OLD NEWSLETTERS 5
The usual stuff
As Peter Isaac said on the phone the other evening, it’s been a funny year with a slow start and uncertainty over a number of events up until the last minute. Still, the weather at most events has been good – too hot at some, I expect. Please see the details of the remaining events below. In particular we have been very fortunate to have an additional invitation to run at Prescott on Sunday 7 October. SAEs to Alyson as soon as possible.
At the time of writing I don’t have a write-up on the Curborough test day, but I understand that somewhere between 12 to 15 new folk had a go. Let’s hope it’s catching!
Finally, a big thanks to all of you who contributed to this issue.
Date for the next Hillclimber
Articles and other contributions by 31 October for publication by 15 November. These should include reports of the late summer events including the All-Bike Wiscombe and the AGM & Dinner notification.
As usual, I will accept contributions including adverts etc. by post, email or even dictated over the phone at the eleventh hour.
Wiscombe Park is ON for Sunday 16 September as far as we know at the moment. We have to accept that the Foot & Mouth situation is still ever so slightly uncertain and that an unexpected outbreak at a critical time may mean cancellation. However, let’s be positive! Wiscombe is the NHCA’s premier event of the year – as well as being a scenic and challenging hill. All riding members are asked to make the effort and enter… at least one bike! Regs from Michael Giles, 4 Brookside, Colliton, Broadhembury, Honiton, Devon, EX14 0LL.
The same applies to Fairoak on Saturday 22 September. Make a weekend of it. Do Fairoak and then Manor Farm on the Sunday. Fairoak regs from Geoff Hodges, 1 Willand Cottages, Stapley, Taunton, TA3 7QB.
Manor Farm is on Sunday 23 September. Regs from Will Wells, Forge Cottage, 1 High Street, Thorncombe, Chard, Somerset, TA20 4PE.
We have accepted an additional invitation from the Bugatti Owners’ Club for 30 or so bikes at Prescott on Sunday 7 October. This makes up for the one we had to forego earlier this year and we are very grateful to the BOC. Regs from Alyson Parnell, Rose Cottage, Church Road, Rockhampton, Berkeley, Glos., GL13 9DX.
What about Hartland, I hear you ask? It’s been deferred until Sunday 14 October on the basis that to run it the same day as Prescott would split the entry too much. Regs from Paul Jeffery, 19 Littlemoor Close, West Yelland, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 3HW.
We were also offered a restricted entry at Harewood in Yorkshire, but unfortunately it clashed with Prescott on 7 October. Additionally, there was some uncertainty as to how many entries we could have. The organising club had to wait until the car entry was closed before being able to say how many bike entries were available to NHCA. Never mind, we hope that it will be possible to secure an invitation at this famous venue next year.
Tom Chapman – an Appreciation
Tom, who was affectionately known as ‘Uncle Tom’ by most of the hillclimbing fraternity, died suddenly of a heart attack on July 15th. Tom was a man of many parts. A printer by trade who successfully ran (with a partner) his own printing business for many years, he was also a bellringer, musician, photographer, railway enthusiast, motorcycle enthusiast, computer expert, hillclimber and more besides.
He had a great deal of drive and energy, but was always very realistic and down to earth with the ability to see the nub of complex problems. He knew the importance of tradition and precedent, also knew how the world worked and that it was neither fair nor just.
Tom was a benevolent figure with a cheerful generous disposition and a strong sense of humour and fun. He enjoyed life to the full and had a ready, slightly cheeky, grin and occasionally a wry smile generally accompanied by either a slight shrug of the shoulders or movement of the eyebrows. Tom was a very gregarious individual who liked nothing better than presiding over a tableful (or caravan full) of people listening or contributing to the conversation and gossip.
Who can forget going to see Tom in the paddock at the Team Piglet HQ (a.k.a. Uncle Tom and Auntie Margaret’s caravan) which always seemed to be full of excited people. Promptly being invited in and everyone squeezing up to make room. Margaret asking if you would like a cup of tea, always welcome but particularly at a freezing Spring Hartland. Tom, with his cheerful grin, looking over the top of his half specs and discussing whatever it was that you had gone to see him about. Drinking tea, listening to the chatter and then squeezing up still further to let yet more people in. Hillclimbing was definitely more fun when Tom was involved.
Tom was born in Redhill, Surrey but grew up in Bishopstoke near Eastleigh. As a boy he became interested in bellringing and this remained a life long passion. After retirement in 1996 he built a small campanile (bell tower) called ‘Pig-le-tower’ in the garden at ‘Piglet in the Wilde’ so that he could arrange bell ringing whenever he wished.
Motorcycles came after National Service and also became a life long passion with a succession of road machines. The story is told of Tom taking his mother-in-law, then well into her eighties, for a ‘burn up’ on the back of a new BMW.
At Bishopstoke Tom met, courted and married Margaret and started a life long partnership of two people with very different personalities who combined to make an extremely effective team.
Hillclimbing came about by accident. Tom and Margaret’s son, Chris, started hillclimbing in 1982 and Tom soon got roped in to help. He obviously liked what he saw because, after Chris had graduated to more powerful machinery, Tom put the 350 engine from Chris’s Morini into a 250 frame and started to hillclimb, at the age of 53, in 1989. In mid-1990 Tom bought back the 350 two stroke KTM which Chris had used to win the overall championship the previous year and used it until the end of 1994. It was then passed back to Chris and Tom bought Mark Weadon’s 350 four stroke KTM and used this machine until he retired from hillclimbing at the end of the 1997 season.
Tom had a very relaxed, but deceptively quick, riding style. One rider recently remarked that he always looked as if he was “just popping down to the shop for a packet of fags”. He had many class wins, records and top ten positions on both KTMs, but his biggest success was winning the 350 championship in 1991 on the two stroke KTM, although he told me the four stroke KTM was much more fun to ride and fun always seemed more important to Tom than championship points.
Tom always put more back in than he took out. During the 1986 season he endeavoured to organise a pool of marshals with some success, but found it a Herculean task. Much more successful was the ‘central results service’ (i.e. printing and distribution of results) which he started in 1986 and ran until (I believe) the end of 1996. In addition, Tom produced (with Jerry Burton as editor) and distributed The Hillclimber from its inception in 1987 to the end of 1993. Much of this work was done on Tom’s computer and, in the process, the club was dragged into the computer age with results, records and much of the archives put on disk.
From the formation of the NHCA in 1987 to the end of 1996, Tom was a member of the board of management and was the club’s archivist. His ability to see problems clearly, his realism and general advice were of great benefit to the club. As archivist, Tom researched the history of the sport, prepared a list of events going back to 1922 which is still being added to, and assembled an archive of old results, cuttings, Sprinter articles, etc. He also archived current results, continuously updating the record times and kept track of the championship positions.
Late last year Tom was diagnosed with cancer and faced it with his usual realism and planned his own memorial service. He obviously got a lot of enjoyment out of providing pleasure for the many friends and relations who packed the church for, what was, a joyous occasion. Typical of Tom’s humour was the inscription on the urn containing his ashes – “I’d rather be ringing!”.
Tom was very much a character and a one-off. I’m afraid we shall not see his like again.
Our hearts and thoughts go out to Margaret, Chris and Lizzie.
Gurston Down 26 & 27 May 2001, or More Jamie’s Gibberings (his choice of title, honest)
What better place to start the season than a flat out blast through the hollow at Gurston, that’ll blow out the cobwebs.
After the disaster of Foot & Mouth, some riders managed to start earlier at Scarborough (too far for me), others went to Wales and, after an abortive attempt to enter my first Super Moto, I thought I’d wait until Gurston. Practice day went well, although the track was very dusty. Apart from one or two gremlins in the British Contingent, everybody had a reasonable day.
There were many new faces and machines in the paddock. All the talk of these new VORs and only one turns out – Pete Short’s. Andrew Bennett had a new toy in the shape of a big JAP V-twin beautifully crafted into a Featherbed frame – potent!. His brother was on a Manx Norton and Malcolm Carter on an immaculate Gold Star. I remember him on an XR 750 a few years back. Martin’s son, Nick, had a gorgeous YZ 426 Yamaha with big fat rims and Terry Alderslade had dragged Kim out of retirement to passenger on Bill’s old trike.
This genetically modified crops scam is finding its way into motorcycles. Alan Jolly’s Kawasaki is now the same colour as mine so I can’t say mine’s the green one now, and Dave Wills’ new CBR must be in the same team as Richard Bowker’s.
Two other new faces are Mick Dalley on a Monster and Keith Cooper riding a V-Max, both from Crawley. I think they were riding in their first hillclimb. I hope they enjoyed themselves.
As I was saying, practice went well, especially for me. I was 0.04 in front of Paul Jeffery on the 380 KTM.
Sunday morning dawned a bit cool and blowy. Perfect for engines if the wind was blowing in the right direction. I remember Pat Clancy would always take a note of the wind direction.
To my knowledge everyone had a good first run, although Richard Cobb’s Rudge kept cutting out on him and I’m not sure about the Velo boys. In the 250s Short won, but not the usual one. Mark kept up the family tradition even if Pete (I’m not going to Gurston) couldn’t. Second was Michael Giles and third Tim Clarke.
Robin had a ding-dong battle in the 350s to win ahead of fellow KTM rider Martin Palmer with veteran Velo rider Dave Child's in third.
It is interesting to note that Dave’s time of 42.00 was a personal best, having set the record of 42.07 back in 1972. This was riding the same bike with the same leathers, even the same T-shirt by the look of it – the only difference being new tyres. Hope I can do PBs in my sixties.
The 500s were poised for a real cracker with Paul in front on 33.57 and me on 33.77. Second run and I’m on a flier through Hollow, but leave the brakes too late and can’t decide between the slip road or Karousel – not that you’ve got a lot of time to decide. In the end it’s the grass that look the easier option. Unfortunately the Super Moto tyres didn’t work and down I went, tumbling down to a heap on the slip road with the bike taking up the missionary position on top, hence I’m writing this report.
A couple of marshals had picked the bike up off me, all hell let loose, more marshals, rescue crew, doctors, paramedics, ambulances. No wonder it all takes so long when a car spins off. Apparently Wendy was running around like a headless chicken when she saw the ambulance moving. Eventually I got to see Paul do a 3.32 from the commentary position, not a bad place to watch from actually. Alan Jolly came in third, so a green bike made the finish. That was my first fall for four years.
