Bike Related Matters No. 8

Hi guys, I’m back. It was quite an adventure, but for once didn’t feature bikes.

By now most of you will know that I’ve expressed my wish to retire from this job the AGM in September, or sooner a replacement can be found before then. I’d like to thank all those that have sent messages of gratitude and appreciation for the work I have done. Thank you

On the flights to & and from NZ there was plenty of time to think – over 60 hours of it. I reached the conclusion (partly due to the numerous positive messages received), that I owe you a brief explanation (its not because the job is ‘too hard’ as one old wag suggested). By being ‘in post’ I had contact with a lot of people, mostly great folk working hard for the sport – its been a priviledge.  However, I’ve felt like the proverbial round peg in a square hole – that most of the resources I’ve invested (time, effort and money) have been wasted. There are irreconcilable differences in approach and outlook between myself and senior management of the ACTC. By senior management I mean some of the senior officers and clubs. I could go into greater detail but that would risk making matters too personal. A body such as the ACTC is a really good thing to establish consistency across the independent clubs running trials.

I really enjoy this form of trialling and believe the format should be protected, but the organisation needs sorting out – I find the Chairman’s comments in the recent Restart ‘interesting’. I would like to see Classic Trials (aka LDT’s) flourish & spread, and believe this can be achieved.

So, I hope that someone is found to take over and wish them well. I intend to carry on riding the events I can and if I can help with specific matters I will, so please get in touch.

Now that this slot has been established it would be a shame to not continue it. I’m hoping that until a replacement is found for me you guys will send bits in to fill it. If you send them to me I’ll compile them. If you want your name with held please say so & I’ll honour that request.

The North is a busy place next month (May) with events in Yorkshire & County Durham – both excellent events. So come on you not so soft southerners – treat yourself & enter. You may find the north not so grim – I came from Kent 44 years ago & am still enthralled by the countryside & friendly folk up here, and you’ll see both of them by entering these trials.

Graham –  [email protected]

Bike Related Matters No. 7

As they say in the north, nah then. Number 7, that means half a year has lapsed, so where are we?

With the cancellation of the Clee Hills, the Northern is my first event of the year and will be over when you read this. Due to my advancing years, Troglobike (my much loved & used Enfield) has got heavier. Finding about half the bits needed for a bike in corners of my garage I decided to build a BSA B40 based, lighter bike and intended having it ready for the Northern, so I sold Troggy. I sold it to a guy called David who has promised to use it as was intended, the Northern will have been his first ACTC type trial. I know the guys at the Fellside Club will make him welcome (as they did me in my first LDT), and trust you will all do the same.

Due to unforeseen DVLA and oiling problems, the B40 is late, so I’m stepping out of my comfort zone into the 21st century and riding a Honda. Wowser, who would have thunk it! I’m actually looking forward to it.

It is a great trial, made better by the time of year, but the weather can be a challenge in its self. Hope to have sorted the BSA in time for Pateley Bridge. But the important thing is to enter & have fun.

Due to the nature of Class A bikes, they are exempted from a few of the restarts. Whereas the cars have coloured disks to convey their class to the Marshals, the bikes don’t –they aren’t practical. This is confusing for marshals if they don’t recognise which class a bike is in and are astonished as a class A bike rides through a restart. How about Class A having the background to their riding numbers coloured in with highlighter pens (or strips of coloured insulation tape) to identify them – this could be extended to other bike classes if necessary. Is this necessary and has anyone got a better idea to help make life simpler on the day?

I’m patiently waiting for contributions to this from you lot – where are they? Let us know what is going through your heads. Does this deafening silence mean all is hunky dory or its too scary to say? Although the organisers really do try hard, I think they would appreciate knowing if they are doing anything right or wrong. You might have an idea that makes trialling more fun – share it. Tell us about the trials, tribulations and triumphs (with small t) of these events. Are we suggesting things that will spoil your day out or are just plain stupid?

Some of you will know what has been going on about sidecar nose cones. Do we need them, don’t we? I’ve looked into this and even asked the ACU because their spec is open to interpretation. We would love to give a clear cut answer & specification, but the ACU can’t, so we can’t yet. There is hope on the horizon, but if you want a copy of the ACU’s opinion, please email me & I send you back a copy.

