Wye Valley Auto Club Classic Trial, Bowley Court Bodenham 25th Feb. 07

report by Chris Gardiner

Talk about tempting fate! I write an article about the Club's forthcoming Classic Series and how good the parking is at the first venue, and what happens? Parking problems! The ground had hardly soaked up the snow from a fortnight ago when intermittent rain followed for over a week afterwards, making the grass a definite no-go area. The intended parking field was so wet that the Lifeboat had been called out on the previous day to rescue a sheep that had got into difficulties, and when we arrived early on Sunday conditions had actually got worse! Luck was on our side though as we were given permission at the last minute to park on the farm track itself, the farm stockman kindly changing his schedule to suit ours.

Unbeknown to most Clerk of the Course Andy Pitt had been running around the woods like a lunatic for most of the morning,- nothing new there, but this time he was "fine tuning" a few sections to compensate for Saturday night's rain. Eager to put on a good show, especially as we had lost one of our best sections due to the amount of water in the river, he emerged triumphantly from the woods at around 10.30 am.

We had also lost a crossing point due to the amount of water in the river, which meant a fair bit of back tracking to get round all the sections, entertainment in itself with the quantity of muddy ruts building up on the woodland tracks. It was one such rut that caught number 62 David Bill out as I witnessed his unplanned excursion in to the undergrowth between sections four and five! Sorry David, I bet you thought no-one was looking! He did recover however and went on to finish with only 43 marks lost, a credit to his sixty-plus years.

And so on to the podium positions. Top man on 3, yes 3! was a name not too unfamiliar in these parts, Dan Sanders, riding a Yamaha TY250 mono. A pretty good result anyway but even more impressive when you realise this was the first time he had ridden the bike since re-building it. I reckon he's ridden one before though…… Well done Dan! Tim Wheeler just managed second overall on ten lost riding a very similar looking machine to the winner but with what appeared to be retro add-ons at the rear end. Dave Morris and Dai Clothier both lost only eleven, the honours falling to Dave with the higher number of cleans. Nic Draper was cursing a five on section five which meant a total of unlucky thirteen, giving him second best in the air cooled mono class but costing him a possible second overall. Two others on the standard route worth a mention are Martyn Wilmore who had a very commendable score considering he was riding a pre-unit BSA in conditions that were seeing off a few on modern bikes, and Brian Watkins, the only other rider brave enough to tackle the standard route on a twin shock. Brian is sponsored by Ibruprofen.

Riders on the alternative route managed to produce a few scores to be proud of, especially if they were playing snooker, but taking in to account the slippery muddy conditions, big numbers were inevitable. Dave Eeles and Billy Andrews took their modern machinery to first and second respectively, with John Sanders on the Fantic fantastic coming in a close third overall and taking best air cooled mono. Others on the alternative route with stars in their eyes include Malcolm Herbert, best twin shock with Peter Lewis runner up, Clive Smith best over 40 with Dale Smith runner up, John Shephard runner up air cooled mono. Lance Rogers rode the only rigid Honda Sealey in existence due to his own special maintenance techniques and Andy Morgan, along with quite a few others , lost around two stone through perspiration. Lester Hammond lost his way. (as usual). Alan Gould and Mark Evans need to keep a sharp eye on their mate Kevin Pettit this year, as it looks like he is going to give them a good run for the best twin shock honour in the series.

The Club would like to thank all those that took part, the observers for making the whole thing possible, and the landowner for allowing it to happen. Hope to see you all back for the next round which will be on April 29th, Lodge Wood Dulas, near Pontrilas off the A465. The parking is brilliant. (Something about tempting fate comes to mind Chris! ed.)

P.S. If anyone has a kickstart lever to fit a Honda TLR200 please let me know. Chris Gardiner, entry secretary, tel. 01981 250137.