Dave Wills did his best ever run of 34.69 on his new CBR to beat Pete Short, who in turn beat Richard Bowker on his CBR.
Doug Parnell was enjoying his own close battle to beat Andrew Bennett by 0.01 seconds with Vince Cheeseman third in the big 1300cc class.
There were only three entries of the three-wheeled variety, and variety it was with Terry and Kim fastest on the trike, 37.81, Harry and Carol Foster fastest in the one-wheel drive on the BMW sidecar and Grant Cratchley with Pam Gale next in the Buckland.
This just leaves the top six run-off with Paul, myself, Dave Wills, Pete Short, Robin and Martin Palmer qualifying. Dave came in third, slightly slower than his class run. I managed second after bending the bent bits back and ripping off the smashed front mudguard, again slightly slower than my timed run, but none the less happy to do a 33.95. But it was Paul’s day, doing a fine run of 33.42, two tenths outside the record, so maybe next time. And where was Glyn?
1 Mark Short 37.55
2 Michael Giles 38.32
3 Tim Clarke 39.21
1 Robin Sims 35.25
2 Martin Palmer 35.43
3 Dave Childs 42.00
1 Paul Jeffery 33.32
2 Jamie Mitchell 33.77
3 Alan Jolly 37.27
1 Dave Wills 34.69
2 Pete Short 35.25
3 Richard Bowker 37.26
1 Doug Parnell 35.73
2 Andrew Bennett 35.74
3 Vince Cheeseman 40.74
1 Terry Alderslade/Kim Ursell 37.81
2 Harry & Carol Foster 40.96
3 Grant Cratchley/Pam Gale 46.60
1 Paul Jeffery 33.44
2 Jamie Mitchell 33.95
3 Dave Wills 34.93
Gurston Down – 9 & 10 June 2001
Here we go again, my second ever hillclimb, the first being a couple of weeks ago. As those who were there will remember, I really set the hill on fire. Sorry I forgot you were all in the holding paddock at the top of the hill so did not see my scintillating run. I know, the times never lie, but if I go slowly, it gives the spectators more time to listen to that nice vee-twin sound.
Two practice runs on the Saturday with cloudy skies but thankfully no rain. We did have one quick shower, but luckily after our runs so the four-wheel brigade had a wet track for half an hour or so…. Shame!
Paul Jeffery was fastest at 33.45 secs.
Sunday, and again the weather threatened rain but did not deliver. What it’s like at Gurston in the rain I cannot imagine. One thing I like about hillclimbing is how friendly everyone is and how willing they are to give advice. After the first practice run a very jolly fellow who rides a green Kawasaki suggested that I give it less of ‘this’ (makes braking motion) and more of ‘this’ (makes throttle-opening motion). “Great”, I thought, “now we will get somewhere” so, armed with this knowledge I joined the queue to go up the hill. Off I go on my next run down the hill – thought the sport was hill climbing. I don’t shut off for the left hander… well, just a bit. Much faster round here and still in control, now brake for Karousel and this is where it went wrong. I shut off and braked where I used to, but was travelling faster than before so anchored up really hard, locked the front wheel and shot straight up the slip road. All was well as I managed to stop without falling off. When the other riders came down the hill I was really touched by their concern for my welfare. They were all laughing and waving as they rode by, glad to see that I was OK. When I got back to the paddock I found out their joy was not for me, but themselves. As a gentleman with a weakness for pasties casually informed me, it was the norm for the first one to leave the course to write the report of the meeting. I hate you all. I expect you’re all bored by now, so here are the results.
250 – Mark Short – 37.58
350 – Robin Sims – 36.14
500 – Paul Jeffery – 33.59
750 – Dave Wills – 35.26
1300 – Keith Cooper – 39.52
3-wheelers (two-wheel drive) – Terry Alderslade/Kim Ursell – 37.53
3-wheelers (on-wheel drive) – Patrick & Paul Keates – 36.29
Congratulations to Patrick and Paul who broke the class record and to Gary Webber (250) who ran 38.00 at his first, I believe, event.
……..On The Right Track?
Raging Bull and Silver Fox were two ageing bikers who were becoming concerned as they were beginning to enjoy listening to Radio 2 and being two of ‘Terry’s Old Geezers’ or ‘Coffin Dodgers’.
After a lengthy drinking and over-eating session last Christmas, both were complaining about their increasing girth and reminiscing about the good old times when they were young, fit and eager to participate at every solo motorbike race meeting their meagre funds would permit. Despairing at the fact that they would have won time after time had it not been for the guys who overtook them on the straights – the ones who had loads of dosh to throw at tuning their bikes to perfection, not like these two who had to race on a shoestring, proving their skill by keeping up with the others through the sharp corners.
After yet more drinks, the decrepit pair decided upon a plan. They were older and wiser – sure, but had earned well over the intervening years, so could afford to “have another go”, but maybe not in the Superbike league.
Then a bright idea was born. How about sidecar racing!?! If Steve Webster could still be World Champion well into his 40’s, then they were sure they could give him a run for his money!!!!!! The search for an outfit began!
Some months later, when the pair had sobered up, they purchased an outfit and after obtaining a licence and joining The National Hill Climb Association Ltd, are now wondering what the next step should be.
Where do you practice before committing yourself to the ridicule of being hopeless at your first race?
HELP!!! – neither Raging Bull nor Silver Fox have ever been on a sidecar seriously before, let alone compete in a hillclimb. Where can they practice locally in the South West of England, without making complete fools of themselves at their first meeting?
Any tips to prevent them slipping any further into middle-aged spread would be most gratefully received.
Please contact Mark Brown on 07730 733701 or 01666 838434.
Classic Prescott – 9 & 10 June 2001 - John Woods writing a report once again – “Is the no end to this man’s cock-ups?” (his own words)
Anyway, on to Prescott’s reason for this write-up. Struggled all weekend after winter rebuilding session replacing knackered worn out suspension with good shockers, new forks with damping (wow!) and new yokes. I thought I must be much better, but I found myself a second slower than last year (serious bag on). On to Sunday, at least it was dry. After the first run I found myself running two tenths behind Glyn Poole on his VOR at 49.5-ish just for a change, bloody sandbagger. Having decided drastic measures were called for, got fired up for the second run, onto the line and away….
Absolutely flying start, no wheelspin or wheelying, into first bend, fourth gear, knee on the deck, going great, next news lying flat in gravel at Ettore’s with no wind in body (makes a change), ouch! Onwards into ambulance, strapped to a board with neck collar on. It was at this point that I decided I wasn’t going to get into the 48 seconds. After a check-over in ambulance I was released back into community for nice cup of tea in the circuit office. At this point I must thank all the paramedics and Bugatti Owners’ Club staff for their care and concern.
On to a slightly worrying note after my demise at Ettore’s, my so-called mates were asked if they were with me after being asked if they were relatives. The concern for my well-being set in so much so – Simon went two seconds faster than he had all weekend and Jason Reeve took the record with a 46.90 second run (well done, mate). At the end of the weekend Glyn was fastest solo with a 46.50, me second with 49.7 and Andrew Bennett third with 50.9 on his awesome JAP-engined Manx.
On returning home, reasons for the crash emerged as follows – 1) knackered front tyre, 2) forks ¾” too far through the yokes creating chopper effect and no weight on said knackered tyre. So now I’ve set the bike up as it should be, i.e. as it was before, after a very painful session. Also I think something must have been mentally wrong because Jason looked quite safe, which is a scary thought. Anyway, I hope I don’t have to do another write up this year.
See everyone at Shelsley,
Scarborough – 12 July 2001 – another crash means another write up; nice gentle slide off in wet this time)
Driving through the monsoon storms, we didn’t think there was any chance of any dry runs today, which disappointed me a bit as I felt after the Shelsley result at having a go at Dave Rowlandson’s record, Glyn’s outright solo if at all possible. So anyway, with wet weather thoughts switched on we arrived at the circuit and the sun came out (shock horror!!), but by the time I got to the line for the first run it started raining again, so I was quite happy with a 47 second run. Jason had quite an eventful first run, arriving at the top chicane and finding three or four solos strewn about, including one in the middle of the road, surprisingly one wasn’t mine. So he got another go, by which time it was just about dry and he did a 44 dead – oh bugger, thinks me.
In the timed runs I managed 44.08 with a couple of massive slides at the top that probably cost me the 1300 record (that’s hillclimbing), but it was enough for the class win and FTD as Jason only managed 44.2 (hee hee), but like he said he did win practice. Next solo was Dave Ward winning the 750s with a 45.97, then Sam Mathewman winning the modern 1300s with a 46.2. (I entered the classic 1300s, naughty, naughty.)
A good meeting despite the weather. Also lots of new faces, which is good to see.
Curborough – 29 July 2001 – One to forget
I hope no-one’s getting bored with this Northern drivelling, but me and the Weslake are having problems sticking together this year but, after this one, this write up will be the last for the year… unless I can borrow a bike to crash.
On to Curborough. After a hot day chilling on Sunday watching the track day, I was feeling pretty good for Sunday and even better with a 33 second first run of practice. It then went downhill with a very big bang – flat out (nearly) in 4th around that scary first corner all felt comfortable until it tightens up, at which point the front end (some say both) let go. So down we went, thinking “here we go again”. I kept hold thinking it would just slide across the grass. How wrong I was as we hit that small bank (can’t be), everything turned to sh*t as they say, and me and the Weslake bounced end over end, more so the Weslake, which even screamed in pain as the throttle cables were yanked out causing it to have a final big rev up before coming to rest under the bales. Thanks to Paul Jeffery for finding what was left.
After this, watching was quite difficult (cringe factor), but I managed to see the run-off which was won by a smooth riding Jamie Mitchell from an over-the-limit (well, it looked it; sorry Glyn) Glyn Poole on his VOR, just pipping the hard riding, as always, Paul Jeffery on his undersized KTM.
Finally, thanks to all marshals and paramedics who do a thankless thanked job with special thanks to those with whom I’ve come on first name terms this year.
