Downland Trophy Trial

Have been meaning to write up this trial report for a while and now I’ve a few days at home have a chance.

Great trial, with better weather than the artic conditions of the previous year, also managed to finish.

However, my attempt to kill Sammy Miller by launching my bike at him, might go down as my ‘most embarrassing’ trials moment.

Final trial of the 2008 Sammy Miller Products series and unlike 2007, it wasn’t raining and freezing cold. Just a reminder, it did rain later on as we came back across the Ridgeway, just to let you know how pleasant it could be.

Only myself and Gavin from the usual contigent made the trip up to West Hagbourne in Oxfordshire, for what is a very different trial on the Sammy Miller calendar.

At the start

Prompt start at 09h30, which meant an early start from Hereford, but in the end had plenty of time. to grab the bacon sandwich and a coffee. Plenty of the usual suspects, though Woody was making an outing on a KT250 Kawasaki, though shame Mark wasn’t around to keep him company.

First couple of sections were fairly straightforward though did drop a couple of marks early on. Some tight stuff round trees, but nothing to sinister

Dave Woods and the KT250

Seymour’s Arena was milder in severity than in previous years; I dropped a shed load of marks here last year before the bike stopped running. Despite this still managed a five on the last sub, after only dropping one through the other 5 sections. Never mind.

Gavin at Seymour's

Out through the sections on the banks by Aston pits and thought had a number of three’s managed to avoid any serious screw-ups. The combination of wet soil and chalk is unique to the Downland Trophy trial and I only get to practice on it once a year.

The usual run up and across the Ridgeway is still part of this trial and it was nowhere as cold as last year. Got to the section up by the farm in time to watch Steve Bisby take a five on the steep, slippery turn up the bank. Had a careful look at this and decided that there was no point walking the rest of the section. Imagine my surprise as the bike turned itself onto the perfect line up to the right, found grip and i was out of a dab. Managed to complete the rest of the section blind; its funny how one section can make your day. Very happy with this.

Ashford Pits

The sections in the woods around Aldworth were a bit of a challenge and like any trial, once you have one five, another is sure to follow. I cocked up the first section here by not walking it carefully and needed to make an adjustment en-route as Gavin pointed out the deviation to me. Ah well. Another 5 on the large bank in the next small group, one where I’d had a ‘five’ 2 years before.

Geoff Muston and his TL125

But nothing could beat my fine finish to the Sammy Miller series for 2008. Exiting the section by the pub saw me and bike part company. Whilst I managed to sit back in the mud, the bike headed towards Sammy himself and some form of lustful revenge for the 2007 trial. Unlike the straw bale on the Isle of Man, no contact with Sammy was made and apart from my ego, nothing was damaged.

Back to the van and attempt to sell the Jumbo to an eager buyer. The Jumbo is bigger than a modern Sherco and this seemed to be the main restriction on its sale, ah well. There is a more appreciative owner out there somewhere.

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