The WRRTC, or
the Western Region Road Trials Championship.
The Championships were first set up back in the 1960's when
the idea was to encourage members to ride in other sections events.
Arthur Whitmarsh donated quite a number of the trophies from his
collection. In the early days the Western Region consisted of those
sections in the South Wales and South West areas and once a year,
usually in August, a meeting was held of section reps at the Newport
Towers hotel on the A38, not far from Berkeley. The main agenda item
was to set the dates for the following years road trials so as to
alleviate clashes. The Road
Trials have metamophosied over the years, all due to restrictive
legislation, but where an element of competition still exists, then
those events become part of the Championships.
For 2017 we have the following events
1. Felix Burke - Cotswold Section - 3rd April
2. Cheddar Trial - Somerset Section - 9th April
3. Moonraker Trial - Swindon Moonrakers section - 7th May
4. Signpost Rally - Cotswold Section - 14th May
5. Flat tank weekend - Flat tank Section - 24th June(Saturday)
6. Herefordshire on the edge - Hereford section - 25th June
7. Cotswold weekend trial - Cotswold Section - 1st July(Saturday)
8. Black Mountain - West
South Wales Section - 2nd July
White Horse Trial - West Wilts Section - 9th July
10. Signpost rally - Somerset section - 6th August
11. Vale of Glamorgan - South Wales section - 10th September
12. Saundersfoot weekend - West South Wales section - 15th/17th
13. Levis cup - North Birmingham section - 1st October
This is the story, written by Bruce, of his chase of the Post Vintage
class, which he won in 2016 - reported
event by event.
Once again this year I chose to compete in the
VMCC Western Region Road Trial championship and defend my win of 2016.
There would be twelve rounds in all (not sure about the Hereford event)
and on entering the dates in my
2017 diary I could see that I would probably be able to
enter nine rounds and hope to win
the Post Vintage (1931-1945) Championship. Throughout, me and Di would
ride our 1943 Triumph 350cc military model 3HW.
The Cotswold Section Felix Burke Road Trial held on the
first weekend of April was round one. There is an abundance of green
lanes in the "Felix" with an automatic three points ( or is it 5 ?)
earned if you choose to ride the green lanes and if you
don't opt to go off road then you put yourself at the mercy of a
marshal's questions to earn the same number of points. Riding the
green lanes gives you an immediate advantage regarding accumulating
points. To win your class in the "Felix" you need to be solo and ride
all the green lanes possible. Something like a trials cub or B40 trials
would be ideal to win your class in the "Felix". Results awaited.
next round was the Cheddar Trial, as part of the
Somerset section's Cheddar Weekend. Good company, lovely weather
and pleasant countryside too. I
did alright on the route navigation , it wasn't difficult and I went
through the observed ford feet up but that blinkin' control with those
sealed bags containing mystery items.......I got one out of five right.
I thought that one contained a mini wood plane but what did that have
to do with motorcycling or motoring ? It couldn't be a wood plane
could it ? It was. Later I realised that a wood
plane does have a motorcycling link . After all, the 1895 Daimler and
Maybach does have a wooden frame...... There were only five of us in
the PV class. I was fifth.
Still, I had some more points, but must do better.
Result - 6 points gained.
The first of five WRRTC events that
needed the use of an Ordnance Survey map was organised by the Swindon
section VMCC on Sunday 7th May. The Moonraker Trial took place in
Northern Wiltshire and in ideal motorcycling weather. I dropped a
clanger by thinking that with plenty of time in hand to visit the
optimum number of controls, the locations being identified by map grid
reference numbers, I could afford to have a pint and pasty break at the
Red Lion pub set in the Iron Age fortified ring camp at Avebury. By my
error I couldn't find my final control before the 2pm control closing
time. I was second to my main competitor. I now had 15 points and my
The following weekend we drove up to the
Cotswolds, leaving early on the Sunday am with the 1943 military
Triumph on the trailer behind the MX5. It was round four, the Cotswold
Signpost Rally. A page of a dozen photos of signposts was issued to all
entrants at 10am. You had to identify the location of the signposts,
work out a route to encompass them all and when you arrived at their
locations you would, hopefully, be able to answer a simple question. At
the finish there would be a quiz to act as a tiebreaker. I was under
the blinkin cosh all day, rushing here and there. It was no fun at all,
just hard work. I failed to visit the optimum number of controls and
ended in second place to my nemesis just like the previous weekend.