Anyway, this is John Woods signing off for 2001 to go and lie down (hurts now at 30) and a big save-up!! Cheers,
Reflections from a first time sidecar passenger
Curborough Sunday 29 July 2001
Having gone to Sparkford for Curly’s 15 minutes of fame earlier in the week, we arrived at Curborough with a mild understanding of the difference between a trike and an outfit – the front wheel was in the wrong place and my seat was not a seat. The first thing that struck me was how close the passenger was to the ground, all that tarmac just inches away.
My first lesson was at Sparkford with Guy showing me the points to hold on to. Jon and I set off and did several laps just turning right. Once we had the hang of that we thought we would throw in a left. I asked Guy how he changed over from right to left and his answer was ‘I don’t know’, so I just left it to chance and seemed to manage it somehow.
So there we were at Curborough, on the start line ready for our first run and …. oops, Jon stalled it. We were allowed several more tries because the back wheel hadn’t crossed the lights. Once Curly came over and suggested to Jon that he pull away in first gear and not fourth, we eventually got off the start line. We were given handy hints and tips from Jess and Curly following each run e.g. the aim is to get your rear end, which Jess suggested was my largest part, out over the left wheel (thanks Jess). When I finally thought I was beginning to get the hang of the esses, along came the open and out I tumbled. I haven’t a clue what I did wrong apart from letting go with both hands. As I came to a stop and realised that there was no pain, I got up only to see Jon disappearing off round the last right hander and, oblivious to the red flag being waved at him, continued to gun it down the straight to the finish. It was not until he saw Dave Wills waving at him from the start line that he realised something was amiss and turned round to find himself passengerless. Oh well, all good experience and it was great to see everyone again.
Thanks to Curly for allowing us to use his outfit and to Jess for the excellent tuition.
We shall return!
A Stitch in time?
Are you poking out of your leathers due to stretched stitching? Kim Catlin received some promotional bumf from Stitches, 207 Higher Union Street, Torre, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 4BY (tel. 01803 290231; email email@example.com) which she has passed on to the Editor. Give me a call if you would like a photocopy of their information sheet, which includes examples of their prices. Very useful. Feedback to the Hillclimber on the quality of their work will be gratefully received.
Kop Hill near Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, was a famous public road hill climb, until an accident involving the unprotected spectators caused the demise of public road speed trials in Britain. Many famous riders, drivers and machines took part in events on this spectacular piece of country road. Many thanks to Alan Hummerstone for submitting this article to The Hillclimber and particular thanks to the author, Hugh Gallagher, for allowing it to be reprinted here. Acknowledgements too to the Vintage Motor Cycle Club in whose magazine it first appeared.
A brief history of Kop Hill, near Princes Risborough (Map reference OS sheet 165 815030)
The first speed event up this fairly straight, loose macadam 1 in 5 gradient was held in 1910, and the last on 28th March 1925, and it was as the result of a mild accident to a spectator at this meeting that the RAC decided to ban all motor sport on public roads. Unfortunately as this was an open public road the public could not be restrained from going and standing where they wished, and private vehicles had to be given the right of way if they wished to drive up or down the hill.
The total length of the hill is 3,848 feet with a total rise of 304 feet, but the competitive section is 903 yards long. The banks where spectators stood too close to the speeding vehicles have now largely gone and the road is much wider and better surfaced.
In 1911 cars also started to use the hill and most meetings had classes for both cars and motorcycles. In the early events, in the motorcycle section, machines were separated into a bewildering array of classes, and, in the meeting held on 6th May 1911, the fastest times for the climb in each of the classes were:
Class 1: lightweights up to 110 lbs, GE Stanley, 2.5hp Singer, 68.4secs. (with pedal assistance)
Class 2:146 lbs. to 300 lbs. G Patterson, 2.75hp New Hudson, 54.2secs.
Class 3: twin cylinder 146 lbs, 343cc, H V Colver, 2.75hp Enfield 54.4secs.
Class 4: single cylinder 557cc, W G McMinnies, TT Triumph, 43.8secs.
Class 5: any single cylinder, W G McMinnies, TT Triumph, 44.2secs.
Class 6: twin cylinder 750cc, S T Tessier, 5hp BAT, 40.8 secs.
Class 7: any twin cylinder, F W Barnes, 6hp Zenith Gradua, 43.2 secs.
Class 8: any machine, S T Tessier, 5hp BAT, 4l secs.
Class 9: passenger machines, F W Barnes, Zenith Gradua and sidecar 64secs.
Class 10: flexibility, W Pratt, 3. 5hp P&M, difference in times 111 secs.
'Yates 2hp Humber, fast but pedalled…J Holroyd 2 1/2hp Motosacoche, fast but pedalled…D R O'Donovan 2hp Singer pedalled hard as also did Eli Clarke (2 3/4hp Douglas)'.
The comment in The Motor Cycle for this meeting says “The surface left a good deal to be desired, as it was extremely rough throughout the whole course and more especially near the top where there was a deep rut, which occasioned one spill and nearly accounted for several others. But for the surface, this location is nearly ideal for a competition. It is safe, almost straight, and the progress of the climb can be seen almost from start to finish.”
The 1912 meeting was held at nearby Aston Hill, and at the March meeting the following year (1913) Barnes was using an 8hp Zenith and clocked a time of 35.4 seconds to record fastest time of the day, followed by G Griffiths also on a Zenith in 38 seconds.
At the August 1913 meeting there were not more than a handful of competitors, and very few more spectators to witness the ascents. There was only one exciting incident the whole afternoon, and that was when J Kennedy (8hp VS) somehow lost control of his machine and dashed full speed off the road. He and the big cream coloured twin landed in the hedge and, marvellous to relate, were 'not much knocked about'. Fastest time of the day was made by A J Brewin in 48 seconds on an 8hp Zenith.
At the March 1914 meeting competitors met at the George and Dragon Hotel in Princes Risborough. Unfortunately owing to the weather conditions the top part of the hill was rather soft and rutty, and several of the fast men wobbled dangerously just before the last steep pitch. The afternoon was marred from a spectator’s point of view by the torrential rain and cold driving wind. Fastest time of the day was made by R R Coes on a 7hp Indian in 43.2 seconds.
The March 1920 meeting was the first open hill-climb held in the Home Counties since the war. Fastest time of the day went to Oppenshaw on an 8hp Zenith in the very fast time of 32.6 seconds.
The May 1920 meeting was organised by the Ealing and District Motor Cycle Club as a contrast to all the other meetings which had been organised by the Essex Motor Club. Fastest time in Class A (up to 550cc) went to H le Vack on a 3 1/2hp Duzmo in 40.4 seconds. In Class B (up to 750cc) he was also quickest in 41.4 seconds and in Class C (up to 1000cc) he was also fastest in 41.4 seconds, all on the same Duzmo.
At the April 1921 meeting fastest time went to T C de la Hay's Sunbeam 3 1/2hp in 30.4 seconds followed by H le Vack's 7.9hp Indian in 32.4 seconds.
In March 1922 a large entry did not materialise, but some exceptionally fine climbs were made, and the star ascent of the afternoon was Kaye Don on a 7.9hp Indian at a speed slightly over 70mph, in 26 seconds! Second was T C de la Hay on a 3 1/2hp Sunbeam in 28.2 seconds and third G J Read (8hp Enfield) in 28.8 seconds. The fastest ascent in the open car classes was by Count Zborowski in a 4.5 litre Indianapolis Ballot 0.8 seconds slower than Kaye Don, which was to remain as the fastest climb by a car, and runner up was Tony Vandervell in a Sunbeam in 27.2 seconds.
The May 1922 meeting was run by South Midlands Centre and had a record attendance and fine weather. Competitors had to wear TT helmets and this saved one unfortunate rider who fell off from severe injury. Problems were caused by thoughtless spectators wandered on the course and obstructed the riders' views of the road. George Dance was outstanding with a time of 28.2 seconds on his 492cc Sunbeam and made fastest time of the day.
The October 1922 meeting was also run by the South Midlands Centre and in spite of a wintry wind that swept the bleak face of Kop Hill a goodly crowd of spectators turned out. The timekeeper located himself on a far-away knoll whence he could see the starting and finishing lines and the Heath Robinsonian string operated signal arms thereon. The timing could not have been accurate to the tenths of seconds employed but probably the error factor was constant. Fastest time of the day went to H H Saddington on a 662cc James in 30.4 seconds.
In the March 1923 event, organised by the Essex MC, O M Baldwin riding a 994 Matchless-MAG made fastest time of the day with an average speed of 72.6mph and a time of 25.4 seconds. A Goyder-Smith, a one legged ex-naval man, on a 490cc Norton and sidecar performed very well with a time of 37.2 seconds! J A Welch on a 349cc AJS made a meteoric ascent in 30 seconds but sat up suddenly as he crossed the line, lost control, and finished up in the hedge, fortunately without serious injury. F G Hicks on a similar machine also suffered at the hands of fate, running over a dog but preserving his balance.
In the car section L C G M Le Champion drove a 20,508cc Isotta Maybach aero-engined monster to make second fastest time of the day after Humphrey Cook in a TT Vauxhall who did it in 29.8 seconds.
At the March 1924 meeting which was held in a biting north easterly wind, the Essex Motor Club was criticised for a programme which made it utterly impossible to follow the progress of the various classes. The riders were sent up one after another in batches comprising several classes. Thus the first group consisted of twenty riders from nine classes. Fastest time of the day was made by Freddy Dixon on a 997cc Harley Davidson in 31.4 seconds, slowest time of the day was by T G Meeten on a 147cc Francis Barnett in 73 seconds.
The October 1924 meeting was run in brilliant sunshine. Freddy Dixon again made f.t.d. with 24.8 seconds on his 997cc Harley Davidson and in another class Freddy did 25.8 seconds on a 594cc Douglas, 25.6 seconds on a 494cc Douglas and 28 seconds in the sidecar class!
By the start of 1925 concern was growing over the risk of accidents to spectators at public road events, and a recent court case where an onlooker injured by a competing motorcyclist had been awarded damages, was a worrying precedent. Public road speed events had already been banned in Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire, but a solution seemed to be at hand. A bill was in preparation to go before Parliament to permit the closing of public roads for motor competitions, in the same manner as had been done in Northern Ireland and Isle of Man.
At the March 1925 meeting there was a particularly large crowd who obstinately, and often rudely, refused to obey marshals' instructions to retire to safer vantage points. They were particularly thick, in both senses, at the very fast top right hand bend of the hill.
