Mist covered the moors the morning of the trial, many questioned if rain was on the cards for Lancashire’s first Time and Observation Trial in over two decades, however this wasn't the case as by 11 o'clock the sun was out just in time for the first two riders, Ben Singleton (1) and Lee Hirst (2) to set off, with a nod from time keeper Pete Houghton.
It was a drag race down to Section 1 where observer Harold Isherwood had his work cut out for what turned into be the hardest section of the day. After that it was over the top, a very rough moor crossing on Hambledon Hill which took a few people by surprise, mudguards from various brand of bikes were seen discarded and with a steep descent down to section 2 it didn’t get any easier. Ste Shutt was on the cards here and quite happy to share the best lines for the tricky hazard. The route down to section 3 wasn't much of a break with a muddy ditch progressively getting worse as the laps went on, but luckily Joel Holdsworth, traveling marshall, was on hand to pull riders from the mess and create a suitable path around. Section 3 was the first in a series of sections upstream, green and slippy to start with they caught a few riders out, one imparticularly was Andy Holker who took a bath early on to the amusement of the surrounding competitors.
Sections 4,5 and 6 were all steady with Phil Farrington, Amanda Williams and David Fallows taking the scores. Following that the struggle was back on as a slippy climb brought riders up to section 7 “Landslide”. Emma Titley took a day off the photography and observed the loose off camber section. Back over the moors brought us Section 8, a downstream section which wasn't a problem for many, giving Reanna Collinson an easy afternoon observing.
Section 9 was an all or nothing Hill Climb with Clive Thomkinson ready to give any riders who stopped a 5. The track down to section 10 mislead a few riders with its deep puddles which provided a good soaking and at Section 10 Graham Williams watched riders through the gully with a keen eye. Carol McCanna was on Section 11, a muddy turn with an uphill exit took a few dabs from anyone not concentrating.
A blast through the fields brought the Final Section 12 with Les Heyes watching the riders pass through the narrow gap between a stone wall and wire fence. It was then another blast back to time control which thebrought riders back to the start and refuel area where some riders had a minute to catch their breath. One man who wasnt for stopping was Julian Ingham who only stopped once in 8 laps to take on fuel which resulted in him setting the standard time for the experts as well as taking 3rd overall.
Best expert of the day was Ben Butterworth who was quite fast with only 3 time penalty points to add to his 18 on observation. Second place went to Paul Sullivan who raced Adam McCanna around all day, both starting at 11:13 and taking 1 hour, 49 minutes and 30 seconds to complete the course. Andy Cripps had an eventful day, starting out as one of the favourites to win it but it just wasn't to be. A number of crashes over the moors resulted in him losing both front and rear mudguards. This combined with running out of fuel knocked his time penalties up to 20 which, combined with a respectable 17 on observation it only earnt him 4th place.
The over 40s was highly competitive as ever with Neil Sharp coming out on top, John Holdsworth in second and Alan Lord of Rochdale club using his enduro experience to set standard time for the class and finished in the number 3 spot.
Danny Lord took the clubman class honours with fastest clubman Nick Reed in second and Darwen club member Stephen Collinson rounding out the top 3
Yorkshireman Chris Croisdale had a great ride in the intermediates, setting the inters standard time and dropping 43 marks on observation earning first place, North West Centre Youth A champion Sam Peel took second place, in third was Terry Shephard with combined score of 74, father and daughter Jason and Beth Dunning battled all day long with Beth edging in front of dad by 3 points overall.
Last man home was John Nolan who described the event as “punishing but ace”.
After the finish the majority of riders stuck around to watch fellow riders finish and share stories of their highs, lows and crashes throughout the day, and with an abundance of praise and good feedback for the event its looking likely the Bolton TT will return in 2017.
Report: Jimmy McCanna