East Midlands Trials

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Donna Fox (Honda TL125) – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Gillian Lawson spotlights some trials folk in the East Midlands/Lincolnshire area:

Words and photos: Gillian Lawson.

Since moving from London to the Nottingham /Lincolnshire border, I re-discovered a past passion in bikes so I have been attending the local Trials in Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas. I have a passion for photography and took this opportunity to attend the events with my camera, where I have found the clubs very friendly and riders very welcoming as they love having a picture taken.

One of the clubs is the North Lincolnshire MCC which I have subsequently learned that it was founded in October 2000, by local trials riders meeting up for a pint and the general consensus was that North Lincolnshire was lacking a good Pre’65 and twinshock club to cater for beginners as well as more experienced riders.

Hence the North Lincolnshire Classic MCC was formed and now regularly meets at the Nag’s Head pub in Wootton. Their first trial was held at Ashby Ville, Scunthorpe on New Year’s Day 2001. The club now has over 120 members and puts on twelve trials per year, during July the two-day trial and championship trophy presentation takes place and with camping on site it’s a very popular weekend. Novice riders are encouraged with very easy sections as well as clubman, 50/50 and expert routes. The club also allows riders of modern machines to ride at the trials and they compete in a separate championship, which I have mentioned further in this page.

Also, there is another local club called the Banovallum MCC which is an old established club and the riders that are dedicated to keeping the clubs going and it also allows them to ride in other championships and go on to be a success in the championships.

Over the last few months I have met and spoken to some of the riders from the clubs and they kindly gave me the opportunity to take pictures of them and their bikes and tell me a bit about them. Below you will see the machines which are very popular with younger and older riders, some started riding at a very young age and some have recently taken up the sport over the last few years.

Colin Thompson:

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Colin Thompson on his Fantic – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Colin has been in the the motorcycle trade since 1969, he has ridden trials from 1971 and is a founder member of the North Lincs Classic Motorcycle Club. He has been Chairman of the club for the last few years. A few examples of his main Championship successes are: Scunthorpe Club Novice Champ 1978; Banovallum Club Pre’65 Champ 1999; Banovallum Club Easy Route Champ 1999; Banovallum Club Pre’65 Champ 2000; North Lincs Club Two Stroke Champ 2008; North Lincs Club Main Route Champ 2006; North Lincs Club Two Stroke Champ 2009.

Donna Fox:

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Donna Fox on her Honda TL125 – Photo: Gillian Lawson

“From being around fifteen years of age, I thought I would like to try twin-shock trials, as my Dad had a few when I was growing up. But as things went on. doors opened to opportunities I only ever dreamed of in the beginning, for instance becoming a British champion and Women’s trials getting their own championship. It came to pass, the rest they say is history! So I’ve been riding competitively since I was ten, so a grand total of twenty-two years. With change on the horizon it seemed a good idea to take a break from world championships, but I wanted to continue riding so I mentioned to Dad about a twinshock. He’s good at engineering tinkering and at modifying, so I think he jumped at the chance. I’m finding it takes me back to the beginning, learning the basics again as after moving with the times you forget how forgiving modern bikes are these days, plus being a TL125, the power isn’t enough to save me! We’ve had to go for an electronic ignition as I’m far too aggressive for the points to keep up”.

Olly Wareing:

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Olly Wareing (Fantic) – Photo: Gilliam Lawson

I spoke with Olly and he tells me his machine is a modified 200 Fantic Professional. “I’ve been riding since I was nine years old. After riding modern bikes in the expert class and doing S3 rounds, I made the switch to twinshock about four years ago. This was mainly due to modern sections not being my sort of style as I’m a more flowing no-stop sort of rider. That, plus modern bike prices and after sales market, made the twinshock scene more inviting. I’ve made friends with so many new riders in twinshock and although still super-competitive it’s totally different to modern riding and riding styles.

Mark Kremin:

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Mark Kremin on his TR240 JCM – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Mark told me his machine is a 1986 JCM TR240. He has been riding for forty years and loves the challenge on the old stuff. He said he can’t do the hopping and bopping, the older trials suit his ability. He loves the rare bikes such as the JCM, Merlin and the Mecatecno. Mark started riding trials in 1977 on a Montesa Cota 123 with the SMCC and has been a member since then.

Andrew Towriss:

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Andrew Towriss on his Suzuki RL250 – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Andrew Towriss’s bike is a 1976, Suzuki RL250 and has had it around ten years. Andrew started riding the local clubs and found everyone to be friendly and helpful. He likes riding the older bikes as it’s more of a challenge and he rides for fun.

Kim Waters and his son James Waters:

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Kim Waters (Suzuki) – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Kim has been riding since an early age. He prefers the old bikes to the modern. He loves trials sport and his passion and determination shows when you watch him ride. Kim and his brother Les organise one of the local North Lincs trials at Wickenby to give back to the community of the sport.

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The TY Yamaha that Kim Waters built – Photo: Gillian Lawson

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James Waters on his Yamaha TY175 – Photo: Gillian Lawson

However, his son James who rides both old and new and is becoming a one to look out for. He has taken to the older bikes and modifying to suit his style, He enjoys working on his Yamaha TY175.