J T A Temple on a stripped Norton stopped half way up the hill but was immediately followed by T R Allchin on a 998cc Zenith-Blackburne who came up very fast but appeared to be worried by a group of spectators assembled around Temple's machine on the bend. He took the right hand curve extremely close, shot across the road on to the grass, and, after jumping a deep gully and hitting a bush, crashed on the left bank, fortunately without hitting any spectators. He was reported to have a broken wrist, concussion and bruises. Fastest time of the day went to Freddy Dixon in 22.8 seconds on a 736cc Douglas and the same bike fitted with a sidecar only took 2 seconds longer.
Raymond Mays had sold his two Brescia Bugattis, Cordon Rouge and Cordon Bleu, to raise funds for another project. Cordon Bleu was bought by Francis Giveen, a Cambridge undergraduate, who did not inspire confidence. He had already had one testing accident and seemed to have very little awareness of the limits and dangers of this very fast car. A wild climb by Giveen clocked 31.2 seconds but he seemed totally unaware of the havoc he had created along the way. He had shot off the road on the last right hander, bounced along the track, and back onto the road again, without pause. Unfortunately he struck a spectator during the excursion, breaking one of his legs. Fortunately, by the time of Giveen' s run the crowd had thinned considerably, otherwise the accident could have had even more serious results. The injured spectator had been one of those who had been asked to move several times during the meeting but had ignored the exhortations of the marshals, so really he only had himself to blame. But at this point and with several more runs to take place the RAC steward stepped in and stopped the meeting.
A week later a statement was issued by the Auto-Cycle Union. “Following the decision of the Competitions Committee of the RAC declining to grant permits for any high speed contests on the public highway, the Competitions Committee of the A-CU has passed the following resolution: 'That this Committee having carefully considered the difficulty of ensuring the safety of the public at motorcycle speed competitions on the public highway, involving an excess of the legal limit of speed, is of opinion that until the conditions are changed all such competitions, whether 'open or closed', are prejudicial to the interests of the sport.'” And that was the end of Kop Hill as a speed event, as well as all speed events on public roads.
‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff…’ Chapter 3
Following on from the pieces in the July and December 2000 issues, here’s the latest from the dark recesses of my garage.
The Millennium year ended on a bit of a high. A good run at the Morgan club’s straight quarter mile sprint augured well, despite the ignition timing slipping and the flywheels moving out of alignment. Over the winter the crankshaft assembly was rebuilt with a larger diameter crankpin, made possible by thinner big end sleeves and proprietary needle roller races. The only other adjustment was to fit a smaller diameter oil-metering pin in the blower to make sure that all those expensive ball races get enough lubrication. Gave it a tow in our quiet residential cul-de-sac. It fires up first time over compression and sounds wonderful. All OK for the Classic Prescott event, then? Er, no.
Practice on Saturday and it’s misfiring again. The plugs look oily. Instead of replacing the smaller metering pin with the standard diameter item, I changed the plugs to two grades softer. Still misfiring. “What methanol are you using?” asks a helpful soul. “Stuff left in the tank from last year”, I reply. “Probably gone off” is the response. So, for some reason that escapes me, I decide to fiddle about with the float chambers! The next day we run with fresh fuel and it’s much cleaner, but still horribly fluffy out of the corners, in particular Pardon.
When we get it home and check it over, it’s apparent that the crankshaft end float has disappeared. Anyone running an engine with a built-up flywheel assembly will know that this is an almost certain sign of ‘shifted’ flywheels. As it turns out, this was not the case. The hub that carries the clutch flywheel has simply moved up the taper and is now rubbing on the rear of the crankcase – thankfully on a bearing, not on the case itself. The hub is a pretty horrible item that has already had a hard life with different tapers cut in it for different shafts on various engines over the years, so it’s no big surprise that it’s been moving, just a good job that the shaft is undamaged.
The bad news is that No1 piston has started to cave in, only just but enough to indicate that something is not right. Using NGK 6 grade plugs instead of my usual 8s may well have been a contributory factor, but I can’t help feeling that the manifolding is wrong. Last year I shortened it from about 1850cc to 1250cc with apparently no ill effect, but upon reflection that was before I had the piston disaster at Mallory. V-twins are funny with their uneven demands in the induction department. This is why the gurus such as Phil Irving and Maurice Brierley recommend something like 1.5 times the engine capacity in the induction system for a supercharged V-twin. The 1850cc system had run fine with the 1155cc engine several years back, a ratio of 1.6 times the engine capacity. I was now using a 1296cc engine with a 1250cc capacity inlet pipe, only 0.96 of the engine capacity.
Discussions with an engineer friend who supercharged a 1323cc side valve JAP many years ago revealed that short manifolding resulted in problems, albeit of a different sort – usually misfiring on one cylinder. He even built in a butterfly valve near the T-piece by the inlet ports and ran the engine while adjusting the angle of the butterfly. Apparently it ran on both cylinders only when the butterfly was quite strongly biased in one direction. He then built an inlet system that looked like a North Sea oil pipeline and it ran well, so well in fact that it bent a con rod into a perfect S-shape at a Silverstone practice day!
So, it’s back to the reliable cooking Matchless for some fun for the rest of the season. In the meantime I have had a new clutch flywheel hub made from EN24T with a taper that engages along the whole length of the drive side mainshaft. A new inlet manifold system will have a capacity of at least 2 litres. Mind you, it will probably have to run from the Shorrock outlet into the cockpit, around our legs a couple of times and back out under the dummy radiator.
The question of pistons is still exercising my mind. If everything else is set up right, the cast KB pistons should be OK, but the have proved a bit fragile and I don’t fancy all that work again stripping the engine to fish out all the broken bits, flushing the oil tank and so on. Because of the Harley type rods I need to stick to pistons with a gudgeon pin of 0.792”, so I may opt for some S&S pistons. S&S do some nice forged jobs with un-machined crowns, so they can be turned to suit and kept pretty thick in the right places. Oh well, it should keep me pretty busy over the winter.
Vintage/Post Vintage Championship
Positions as at 21 August 2001
Reg Davies – 18points
Roy Venard – 18 points
Terry Martin – 15 points
David Carter – 7 points
Richard Cobb – 6 points
The additional Prescott on October 7th will be a Classic and Vintage/Post Vintage championship round as well as a main championship round.
In our household the word ‘Ventoux’ is usually seen next to the words ‘Cotes du’ on the label of a bottle containing that red stuff made from grapes. However, eagle-eyed Doug Parnell spotted an article about the hill climbs held at this Provencal venue in southern France in the Daily Telegraph on 9 June written by motoring historian Doug Nye. These events began in 1902 and ended in 1976. The clerk of the course’s briefing to riders was roughly along the same lines as we are used to hearing at our events, “Do battle, but take care. Have fun, but do not trouble the medicaires. Respect any flag signals you might see – and vive le sport!”
Drivers and riders sometimes received start, prize and bonus money. The article goes on to tell of the 1949 event at which world sidecar champion Eric Oliver and passenger Denis Jenkinsion competed on the Norton outfit. They entered and won both the under and over 600cc classes by dint of racing back down the other side of the hill after their under 600cc class run just in time to ride in the larger class! This feat earned them £25 for each class. In addition Eric gained third place in the 350s (£10) with Jenks ninth (£2 10s). The article contained a very atmospheric picture of the outfit taking what looks like a banked left-hander with Jenks leaning out with the caption “beard rampant”.
Consultancy and Advice
You know the difference? Consultancy is something for which business folk pay vast sums, even if the consultant is simply telling them something that they should have worked out for themselves. On the other hand, advice is something that your friends give you. It’s free, so you usually ignore it. I did, anyway.
The carburettor Matchless ran fine at low to medium revs, but it had an annoying misfire above 4,000 rpm. (It only runs to five and a bit.) I was using a Citroen 2CV 12v double ended coil and thought maybe with the motor stroked to 1100cc and on 9:1 it’s just not up to it. Someone suggested I should try a twin output American Dyna coil – about £53. Expensive, I thought.
So instead I purchased two new Lucas standard 12v coils at about a tenner a go and wired them up in parallel. Worse misfire everywhere in the rev range and burnt points, even with an additional condenser fitted. Went to a bike jumble and bought a new Made in Taiwan Harley type twin output coil for £24. Still experienced a high revs misfire. Next is £40-worth of second hand Pirhana / Newtronic kit which worked well all week prior to Loton when Cathy was practising on some waste ground but at Loton it packed up just before lunch and just in time to catch the rain in mid changeover to a standard system with the Made in Taiwan coil. Of course it misfired, this time so badly that it fluffed each time Cathy started her last run and she had to quit. Desperation. Cathy nips off to see Bill Tuer, the top Morgan racer, and comes back with a loaned Dyna coil. The next day the Morgan ran like a dream at VSCC Mallory Park.
So now I’ve shelled out the required £53. Lesson learned? Well, until the next time.
Curborough Track Day – 28 July 2001
On what was probably the hottest weekend of the year, we held our first "Track Day" at Curborough. The glorious weather combined with the beginning of the school holidays combined to make the trip to Lichfield as arduous as possible, as a result we got off to a late start. Twenty two riders took part; fourteen were "new" plus eight NHCA members who had their own reasons for wanting a go, such as Pete Fisher wanting to frighten passenger Robin Sims on his Moto Guzzi outfit. The same was true of Terry Martin with his Norton Wasp outfit, only this time it was with his daughter in the chair. The first timers all seemed to enjoy themselves and were soon comparing times in a familiar fashion as the confidence grew riding became more spirited, two stayed on for the following day’s meeting and put up some respectable times on machines that were not ideal.
Will Track Days bring in new members to the NHCA? It’s hard to say, but if we don't publicise our sport actively membership will diminish. There are plenty of alternative pastimes available, many of which don't involve travelling distances in our congested little island. If there was a common thread running through remarks made by track day riders it was "I'm enjoying myself but I wouldn't travel to Devon or Cornwall just to take part in a Hill Climb". Time was when I would have said something similar but a few years on I was travelling to Baitings and Barbon as I became more involved. The point is that you have to start somewhere. I know from my work that if you spend money promoting your business through exhibitions or advertising you seldom see a tangible result, but if you don't keep on reminding people of what you do, they will forget what you do. The good thing about the track day is that we covered our costs, so all we invested was time.
