The Anglo Dutch Reliability Trial week 2013
(Click the photo to see a larger picture in a slide show.)

Day One
Monday the 22nd July - and it was a case of load the Triumph and head for the Cotswolds Water Park and the Four Pillars Hotel which was the base for the week. The weather forecast was not bad with only a few showers being suggested.
We arrived at around 3.30pm, just as the organized guided walk along the canal was about to set off. So instead, we settled into our room after watching others arrive and park up in the area designated for our use. The evening meal was - excellent, I must say - followed by a drink in the bar before turning in. There were 20 Dutch riders and 23 English, plus one Canadian, who could have been on either side. In fact it was Pete Gagan, a past President of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. Pete had stopped off on his way home from the recent FIVA world rally in Latvia and was riding a 1912 Triumph. All riders were to be considered for the actual Reliability Trial to be run on the Thursday, with the best 8 scores being accepted for each countries team, more of which anon.

Day two - Tuesday
The first of the social riding days had a mileage of 66.

The day started with the weather looking pretty grim, I must say, and I was having second thoughts about riding the Triumph. Only a few days before, I had made and fitted a new big end bearing, so expected that I might have had a few problems and didn't wish to 'stress' the motor. However, after a good breakfast, and by the start time of 09.30, the weather had improved. The bike fired up straight away as I set off alongside Ben Wieringa on his 1912 Triumph. The roads were a little damp but it wasn't raining.
We headed North towards Cirencester and after passing through some lovely villages came to our first stop of the day at Bill Little's barn.

There were plenty of bikes for sale in the barn along with a variety of spare parts. By now the sun was out, so off came the over trousers.
We skirted Cricklade before ending up at the Swindon & Cricklade Steam Railway at Blunsdon for lunch. There was a tricky exit from the car park, as it meant turning left up hill and through a set of traffic lights that did not remain green for very long. Not the sort of thing to have to contend with when riding a single speeder with no clutch. As it happened it went easier than I expected and we were soon on the way towards the afternoon tea stop in Ampney Crucis. A pretty hotel on the banks of a small stream, followed by a short ride back to the hotel. All in all a good day with the Triumphs new big end settling in nicely, although I hadn't really worried about it after the morning coffee stop, I must say. Another nice evening meal in our own dining room finished the day off nicely.

Day Three - Wednesday

The days ride was some 74 miles and the sun was out. The start was again at 09.30 and this days route headed east towards Oxford. The only mishap of the event happened when Ian Young, riding his 1914 Douglas, was hit by a van. That put Ian in hospital with a cracked hip involving two to three weeks bed rest, so I'm told, whilst the Duggie suffered no more than a dented headlight. Again the route took us through some lovely little villages and to the first stop of the day at the Cotswold Woolen Weavers in the small village of Filkins.

After coffee and a cake the route took us further East, past Witney and about halfway on to Oxford to the Lunch stop at the Talbot Inn in Eynsham. After lunch it was just a short ride to see the collection of Bill Faulkner. Bill had a motorcycle dealership in Oxford and over the years had amassed quite a collection of motorcycles, along with a few cars.

The route back from the Faulkner collection skirted Witney, Lechlade and Fairford airfield. We were asked to finish in front of the Old Boathouse pub which is next door to the hotel, as a Morris dancing team were to lay on a show for us. Plus, at 7pm the Cotswolds section of the VMCC had their mid week rally venue at the same pub.

The evening rounded off with another good meal in the room specially set aside for our evening dinners.

Day four - Thursday
The day of the Reliability trial. Some were riding at a 15mph average but most selected 20mph.