Les Waters:

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Les Waters (Yamaha TY250R) – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Les tells me that his bike is the Yamaha TY 250 Monoshock 1986, Have been riding trials for four years, he is a member of the North Linc’s and Banovallum club, he enjoys the machines from the 1970 and 80s era.

Ian Napier:

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Ian Napier with his Yamaha – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Ian Napier said that he decided a couple of years ago that he fancied ‘a go’ at trials to keep him away from road riding. He bought a cheap Montesa and enjoyed practicing so jumped in feet first and bought a beta and entered his first trial at Manton in November 2014. Although he enjoyed riding the modern bikes he was finding it difficult to keep up with them and that started him with the twin shock bikes. He built a couple of TY250’s that were sold on and there’s always a project on the go. He’s currently building a TY mono with another twin-shock to do after that. He says there’s some great clubs locally, Scunthorpe, Banovallum, Lincoln, North Linc’s classics and some further afield at Barnsley and Scarborough. There’s always a warm welcome from some great guys with everyone willing to help and encourage. And occasionally laugh at his misfortune. Everyone should have a go!

Russell Walker:

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Russell Walker on his Seeley Honda TL200E – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Russell started out riding in 1976 with Scunthorpe club and was novice champion in his first year and expert champ the following year. Walker: “I stopped riding for 19 years raising family and running marathons and started again in 2000. Tried to ride modern bikes but can’t get on with power and brakes so stick to the old ones I started on. At 58, I still get very nervous at the start of a trial especially the Kia rounds but intend riding for as long as my bones let me”.

Luke Hough-Whelpton:

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Luke Hough-Whelpton on his Fantic _ Photo: Gillian Lawson

Luke Starting riding at 10 years old then went on to cycle-trials winning many championships, he started sidecar racing at 19 for two years, then moved on to the supermoto national series having numerous top three finishes. He retired to drink beer and breed until two years ago when he started trialing again, first on KJ Construction Gas Gas and then onto the Fantic which he is now riding most weekends.

Luke won three club championships last year, Lincoln Banovallum and classic club.

Andy Potts:

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Andy Potts during his racing days

Andy Starting road racing at 28 years old and had three years sidecar racing followed by racing TZ Yamahas at many national events which included the Manx Grand Prix and the TT. The last few years he was doing all the Irish short road races with a national win at Kilalane and a second at Cookstown.

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Andy Potts on his BSA Bantam – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Potts told me: “My first trials bike was a 1970 250 Bultaco. I retired in 2000 and dabbled at trials but started again with Luke two years ago by first riding JK Constructions’ Gas Gas and then recently the BSA Bantam, my best result only falling off 5 times in one trial”.

The KIA Trials Championship Series:

Kia Championship is very popular with the club riders and many are now taking part throughout the year.

I spoke with the organisers and they kindly gave me a run down on their championship

Gerry Minshall said. “Two years ago, I was invited by Javier Cruz to ride his ex-works 250 Bultaco in the Robregardo trial in Spain, I enjoyed it so much I ended up buying a Vasquez Bultaco! When the bike was finished, I went back to Spain with Alan Wright to try it out and had a fantastic day riding in the mountains. It was on the way home we started talking about where you could ride a twinshock on a regular basis, plenty of modern and Pre’65 events, but not so many twinshock and no events for air-cooled monoshocks.

The idea of a series catering for twinshocks and air-cooled monos was born, we solicited Peter Salt to help and with my wife Fredina keeping us in check, we had a start.

BUT the success of the series is down to the unique nature of our sport, so many people came forward to help and back us, too many to mention by name.

In February 2014, we started the twinshock trials series, following the belief that there is a need to create a low cost off road trials championship series for experts, clubman and newcomers, a format of 2 laps of 20 sections over minimum of a 3 mile lap, with 2 routes.

An entry fee £20.

A prize draw for observers with prizes of £100, £50 and £25.

It has been a fast learning curve!

Thanks, must go to our sponsors for 2014:

  • The Twinshock Shop
  • Bultaco In Motion Trials
  • D Ingram (Stav Chorley)
  • Hofmann Precision Balancing Limited.
  • Our trophy sponsors
  • John Shirt, Yrjo Vesterinen, Bonkey Bowers and Peter Salt

Thanks to the organisers, observers of the following clubs:

  • Congleton MCC
  • Oxford IXION
  • Bognor Regis
  • Dot Owners
  • Stratford upon Avon
  • Red Rose Classic
  • Hillsborough MCC
  • The Landowners.
  • John Collins, Tim Fairbrother, Ken Garfield
  • Colin Bullock

And of course, the riders without your participation and input we would not have succeeded”.

 

Out and about with Gillian Lawson, the Scunthorpe trial: PRHA Rose-bowl held on the 28th May 2017.

Words and photos: Gillian Lawson.

Venue:

Walcot Hall Estate, a Grade II Listed Georgian Hall beautifully situated on five acres of wonderfully landscaped formal gardens within twenty-two acres of parkland in the North Lincolnshire Countryside which the club has used for over 30 years.