Whether it’s worth holding another track day will be up to the committee to decide, but two things are clear in my mind. One is that we need to spend more time promoting the event, as we did not have a good response to our limited efforts. The other is that we need more help on the day. Thanks to those who did help out especially the ones who were involved with the following days meeting which also suffered from a lack of helpers. As a result there were some jaded people around by the finish of the weekend. We ought to have learnt by now "many hands make light work", whereas dumping on a few creates problems.
P.S. I have not had any feedback from my previous whinge about the Dinner Dance. All comments are welcome, positive or negative.
The usual stuff
Well, a fairly decent end to the rather unsettled season. Wiscombe was glorious with the mid-September sun warming up the hillside. Track conditions were excellent.
We were fortunate to be offered the end-of-season Meeting on 7 October by the Bugatti Owners’ Club at their historic and picturesque Prescott venue. It was very pleasant to have more room generally in the paddock than is the case at the two-day meetings. Unfortunately the weather was a trifle damp. I didn’t go to Hartland the following weekend, as I had to prepare the Morgan for the Festival of Sidecars at Mallory on the 21st. I understand it was a good ‘do’, but a trifle misty towards the end. We’ve a nice article on Hartland from Dave Carter written from the marshal’s perspective.
As this is the Hillclimber, I won’t bore you too much about Mallory, but it made Prescott a fortnight earlier seem like a summer holiday. Up at 4:15am, drive 135 miles, quick brekkie at McDonalds on the outskirts of Hinckley, circuit full of transporters so we’re down the muddy end of the paddock. Rain begins, the (fully tested by manufacturer) ignition system goes AWOL after a lap of practice, still raining, spend a wet hour re-fitting the old system. Nice careful race, rain easing, back on the trailer, rain re-starts for the prize giving, set off home in the… you’ve guessed…. rain, drive another 135 miles, and arrive home about 9:00pm. Unload in the dry (it’s not rained in Bristol), quick bite, bed. Oh, what fun.
Still, we’ve ended the season with the engine still in one piece, which must be a record.
Wiscombe Working Day
There will be a working day to help with minor track clearing and general maintenance on Saturday 24 November. Turn up about 10:00am, scruffy clothes, rustic lunch provided free in the main house. Very therapeutic, says our leader Peter Isaac. Please call him on 01278 786377 if you are thinking of going, so that he can advise numbers for lunch
All the best,
Neil Browne recently told me that the Camel Vale newsletter had reported the sudden death of our old friend Edwin Hamlyn during the summer. Edwin was a big, friendly, jovial chap with cheerful countenance and a deep, hearty laugh. He liked his food and ruefully admitted to being a ‘little’ overweight. He always had a cheerful greeting for his many friends and would invariably offer a tube of Polos, or something similar, which he produced from one of the pockets of his trials jacket. He was one of those people who it was always a pleasure to meet.
Many riders will remember Edwin scrutineering at the Wadebridge and early Hartland Quay meetings but he also did many other jobs which are less visible to the riders including marshalling, setting up the course (often done the day before the event at early Wadebridge meetings) and packing up afterwards. In addition to helping at all sorts of motorcycle events, Edwin helped at car meetings, village fetes and church fetes, he also helped stranded motorists and motorcyclists.
Edwin was a motor mechanic by trade who lived in a former quarry cottage at Delabole that his father (a quarry maintenance man) had bought from the local quarry company. Edwin, like his father, was a life long member of the Camel Vale club and when the car and motorcycle sides split he became a member of both devolved clubs and continued to help at both’s events up to the outbreak of the recent foot and mouth epidemic. He also helped at numerous other clubs’ events over the years.
In his youth Edwin had trialled a DOT – a case of cruelty to small motorcycles – but when I first met him in the late seventies he had a CZ trail bike. Then for a long time he had no motorcycle but a year or so ago he bought a Triumph Adventurer using his share of a lottery win. He greatly enjoyed this machine using it for work on fine days, observing at trials, club runs, etc.
Edwin was one of the few people for whom a bang on the head was fortunate. When the Bultaco trials bikes first came out he was offered a ride on one owned by a friend. He fell off and banged his head which started to bleed. His friends insisted a reluctant Edwin go to the hospital for a check-up. The doctors found that the accident had done no harm but discovered a brain tumour which was successfully operated upon.
Edwin was one of that dying breed of people who enjoy helping others. He will be sorely missed by the many clubs and organisations he helped and his cheerful presence will be sadly missed by his family and many friends.
Bryn Bach Park - 5 August 2001
Here I am again writing about an event because I was the first to fall off (although it is the first time this year-mind you this is only the third hill climb I’ve done this year!?)
Well as normal, we got off to a flying start about 11:30. There were actually quite a few there, a large number of whom were newcomers, which was good to see.
Anyway, I was double riding Ian Fry’s CR250 (the same bike that put me in hospital last year) with Tubby and everything was going fine. I went up on my second practice run and everything felt great. I touched the right hand foot peg down going into the gate and sped up the hill. At the top of the hill I braked too early as most people do (my mind said “don’t brake” and my body said “not on your life mate!”) I backed off and then on the power and then braked for the corner. With the braking over with, I eased on the power just before the apex and felt the peg touch momentarily. “Too slow” I thought, then the front wheel slid outwards and I hit the deck. As I picked the bike up and counted my fingers I thought, “how the hell did that happen?” I was off the brakes and gently accelerating, the tyres were warm and I wasn’t going that quick anyway (no comments!). I carefully rode up to the holding area and noticed that the front brake felt odd. Then one of the guys up there pointed out the front brake calliper was loose. Closer inspection showed that the calliper mounting bracket had snapped, wedging itself between the fork and the disk, causing the front to momentary lock and me to fall off!
This aside, the rest of the day went smoothly and the fastest time of the day was made by Terry Alderslade at 30.47. I managed 2nd with a 30.81 (still way off the pace) and Robin Sims took 3rd with 30.95.
The Top Ten was won by Pete Short at 30.51.
Contrary to rumours of the park being used as a diversion route whilst major road works are carried out, I have been told that both meetings are on next year. See you then!
Tregrehan – 26 August 2001
Here I am in Cornwall, 245 miles from home in my third hill climb – my first two being Tredegar, South Wales. After walking the hill and talking to a few people I was ready to try to ride it. The track was dry and looked quite nice. The first two practice runs went well, I think. In the 250 class Paul and Mark were on 22’s and Pete and Sir Paul were on incredible 20’s. In the 350 class it was Adrian on his own with 30.10 time. In the 500 class it was Jamie and Sir Paul in the 20’s. Then there was my class, 750cc, with Gerald flying on the VOR with 20 second times followed by Mr Short on his VOR with a pair of 21’s. I was very happy to be on the same times as the rest on 22s so a good start to the day, I thought. The 1300 class saw Terry and Gerald on their big road bikes.
Terry was also riding his trike with Kim and Stu Stobbart with Jamie in the chair were the only sidecar crew. Last but not least was Peter Pollard on his Quad, riding his first hillclimb – good luck.
Then came the lunch break and the bloody rain. I had never ridden in the wet before and didn’t know what to expect, but my new-found friend Alan Jolly assured me by saying there was plenty of grip in the wet, so I was ready to put in some good times. Wrong! I landed on my head, smashing my helmet and breaking the clutch lever clamp. Everyone else road very sensibly and put in very good times for wet weather. I managed a second careful run with a temporary repair and a headache tablet for my head. In the open run Jamie Mitchell did the same as me and high-sided his Kawasaki, hurting his ankle. Pete and Paul did some brilliant 20s with Paul taking FTD on his KTM.
Before I finish I would just like to say that I have very much enjoyed the few hillclimbs I have done and the new people that I’ve met seem so friendly and helpful, so I will hopefully see you all again next year. Thank you all for the help.
Sorry, if I’ve bored you and sorry to Paul for the ‘Sir’!
Tregrehan – 26 August 2001, or Jamie’s Gibberings, he’s fallen off again!
With the Foot & Mouth disrupting this year’s Championships, it seems the only thing I might win, is who can fall off the most. One more and I'm level with Jon Woods. What a year he's had. Hill Record at Shelsley (severe jealousy), 3 big get-offs and a seriously damaged bike (severe sympathy).
The August Tregrehan started well with practice in ideal conditions. I managed a 19.70 to lead the way and was less than 2 tenths away from my 50th record. Unfortunately we had a shower at dinner time, we were not amused. However its the same for everyone, or is it! Those with two bikes had the advantage of a drying track as the day progressed.
No surprises in the 250s, Paul beating his old adversary, Pete. The 350 class went to Kess, being the only entrant on his new OK Supreme, and in the 500s Paul, again put one over me, but I wasn't moaning.
Gerald Spiers not only beat Pete & Geoff to win the 750s, but on a 916 Duke beat Tregrehan novice Terry Alderslade to win the 1300s. Terry also turned up with the Trike, although he and Kim had trouble with the gear lever in the morning. They managed to sort the problem and finish the day fastest three-wheeler beating Stu and me on the 600 Kawasaki. That just leaves the solitary Quad of Peter Pollard, who entertained the crowd with full lock cornering.
Before the Top Six, we had an open, and by now the track was dry. I wanted that record, all I got was three weeks of work with a big black ankle and damaged ligaments. I remember saying to Judge (who marshalled on the big right hander) “You'll be scooping them up with a spade now it’s rained.”. Guess where I fell off?
I watched the rest of the runs from the ambulance doorway and have to say, the Top Six were all breaking waaaaay too early for the hairpin, but then being a spectator I was allowed to say “I can do better than that.”.
PS Just so I could ride at Wiscombe, I went back to work early, but it was worth it, I not only took my 50th record but also pinched the Hill record off Pete Short. Yaba daba doo.
