Highland Hits High Notes

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Rob Shepherd with the ex-factory Honda at the Highland Classic 2017 – The Honda Edition – Photo: Jean Caillou

Photos: Jean Caillou & Lorna Brakenridge

Tracing their events’ roots back to 1950, the Inverness & District MCC, Scotland’s most northerly trials club are delighted that their annual Highland Classic Two Day Trial was voted a great success by those whose opinions really count, the riders!

The club have been flooded by e-mail messages by grateful competitors who enjoyed a weekend of great sport at the Alvie Estate, just four miles south of Aviemore on 10/11th June.

The Highland Classic is fast becoming the premier event to ride in Scotland whether you have a Pre’65 or twin-shock machine. This year the theme was ‘The Honda Edition’ and the Guest of Honour was former British Trials Champion, Rob Shepherd, a rider whose name will always be associated with the Honda marque.

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Nick Jefferies was Special Guest and kept the riders entertained with his witty banter and facts about the Honda trials effort back in the 1970s – Photo: Jean Caillou

Special Guest was Nick Jefferies, a man who not only talks about trials but can ride as well, having picked up the B Route Two Stroke award on a BSA Bantam borrowed from Rob’s brother Norman. Jefferies hasn’t really ridden a trial since 2003, but showed that he indeed ‘still has it’ in the words of Norman Shepherd.

Part of Nick’s winnings was a brand new MICHELIN rear tyre which he immediately promised to friend Norman Shepherd for the loan of the machine.

Jefferies told Trials Guru: “What a great event, the organisation is absolutely first class and everyone is so friendly, it really lives up to its name, the Friendliest Classic Trial in Scotland. What a wonderful place to hold an event, this is all due to the landowner, Laird Jamie Williamson who welcomes such events onto his land, what a breath of fresh air”.

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Full reports are expected to appear in both Classic Trial Magazine and Classic Dirt Bike over the next few months.

The Honda connection was supported by French Honda enthusiasts, Jean Caillou and Olivier Barjon who travelled many hundreds of miles to get to the Alvie Estate..

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Jean Caillou, Rob Shepherd, Olivier Barjon, Yrjo Vesterinen and Nick Jefferies soak up the atmosphere at the 2017 Honda Edition of the Highland Classic.

Caillou: “I really enjoyed the experience, I have ridden Alvie before and it is a true classic event which has grown over the years”

Competitor, Darren Walker told the Inverness club secretary John Moffat: “I think I have died and gone to trials heaven, how do you manage to get permission to ride in a beautiful place like this?”

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Alvie Estate hosted the Honda Edition of the annual Highland Classic which is the ‘must do event’ in Scotland – Photo: Jean Caillou

The Inverness club put a great effort into the event which was thought up by club Chairman, Malcolm Smith, who is originally from Dunsfold in Surrey. The event began on 2003 as a one day trial, but spurred on by Scottish super-enthusiast, Jock McComisky, it evolved into a two-day affair in 2004.

The relaxed but sporting atmosphere at the Highland Classic has raised the bar in Scotland with many saying openly that it is simply the best in Scotland now. Unfortunately this has meant over-subscription of the 150 rider limit.

Club and Company General Secretary John Moffat said: “We had a number of very good younger riders enter this year, but the club are keen to retain the level of severity that accommodates the bulk of the entry. We will not be raising the bar as far as section severity is concerned, we have hit an optimal solution of two routes, the easier B route is designed with Pre’65 machines in mind. What we have been striving to do is raising the bar on the infrastructure, this is without doubt the ‘Friendliest trial in Scotland’ now and we intend to keep it that way and develop that mantra further. We have the riders to thank for making it so as many travel hundreds of miles to take part. If we got it wrong, it would be so easy to ride somewhere a bit more local. The observers who are invaluable, many of those are coming up to help us, it’s fantastic”.

The event was supported by Putoline Oils UK; Apico Factory Racing and Classic Trial Magazine who provided both product and promotional material for the event, much of which went direct to the competitors and observers. The club also ran two observers’ prize draws during the event.

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Honda 2017 moves over for Montesa 2018 at the Friendliest Classic trial, the Highland Classic – Photo: Lorna Brakenridge

Entries will open on 1st February for the 2018 Highland Classic Two Day which will be the Montesa Cota Edition, celebrating fifty years since the original ‘Cota’ was launched in 1968. No doubt the organisers are already investigating which guest of honour and guest riders they will have with MONTESA connections. The event will be held once again at Alvie Estate on 9/10th June, 2018.

 

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