On Saturday the first of July we had
arrived at Westbury on Seven from the Scarboro Bike Week and were ready
to set off on the Cotswold Weekend Trial. Second again on an event
through very pleasant Forest of Dean countryside. My Triumph continued
to perform faultlessly although it did suffer from some little
incontinence in that it did drop oil. Me second, with nine points, the
opposition first with ten points. I now had 33 points, the other person
A disaster was around the "corner". When
we completed the Cotswold Weekend Trial at about 4pm we immediately set
off for Nantgaredig in Carmarthen because the following day, the Sunday
, was the next round of the Championship, the Black Mountain Road Trial.
Yes, two rounds on the same weekend !. I knew that my
opposition would not be doing this event, so with a good result I could
for the first time this year go ahead of him on points. We arrived at
Chris and Johnny Thomas's place of Tirdail and met with some Welsh
pals. I was delighted to find that I was the only Post Vintage class
entry in the near thirty entrant field. Even if I had a bundle of time
penalty points it wouldn't matter provided I finished the course. I
would collect ten points. "Don't count your chickens" they correctly
say. There were some errors on the skimpy route instructions which
affected us and others not from the area but me and Di and the Triumph
kept plodding on in lovely weather like every round so far. Then the
back wheel "collapsed". We retired and were rescued before the lunch
stop. Bloody hell. All I got was the one point for entering. ( I
haven't included the entry points thus far in the running totals. I
will add them on after the final round on October 1st).
The next weekend it was back to
Wiltshire again to near Devizes for round 8, the White Horse Trial.
I had taken the rear wheel from my bitsa racer Triumph ,
removed the fat racing tyre and put the 3.25 studded tyre from the
military on and then put the wheel in the 3HW. Luckily both wheels were
the same. To do well in the White Horse you have to visit a good number
of green lanes. There are bonus points for doing this. You had to use
two Ordnance Survey maps to find these locations, green lanes or not.
There were ten green lanes available mostly fringing Salisbury Plain
army training land. At home I prepared an ambitious route involving all
ten green lanes. Dodgy navigation on my part meant that in the time
available before the cut off I could only visit eight green lanes on a
hastily revised route. Nevertheless, we did enough to secure second
place with my opposition in third. My points were 42 and nemesis had 45.
The next round will be round nine of
twelve. It is on the sixth of August and it is the Somerset Section
VMCC Somerset Signpost Trial . It will be the last time that OS maps
are needed this year.
At the July 15th Ross on Wye autojumble
I had a secondhand wheel brought to me from George Yeoman's. As I type
this (29/07) it is at the Barry docks blasters (it is/was rusty but
quite usable). A new rear tyre has arrived in the post. The Dunlop
Universal studded tyre given
me by the late friend of us all, Simon Pritchard, has finally worn out
after very many miles. Before the next round I hope to be able to fit
replacement wheel to the 3HW.
The replacement rear wheel was given a
coat of army green and the following day the new Mitas tyre was fitted,
pumped up to 50 psi and put to one side.
On Monday the 31st July me and Di drove
up to Cirencester. We had volunteered to be
Marshalls at the 17th Anglo-Dutch Reliability Trial
for veteran motorcycles. We enjoyed our four days of marshalling using
our Honda 400/4 as our runabout and returned to Barry on the Friday
evening finding the 3HW rear wheel still at 50psi . It was reduced to
35 and fitted to the machine. On Saturday morning I had a test ride and
it seemed fine.