1 Paul Jeffery 21.03
2 Peter Short 21.79
3 Mark Short 23.02
4 Paul Jenkins 24.15
1 Adrian Kessell 29.98
1 Paul Jeffery 20.08
2 Jamie Mitchell 20.36
3 Geoff Hodges 23.24
4 Alan Jolly 24.26
5 Rich Bowker 24.26
1 Gerald Spiers 20.71
2 Peter Short 21.62
3 Geoff Hodges 21.85
4 Mark Short 22.16
5 Alan Jolly 22.24
1 Gerald Spiers 21.98
2 Terry Alderslade 22.52
1 Terry Alderslade/ Kim Ursell 22.48
2 Stu Stobbart/ Jamie Mitchell 24.87
1 Peter Pollard 22.59
Top Six Run Off
1 Paul Jeffery 20.39
2 Peter Short 21.10
3 Gerald Spiers 21.37
4 Geoff Hodges 21.50
5 Mark Short 21.90
6 Alan Jolly 22.57
And here's a little poem I composed, while trying to watch daytime TV…
As I sit here lonely as a cloud
I feel like a footballer that has been fouled,
For once again I've been a falling
and to the Hospital I've been a calling,
Tregrehan the venue, high side the cause
Judge waved his flag, for the meeting to pause,
The ankle swelled and turned black and blue
as I flew through the air, I thought of the loo,
No bones were broken, but it hurts like hell
Wiscombe soon, so it better get well,
All I can do is watch TV
Or hop round the house when I feel like a pee,
I'm still off work two weeks later
I'll tell the boss Wiscombe's much SAFER !
Manor Farm – 23 September 2001
Last time I fell off was at Cricket in 1982 and I retired for 14 years after that; however on my return to the hills I've always gone slowly just in case I fall off and have to write the report, or is it that I don't want to embarrass Mike Prescott by going that much faster than him! With Mike now having the comfort of three wheels under him I guess I have no excuses and may have to risk writing a few more reports!
The course at Manor was in its normal overgrown state so it was out with the brushes and spades when we arrived. The practice runs were under way by mid morning with the weather dry and only a small threat of rain.
I was off on the first run going into the bridge; the front just let go, perhaps I'll have to prise open the wallet and invest in some new tyres for next season, they must be eight years old by now! After the push back to the paddock the bike was straightened out and ready for the next run, thanks to the loan of a brake lever from Dave Dunk.
After the two practice runs Paul Jeffery was the fastest on the 250 Honda with Carol and Harry Foster leading the chairs.
The timed runs saw some spirited riding particularly from the three wheelers with Harry and Carol getting it crossed up and waving the chair wheel well in the air. At the top of the hill Alan Jolly was in buoyant mood following his first in class the previous day at Fairoak. Newcomer Craig Mann was enjoying only his second hill climb and talking of his plans to buy a single cylinder race bike for the 750 class next season.
The eventual winner was Paul Jeffery on the 250 Honda and congratulations on setting a new 250 hill record at 21.78. The Keates brothers headed the sidecars home by three tenths of a second from Carol and Harry Foster.
1 Paul Jeffery 22.38
2 Peter Short 22.83
3 Michael Giles 23.97
1 Robin Sims 23.06
2 David Childs 26.01
3 Reg Davis 26.76
1 Paul Jeffery 22.34
2 Nick Carter 23.18
3 Geoff Hodges 23.52
1 Geoff Hodges 22.90
2 Peter Short 23.14
3 Robin Sims 23.55
3 Wheelers 1wd
1 Patrick & Paul Keates 24.43
2 Harry & Carol Foster 24.80
3 Jon Warren/Guy Ursell 25.71
1 Paul Jeffrey 21.78
2 Nick Carter 22.59
3 Robin Sims 22.99
At Hartland, on the 14th October, I made an early decision not to ride there for practical reasons; so when I learned that Roy was entering I nobly said I would accompany him, and do my bit as a Marshal. Now I had performed this once before; but as more than two days had passed since, I had entirely forgotten the intricacies, such as operating the 8 lb electronic lump around my neck, and deciding which hand had to wave the pretty little flag.
Speaking into the lump for the first time, I got absolutely no response from any human; but a lonely sheep on the hilltop raised it's head in alarm and trotted off, looking back apprehensively. A few moments later the lump suddenly spoke to me; in panic my attempt at a reply resulted only in loud rap music. Being quick off the mark though I realised at length that the music came from a passing car; fortunately at that moment a 10-year-old lurking nearby took pity, and showed me in great technical detail how to work it.
Soon then, placed at my allotted position at the "Hump", halfway up the hill, and able to talk nonchalantly to the Controller, I strolled purposefully about the track, swishing ineffectually at minuscule stones but imagining that I looked impressively competent. This image was tarnished when I tripped over the broom head, but looking fearfully about I was relieved to see no witnesses, and settled down to await the riders. Dave Dunk led the way, his neat bike's exhaust crackling nicely, then one by one the procession began. Alan Hummerstone's Velo also made a pleasant noise, as also did Roy Venard's; nostalgia rules OK. Doug Parnell's pretty little Ducati clearly objected to its breakfast, spitting, popping and banging loudly, but still making it to the top. Robin Sims’ smooth speed was impressive, and the faster riders provided some worrying moments, back wheels jumping sideways and footrests skimming the tarmac. Shame there were no three-wheelers though; they are always very watchable with their frantic sideways progress.
In between runs things were occasionally interrupted by visitors’ cars passing up and down, it being necessary to obstruct normal business as little as possible; but the day was considerably enlivened by pedestrians. No one had told me in advance that my position coincided with the main walkers crossing point! Never mind the racing, all my time was occupied with them! Big notices proclaimed the need for them to await the marshal's permission, and possibly one in ten did! Others variously tried to march straight over, took my red flag as a signal, let their kids swing perilously on the rope near the track, or stood holding the rope on the outside of the bend exactly where any fallen rider would land. Naturally I stood up to my full height, smoothed down my smart yellow jacket, and sternly bellowed necessary advice. One two-year-old burst into tears, resulting in a tirade from its parent; most others carried on regardless. Realising my mistake, I took on a John Le Mesurier diffident and conciliatory approach, with not much greater success but less risk of apoplexy! And so the day passed. The fascinating part was seeing the various lines taken through the bends, the throttle control, the body attitudes, the gear changes. Wide variations of all these occurred! But why does it help to hang the inside foot out, speedway fashion, but never touching the ground? It would be extremely painful if it did!! Beats me. Perhaps I never go fast enough to feel the need for it! Anyway, the fastest men were clearly those who took the two bends in one single smooth power-hard-on sweep. A lesson to be learned there! Would my thin little vintage tyres cope with that though! (let alone my thin little vintage body).
Finally the thick swirling mist brought proceedings to an untimely end, but at least the majority of the programme had gone through without any major mishaps and on a dry track, and my untried incident management skills were thankfully not called upon. Here is a thought though, would it not be a good idea for a 'Marshal's Duties and Responsibilities' article to be published in 'Hillclimber'? Maybe it has been done before, but many present marshals will not have seen it. A copy could also be handed out when recruiting at all events. It may just help. I walked away at the close, clutching my bottle of thank-you wine - nice surprise, that! - with a much greater appreciation of the dedication and effort made by those regular stalwart officials. Hats off to them, one and all.
1 Paul Jeffery 24.61
2 Michael Giles 25.91
3 Mark Short 26.58
1 Martin Palmer 24.72
2 Robin Sims 25.62
3 Brian Wills 27.45
1 Jamie Mitchell 23.90
2 Paul Jeffery 24.38
3 Martin Palmer 24.79
1 Geoff Hodges 24.50
2 Alan Jolly 25.97
3 Damian Witney 27.33
Mark French 25.24
Andrew Bennett 26.40
Terry Alderslade 26.62
1 Jamie Mitchell 23.90
2 Paul Jeffery 24.38
3 Geoff Hodges 24.50
Congratulations to Jamie Mitchell, FTD and record at 23.90 and also winner of the Ian Mitchell Memorial Trophy.
Hill Climbing 2001
2001 has been a strange year for hill climbing with all the problems of foot and mouth, meetings being cancelled and then run at the last minute. For us, it probably couldn’t have come at a worse time due to the number of entries diminishing at every meeting. Surprisingly, there seems to have been a lot of new faces this year at the few meetings I have attended. It would have been interesting to see how many entries there would have been if there had been no foot and mouth, perhaps we will see next year!
Personally, it’s been a poor year for hill climbing results wise (excuse time!). My accident last year and constantly swapping bikes during 2000 didn’t help. In 2001 I’ve concentrated on my CR500 but haven’t been within a second of my times in 1999. This may have been due to lack of time in the saddle racing or it might be because I’m still riding like a girly puff! Next year I’m going to concentrate on the KTM and will definitely get some more racing and practice in pending further national disasters - can anthrax cause a meeting to be cancelled?
Finally, thanks to everyone who has organised, run or been involved with hill climb meetings (marshals included). Have a good Christmas and I look forward to seeing you all next year.
Annual Dinner/Social Event
Suggesting that the Annual Dinner be an informal "skittles evening" in a pub has caused some comment, most of it positive. Suggestions have been made which are useful but its probably too late for this year’s event, so lets have your thoughts on the following:
Keep it all in one room so the men don't slope off to the bar and not leave the women by themselves to dance at the disco.
Forget the disco, it’s too loud anyway, have another type of entertainment, a good comedian perhaps. Does anyone know a good one? We could introduce that change this year.
Instead of a sit down dinner would the majority prefer a buffet? It’s less formal but don't forget most of the food is cold and it’s not significantly cheaper.
Have the facility to book seats at tables so you know who you are sitting with. This could get messy but I would be happy to look at it for say blocks of 4 people, so there would be a minimum of two groups to each table. But let’s be clear on this one you will have to organise this amongst your own groups and then one of you advise me who will be in that group. I will not act as broker for you. So all you partisan Devonian and Cornishmen, Bolshy Brummies and creaking classic groups out there sort yourselves out and advise me.
And finally what about the awards? Having studied last year’s attendance list it is clear that most of the riders that attended were collecting pots, but a small number of riders deservedly collect a large number of pots, possibly too many. Should we be more creative so that a larger cross section take something away from the evening, it can be as frivolous as you like. I will start the bidding by suggesting that anybody over 50 who manages to get in the top 10 at Wiscombe gets free entries next year. I wonder who that could apply to? Only joking. But if you have any suggestions get Tony to put them in the Hillclimber for discussion.
Seriously, as a limited company we have to have an AGM, we don't have to have a dinner/prize giving if the majority do not want one. People make the atmosphere at these events, not the club so it’s up to each individual to make the effort. What the committee does not want to do is to organise an event, invite a speaker and then have a low turn out frankly its embarrassing for all concerned.
This year’s AGM will be at the Prince of Wales on the 19th Jan 2002, as soon as the details are confirmed you will be sent a menu/room rate. Mark it in your diary now, and remember it needn't cost much more than the price of one meeting!
