Miles: About 15 hours
Mods: Fallen off. A lot.
With all the mucking around, skids wheelies and general childish nonsense going on, it felt to me like I was actually getting somewhere with my trials skills. So before I got too confident and challenged Toni Bou to a balance-off, I entered a trial with my local club, Berkhamstead Motorcycle and Car Club. A quick check of the memory banks highlighted that it had been a full ten years since my last trials competition and, between you and me, I wasn’t much cop back then either. To help me along, I opted for a late night and too much fun juice the evening before the trial – a cunning tactic that ensured I had an excuse for any shortcomings. Always thinking.
The day kicked off with a rider briefing, some trophy presentations to kids waaaay to small to ride a bike (or so I thought) and a thanks to all the observers who were there helping out with scoring. I filled out one form, handed over about twenty quid and stuck a couple of numbers on my lid. That’s the level of preparation and faff I like best. Then it was out to the sections to prove our skill (or lack of) against the ten sections set out for us.
If you’re not a trials boffin, I’ll run through how it works: You have to navigate through a series of gates laid out, over various obstacles without putting your feet down, stalling the bike or stopping. Putting a foot down is called a ‘dab’. One dab – one point; two dabs – two points; three or more dabs – three points. Simple huh? If you stall, fall off, roll backwards or stop you get a nice juicy five points. Lowest score wins. Highest number of points gets, er, nothing.
Before I come clean about just how badly I got my ass kicked, I’m going to stick in a couple of ‘yeah, but…’s. I chose to ride in the Expert class; I’m no expert but I do like a challenge and, it turns out, I’m really good at dabbing. I also learned an important lesson about walking the sections before you ride them (as everyone else does) so you don’t miss gates and get an automatic five. I got a few of those. And finally I had a hangover, so second from last in my class was only to be expected, meh.
Obviously I’m off now to practice my heart out to soften the blow of such a defeat. And I might have one less whiskey next time…