John Shirt Jnr:

Classic Trial - - OPPORTUNITY -

“Just think about this op­por­tu­nity, at 16 years old to be of­fered the chance to com­pete in tri­als on a full fac­tory four-stroke Honda RTL; just imag­ine be­ing of­fered the ma­chines of Toni Bou to com­pete on and that is how it felt. At the time I was rid­ing a monoshock Yamaha which my fa­ther had devel­oped into a su­perb ma­chine and I was fresh out of the Youth A Class, but I do not re­gret the chance to ride the Honda as it was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I just went for it, not think­ing how much of an hon­our it was to be loaned such a ma­chine. I was con­fi­dent of my own abil­ity at the time, maybe a lit­tle over con­fi­dent. Truth is the Honda RTL was built for ‘World Class’ rid­ers, and that I wasn’t. In re­al­ity it was sim­ply too good for me and my lim­ited ex­pe­ri­ence at 16 years old. I spent hours and hours on the four-stroke but my mis­take was only go­ing rid­ing at my lo­cal Hawk’s Nest and the home of Mick An­drews which were my ‘com­fort zones’. Away from these two venues I strug­gled to find grip with it, I think be­cause of my lack of throt­tle con­trol and rid­ing it like a two-stroke. Look­ing back the ma­chine suited the SSDT be­cause the sus­pen­sion was un­real, there was no mud and I love rid­ing streams! I also have a mas­sive pas­sion for the SSDT which goes way back to child­hood.”

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