We set off in pairs, as usual and were soon out into the country on nice dry roads. The first stop was at the Tunnel House Inn, which was hidden away down a well-potholed dirt track. The inn is situated next to the disused Thames and Severn canal. Walking down to the canal and we were able to see the entrance to the Sapperton tunnel, which is over 2 miles in length and was constructed in 1789 and now awaiting restoration.
Onwards for the next leg and the lunch stop at Rendcomb airfield. I'd been there before - in 1992, when the South Wales Section paid a visit to a Vintage air show. That occasion was memorable for the fact that the weather was lousy and that Rob Jones managed to eat a pasty without taking his full-faced helmet off. 21 years later and the weather was much better. We were treated to an excellent lunch and some after dinner entertainment, that was a touch unexpected.
I had no idea, but it was organized earlier in the day that the event photographer would get a fly past so as to get some aerial shots. He decided not to go up and offered the flight to Olav Jerkowski, who had ridden his 1914 BSA outfit all the way from Maastricht in Holland. Olav, likewise decided not to go up and offered the flight to his girlfriend Marieke Huijben. Olav doesn't own a car so had to the ride the BSA all the way from Holland - and had to ride it back again at the end of the week, of course. Anyway, Olav rang Marieke and asked if she fancied four days riding in England - she said yes, but couldn't have foreseen the flight offer coming. Not all was as it seemed, as she had to ride on top of the planes wing - wearing goggles and being well strapped on, of course. Marieke survived her memorable flight with no problems.

Anyway, the time soon came for us to set off on the afternoon run and the customary tea stop, this time at  the Lechlade Garden Centre. My 1908 Triumph ran like a watch and I was well chuffed with the bikes performance as I rolled into the finish at the Four Pillars, having completed around 65 miles.

Day five - Friday
The final day and a social run of some 80 odd miles.

The sun was out again as we all set off into the countryside. This time we were heading south of the M4 and the terrain started to get a little hilly. It wasn't long before I reached a hill that the Triumph just could not get up. Quite a few of the other bikes also failed and I was very grateful for the push that Dave Bovenizer gave me. Luckily the Triumph is a good starter and I was soon on the way again after the only hill to cause problems all week.

The morning coffee stop was at the Divine cafe which is situated on the A4, some 25 miles out from the start.

The lunch stop was at the old canal lock keepers cottage about halfway up the 29 Caen locks climb, just outside Devizes. We were treated to a super BBQ followed by an ice cream. This time I topped up with some fuel, as I was not confident that the Triumph would manage the 80 miles today.

The afternoon stop was at the Atwell-Wilson motor museum, just outside Calne. There were some lovely vehicles on show and a fair lineup of motorcycles, with all being in working order. Leaving the museum it was an easy 33 mile run back to the finish, where I loaded the bike onto the trailer and headed for a nice shower to freshen up.

The end of event dinner
Next came the official end of event dinner and the announcement of the trial results. After a good meal the time came for the presentations. The announcement was made - and the English won by only losing 50 points, with the Dutch team losing 54 points. I positioned myself halfway down the room with my camera and was amazed to hear that the Best Overall Performance was myself, so had to give up the idea of taking some photos. I was presented with the John Browne trophy, followed by Dave Miller, on his Trump, being awarded the Best English. Ronald Branse won the Best Dutch performance. Dave and I had both lost 4 points but I won on being the 'furthest clean', as far as lost marks were concerned.

All in all a great week, good weather, good company and a 105 year old Triumph that didn't miss a beat.

Team scores:
Bill Phelps - 1908 Triumph - 4 marks lost
Dave Miller - 1913 Trump - 4 marks lost
John Robinson - 1914 BSA - 5 marks lost
Geoff Hanson  - 1904 Minerva - 6 marks lost
Dennis Beale - 1914 Rex - 7 marks lost
Trevor & Pauline Blunt - 1913 Bradbury - 7 marks lost
Mike WIlls - 1904 Bradbury - 8 marks lost
Dave Jolley - 1911 Triumph - 9 marks lost
Ronald Branse - 1913 Douglas - 5 marks lost
Carolien de Boer - 1913 BSA - 5 marks lost
Chrit Haanen - 1914 Humber - 6 marks lost
Geert Holmersma - 1914 Indian - 7 marks lost
Fred and Janette Hesselinck - 1913 Bradbury - 7 marks lost
Willem Pol - 1914 Douglas - 7 marks lost
Vincent Belgraver -1912 Sarolea - 8 marks lost
Ben Wieringa - 1912 Triumph - 9 marks lost