start to ride up a vertical three metre log to the Ends. All other classes followed modified less technical routes with the Brightmore boys, down from Macclesfield with Mitchell riding Youth A and Ashton riding Youth B, cleaning it on their first visit.
Section four was the most spectacular so far and provided plenty of entertainment for the many spectators. Over a large lump to start for the top riders, round it for others, dropping onto the dell side with a cambered climb for all except the Elite who had a stepped climb to the top. A severe drop into the bottom of a hollow followed with a vertical climb out, then across the top of four, one metre high logs on end spaced out to wheel centre distance, to the Ends where Paul Sims was punching cards. Trial winner Jack Peace lost all his miserly trial score here with a two on his second lap and a one on his last lap. Sam Haslam had a one but Toby aced it each time.
On to section five, sponsored and observed by the K & K team Bob Twigg, Mick Clarkson and Giles Whalley , one of the longest sections up at the top of the ground. A Ray Haslam constructed section it was relatively flat but with many rocks, logs and twists and turns to keep concentration going. Cleaned by all three leading Elite riders on all visits with scores across the board for the chasing three, though Oliver Smith fived it on his second ride. A good section for all classes with plenty of challenge to test skill and concentration.
Back to the top of the dell for number six taking riders down, over and through rocks to turn back up through the four routes. An easier turn out for the white route riders but the more difficult routes went back down over and round more rocks and a camber with a spectacular finish back at the top for the Elites firing up and over a one metre plus concrete mound to the Ends. It was here that Sam Haslam blotted his day by using too much ‘gusto’, landing on the wrong side of the Ends flags for a five which cost him the trial win.
In among the trees and bushes for number seven which had a double bend in it requiring four observers. Though long and tricky it was one of the easier sections with just a handful of fives being recorded by the whole entry. Eight was similar but much shorter with Centre Secretary Terry Golds recording just seventeen fives all day. A welcome relief for tired arms in these two sections.
Number nine is referred to as the pseudo Scottish section as Ray has used his experience riding the SSDT on a number of occasions to construct a long, rock and log infested section with a couple of bends for good measure. The top three Elites all cleaned it on all visits with the other three losing just ten marks between them. The remainder of the entry shared a smattering of marks dropped across the board with a few cleans as well.
Finishing back in the dell for number ten, although it looked pretty daunting with big logs to negotiate, due to the dry conditions it rode very well and only a bakers dozen of fives were recorded all day.
A number of youth riders travelled early on the Saturday to ride the Berkhamsted trial at Dews Farm to make a weekend of it, but Alice Minta injured herself so was unable to ride on Sunday. We hope Alice is OK. Also some youngsters decided to step up a class to extend their ability and enjoyed the challenge. As the sections were so dry it made them easier to ride which is reflected in the scores. Last year the first two Elite riders finished on 28 and 38 but this year it was
3 and 6 which is a good indicator of the conditions.
The organising clubs want to thank all observers, punch operators, officials and helpers for putting on such a good event. Thanks also go to the Haslam family for the use of this excellent venue and their input into the trial, to Putoline for continued support and a big thank you to John Lee and Sons from Higham Ferrers for providing the riders raffle prizes again.
Elite Experts. 1st. Jack Peace. GasGas. 3..2nd. Sam Haslam.GasGas. 6.. 3rd. Toby Martyn. Vertigo. 10.
Experts. 1st. Tom Plant. GasGas. 26..2nd. Andrew Blackman. Beta. 27 m/c..3rd. Dan Greeves. TRS. 27.
Over 40’s Experts riding Inter. 1st. Chris Koch. Montesa. 8..2nd. Wayne Holdsworth. Montesa. 9..3rd. Ashley Hall. Beta. 11.
Inter’s. 1st. Jack Austin. Montesa. 36.. 2nd. Nick Baker. Montesa. 54.. 3rd. Aaron Wakefield. GasGas. 56.
Novice/Clubmen. 1st. Jon Yendell. Beta. 17..2nd. Mark Ward. Ossa. 22. 3rd. James Howell. Beta. 29.
Over 50’s riding Clubmen. 1st. Martin Greeves. Beta. 16..2nd. Andrew Earnshaw. TRS. 17. 3rd. Tony Cowley. Vertigo. 19.
Youth A. 1st. Mitchell Brightmore. GasGas. 33. 2nd. Ronnie Day. GasGas. 68. 3rd. Brett Harbud. GasGas. 71.
Youth B. 1st. Ashton Brightmore. Beta. 7. 2nd. Harry Turner. Beta. 11. 3rd. Jack Dance. ??? 14.
Youth C. 1st. Max Agar. Beta. 68. 2nd. Eliot Smith. ??? 83. 3rd. George Clark. Beta. 114.