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
9. 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 September
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.

The 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.

Part two

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 opposition 17.

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 had 37.

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 the replacement wheel to the 3HW.

Part three

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 abounded.

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 ?.