Weather fails to freeze Freegard
Whilst trials throughout the country were called off because of the snow-bound conditions that gripped the UK at the weekend, Swindon and District MCC members were determined to stage the first round of their 2010 Club Championship, whatever the weather.
Clerk of the Course Michael Maslin led his merry band of section plotters out on Saturday clearing snow from the cambers, roots, climbs and streams that adorn the Old Station Yard venue, to guarantee proceedings would go ahead on the Sunday – and their efforts were much appreciated by the riders who took part.
2009 Expert Champion Rob Scott turned up to begin the defence of his title but he was not the furthest travelled as fellow A class competitor Ben Skinner had got a team of huskies out to bring him and his Gas Gas up from Ringwood, and a very worthwhile trip it would turn out to be too. These two were to be the main contenders for the overall and sadly for Rob, his challenge took a dent as early as the second section when he failed to crest the bank just before turning into the stream. In contrast, Ben hopped the rear wheel onto line and he sailed around for a clean. Indeed, this was the main mark-stealer for him and even then he only lost 4 of his 5 mark total-tally here, while for Rob, 10 marks were cast away here and his hopes of victory slithered to a halt with them. Ben’s only other solitary loss was in Sandra Wooster’s section 8, when his rear tyre slid on the rooty camber, but this failed to ruffle him and he continued to skate to victory.
The Clubman Expert route had some big hitters in the class with British Enduro Champ Keith Wooster taking on Classic Bike champion Martyn Wilmore. As it happens, Martyn kept his feet off the snow and ice all day, recording a clean sheet at the close – some ride in the conditions. Keith matched him for the initial 3 sections, but the twisting cambers of section 4 scuppered his chances as a slack 3 froze his challenge out. Ben Wilmore kept Keith “honest” and only a poor five on the last lap gave Keith the desired breathing space. Ben’s misfortune came on section six when the rapidly polishing camber became grip-less and a lack of speed on the approach to the tree-pillared exit dumped him back down the slope.
Arguably the rides of the day came in the B class, where Gavin Moore out-manoeuvred all-comers aboard his Pampera trail bike – 2 marks being all he shed. Perilously close was newly 2-stroke remounted Andy Perry, the Evo assisting him in prodding on only four occasions, a result he was very happy with considering he nearly didn’t enter!! Fellow over-50 rider Graham Harris was reaping the benefit of Martyn Wilmore’s tuition as he too strung a consistent ride together and third place with it. Youth A was won yet again by 2009 champion Will King, a string of attacking rides giving him a creditable 8th overall on the Clubman expert route.
C class was equally competitive and only four marks separated victor Andy Gee from improving Liam Wooster. Liam led after lap 1 but a hat-full of marks on lap 2 left Andy leading and despite reducing his arrears on the final 2 laps to just 7 marks, Liam had too much to do and Andy really got to grips with the conditions, keeping himself in front to the close followed by Liam and Robert Hunt took third spot after some very smooth riding.
One cannot “seal the lid” without praising the observers – they did a sterling job in the cold and their fortitude meant that a great trial in highly unusual conditions could go ahead, so thanks go to each and every one.
Inset above: Jason Cole takes 3rd in Expert Class
Best Performance Ben Skinner (Gas Gas) 5 marks lost
Best A Rob Scott (Beta) 21 m.l.
Jason Cole (Beta) 30 m.l.
Best AB Martyn Wilmore (Scorpa) 0 m.l.
Keith Wooster (Sherco) 8 m.l.
Ben Wilmore (Gas Gas) 18 m.l.
Best B Gavin Moore (Pampera) 2 m.l.
Andy Perry (Beta Evo) 4 m.l.
Graham Harris (Montesa) 31 m.l.
Best C Andy Gee (Beta) 19 m.l.
Liam Wooster (Gas Gas) 23 m.l.
Robert Hunt (Montesa) 39 m.l.
Youth A Will King (Beta) 36 m.l.
Jack Pontin (Sherco) 54 m.l.