PRE-65 ‘SCOTTISH’ 2014 - A WINNER
Classic Trial Magazine editor John Hulme is a welder by trade, and worked for this year’s Pre-65 ‘Scottish’ winner Rob Bowyer before the magazine adventure began. He recently caught up with Rob to talk about his popular victory.
How was the family holiday?
It was good to go to the event with my wife Kate, son George – the youngest at 6 – my father/mechanic Roger and the dog, Woody. Unfortunately my eldest son Harry was missing as he was on a school trip; but I am not sure about a holiday for me as I have to ride the machine!
We arrived to a dry Kinlockleven! Kate and the boys came for the first time last year and had never seen rain like it, and also never got to see me ride a single section. They’d walked and dragged George up ‘Pipeline’ to see me on the second lap, waited for over an hour to see me arrive just as the second lap was cancelled, so they were keen to see as much as possible this year.
I arrived at scrutineering on Thursday and queued up, and had a chat with Chris Gascoigne, Phil Houghton, Richard Allen and Billy Bishop among others. I had no problems with scrutineering and went to see Anne Gordon for my number. It’s always good to catch up with the other riders.
We got up early and missed breakfast to get to the start in time for the parade. I rode round with Janice Procter, Steve Davies and Andy Hipwell. After the parade it was time for a breakfast bap and a play with George in the Ice Factory before I started.
With a kiss and hug from him it was time for the off and I started with the evens at Chiarain Burn. This was my fifth year of riding the trial and it was the most nervous I’d felt at the start. I had a great ride around, heading out towards Blackwater Dam and while en route met up with you, John, (CTM Editor) on your Ossa Explorer and followed you to Blackwater – thanks for the tip on crossing the river, by the way!
I met my father at Pipeline, who then tracked back to the start area ready to fuel me up for the second lap, and then Kate, George and the Dog at Aluminium Works. It was then up to Cnoc A Linnhe for the four subs; I did the first three fine and then got to the last sub, which Gerry Minshall and his pal were observing. Gerry asked me how I was doing – I had at this point not dropped any marks – so the nerves kicked in and I had my first dab just before the end cards.
When I got to Caolasnacon I had my second dap there but managed to keep my feet up for the rest of the day. It was lovely seeing George and the family at the last group of sections, as he’s like a little mascot cheering me on and following me round wearing my helmet!
We managed to have a quick breakfast before we headed to the start at the school in the glorious sunshine. I headed off to Knoc A Linnhe and had a good chat with Mick Grant while we sorted out our lines for the sections. I had a good relaxing start, and then en route I met up with Richard Allen, Gary Fleckney and Billy Bishop.
On the second loop doing Lower Mamore I met son George, in his badger mask, with the rest of the family, then headed off up to two good sections at Mamore. At Stob Coire Erighe before I rode the section Gary was just about to start when his chain snapped and he didn’t have a split link; luckily the rusty one which had been on my handlebars for about three years was the same size, so he had this and my pliers and I went off to ride the sections, came back and he was still messing about – so I had a go and lost the split link! Luckily other people had turned up and we had plenty of links to try, so I set off again, leaving my pliers with him.
We then had a great ride over Callert back down to the roadside taking in some fabulous scenery on the way. Reaching Lower Caillich, which was my final group of sections, I did the first sub okay then went on to the last double sub of the day. Watching James Harland struggle with the last part of the section brought my nerves into play again but luckily I managed to keep my feet up and stay clean for the day – as my Mum would say, the ‘Bluetac’ worked.
Did you think you had won?
I had a few pints in the sunshine at Kinlochleven with family and friends and then waited for the results in the evening. I knew that my score would put me in with a chance but you never know. After the first day with two people on clean and two on one, plus seven others on two – myself included – there were plenty that were still in the running.
Did you enjoy the awards ceremony?
I had a great evening at the presentation and couldn’t believe I’d managed to win it! It was great being able to take George with me to collect the trophy – Harry says I’ve got to win it next year so he can do the same, I’ve told him not to get his hopes up. It was such an amazing experience and a fantastic two days and I would like to thank all the organisers, officials and the observers – roll on next year!