As Frank has already pointed out in his “Franks Ramblings” we haven’t had the best of starts in the Woman’s British championship trials having finished second behind Joanne Coles in all three. The Basingstoke trial was located not far from Greenham Common and was like a larger piggeries which was not suitable for a British Championship as it was far too easy! The organisers also ran an open to centre at the same time which didn’t help the sections. I got a lift back with the Payne’s as both their girls are riding the full series and didn’t both Maisie and Victoria do well, they deserve much praise for their achievements and both have the potential to become British Champions in their classes but could do with some help from our Centre.
Cheadle is Joanne’s home club and run just outside of Stoke with a mixture of rock outcrops and mud, again this was a low scoring trial and with a poor opening lap we couldn’t catch Joanne although Becky’s last lap was the best of the trial which no one else could match. Unfortunately Victoria Payne had to retire from this one with a bruised foot but Maisie took the second consecutive win in her class.
Off to Italy, We set off for Dover on the Wednesday morning before Easter and were delayed at Dover due to the poor conditions in the channel and again at the Frejus Tunnel where we had to wait again until about 3am for the roads to be cleared of snow on the Italian side. We spent most of Friday practising, making sure the bike was running well and walking the following days sections, the organisers have to provide a practice area which lets you get a feel for the terrain and on this occasion was just about a mile down the mountain from the paddock with some huge rock faces and steps. Becky finished second behind Laia Sanz in the Woman’s European round on the Saturday beating Joanne Coles by some way on the far more difficult sections than the ones in the British Championship. Easter Sunday she won the International class outright beating some very handy Italian, French and German men. We didn’t have as much time to spare and chill out as I was expecting what with the driving, riding, cleaning and maintaining the bike and doing it all over again for three days in a row before driving home again but we did have time to get to know some of the other British riders and supports there including Gerald and Jonathan Richardson, Jack Shepard, Joanne Coles and her Dad.
Back home and we were off to the Woman’s round just north of Lincoln where Joanne got the better of us again after the bike stalled on the first lap on an easy section that lost us the trial so we weren’t in the best of moods after that one!
The week before Scotland we rode the Victory National Novogar Trial at Knighton, Mid Wales. Dad started this one but didn’t make the finish after pulling a hamstring doing the splits on top of a water fall that five minutes before he was telling us he’d cleaned on a 240 Fantic years ago…….. or so he says
Off to Fort William for the best week of the year at the SSDT. Jerry Cross was out of luck having to retire on Friday with his main bearings failing, the long run out past The Glen Finnan Monument and Viaduct of Harry Potter fame finally put paid to it, you could smell the burning gear oil for miles. Gas Gas changed the bearings on Friday night and he rode again on Saturday but for no award. I’d geared up my bike to give it an easier time on the roads but changed it back to standard Monday night because I couldn’t get it to work in the sections up there although it seemed fine down here. Becky took a few days to start riding well and had to play catch up before taking the best lady’s award. Riding around near, name dropping here, James Lampkin, the Hemingway’s, Alex Wigg, Harold Crawford and Dougie was good fun, Dougie making fun of Becky and me when she wrapped the chain around the front sprocket on the first few yards of moor Friday morning, it took me and Harold Crawford about 10 minutes to get it sorted with the rest all watching taking the mickey out of us. Dad had warned that my ride this year would suffer with minding and riding, which is my excuse for a poor result this year, although I enjoyed myself, it was stressful with the scores being so tight between the girls!. Jerry wasn’t the only one to have bad luck, Dad had been kindly offered a press pass for few days by Colin Bullock of CJB Photography. He took his bike up with him and was looking forward to riding a couple of the days routes across the mountains and moors, anyway he gets all kitted up, fills a rucksack with spares, fuel, food, water proofs, camera, puts his helmet and gloves on, gets the bike out the van and spends the next hour trying to start the thing but it would not start so ends up putting it away, I expect Ba will add more detail in View from BA House but Mum and Gareth didn’t dare speak to him for at least an hour ! Some of you will remember Roger Millard formerly of the Bath club who now lives at Fersit, this year he had the job of transporting the press and Southern Royalty ( Trevor and Irene Samuels ) up the mile or so to the Fersit sections in his 6 wheeled Argo. Didn’t get to see much of Chris and Janet this year due to the Norovirus at the SSDT HQ hotel, hope you’ve both fully recovered now.
Off to Andorra in June, I’ll let you know how we get on.