Allan Hunt – Club President:

When speaking to Allan, he told me the Scunthorpe Motor Cycle Club is possibly one of the longest established sporting organisations in the area. Having been formed in 1923, the club ran up until 1927 and was re-formed into its present state in 1929. They still have most of the original silver trophies from 1923 and the club meeting minute books from that time until this year. The club is affiliated to the East Midlands Centre of the Auto Cycle Union with the motto being ‘sport and fellowship’ as their badge shows.

During the war years when there were no sporting events, several of the members acted as dispatch riders for the Home Guard. Over the years they have organised and been involved in many varied events, such as trials, scrambles, grass tracks, hill climbs, gymkhana’s, display, demonstrations, RAC/ACU rider training, car and motor cycle main road trials, treasure hunts and the council summer motor scheme and trials training days.

The club is proud to say that their current membership stands at around 100, with competitor’s ages ranging from four to over seventy years of age. The rapidly developing electric bike market has seen a surge in young members. The small wheel conducted route is very popular and a fantastic opportunity for young people to get into Motor Sport. The lasting success of SMCC is due to the long-term involvement and dedication of past and present officials and the well-known camaraderie and friendship amongst the motor cycle fraternity.

The old pictures from 1956 at Whitton, another venue used by club for many a year.

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The picture of a James 197 cc at Whitton in 1956.

The group picture has a young Mark Kremin (Montesa), left then the legend, the late Roy Bateman (Bultaco) and late Den Bannister (Honda).

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Mark Garrod : Club Secretary

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Mark Garrod – Photo by Gillian Lawson

After speaking with Mark, he informs me he has competed since the age of 14. He has had various bikes over the years, first starting on a modified Suzuki TS90, followed six months later by a TY175. At the grand old age of sixteen he got a new TY175. He has had a Seeley Honda TL200E, Bultaco 175, Montesa 242 and in 1986 got a mono-shock TY250 Yamaha. Since then he has had valorous Gas Gas ‘Pro’ machines and a Beta Evo 270. Mark has been involved in the club since he was 16 helping set up and marking the trials out. He then went on to become the treasurer and now secretary, a role he has held for the last eight years. Mark has been involved in the club for over thirty years and rides for the other local clubs, like Banovallum. He currently rides a Beta 250.

Dave Turner:

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Dave Turner in action – Photo Gillian Lawson

Dave Rides a Gas Gas 2014 Racing TXT 250 and has been competing 5 years. He is a member of many clubs in Lincoln, including North Linc’s classic, Scunthorpe, Banovallum and Barnsley club and last year the Poachers Pre-65 events on a BSA C15 made in 1961.

Robin Dalton:

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Robin Dalton (Beta 300 4T) – Photo Gillian Lawson

Robin states his twin-shock is a 1986 Honda TLR 200 and that his modern bike is a 2010 Beta 300 4T. He was a late starter at the age of 49 and has been competing for four years. He started with the Barnsley club which is where he met up with Dave and they started riding together at Lincoln, Banovallum MCC, Scunthorpe MCC and then North Lincolnshire classic.

Thomas Price:

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Thomas Price – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Thomas is very new to trials biking and this was his first trial with Scunthorpe, he has a 2000 model year Honda Montesa 315 250 two stroke which he only bought recently. Thomas only bought the bike a few weeks ago he got it on the Wednesday went to clay cross trials on the Thursday then rode Scunthorpe the Sunday he and what a great time he had, told me the club had made him very welcome and had a fantastic lot of fun and will be back again.

Steve Headley:

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Steve Headley – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Steve started on a Raleigh ‘Wisp’ 49cc at the young age of nine, he used to ride up at Sand Hills near Crosby. At the age of thirteen, Steve received a Greeves Scottish 250cc giving him the bug for trials. The Greeves was bought new by Alan Hunt and Stu Witting still has it to this day, he never started in trials until 2001 with a Yamaha 250 then built a Triumph Cub and runs a Beta 300, so 3 bikes to go riding at the clubman trials at the Scunthorpe and North Linc’s clubs. Steve likes to try anything, aiming to do well, but the main thing is enjoyment and having a good laugh along the way and making new friends.

Steve Fewster:

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Steve Fewster (1958 Francis Barnett) – Photo: Gillian Lawson

Steve’s bike is a 1958 Francis Barnett which according to Steve is a bit trick and used more in pre-65 trials. He has been trialing since circa 1970 as a schoolboy now a youthful 58. His late father Barry Fewster was a keen trials and scrambler guy, and friends of the late Roy Bateman and young Alan Hunt hence his interest. Steve rides for Scunthorpe club and all local clubs i.e. North Linc’s, Banovallum & Poachers pre-65 club.

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Steve Fewster as a youth in 1973 on Roy Bateman’s BSA C15 special. He was honoured to ride this machine at Netherthorpe Woods near Worksop

I have really enjoyed doing this page for Trials Guru and hope it brings some well-deserved publicity to the club’s, the organisers who give so much of their free time to make it all happen for them.

It’s a great sport and needs to have more publicity – Gillian Lawson

 

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