Classic Mechanics Show, Stafford – 20/21 October
Back in January there was a lively discussion at the AGM about how to attract members and get some new blood in to hill climbing. The Bristol Classic Show was seen as being an excellent showcase for the NHCA and so a few of us Midlanders offered to organise something at the Classic Mechanics Show at Stafford in October. As I had arranged for the Gilera Network to have a stand at this show for the last three years I volunteered to co-ordinate things.
As I had hoped the organisers were keen to have us at this very well supported and attended show and allocated us space on the basis of four machines to be displayed. My '91 Nordwest would be joined by Tim Clarke's '82 250 Yamaha and Robin Sims' '87 350 KTM and '89 610 Husqvarna. So we had bikes from a reasonable spectrum of hill climb competitiveness whilst all being at least ten years old which was in keeping with the shows emphasis on the kind of machine their readers might be looking to restore/build.
Geoff Sims gave me some useful tips on deploying the videos he has compiled to best effect as well as supplying lots of ace photos. Doug Parnell loaned us the NHCA logo board and some wonderful large framed photos (sorry Doug repairs will be done in time for the next AGM !) and I managed to borrow some display boards from work to enhance those we would be provided with by the show organisers as part of the stand.
So in the pouring rain on Friday afternoon I arrived with the Nordie and started to set up our stand. Tim and Robin were delayed on the motorway, but we soon had the bikes neatly lined up, photos arranged on boards and a TV cunningly supported at high level on a high stool standing on top of an old kitchen table. This worked really well as the array of bikes kept spectators from crowding round the screen whilst at the same time it was high enough for several people to see.
Business started briskly right from the opening of the show at 9 am on the Saturday morning. As we had hoped many of the many people visiting this hugely attended event had never really seen much about speed hill climbing before. Several enquirers seemed genuinely keen to have a go. The prospective machines to be campaigned varied from classics to supermotos and other specials in the best traditions of hill climbing. The one most common comment from those watching Geoff's brilliant camera work was "you can ride anything can't you ". That, we said, is the great attraction of hill climbs - if it has an engine and two or three wheels you can take part and try and keep improving your times even if you never get into the championship points.
Several famous names of yesteryear were mentioned including Neville Higgins, Paul Spargo, Roy Opie, Steve Taylor and others who I should have made a note of. Someone gave me the URL of an internet site devoted to Welsh hill climbs and sprints of the 50's - www.silverdragons.co.uk - if you want to see photos of George Brown in action on 'Gunga Din' etc. One or two members past and present including Jake Challenger, Malcolm Herwin and Alan Morgan dropped in, and Doug also managed to make a flying visit to check up on what we were up to.
Some enquirers mentioned that so many courses were in the South West, but we pointed out that there were opportunities to try a meeting in 'the Midlands' before committing themselves to a full year's ACU licence. In total I reckon at least 75 - 100 leaflets were taken away (should have made a proper note of numbers), so even if only a small percentage lead to a new riding member it will have been well worth attending. Let’s hope Jo can give us some idea at next year’s AGM of how successful it was and we may be persuaded to repeat the exercise.
Anyway, many thanks to all who helped it happen including Robin and Tim’s friend Benny who valiantly rode his bike to and from the venue in the rain on both days to help man the stand.
Vintage/PV and Classic Championships
The 2001 season was something of a mess due to the meetings cancelled as a result of the foot and mouth epidemic. The Vintage/PV and Classic championships lost the first Wiscombe, Barbon and Baitings Dam rounds. The October Prescott was added but this only brought the number of rounds up to nine rather than the planned eleven.
Probably due to the loss of all the early meetings and the uncertainty about many others, the number of riders was somewhat lower than previous years but in spite of this some excellent times were recorded and a number of Vintage/PV and Classic records were broken.
The Vintage/PV championship was comfortably won by Reg Davis in the absence of last year’s champion Andrew Bennett. This was Reg’s first full season on the rigid BSA and prior to the start of the season he fitted a new back tyre. This seems to have improved his confidence and times and he has consistently beaten Terry Martin when they both rode this machine at the same meetings. Previously, with the old tyre, Terry usually came out on top so it will be interesting to see what happens when Terry gets the hang of this new fangled TT100 tyre!
Andrew Bennett comfortably retained the Classic championship but with a new machine. This is a 1100cc ‘V’ twin JAP engined Manx Norton special which was used in place of last season’s 350cc AJS 7R. He looks very spectacular on the new machine, often lifting the front wheel, and showed just how quick he and the bike are by qualifying for the top ten / top six run off at Withycombe, the second Prescott and Hartland Quay.
The ‘shell’ of this JAP engine (Andrew made most of the innards) was previously owned by the late Ernie Woods and was probably taken from one of the (I believe) three ‘V’ twin JAP engined Nortons he owned at one time or another. I can remember seeing Ernie hillclimb one of these machines in the early sixties at Tregwainton, and Wiscombe but I think that was one fitted with a 1000cc JAP motor. Does anyone have a photo?
On a different subject it has been suggested that the Classic championship is extended to cover more modern machines with some sort of handicap (e.g. quicker ‘target’ times) to ensure the current classic machines are still competitive. The current classics could be called ‘Period 1’ and the more modern machines ‘Period 2’.
Possibly period 2 could cover four stroke machines up to, say, 1980 or 1985. I’m not sure about two strokes and fear sidecars could be a minefield! Period 2 could be limited to twin shock machines with a minimum wheel size of 18 inches. Disc brakes would be permitted and ‘target’ times could be, say, 3% quicker than period 1.
This would cover machines such as the BSA based CCMs, Honda CB350 and CB750, the single cylinder four valve Hondas (like Dave Dunk’s), disc braked Nortons and Triumphs plus specials such as John Wood’s Manx Weslake, Keith Hunt’s Bandit Triumph, Pete Browne’s Bandit Weslake and Martin Cooper’s Jawa Metisse. What do you think? Do many riders have suitable machines and would they be interested in such a modified championship? Please let me know on 01935 706373 or at
25 Neathem Road
What about that article you have always been meaning to write?
Denis Jenkinson’s TriBSA Hillclimber
Your Editor asked me if I could put an article together regarding Jenks’ TriBSA hillclimber as I’m the current owner, and there begins the tale...
I’m a relative newcomer to hillclimbing, having now only competed for about 4 years though I must add not ‘seriously’, but actually saw my first event around ’78 near St Austell. Living in Surrey, it was trials, scrambles, drag racing at Blackbushe around 1969 when I was 11, and Brands Hatch for some car racing.
I’ve been riding continuously for over 25 years now (ouch!), and got involved in Sprinting after visiting the North Weald inaugural meeting. Had a ball for a year on a shared 1100 Kwak with my best mate Andy, but wanted to go British. He managed to borrow a bike (lucky sod); I spent a year or so looking.
1996: Another friend told me of ‘special’ in the window of a bike shop run by some friends of mine, so that night I peered in with a torch (must have looked a bit dodgy!) and saw the TriBSA, unaware of it’s history. A visit on the Saturday revealed the shop-owners father was a friend of Jenks and was simply looking after the bike whist DSJ was in hospital. It was apparent that Jenks’ condition was such that he was unlikely to ride again, and, without being cold, I asked if the bike were ever to come up for sale, could I please be considered.
Jenks was at the BEN Centre at Lynwood near Ascot (literally walking distance from work and where for the previous 4 or so years I’d gone to their annual fete) when a phone call came through that his friends and executors wished to raise some money and the bike was for sale. That’s how at the beginning of Sept ‘96, I became the owner of the bike. My first ride was within days at the Brighton Speed Trails where the bike was recognised by some people more knowledgeable than I of it, and it’s rightful owner’s history.
Unfortunately, by the end of November Jenks had passed away, and on 12 December, I managed to pay my respects to a man I hadn’t met, at his cremation in Aldershot, overflowing with many famous and not so famous friends.
I’ve since met many of Jenks’ personal friends and been told many interesting / astounding tales of this little eccentric and exceptionally well-respected man. For those like me who were unaware of his exploits, here’s a taster. He wrote for Motor Sport for many years as Continental Correspondent, travelling the world reporting on Grand Prix and making friends with generations of drivers. His motorcycle racing consisted of riding a Manx Norton to the European circus, getting start money and surviving on this until the next meeting. (He ‘lived’ in a lock-up under a workbench in Farnborough for a period too). Eric Oliver approached Jenks to become his sidecar passenger and between them they one the first world championship. Stirling Moss had Jenks as his passenger for the ’55 Mille Miglia which they won as they’d driven the 1000Km and taken notes (the first use of pace notes). The first Goodwood Festival Of Speed had Jenks run the TriBSA. Moss described Jenks as “The most famous person in motorsport not to have driven a car”.
Technically the bike’s a ’57 Triumph 6T with Wellworthy Alfin barrels and alloy head, mated to a Norton laydown gearbox with Manx clutch, all in a BSA A7/A10 chopped frame. Fuel come courtesy of a Weber DCOE 40. Token Japanese component is an FS1E fuel tank. The seat is a piece of aluminium!
Jenks used it at many hillclimbs from ‘76 onwards, as some of the ‘older’ members are aware.
As far as I can tell the power plant came from a sprint bike Jenks built around 1960. This was a low and light predecessor to the drag bikes of future years, and was campaigned at the Blackbushe Drag Fest of ‘64. Solid rear end, LE forks with 2" tyre up front and racing sidecar at the solid rear end. It was ’76 when the TriBSA took shape and therefore 25+ years ago one can assume the sprint bike got placed in the shed.
One of Jenks’ chums, Mick Wilkins, inherited Jenks’ motorcycles, and it was he who let me know that the sprint frame etc were for sale. Unfortunately Mick passed away earlier this year. I’ve rebuilt the bike as close to original as I can. It now runs methanol into a steel-barrelled 6T, (which I believe it did during its’ many guises) and have used it a various VMCC Sprint Section sprints including Brighton.
Each year I take one or both bikes back to Lynwood for the annual fete, where there’s area unveiled as The Jenks Paddock by the late Ken Tyrrell a few years ago.
If anyone has any photos of DSJ I’d be grateful if I could have a copy. I’m also on the outlook for laydown gearbox parts, any offers?
