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Oy Rappers!


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After reading the letter from 'Scottish Hopeful' in last weeks TMX, I kind of agreed with one or two of his points. In particular, "The bottom 20-30 of the entry automatically forefeiting their ride for the following year".


It appears to make a bit of sense I suppose as the lucky wobblers that got a ride are forced to make room for next years SSDT hopefuls.


James Dabill missed a group in 2004 and was excluded for it. The bottom 30 finishers would say "I can't ride next year but neither can he, in fact I beat him this year :blink:".

The SSDT would look very silly if riders of his calibre were not allowed to ride.

I have just read your response to 'Scottish Hopeful' in this weeks TMX and you say "It can't be much fun finishing so far down the entry after 6 days riding". Wrong! I finished 12th from the bottom last year and was very chuffed to have completed the course without getting lost (again), without killing the bike and without getting in anyone's way or wasting valuable resources like the 'Mountain Search & Rescue Team' :D

To say that these riders are taking an extended trail ride around the Highlands is a bit much ;) The infamous 'SSDT in-betweeny-bits' are NOT a steady trail ride round. Well, not at wobbler level they aren't anyway...


I don't expect you to reply but it would be reet grand if you did...

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Think anyone that finishes should be really proud of their achievement. Can't understand why someone who finishes last can't enjoy themselves as much as someone who finishes anywhere above them. rapley rides a Montesa but apart from that a divvent think he's got a clue

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Without the people at the back, there wouldn't be anyone at the front!

Seriously, its the Clubman who buy their bikes, and spares at full price and keep the limited profits in the sport to allow the dealers and importers to sponsor the talented few.

The SSDT shouldn't be an 'elitest' event, it was after all the 'Holiday in the Highlands'.

Let Joe Bloggs ride, nowt wrong with being last or near the back if you've given it 110% - its much more of a personal achievement for Joe to finish, I bet those who have struggled all week walk 2 inches taller on the Sunday morning, whereas the front runners are off to their next trial.

(Missed my chance in 1981, the only year I could have got an entry and was good enough to get round without embarassing myself - clashed with exams ;) My folks wouldn't let me even put an entry in)

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Had a say on this in the above link, totally agree 'Kinell', but is there an answer.

Sure get rid of the bottom 30, after a few years of doing that will it be over subscribed!!! Will riders come back?

The guy that witheld his name and address will still put his entry in next year and may get in, then somone else will write a letter and so on.

You won't please everyone, and everyone thinks they have a better solution, but the club don't seem to be doing a bad job ;):D

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Think anyone that finishes should be really proud of their achievement. Can't understand why someone who finishes last can't enjoy themselves as much as someone who finishes anywhere above them. rapley rides a Montesa but apart from that a divvent think he's got a clue

I have a good deal of admiration for mike rapley, name me anyone else from TMX who rides as much in any discipline or who rides in trials. How many trials do you organise a year widdlestone rappers does a few and his National was one of the best in the Classic series. On what do you base your assesment of him.

I think he is an allround good egg. ;)

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we should'nt assume that not finishing near the top is not worthwhile,

in 2000 i pulled myself out of a hospital bed (heart replaced by plastic bits 3 months earlier) braved the isle of man steam packet then tugged carried and occasionally rode my 350 enfield round the manx 2 day classic finished last but one

who won, i dont know and it didnt matter to me, been there was what counted

we ride for ourselves mostly, some to drop least marks, some to beat the next man, some to finish and some to prove a point all equally good reasons and all worthy of an equal chance in the ballot

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Nice to be an all round good egg, trouble is the egg is hard boiled. Those that know me also know that I can take any amount of stick and critical remarks are like water off a duck's back.

Didn't think that my piece about the Scottish would start this off, and Highland Lassie has a very good point when she says why drop the last 30 when the 40 or so retirements get another go. To be honest, I haven't got an answer but there's no doubt that there have always been a number of riders in the trial about whom spectators say "it's time he gave it up". That doesn't mean to say they should give up trials.

