ACU Trail Bike Championship
Seventy five years ago, the OK Supreme motorcycle manufacturing company presented a trophy to the Stratford upon Avon Motorcycle Club which they awarded for the best performance in their Autumn trial. The trial thus became known as the OK Supreme, was won by Sammy Miller in the 1950s, and for the past 8 years has been a long distance trial. The event took place last weekend and was a round of the ACU Trail Bike national Championship .
The 75 mile route took the 75 entrants on a picturesque tour of the beautiful Cotswolds and the 30 observed sections embraced many historic tracks and locations that the Club has used for over 100 years. Thankfully the weather was warm and sunny, and the terrain very dry, in contrast to the blizzard conditions that covered the area earlier in the year that resulted in the cancellation of the Colmore Cup trial.
Starting from Shipston on Stour, riders found the first few groups at Swifts, Tramway, and the old scramble track at Meon Hill straightforward but the tightish turns of Mickleton Woods caught past winner Steve Venn for a couple of dabs. Next came the special test at Jones's Bank, a timed mini moto cross that was to prove crucial in sorting out the final positions. On to the old favourite Saintbury where clerk of the course Pete Barnett had introduced 4 tougher sections for the championship contenders. They did not cause much trouble but Peter Archer and Glyn Moses opened their scores here with 5 marks apiece. Grove, Guiting Wood, and the historic Camp sections also failed to upset the majority but a tough section at Dovedale was inserted in order to find a winner and it certainly did that. Prior to this, 2 riders were still clean - Dave Renham and Julian Page with Paul Sargent, Gary Marshman, and Graham Lavis each having lost just 1 mark. After Dovedale, Renham led on 1, Sargent and Page were on 2, with Marshman and Lavis on 4. Only Tony Coleman managed to clean Dovedale, but he had lost 3 marks earlier.
The final section at Blackwell consisted of a ride up a boulder strewn stream followed by a steep slippery bank and then a tight turn between trees - a sting in the tail with plenty of opportunities for losing marks. Only a handful of clean rides were recorded and one of these was Dave Renham which gave him a well deserved win in the Championship class.
In the other classes, John Cart took his big 1959 350cc Triumph twin to victory in the poorly supported British bike class whilst Grace Hagan was the top lady rider.
The upto 350 trail bike class was taken by Paul Howells with an excellent ride to drop just 1 mark on the B route whilst Neil Ludlow qualified for ride of the day by taking his fiery/heavy/unsuitable Honda XR 400 round for just 2 marks lost.
Also qualifying for ride of the day was Chris Koch who rode the championship route clean, the only rider to do so, but unfortunately his 125 Scorpa is not eligible for the trail bike championship. Spare a thought also for Mick Burton on his very standard DT 250 Yamaha, complete with large white rear top box! This was his ride to work bike that he rode to the trial on from Birmingham, kept the tyres hard all day for the ride home and still produced a very creditable performance to be near the top of his class. He even entertained onlookers when he fell from his bike on a section, the top box lid sprung open, and all his belongings were scattered over the countryside!! .
Class 1- Championship:
Dave Renham (250 Gas Gas) 1 mark lost, Paul Sargent (250 Gas Gas) 4, Gary Marsham (250 Honda) 4, Tony Coleman (250 Gas Gas) 4, Julian Page (200 Beta) 7.
Class 2 - Trail upto 350
Paul Howells (200 Beta) 1, Russell Sprigg (200 Beta) 7, Sam Wilson (250 Scorpa) 8.
Class 3 - Trail over 350
Neil Ludlow (400 Honda) 2, Russell Fisher (450 KTM) 39, Steve Masters (400 Suzuki) 40.
Class 4 - British Bike
John Cart (350 Triumph) 12, Martin Taylor (250 BKS) 18, Martin Corby (500 Triumph) 68.
Class 6 - Lady
Grace Hagan (200 Scorpa) 38.
Chris Koch (125 Scorpa) clean.