There has been an historic mess created about some of the eligibility rules, so a dedicated team (John Bell) has been wading through years of paperwork to discover that the last vote was to lower the permitted wheelbase to 1320mm. I know (and agree) this is an illogical and divisive dimension. But for the time being we’ll have to use it. I’ve proposed we change to a criteria (dry weight claimed by manufacturer) that will clearly separate the trail bikes considered in the spirit of our sport, from the dedicated modern trials bikes that we are trying to avoid in the competitive classes (not in the spirit but are welcome in class X). Hopefully this will be accepted and implemented from 1st Jan 2019.

Again, as many of you will know, I’m off to the other side of the world from 25th Feb until 26th March, visiting family. Please don’t ring me during that time because it will cost both of us a fortune on the mobile and my wife (staying at home) won’t know what you’re on about if you ring the landline. If anything crops up while I’m away, please send an email – that way it won’t get lost and I’ll deal with it ASAP.

Graham –  [email protected]

P.S. Thoroughly enjoyed the Northern even if the transition from Enfield to Honda was greater than expected – I had a score that an English cricketer would have been proud of! Very wet ground but dry sky!

Bike Related Matters No. 6

Although this is entitled Bike Related Matters, and its my thoughts about bikes & bikers, I think this month’s theme could apply to the car fraternity as well.

Over the last 6 months my thoughts have been concentrated on the future of Classic Trials. However, a bike rider reminded me of the past (thanks PD). He was quite right, we all owe a huge debt to the guys that have organised the sport over the last X years, ensuring it is here today for us to enjoy. RESPECT AND THANK YOU FROM US ALL!

A lot of these guys are now becoming like a good cheese – Extra Mature and better for it. They have filled various posts, worked hard and at times put the sport before themselves (and spouses/families). I’m thinking mainly of the Club stalwarts who have organised and run the trials, but it covers all volunteers.

Now I’m speaking to more Clubs around the country I’m finding the same guys have been responsible for a long time. I won’t name names because that is unfair, but it is a common tale. We (the entrants) have let them do it, assumed they will do it again the next year, and the next. I know of some who have left their trials car or bike gathering dust because they are busy organising events for the rest of us.

Is it fair – no. Is it a good thing – of course not. Is it in our (or the sports) interest – well, no, it’s not.

Think about it. If they said enough is enough, I wouldn’t blame them, but what would we do? We live in a selfish world, but please, don’t say they enjoy it – rollocks! A lot of folk complain about ‘glitches’ – I think well, tough, what have you done to help. I’ve overheard comments such as ‘they are stuck in the past’ – who’s fault is that if new blood doesn’t volunteer. One person said ‘I’m too busy to do that job’ but rode in 11 trials (that I know of) that year – that is another excuse I don’t accept. If we care about the sport we can spare a couple of evenings or a day to ensure the sport happens. How many hours do you spend in front of or in the TV/X box/pub/washing the car, defoliating etc?

Let’s get a grip and make sure we all do our bit. Don’t wait to be asked, go & offer. Become an apprentice to the CoC or help get permissions for the sections. A lot can be done in the evenings, before or after the day as well as on the day. Help & learn from those who have years of experience and wisdom, don’t let it disappear. Wouldn’t it be great to let these guys have a day off to compete behind the handlebars or wheel in the trial they have kept running for years? Would it be a total disaster if occasionally we gave up one entry to help run a trial, there’s a lot worst that could happen.?

Its a strange thing, but once you volunteer, put something back, folk often find they are happy to do some of these jobs, enjoy the sport more, and the biggy, help their sport to be there for themselves in years to come . That is a win/win surely?

To para-phrase JFK:- Think not what your Club does for you (and it does hell of a lot), but think what you can do for your Club.

Just a quick point for organisers – please let folk help – take on an apprentice. I don’t know why the Clee Hills was cancelled (shame – I was looking forward to it), but if any organiser is faced with doing similar, please shout help to the rest of us. Most issues can be resolved if we are aware of them, there is a lot of brains & brawn out there in Classic Trials land.

Well, thats better. Sorry to rant, I don’t think it will do any good, but I’m happy to be proved me wrong!

Graham (email: [email protected])

P.S. Bernie needs some more good reliable marshals for the Durham Dales (May 27th), Weardale is great that time of year, there’s plenty to see & do for a couple of days.

Bike Related Matters No. 5

Hi Guys

Before I accepted this ‘job’ with the ACTC, I asked for a ‘job description’ or list of responsibilities, what’s involved? I knew the remuneration would be extremely poor, but hey, someone has to do it and I’m used to being poor.