Let me explain a bit further. All being well, on an average day I can cope with most clubman nationals, like the Manx, Pre65 Scottish, Colonial, Cleveland, etc, but I also recognise that there are trials that are above my ability, like the Jack Wood, Alan, Bootle Presidents, Victory etc, so I don't ride those.

The Scottish stragglers (strugglers) call them what you will, in their heart of hearts, know the trial is too much for them. I certainly couldn't do the Scottish again, and as I've said before, the last one was one too many. There comes a time when an individual has to recognise that they need to rethink their attitude, but unfortunately, there are some determined to persevere come what may. If they can't recognise when the time has come to call the Scottish a day, then the organisers have to do it for them. Look at this year's entry list and you'll recognise the same names that I recognise as riders who really shouldn't be in it any more.

If that's hard then so be it. It comes to us all eventually. Perhaps suggesting the bottom 30 be dropped is too many, and I don't think dropping off some riders is going to make any difference to the trial not being oversubscribed. It's current success is due to the sport as a whole being popular. Bikes are great, whatever you ride, prices are reasonable, and taking part is cheap compared with any other form of motor sport.

Anyway, keep the criticism coming, response for a columnist is bread and butter, pity there's not more of it.

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My assessment, though purely not professionally conducted you understand, is based upon the fact that Rappers thinks its fine to take away the individuals right to decide if they want to enter or not. What about the guys who struggle at club events, should they not bother entering? Buy a bike, look at it but whatever you do don't ride it or enter any events that you aren't capable of winning. If every one adopts that philosophy where will our sport be in 5 years or 10 years time. Every event organiser hopes the event they put on will be fully subscribed too and thankfully the great tradition that is the Scottish is over subscribed each year and long may it continue.

I have marked out and assisted at many events but as yet have not wreaked havoc on my fellow competitors by organising one. Perhaps in the future ;)

Good on you Mr Rapley for organising events and contributing to the sport from all angles and of course for replying to the original post :D

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Next year it will be 10 years since the application of full no stop rules, ever since this move the event has been oversubscribed, for many years prior to that, the trial was struggling to get enough entries.

I would say the change made in 97 was geared more towards the clubman than the top rider.

The trial needs riders of every level to keep a sensible balance, the good riders make sure a few challenging sections are used, the first time clubman makes sure that a few easy sections are also thrown in the mix, the steady club rider gets the best of both.

I think the entry needs to reflect this, and for the past ten years it has!! try and change that balance and I think you will loose one of the ingredients that is proving successful.

No matter what you do there will be complaints, being oversubscribed is a good complaint.

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Windlestone has got me all wrong. I've never even suggested that I want to prevent a rider from taking part in the Scottish or indeed any other trial. I've spent my whole trials riding life (42 years) encouraging folks to have a go. I want nothing more than everyone to take part.

But what I am saying is that with the best will in the world, for some, the Scottish is too hard. If you have never been, or maybe have never ridden, then by all means put in an entry and try to get a ride, even if you think it will be too much. At least (if you get an entry) you will have had a go. But equally, there are those that have ridden many times and every year they are amongst the last few finishers. What I am saying is that if they won't recognise that enough is enough, then the organisers should do it for them.

I'll never say that to get a ride you should have to qualify. No matter how poor you may be, give it a go, but having had that go, do accept that for some, it is too much.

What really bugs me (and others) more than anything else is the rider that rushes around all week, gets to the start of the section, rides in the first few yards, takes a five and pulls out and is then off over the hillside onto the next section or moorland/road stretch to the end of the day. That is NOT doing the Scottish; doing the Scottish is queuing, walking the section, getting delay, attempting the whole section and each sub section, then moving on having made a genuine attempt at each of the day's 30 sections.

Somebody out there must agree. And to the American asking how to get a ride it's simple, fill in an entry form and if accepted just turn up, probably on a hired bike from one of the UK importers who all do good deals.

There's nothing particularly mysterious about riding, just do it, but be prepared for a physical, tiring week.

Edited by Hillary
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