Scotland part 4

Scotland part 4

Saturday, May 4 8.10am

Early news here from Kinlochleven on Saturday morning, just an hour or so before the first rider is away.

The results of day one were published and 13 riders went clean on Friday, Carl Batty amongst them and with Will Brockbank on a single dab which still leaves him in the reckoning.

Many riders reported on Friday as they finished that the day had been fairly easy and single figure scores went down to 65 th place, so the thoughts are that today’s trial needs to be somewhat more difficult if the organising Edinburgh club are to find a clear cut winner. Whether that is practical or indeed possible is difficult to visualise, only time will tell so we now wait until today’s trial bounces into action.


Meant to update this on Saturday evening but tired, late back to the park caravan and invited to tea by the neighbours which developed into a great evening, so now it’s 24 hours on but still reporting on day two.

I was right when I said above the trial needs to get tougher if a winner is to be found and judging by reports nobody managed to repeat Friday’s ride by going clean. Obviously by the time the official results land things could be different but the strength of opinion is that Dan Clarke and Ben Butterworth both lost a single dab and if previous ties are anything to go by it will be Clarke declared the winner as he is the older.

Ben lost his dab on Coire Dubh, just off the Mamore Road and Dan lost his mark several groups later at Mam Na Gualainn, the first group after dropping down the steep hillside from the Callart group. Anybody who has ridden the trial will know what a pig it can be, makes the arms and legs ache unless you are young and fit and have some decent brakes.

Back at the finish, chatting to a few, both Robert Dobson and Nathan Britton had tyre troubles with either punctures or a leaking rim (tubeless tyres are allowed these days) and quite a few bikes were running out of fuel.

Carl Batty lost his chances of a win by dropping a five early on but that was no disgrace as the second group of the day, Lower Mamore was horrendous as the section was marked longer than has been in the recent past and the rough weather has transformed some of the becks – they are so much rougher and very slippery until 100 riders have been through. Michael of course was just happy to be there after a couple of years with annoying and niggling injuries.

Pete Blowers enjoyed his two days on Ephy Wilson’s lovely James which never missed a beat and the same can be said of the BSA piloted by Angus Jenkinson. Chairman Jenks had his tunnel vision in full operation and put in some cracking rides. Right at the front, in fact the first rider to finish the day, Neil Buckley reckoned he had only managed around 4 cleans for the day. Everything was just so slippery and rough, he said.

Chris Myers had his Tigress engined machine running well courtesy of cousin Jonathan who was on hand to watch but using a similar engine,Harry Bowyer was out with suspension problems.

Will Brockbank was uncertain of what he had lost and his pal Sean Radcliffe, was looking weary, but the pair had ridden round together and every time I saw them they were riding well.Bubbly Paul Norman, totally unashamed at his vibrant riding kit was another riding well, at least I think he was as it was not possible to look at his feet, blinded by his kit. Probably intentional to confuse the observers, one of whom was Colin Benson with his Westmorland pal Spud Tatham out on their almost identical 350 Ariel’s. ( what do you call two aerials together – good reception,)! Ian Bradley of Coniston Brewery was spectating there and obviously enjoying the day, supporting our local riding contingent.

Lewis Johnson, who was also a first day clean sheet – apologies for missing his success earlier -continued to look very impressive and Martin Jackson, a very late entry off the reserve list, on a borrowed Max Heys Cub was showing well.

Bit of boring history now, the group after dropping down the hill from Callart were situated at a site, once a tiny hamlet called Camus na h Eirghe which had been occupied since prehistoric times though the only signs of occupation (big stones walls) indicate the settlement was probably abandoned around 200 years ago. The residents would have kept cattle, sheep and goats to feed off the gravelly uplands and the farmed land would have been enriched with mussels, seaweed, cattle dung to produce barley, oats, potatoes and hay. The continuously running stream, today’s sections, provided a pure source of water and the trees were regularly coppiced to produce tan bark and charcoal with cut peat for fuel.

More to come from Sunday all being well.