The answer I got was ‘whatever you make it’.     Mmmm, time to think.  The way I see it is that the Motorcycle Co-ordinator (the job had a title at least!) is a two way communication conduit between the ACTC and the motorcycle entrants. My job is to report back to the riders the decisions and reasons behind them of the ACTC, and conversely inform the ACTC how their decisions will affect the riders before they make them, what the riders think and pass on any ideas the riders may have. In other words, the Motorcycle Co-ordinator should be an impartial intermediary and help the bikes be assimilated. The other main object is to provoke thought and debate by all, to try to ensure these decisions are well founded.

All this has got me thinking – a novelty, you may suggest.

It’s obvious that ACTC Classic Trials started as a car sport with the ACTC formed to regulate it (some car folk may not be aware of the Scott trial etc, their rich heritage and how old they are). At some stage, for some reason, they accepted motorcycle entries – discuss & debate. My view is that this is a good thing – a symbiotic relationship. We all want the same thing. I even know two guys that have started Classic Trials on bikes & changed to cars. Wowser! We are stronger together against the selfish, badly informed lobbies trying to stop off road sport and the mix creates a good atmosphere.

The entries are often a similar numbers of cars & bikes. Hopefully, the bikes are here to stay and will become part of ‘the establishment’. I’ve not witnessed any animosity between cars and bikes, at the trials they seem to complement each other. The organisers all seem very helpful and friendly to both.  A lot of marshal’s (essential volunteers) and spectators, like to see both. But I’ll leave you with three questions   a) To the Riders – have you tried to help, offered your services or those of friend, got involved in the Clubs etc. Or, to put it another way, apart from paying the entrance fee are you pulling your weight?  And b) To the ACTC & Clubs – do you offer the bikes parity? Do you realise what a large untapped resource these guys may be and are you happy for them to be absorbed into ‘the establishment’?   And c) What happens if bikes consistently dominate entry lists – can we all cope with that?

Maybe the time has come to answer these questions, to be honest with ourselves and at ease with each other. I like the mix, it makes it more fun. But I think car entries will reduce, and I know there’s a large untapped pool of bikes who would like these events. Between us, we can not only continue, but if we get it right, optimistic me suggests we’ll thrive.

Hopefully that’s got you all thinking as well – another novelty?

Apparently the entries for next years Championships have started to arrive. The Regionals seem to be popular, so come on, get entered & lets get these established.

I’m now getting more feed back – great, it’s a healthy thing, come on, spill the beans & tell me what you think.

Graham (email: [email protected])

P.S. since writing this I’ve become aware of a biker helping with the admin. of an established trial, perhaps this will lead to him doing the whole job – well done P.D. There are probably more of you that I’m not aware of – as the Americans say ‘way to go’. If we all do one small thing there won’t be enough jobs to go around, and the sport will be much better & stronger. Oh yes, way to go indeed!  

Bike Related Matters No. 4

Hi gentlepersons of the ACTC and its member Clubs.

Although I believe the ACTC needs a period of stability to encourage new entrants and volunteers (something I’m trying to work towards), I believe it can only be achieved if the existing rules are understandable to all, achieve their aims and are not ambiguous. (Making sure the foundations are sound before building the house!)

I am receiving calls from Club officials and entrants about two things relating to bikes that, a) are causing concern to entry secretaries, scrutineers and potential entrants, and b) causing me concern for the sport. So I have tried to address these areas and think if my proposals are adopted we will achieved the dual benefits of making life easier  for organising Club officials and make the prospect of entering more attractive.

The minimum wheelbase of 1350mm. I believe this was intended to keep the latest, purpose built and super competent modern trials bike from the competitive classes as they would change the sport, but allow them in Class X to try the sport – a worthy aim. However, the wheelbase rule is a very blunt instrument. Yes, it does regulate against the bikes it’s aimed at, but it also bans many bikes that I believe we would like to attract and are being used, as they have a wheel base less than 1350mm. It’s also ambiguous. A bike with a new chain has a wheelbase that can lengthen by up to 50mm when the rear wheel is moved backwards to adjust a worn chain, so a bike with a new chain may fail the test but pass as the chain wears.