During our absence at the Anglo-Dutch
the Secretary of the next WRRTC round, the Somerset Signpost Trial, had
posted to all entrants six of the photos of signposts to be held on the
day after my test ride on the 3HW. I spent Saturday evening studying
the OS map to try to locate where the signposts were located. I did
this correctly (?) despite a couple of glasses of red.
Next morning after a 93 mile trek me and
Dianne arrived at the Signpost Trial start at Michael St Creek near St
Austell and disappointment. Seven blinkin' entries only. Very
disappointing. It was a poor response for the amount of effort needed
to organise the event by Phil Ham and his wife Caroline. With the OS
map I identified the remaining six signposts and in really nice weather
to be on a bike we set off. We rode around Somerset easterly into
Dorset and westerly into Devon searching for the signpost locations and
often "bumping" into the other six entrants which included John Webb
from West Wales. I earned another ten points with no other entrant in
my class which put me ahead in the championship chase for the first
time this year. I narrowly missed joint overall winner by choosing the
wrong telegraph pole out of two. But I wasn't bothered about overall
winning, just the class win.
It was over a month before the next
round , round ten , our own Vale of Glamorgan Road Trial. The tenth of
September was an overcast but dry day, to a point. We only got wet on
our return home. The Triumph once again performed faultlessly as usual,
especially if we forget that back wheel business. I managed to finish
first out of just two entries in the Post Vintage class. I now had 62
points with the person in runner up position on 54.
Bill in his report of the Vale Trial
correctly complains of lack of support from members. Where were his
fellow committee members ?. Where were his fellow officers ?. If you
genuinely want our oldest event to continue then next year get off your
arses and help out. Must do better I say.
There were just two rounds remaining and
although I held a useful lead of eight points a retirement caused by
machine failure in either event could affect the final outcome.
I rarely needed to do anything but
routine maintenance to the Triumph. But all oil levels were put to
normal, the rear chain adjusted and oiled and tyre pressures checked
before every event.
A week after the Vale it was
Saundersfoot once again. We like the
Saundersfoot weekend. We took the 400/4 in addition
to the 3HW and rode the Honda down to St Davids, a place we like a lot,
on the Friday.
Saturday morning saw all entrants
display their motorcycles and those odd three wheeler things on the
Saundersfoot harbour, just approximately sixty of us. Public spectators
Me and Dianne set off with Suzie Weekes on her
1939 James 125 phut phut. But I laughed too soon. Sue was the winner of
the Post Vintage class with a healthy margin from us in second place.
Still, better to beaten by a motorcycle rather than being second to a
Lambretta !. Odometers were blanked off and at undisclosed checkpoints
two questions were posed. How far had we travelled, what was our
average speed. A bit of guesstimation is required. The occasional
navigational cock up occurred but we pressed on to the picturesque
lunch stop on the Cleddau estuary at Lawrenny. I own up to the onset of
butt fade on the arrival at Lawrenny . We had covered some 60 odd
miles. Having turned sharp left after the bridge at Carew Castle I
noticed a partially dismantled steam traction engine in the yard of a
steel pre fabricators. We did a u turn and into the yard for an
inspection. With my main championship adversary choosing not to attend
I now had an unassailable lead with just one round to come.
The twelfth and final championship
round, the long established Levis Cup Trial was run on Sunday October
the first. The trial venue is the Lenchford Arms at Shrawley just five
miles west of Droitwich. As usual we camper-vanned on the pub's paddock
adjacent to the Severn. As in the Vale and the Saundersfoot speedo
odometers were covered. We had a very scenic route through
Worcestershire and Shropshire with a lunch stop at Ludlow. Prior to the
start I had enrolled a couple of pals to form a team . We won as we had
last year. In the results we finished poorly in 7th place with just
four extra points. I had hoped for a WD class award which I had won
previously but not this year. This year I was runner up.
This year me and Dianne won the WRRTC Post
Vintage class again. Since we competed in the WRRTC four years ago we
have won the PV class three times and failed in the Vintage class once.
Enough is enough ?.