After spring like sunshine for most (and a week working and climbing in southern Spain for me), Saturday dawned cold, but bright as Gavin and I left Hereford. The only problem was I left my camera behind.
The start of this years Harry Perrey trial was at the Three Horseshoes at Wheathill, not too far from Ludlow.
The starting times for the normal group varied, with Alan and Kevin away early at 10h15, with myself at 10h28 and then Gavin and Mark after 11h00. A good entry with around 70 riders set off on the 36 mile loop of 30 sections. Graham also made an appearance on his DRZ400 and was set to follow us round. Thirteen different groups for the sections, so plenty of variety on the way round (well so I thought).
The first group at Starvecrow included a nice warmup section, followed by a nice slippery one across tree roots. Strangely for me, managed to clean both. , perhaps Graham was having an influence. The only group of the day as it turned not in a stream…
Cleaned the stream section at Brockleton Brook and then across the road to the stream at Furlong, with an awkward drop into the stream was followed by a couple of steps in the stream. Got my feet wet, the way they stayed for the rest of the day.
Watched a few people through the section, Peter Gaunt had a dab, Neil cleaned it, but it was boom or bust for others. For me, a couple of wobbles, but the run of early cleans continued. My feet were now wet and it wasn’t the last of the streams for the day.
Through the stream and into Hopton Brook and there awaited the crowd at the first section, an unusual figure-of-eight layout, which involved some deep water and a step out of a pool. Watched a couple of 5’s then a clean from Peter Gaunt, so decided to give it a go. A bit too much gas on the step needed a steadying dab, but cleaned the rest of it.
Managed to clean both Strandbrook (long double sub) though possibly did it in the wrong gear. Mark caught us up looking slightly wet, having taken a full immersion in the pool at Hopton. No camera present unfortunately, though bike and rider still going. Gavin’s spare gloves were then provided to provide one item of warm clothing….
Upper Norcott is where things started to stiffen up. The first section involved a couple of awkward muddy steps, a slippery climb and then an exit via a tree-root infested step. A rather flukey (story of my day) two here was gratefully received. Managed to surprise myself up the the long double sub in a gully, partly by staying on and then by not putting my foot down. Then dropped a sloppy three on the next sub, followed by another three in a twisty section in the stream.
Across to Lower Norcott and after completing the section, noticed that my punchcard (removed from my bike earlier, so that I could walk back to the observer) was missing. Back to the previous section (where I nearly drowned the bike on the way), but someone had picked it up back at the section and Graham then picked it up. Bit of relief for me, as probably my best performance at a Sammy Miller trial for a while.
Back onto the road and across the fields to Earnstrey Barns. Another group from last years trial and though dropped a very slack mark on the first section, managed to clean the other two.
A bit of road work then took us over to New House Farm (where I broke a clutch lever on the Jumbo last year). Silly couple of unnecessary dabs in the first sub, but managed to take only two on the next double sub, which was pretty hard going…and long. Oh, and once more in a stream.
Very long road section back through Cleobury North to go to Silvington Woods. Last here a couple of years back on the Bewdley trial. Long double sub to start, again with a dab at the beginning. Tight section followed where a couple of other marks were dropped.
Single section at Silvington and then over to the last three sections at Silvington Farm. At the last double sub, Gavin compared scores with Kirby, then managed to drop 3 on a tricky corner (in a stream of course) and therefore lost out to him by one mark. Happy with my finish, only dropping a single on the same corner.
Short section of road work back to the finish at the Three Horseshoes, where Alan had been back for an hour or so. Arrive around 16h45, so a good 6 hours or so on the road.
I was quite happy with the 24 marks I dropped, compared with Gavin’s 14, until I got into the pub for a well-earned pint and heard that a couple of people had dropped only 1 or 2. It wasn’t an easy trial, but some people obviously had a good ride. Finally headed home at around 6pm, completely knackered.
Another excellent Sammy Miller trial organised by the South Birmingham club, thanks to all the observers and organisers. Looking forward to the next one.