 I propose it is replaced by a rule based on the dry weight claimed by the manufacturer of say 90 kg. This would regulate against the super modern model but allow shorter, heavier, less powerful bikes that we wish to attract. I propose that the responsibility should be the entrants to quote this weight on the entry form. If an entry secretary suspects an ‘error’ they can easily check on the website nominated in the rule (or ask me) and move the ‘offender’ to Class X. The scrutineers don’t need this hassle and should be checking safety features.

Tyres. Although the regulations only allow trials tyres or road tyres, there is a concession for Class C, and more aggressive tyres are being used but a blind eye turned. I believe the concession should be removed and the more aggressive tyres (such as enduro type) completely banned. They are unnecessary, trials tyres are sufficient for our sections, the rider’s skills adapt and improve. After all, the cars cope with road tyres!

Class C bikes can be adapted to take a trials tyre. The alternatives erode the sections making them worse for everyone else. But worst still, erosion of sections & cutting up the land in between can lead to the loss of that land by losing the goodwill of the landowner (can we afford to do that?). They increase the arguments against the use of byways (again, can we risk that?). I believe we should also be seen to minimise the impact our sport has on the land.

I’m suggesting that conforming to all regs should be the responsibility of the entrant, that potential problems with tyres and classes be identified on the entry form (and I am always available to consult), and the entrant informed at this stage if possible. We don’t want any ill feeling, or to turn anyone away on the morning of a trial.

I set out below the amended rules that I’m proposing for you to consider, comment on and spot where I’m wrong, so please contact me if you want to discuss any aspect. I’m only as good as the feedback I get, and hopefully we can encourage more to enjoy (is that the right word?) this classic trialling malarkey.

Since circulating the rules that I’m proposing for motorbikes, the consultation process has worked well because I’ve been lobbied by the ‘charioteers’ of Class D. Their concern is purely on safety grounds. It something that I hadn’t thought of, and perhaps its food for thought for the Clerks of the Course.

After zooming (or crawling) up a steep section, it is often necessary to come back down it. The sidecars have the advantage of vertical stability (don’t fall over so easily!), but have twice the weight of a solo but still only one front wheel to brake with. So it is essential that this tyre has maximum grip (or dig-in) to stop it doing the dirt equivalent of aquaplaning out of control down the steep slope. That means some of them would prefer to fit an endure tyre to this wheel only.

As this wheel isn’t driven, and therefore this would not cause erosion of the section, I believe it is a reasonable argument I favour allowing them to fit any tyre and have amended my proposal accordingly:-

Proposed Rule Changes for Discussion – G Lampkin – Dec 2017

Thanks,

Graham Lampkin

Motorcycle Co-ordinator Email: [email protected] Tel. 01282 862749 or 07989 446131))

Bike Related Matters No. 3

Random Thoughts: The Trip: It went by too quickly. The bike spat its dummy out at the Exmoor Clouds (Sammy was right – trials can be lost in the workshop!), but a well run event. Then my sisters garden got a short back & sides (free lodging in return) before the Tamar – another good event and Troggy kept going. Life doesn’t get better than this.

Bike Classes: It has been noticed that a few proper modern trials bikes (Beta Rev, Beta Evo, Scorpa, Gas Gas, Honda TLR, Montesa Cota etc) have been entered, and not always in class X. Yes, they are welcome, but unfortunately these Classic trials are really suited to trail bikes and old pre 70 stuff, hence the ACTC regulation that says any bike with a wheelbase of less that 1350mm should be in class X and won’t be scored in the championship. I think most of these bikes have a wheelbase in the region of 1320mm. So please enter, but enter in to the spirit of the classic trials (and class X). I realise that you are probably coming on a bike you already have, but our sections are not difficult enough to challenge your bikes. So please come, we hope you enjoy and enter more, but we don’t want to add to the burden of the Entry Secretaries or Scrutineers by having to correct entries. You never know, it may lead to a different bike! I hope existing riders will make sure that potential newcomers know about this.

Whats in a name? Personally I’m not keen on the name ‘classic trials’. Yes, the nature of the event is classic (and long may it be so), but most of the vehicles aren’t. Perhaps this is because I’m familiar with pre-65 bike trials, but in conversation I usually refer to Long Distance Trials. Does the name put potential entrants off, thinking they would need a classic bike? And we’re not all doddery old codgers like me.

Where are all the young guys? A couple of years ago at the Yorkshire Classic I rode around with a guy of about 20 – his first event. He seemed to enjoy it, but I’ve not seen him since,. These guys are the future, how did we let him escape?

