Stroud Valley Jack Wooldridge Trial

Report by Bretton King


There are many unsung heroes when it comes to staging a trial, none more so than the landowner and the late Jack Wooldridge supported the needs of Stroud Valley solidly, which has resulted in this trial and winner's trophy being named in his memory. And what an event it turned out to be!! Heavy overnight rain very nearly scuppered all the course-marking efforts of Ray and Ryan Pekala but some swift early morning alterations were made before 52 riders were duly sent off to test their mettle against the elements.

The Southern Experts Trial is to be staged here in December and throttle control, line-finding and true grit will all be needed to succeed and this was just the case last Sunday too. However, one man who always seems to find these traits is current centre champion Simon Welch and he once again made a mockery of the severe, super-slick sections as he obliterated his rivals with a masterclass, dropping almost half his nearest rival. His score included only two five's which simply left everyone else vying for the lesser placings.

Making a welcome return to a championship round was John Luff and he was clearly up for the challenge that faced him, as he and Henry Bendall chased for the runner-up spot. Going into the last of the three laps John held a comfortable 11 mark lead but still had plenty of work to do if he was to keep Henry at bay and despite having his lead chiselled away at, he held out for second and relegated Henry to an unfamiliar third.

BVM storeman Scott Thompson was pushing for a podium all day long and a super clean on the treacherous roots and camber of section ten even emulated Welch's best, but it was too little too late to get him higher than fourth.

On the Clubman Expert route, veteran Rob Faulkner from Oxford squeezed out a narrow 2 mark win ahead of Steve Cook who's second lap 5 at section three handed Rob the lead, which he duly retained to the close. Meanwhile, the Alternative route saw the closest of all contests with any of half a dozen in contention for the win. Glyn Smith slithered to victory from mud-maestro Nigel Tomkins after Nigel bagged a hat-trick of costly fives at Doug Nolan's section.

Graham Lavis proved the adage of "life in the old dog yet" as he took the Novice win and Will King won yet again in Youth B, his fourth of the championship.

A gallant band of newcomers and old stagers skated around the lesser route, where Dave Benton piloted his Montesa to a creditable 13 mark win from Terry Cole. In fact, Terry only just took second as he and five others had a spread of six marks covering them - tight!! Richard Smith was in the box seat for second but a stop on number six effectively blew it for him.