Thursday, 7 January 2016

Scrambles, Trials and Motorbiking in the good old days and the modern days!

Last week I went along to watch the Bassenthwaite Club trial at Longlands. This trial was amazing to me for 2 reasons...The first being that I love exploring the fells around the Longlands area, which has fantastic expanses of open fell and a valley bottom called Trusmadoor - can't get better than that! This trial to me is what it's all about - getting out on the open fell and exploring whilst enjoying some harder rocky and technical sections. And the second reason is it being a trial organised by a club that my Dad rode with for many years.
Steve enjoying the view
Transition between the sections at Longlands

Section in a riverbed on the open fell
Steve looking back to see how its done by the experts!

I have total respect for riders like Toni Bou who can do some amazing things with their bikes jumping on top of blocks and doing tricks but my personal preference is watching trials out in the cold, open air on rough and often slippery ground. Maybe it's because this is what I grew up with and it is the other reason I enjoyed the Longlands Trial so much. I do sometimes wonder where the sport will go and as bikes get more specialised more and more stunts will be pulled. I do hope though that we don't lose some of the traditional events as they have a very different feel.
The Longlands Trial is what I would describe as a classic Trials event, the kind of event that my Dad rode back in the 60's and 70's. My dad, Raymond Nixon was one of the founding members of Bassenthwaite Trials and Motorcross Club and has very fond memories of his times spent riding trials. To me he is a bit of a legend...but I can say that - he is my Dad after all.

My Dad, Raymond Nixon cleaning a section in the good old days!

Scrambling or what we would now call motorcross

I have many fond memories of growing up around dad coming home from work dripping wet in his yellow oilskins, the smell of engine oil lingering on his hands, a double garage full of 'bits' and my first off road experience on the back of his Honda which lasted a total of 2 seconds as he set off up a steep hill and I promptly slid off the back!

They were fun days and it amazes me that I didn't start to ride earlier than I did. I don't have very clear memories of my dad's competing days as I was too young. But I will never forget the cabinet in our lounge full of about 40 silver trophies that came out every year to be polished. Anyway that's enough of that - my Dad is quite a reserved man!

Whilst looking through all of my Dad's paperwork I have found some great photos and memorabilia. There are some programmes from the Scottish Six Days of which Ray Nixon is there high up on the entrants list and he has told me many tales about riding over the Pap of Glencoe. I also found lots of score sheets, some of which I have scanned in and you may not be able to see that clearly on here. The comments on one of the results sheets from the E.V.Howarth Trophy Trial held on the 13th October 1974 is too good to leave out. It is below but not very easy to read, so this is what it says:

"I would like to apologise to all observers who arrived to find their services were not required, especially the two ladies, one had left her ironing and the other who wanted to go back to bed. If they want assistance in either field I will offer my services. Providing I can get both jobs done before 10 am."

Results from the EV Howarth Trophy Trial
Results - R Nixon 3rd!

Scottish Six Days Programme 1972 - the year my sisiter was born!

At the Longlands Trial there was one guy riding a 50 year old bike, I didn't get his name but I did get the chance to take a picture and have a quick chat. He told me that these old bikes are just as good at the modern ones. That made me laugh as my Dad always has a bit of a joke about my fancy "orange" bike... "we didn't have all that suspension and fancy hand guards in my day - just some good boots and oil skins"

Its great to see a classic bike at a modern event

Bikes and vans back in the 60's

One thing I do regret is not starting to ride earlier, butI think my mother might have had something to do with that - after all my dad broke a lot of bones and has a pin in his leg but still never regretted his riding. However, if only I had started young I might just be a little better than I am just don't bounce the same when you are older! Anyway maybe one day - when I can manage to kick start a trials bike on my own I'll actually enter a trial as it looks like a whole lot of fun and the feeling of freedom as you ride across the fell on a true adventure to the next section is something that I want to do. I really hope these classic trials are allowed to continue for a long time and so thank you to all the landowners and organisers who give up their land and time.

Me on the Sherco

Trying to work out how to get the front wheel up!

Bassenthwaite & DMC  
Fellside Auto Club 

Trials Central has a definitive list of clubs HERE