Championships: In 2018 we’ve got a two pronged championship – regional and national. If you enter the regionals it costs only £10, (and it counts in more than one region). But for just £17 you can register for the national and regional championships, further more you also get a quarterly magazine (hard copy or email) and email alerts of new posts on the website. I genuinely believe that the more involved you become with this type of sport, the more you enjoy it. So why not have a bash in these championships?

Tyres: The regs. say you should run on trials pattern tyre, they aren’t expensive and are easily available (Pirellis seem the most popular). The only exception is class C, because the bikes come with a 17” rim on the rear and trials tyres are 18” (could change the rim perhaps?). Anyway, please conform with the regs, make life easier for the scrutineers by arriving with the correct tyre, and having some respect for the organisers & land owner by not churning it up with more aggressive tyres. There is plenty of grip in a trials pattern tyre and you may be moved to class X if you arrive not conforming with the regs.

Contributions: This is your chance to have a say. Ideas, comments, complaints, thanks, ideas to improve your bike or a trip you’ve done – send it to me & it can be incorporated into this ‘blog’.

Graham
[email protected], 07989 446131 or 01282 862749

Bike Related Matters No. 2

Hi Guys,

A word about the championship. First it has a new Secretary, John Bell. John is an experienced trials driver, a hard working volunteer and wants to encourage all to enter. From 2018 the bike championship will be scored on the overall position (amongst bikes) in each event. This makes sense. After a suggestion that therefore all classes should ride identical routes, the Clerks of Course present at the AGM made it clear that they wish to retain the right to make subtle changes (such as restarts etc), class by class to eradicate the advantages any class may have from the competitive nature of the bikes. Therefore in theory, a rider in any class has an equal opportunity to win that event (if they ride well!), negating the riders of the most competitive class having an advantage and always winning. Again, that makes sense. Some may disagree, if you have a view . . . . . emails to me please!

So the ACTC have done their bit, made the championship as fair as it can be. It removes the excuse of ‘unfair advantage’ for not entering it (discuss). The regional championships are now in place and are ideal if you can’t travel far. This means it could be construed as rude to not register – come on, have a go, you may be surprised by how well you do.. You also get a quarterly magazine and email alerts of new posts on the website such as entry forms & regs for future events.

In October I’m making my annual pilgrimage to visit my sister in Devon. Completely by accident(?) I’ll be there the week that starts with the Exmoor Clouds and finishes with the Tamar – how did that happen? It means that I should be at both events to listen to your views (but after the trials please). If you’ve anything of interest I can always incorporate it in this slot – less boring than me prattling on! You can contact me by email ([email protected]) or phone mobile 07989 446131, landline 01282 862749. All I ask is your name & contact number (no anonymous or rude suggestions please).

Most importantly, keep on enjoying the trials and encourage your mates to share the fun! A word of advice, stay behind the handlebars – it hurts if you get in front of them!

Thanks,
Graham

Bike Related Matters No. 1

Hi Guys (that’s all genders!)

From now on we hope to keep you better informed via this slot, so keep an eye on it for any changes that may affect the view from behind the handlebars (rather than steering wheel) at ACTC events.

The post of Motorcycle Co-ordinator has been vacant for a while, but at the AGM on September 3rd , I was co-opted to fill the post. So if there are any bike related issues, proposals, complaints, suggestions etc, I’m on board to discuss and explain, approach and advise the Clubs and/or ACTC bigwigs.

As you probably know, the Clubs run the trials but belong to the ACTC who try to establish/co-ordinate consistency, standard rules etc and run the championship. At the ACTC meetings each Club gets a vote. This means if you join a club (recommended) you can lobby them to put proposals to the ACTC, or you can discuss the matter with me and if its valid I can propose it (but I don’t vote).

Who am I? I’m Graham Lampkin, a life-long biker who has ridden on and off road, old and modern bikes. You can contact me by email ([email protected]) or phone mobile 07989 446131, landline 01282 862749. All I ask is your name & contact number (no anonymous or rude suggestions please). I live in the grim north & haven’t the time (or budget) to ride all the trials, but if you see me at an event, please tell me your thoughts after the trial. To help you identify me, I’m currently riding a green/grey Royal Enfield.

So, please help all of us by giving me feed- back. Why not register for the championship next year? You get the fee back in the form of a quarterly magazine, as well as more fun. Most importantly, keep on enjoying the trials and encourage your mates to share the fun!

Graham