V.M.C.C SOUTHERN REGION BLACK DOG TRIAL
Not sure of the exact date but it was in 1960 and I was to attend a Vintage Trial, held at the Black Dog Pub. Behind the pub had been a gravel pit, this was now grown over, lots of trees, and a little stream ran through it.
I signed every one in and organized the marshals.
The machines were many and only had to be inspected for Vintage content. I then had nothing to do till the end and add up the dabs, a bloke who I know not remember came to me and asked if I had a bike to ride. I replied no, he said I could ride his spare 1924 Norton Side Valve with extended forks (He had made some out of 14” plate bolted to the lower end of the fork blades, and the same at the rear, this increased the ground clearance).
To get to the first section meant a six foot drop into the gravel pit, I moved to the very crumbly edge and duly fell in, bike landed next to me standing on it’s wheel ready to go. I was a little bruised and my ego dented, but the rest of the guys picked me up and sat me back on this monster, got it started again and with hand throttle and hand gears off to the first section, a nice little up a bank, round a tree, and along the bank between other trees, easy, so up the bank hit tree with right hand bar this opened the throttle and off I came, did I mention I was 12 years old, 5’ 6” tall.
Section Two: down the bank flick left into the stream, and follow stream to the next section (fast flowing water soft sandy gravel bottom) so down the bank turn left, fall off, got very wet, and sandy.
Section Three. Across a flat section that had some branches fairly small stuff, right turn around a tree and up a slope to a mud patch, then onto next section. I crossed the branches around the tree up the slope (full of self confidence) over the top of the slope and as soon as the front wheel hit that mud straight over the bars and landed in the mud on my back.
Section four: Up a small slope to a grassed area (VW beetle), ride up the bonnet and down the boot no problem, set the throttle, select bottom hit the bonnet up the wood that filled the screen and over the side. Have you noticed on the early beetle how the door hinges stick out?, now wet, sandy, muddy, and with a large abrasion to my left leg (I was wearing a Barbour suit).
Section Five: Some large logs to cross and another mud patch, determined not to fall off I lifted the front wheel on to the log and put it into bottom gear and fell off.
I retired and went to the finish area. Eric Thomson sat with me, looked at the bike now covered in mud twigs and general muck, “He’s got the front forks backwards” this giving it a very quick caster angle.
My first trial, and I did not come last (retired), I was the organizer after all!
My next trial was a Perbrite on a KTT Velocett owned by Eric Thomson. I did much better and got my novice cup, this trial is now called the TALYMAG.
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