Exotic rigids, inspired running repairs – this trial had it all
The spectators might not turn up in force until the following day, but the Red Marley Trial has become a popular curtain-raiser to the main event. Run on the Sunday before the traditional Bank Holiday Monday hill climb and sharing its venue and paddock, the trial attracts a diverse entry of men and machines to the Worcestershire hills. Three laps of 15 sections were on the menu, with a clubman and an expert route plotted through each hazard to keep all 50 finishers happy.
Classic trials is as much about ingenuity as it is about skill in the sections, though, and some of the machinery on display proved that many competitors had plenty of it. Take Tom Hibberd. When he lost the split pin from the rear brake rod of his BSA C15, he begged a key ring from a spectator to replace it and continued on his way to ninth place in his class.
A large proportion of the entry elected to ride lightweight two-strokes, but some riders elected to give themselves more of a challenge. When was the last time you saw a Scott competing in a trial? Well, Wisbech man Andy Abraham was out for the day on his 600cc trials special. What’s more, he dropped just nine marks to take second place in the rigid class – beating his son Kieran, who was wrestling a girder-forked rigid Levis round to third place. And the pair were making a proper weekend of it, too, tackling the hill climb the following day – Andy on a 500cc Matchless Metisse and Kieran on another rigid Levis, this time a mighty 600.
Defending overall champion Ben Butterworth won the Unit up to 250 class on a borrowed BSA C15. His own bike is ready for the Pre-65 Scottish and he didn’t want to risk any damage with just a week to go. His one-dab ride was the best of the day on the expert route, though Unit over 250 winner Chris Collins on an overbored C15 dropped three and Pre-unit winner, Ariel-mounted Richard Allen lost eight. On the slightly easier clubman route, yet another C15 rider, Jim Teague, went round on two marks and rigid class winner Dave Beddoes on his fabulous girder-forked OK Supreme, lost nine marks to top the class.
Er, we think that counts as a dab. Dave Beddoes still went on to win the rigid class, though Ben Butterworth floats his borrowed BSA round a Red Marley turn