Curley was formally ‘observed’ by ACU folk Mick Boddice and Tony Robson at the October Prescott as the first stage in his bid to secure a road race licence. We understand that they were favourably impressed.
You know the advert for Indiana Jones and the Lost Crusade… “This time he’s brought his dad”. Well, Jason didn’t bring Sean Connery along to Prescott but he brought his dad, Fred, who entered another of his ‘FRS’ specials. This one looked like a flying purple brick. Not wholly put off by its colour, scrutineers Dave Wills and Guy Ursell spent quite a while scratching their heads trying to work out how many of the three wheels performed drive and steering functions. The answer was all three, but some could be, and were disconnected apparently depending on which way the wind is blowing or maybe they read their horoscope on the day and then decide what to link up.
And what of ‘Indy’? Jason had a good year, taking two 2wd three wheeler records at the May Scarborough and the June Prescott passengered by Steve Hoole.
Records too for Glyn Poole (750cc) at Curborough; Paul Jeffery (250cc) at Manor Farm and (500cc) at Fairoak and Withycombe; Patrick & Paul Keates (1wd three wheeler) at Gurston; Jamie Mitchell (500cc) at Tregrehan, Wiscombe and Hartland; John Woods (1300cc) at Shelsley; and Robin Sims (350cc) at Withycombe.
No less than three invitations to Loton Park, one or more to Harewood in Yorkshire and who knows what else.
October’s issue of Classic Bike Guide contained an excellent three-page article on our bikes at the June Classic Prescott. Text and excellent photos were provided by our very own Hedgehog. Back issues from Classic Bike Guide at The Isis Building, Thames Quay, 193 Marsh Wall, London E14 9SG. Tel 020 7772 8307.
For sale – KTM 350 hillclimber. 1988, lowered suspension, good Avon tyres, ready to race, keen to sell so only £395. Tel Mike Hill on 01626 774384. Also…
For sale – Kawasaki KR-1s track bike. 1990, fully prepared and ready to race
(ideal for the Formula 400 class) or just for track days. Some spares including wheels. Only £850. For further details please contact Mike Hill Tel. Teignmouth 01626 774384 (Devon).
If you have some sort of road legal Super - Motard (particularly CCM 604) that you want rid of maybe we could come to some arrangement with either of the above + possibly my DR350 Suzuki in part exchange?
WZ 25, USA big bore kit, 350 class, race pipe and spares. £750. Tel. 01288 381424.
Yamaha SR 500 road bike. Less than 4 years of age as German import (Japan kept making them!!). 14,000Km. Twin leading shoe front brake (standard). Kick start only. VGC. Used to own one in '79 and wanted another. Simply not using it. T & T. £1,750. Tony Madgwick. Tel. 01252 664038. Near M3, J4.
Wanted - Triumph engine 500/650 and gearbox. Terry Martin. Tel. 01454 774781.
For Sale: Yamaha YZ490, lowered suspension, sticky tyres (17" rear), recent engine rebuild, new seals etc. Ready to race. Some spares. £500 ono. Tigger. Tel. 01305 821521 / 01305 764432 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Wanted: bits to make a Triumph Trophy 650 motor go faster. Heads, pistons, cams, carbs, superchargers. Whatever, I'm open to suggestions! Tigger. Tel. 01305 821521 / 01305 764432 / email@example.com
3x Honda CB250 RS, all dismantled, one log book. £150. Mitch Elliott. Tel. 01522 531237.
I hope that all NHCA members, friends and families enjoyed a good Christmas season. At the time of writing it’s freezing! Just a mini-Hillclimber to keep you all up to date. A full Hillclimber is due in mid-February, but at the moment the editorial files are like Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. So please get writing now, either some reflections on last year, what you plan to do in 2002 or whatever.
We were sorry to learn that Curly was involved in a fairly serious road accident on his trike. Thankfully no other vehicles were involved, but Curly is laid up in Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton. We hear that he making a steady recovery and progressing well.
Dates for 2002 events
Enclosed is a provisional list of events for 2002 to help you to do some planning. It really is provisional, as some of the events have yet to be discussed at our AGM and not all the dates are set in stone.
Having said that, it’s good to see that we’ve got two invitations to run at Shelsley Walsh in 2002. There is the traditional small entry ‘invitation’ event in mid-August plus an opportunity for a larger entry at the climb on 7 July. There’s a chance to run at Harewood in Yorkshire on 25 August, which shouldn’t be missed. We have a second Prescott pencilled in for 28 and 29 September, but it’s not certain whether we will firm up on this. Your views will be sought at the AGM, I am advised. The earlier part of the year will be busy, too, with both the 500 OC Wiscombe and the Classic Loton (usually in July) on the same weekend in mid-May. The fun and games start at Hartland Quay on 24 March.
Enclosed also is a note by Mole of the club’s committee meeting held at Doug Parnell’s house last November.
Mole forgets to mention that the committee also thought it a good idea that riders using methanol (in the engine one would hope, rather than personally) are encouraged to display an orange Day-Glo disc on the front number plate. This is the convention for car events so that, in the event of a crash, this alerts the marshals to the fact that there may be a fire, but that the flames will be less clearly visible than those of a petrol fire.
The committee is very much aware that there is a constant leakage of competitors while new folk take their place. Entries at some events were low last year and this may not have been entirely due to Foot & Mouth.
Therefore the committee felt it was very important to do something to encourage some fresh blood, (not literally you understand). So, at some events in 2002 it will be possible for riders interested in the sport to compete at a hill climb for a one-off fee of £25. This will be an all-inclusive price to cover a heavily discounted entry fee, the ACU one day licence and temporary membership of the NHCA. I expect we will throw in a free issue of the next Hillclimber to try to sustain their interest. Of course, the riders will have to possess an approved helmet, boots, gloves and leathers and be riding a bike that has passed scrutineering.
This is a fantastic opportunity for us to encourage friends, colleagues etc. to have a go, so please spread the word. Note that this is not being done at the expense of inflated entry fees for the rest of us, but if we want to maintain a range of events throughout the year that get well supported we must ensure a regular flow of new riding members.
The next Hillclimber is scheduled for publication on or about 15 February. This means that I need articles, adverts, letters and other contributions by 5 February.
Articles and other contributions may be sent by ordinary post, email or just dictated over the telephone. Nothing is too small for inclusion.
2002 is the last year that kevlar/glass fibre helmets bearing the 1.5mm single wide border stamp will be acceptable. After 1 January 2003 it’s the double border stamped helmets only. Please note that helmets with shells made from polycarbonate bearing the single border had already become non-compliant last year.
Club AGM and Dinner
You should all have received the invitation to the NHCA AGM, Dinner and Prizegiving. This extravaganza will be held at the Prince of Wales Hotel on the A38 near Dursley, Gloucestershire, between Junctions 13 and 14 of the M5, on Saturday 26 January.
Members are welcome to attend just the AGM which starts at 2:00pm, although you may want to lubricate your vocal chords in the bar beforehand. This is your opportunity to hear what’s going on and to quiz your esteemed committee.
The dinner commences (note the change of language; AGMs ‘start’, but dinners ‘commence’) at 7:30pm. Doug says the grub is really good and the company is even better.
My spies tell me that Doug has organised a comedy duo as entertainment. No, not Glover and Wills. These comedians are known as Gaffer & Willis. They do an early evening comedy spot followed by after dinner spoof 60s disco sending up the Rolling Stones etc. Should be interesting. Apparently they come on the recommendation of a local football club.
No more Bucklands?
A few years ago we had three Bucklands charging up the hills. Cornelius Kloska (the cream one) returned to Germany. Dick Buckland (the red one) had a substantial off-track excursion at Hartland in 2000. Grant Cratchley (the red and silver one) has acquired an ex Formula 750 historic racing car that he will be hillclimbing and sprinting in 2002. So it looks like no Bucklands on the hills for the time being.
Robin Sims thanks Jamie Mitchell for pointing out the following. Paul Jeffery did not set a new record on his 250 at 21.78. Paul set the Manor Farm 250 record in 1999 at 21.74. Apologies. If anybody wants a corrected set of results please get in touch with Robin.
Wiscombe Track Clearing Day
We are advised that a band of the faithful helped clear away some of the unwanted foliage up at the finish area. Not only is he a demon rider at the handlebars of his immaculate BMW outfit, but it is reported that Harry Foster is quite an artist with the chain saw!
Correspondent for Northern Events
Is there anyone out there who would like to take on the role of reporting occasionally on Northern events? Or maybe you could just chivvy other entrants at Baitings Dam, Barbon and so on to put pen to paper when they fall off?….. which is a timely moment to thank John Woods for his articles this last year. Is that good enough to get some more, John?
Bristol Classic Bike Show
From Doug Parnell – The NHCA will have a stand at the Bristol Classic Bike Show on 9/10th February 2002. The stand will focus on twin cylinder bikes. We will have
Andrew Bennett’s Manx JAP
Dave Lowman’s Triton
Harry Foster’s BMW outfit
Dave Massam’s Enfield Metisse
Any offers of assistance on the stand are appreciated. Please phone Doug on 01454 260679.
New Year Resolutions
Peter Isaac – get the magneto rebuilt, ride faster, make a comeback!
Tony Quinn – make sure the bore/stroke info is readable for the scrutineer, sort out the ignition (it’s still not right!).
Mike Hill – to get a 2 bike trailer (see wanted ad.)
Everyone else – to enter an event at a hill not visited recently/ever, to contribute to the Hillcimber.
We hear that there is a revision to the insurance benefits in the event of an accident that puts you off work. The £20 a week payment is no longer made, but payments can be made to help with hospital treatment costs. Sorry, no further details, but if they come to hand they will appear in a future Hillclimber.
Wanted 2 bike trailer. Must be perfect and cheap and close to home (but anything considered). Tel. Mike 01626 774384 (Teignmouth ,Devon)
For Sale Bike trailer, takes 2/3 bikes. New lighting board. 13" wheels, c/w spare. Tows well. £100 ono. Contact Will Wells. Tel. 01460-30724 or 07775 588046.
Maybe we should get these folk to speak to each other?
For Sale Yamaha TZR 680. Yoshimura 680cc four stroke single in a TZR 250 frame, full spec engine, close ratio box, Marvic wheels. Fast & light. Suit ambitious beginner or existing maniac. Price negotiable. Tel. Doug Parnell on 01454 260679.