Contributor

Peter Walton

Member Stories

 

Scotland 1989

The year was 1989, my long time riding buddy Steve Bennington amongst others persuaded me that I should do the Scottish at least once. I was informed that until you had done a Scottish then you couldn't really be classed as a trials rider. Preparations began early in the year, circuit training once a week, increasing to twice a week a month or so before the event, and road running, all in the hope that I would be able to last the week. The bike a 1987 Yamaha TY250S was stripped and lovingly and carefully reassembled all except the engine, it was Japanese after all!

During the journey to Fort William , Steve briefed me on all the things I had to try to remember, one tip in particular was to have particular significance on the first day.

Weigh in day dawned wet and miserable, the bikes were all prepared; I had drawn number 140, not a bad place to start, in the middle of the entry.

What the present arrangements are now for machine examining I'm not sure, but 20 in 1989 the organisers used a flat back covered trailer which had a ramp up the side which had to be ridden up, normally an obstacle like this would not have been a problem, for even a raw novice, but given the damp conditions and a mixture of nerves and adrenalin I almost didn't make it. The front wheel seemed to have a mind of it's own as it wandered off line and off the ramp 2 feet from the end, only a handful of throttle fired the bike across the gap between ramp and trailer, unfortunately this meant that my entry speed was a little high going straight across the back of the trailer and almost off the other side, only the fact that the tarpaulin cover was securely fastened prevented this happening. The machine examiner was not impressed!

Monday dawned even wetter than the previous day; it had rained all night and was still coming down hard. Additional waterproofing in the form of bin liners worn under the riding jacket were procured, arm holes and head hole cut and fitted perfectly!

The one tip Steve had give me which was to be significant, was to try and conserve fuel on the moorland crossings, use top gear and small throttle openings. The rain which had come down so hard had swelled up one of the rivers, which forced the organisers to reroute an already long moor crossing with an additional loop. Thirty six miles of moorland going, from one section to the next group. My tank ran dry a few yards from the petrol stop but I managed to coast the remaining distance. If my memory serves me correctly over half the entry ran out of petrol that first day, and subsequently ran over their hour limit and were excluded, but all were reinstated after an inquiry.

I had also been informed that no matter how tired you may feel, that by Thursday you get a new body and feel OK. This is true, as I did feel OK on Thursday after a hard three days during which at one point I ran into an iron bar across a gate opening which swiped me straight off the back of the Yam, which continued on it's way for a few yards having passed under the well disguised bar (it was rusty and blended perfectly with the bracken), and I did the remaining 3 days without too much problem, just the odd puncture. This was the first of the two crystal glasses which now adorn my trophy cabinet.

PW

The author on Ben Nevis having a “solitary dab” last day 1989.

 

PW Ben Nevis 1989