H C WAKE TRIAL
• Saturday 13th November:
H.C. 'Charlie' Wake Trial
This event, named after legendary Witley MCC stalwart and Chairman, the late Charlie Wake, was run as usual on Remembrance Saturday, at our usual Kingsfold venue.
Clerk of the Course: Paul Jay
Secretary: Neil Bowker
Tickfold Farm is a Goldilocks venue, either too wet or too dry. Unusually, this year, it was just right.
As previous years had seen a decline in rider numbers, this year it was decided to make it more in the style of a club trial to cater for the expected low turnout. However, to our surprise, the online entry continued to grow and our plans were adapted to suit the 65 riders that signed up by the close, with a few possible entries on the day we may have even reached 70.
With only seven confirmed observers it was looking likely that we might have some unmanned sections, but as luck would have it (for us at least) Kevin Cochrane’s clutch cable broke and he very kindly offered to observe, then Dave Kav rocked up and took a section, with only two left and ten minutes before the start, Eric and Gloria Moss offered to help. Bingo, a full house, the Charlie Wake was back on track!
The only person missing now was Derek Cranfield, our annual starter at this event. So, keeping this years “all at the last minute” theme going, Derek casually appeared at 10:29am all ready for the off.
All the sections this year were all set in the stream bed; the water levels were quite tame compared to previous years but they were still high enough to catch the unaware. Generally they followed the path of the stream with variations in and out for the Intermediate and Expert routes. Some of these grew more difficult as the day wore on, while others proved easier as the right line became more defined.
However, it was the section exits that were the sting in the tail today, as with the water being dragged out and up by each passing contender, the banks became an ice rink. As the day progressed, more and more marks were lost on these small, seemingly insignificant ends to the sections, elevating the frustration levels at the time and probably once again when the results were viewed later.
With a few sections set out as “one route for all classes”, many of the expert riders found them too easy; that said, none of them could afford the slightest slip-up, so their concentration levels were visibly maintained throughout – dropping a mark here would be the subject of ridicule from their peers for the rest of the day, simply unthinkable for all of them!
Notable rides during the day would include Sam Haslam for making the difficult look easy. Guy Chandler, who improved in style with every lap and on the last one, with absolutely no fuss, appeared to just dance up the bank step on section 10. Rob Carey for continuing to look more and more like a trials rider with every outing. Colin Boniface for the quickest time, quietest bike and biggest bow wave through section 10 – and Al Ranger for that big smile and total concentration on his twinshock Honda.
Packing up took us about half an hour, all the gear bundled in the the back of the van to be sorted out the next day. Then off to the pub for a drink and a suitable end to a successful day.
Another good Charlie Wake Trial and along with it another visible surge of trials enthusiasm within the club. We’ve two more trials left in 2021; one is a social fun event and the other is rapidly gaining in reputation as a great trial and a “good long ride around”.
Please try and support both of these last two trials on our calendar, either riding or getting stuck in with the team. Everyone is welcome and the fun is absolutely free. Hopefully see you there...
Thank you to our team of volunteer officials: Paul Jay, Terry Tidbury, Neil Bowker, Ian George, Catherine Bryant, Ian Hayward, Dave Kavanagh, Mark Williams, Kevin Cochrane, Laurie Richards, Eric Moss, Gloria Moss, Shaun Smith, Colin Boniface and Aidan Bowker.
The organising team: Neil Bowker, Paul Jay, Terry Tidbury