Archive for November, 2012

Friday November 30th 2012

Friday, November 30th, 2012

So here we are on the last day of the month, and although one weather channel forecast between 5-15cm of snow today, everything looks very dry out the window so far - amazingly, another weather channel says we will have temperatures of +5 with a chance of showers, go figure.

The weather has certainly been the hot (or cold) topic from around the World, with a Tornado in Italy, and really bad flooding in the UK including North Wales, and the Southern regions of Devon and Cornwall. - In fact the storms have been pretty wide-spread, causing the cancellation of a number of events. - We heard from our Costa Italy contact, to say that they are located over 600 km, from where the Tornado touched down, but the weather has been poor for some days, with high winds and some flooding.

I see that the ACU, ( English Motorcycle body) have announced that they will go along with the No Stop format for all Championship events, - They report that the FIM plan on using this scoring system for the next few years, and it will not be a one year experiment. - The TDN and youth classes will follow suit.


Yesterday we had more RAW riding gear arrive in time for Christmas, so a few more riders will be looking smart for the 2013 riding season. - It really is well made, with nice padding around the knee area of the pants. - We expect more stuff to arrive in the next couple of weeks, including the trick Costa accessories and carbon look protection for your favorite toy.

===========================================>UPDATE - If you missed this video last time I posted - check it out again - wonder how these moves will fit into the 2013 “NO-STOP.”  ??

Thursday November 29th 2012

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

My column yesterday brought a number of emails - some saying things haven’t changed much over the years, some with suggestions on what needs to be done, - but most just surprised that the sport hasn’t grown like some others like Mountain Bikes or that Skate-board parks with Trials bikes down-town would bring more awareness ! ( Not much doubt about that one)

So here is another pet peeve of mine, and in some ways effects the sale of Trials bikes - Starting issues, - in a nutshell, Bikes that are hard to start are a pain, and it’s not just 4 strokes that are in this class. - Consider a case from many years ago, when a young lady went into an Alberta big box bike store, and purchased a new Trials bike - all excited, she loaded it in her pick-up and on arriving home, couldn’t wait to get the new toy fired up. - Unfortunately, the salesman      ( unfamiliar with Trials bikes) had neglected to tell her that the choke needed to be engaged, and the correct procedure followed - SO - after pushing the bike down the road with the help of her husband - and lots of frustration, she eventually contacted somebody who knew  Trials bikes, and glad to say she went on to enjoy her new bike.

Back in my Yamaha days - the Factory had what I thought was a great bike for the ladies - a DT 125 ELECTRIC start !! - What a good idea - make it easy for the gals to start a bike, and you double your fun. - Naturally this model was dropped from the line-up because somebody in the board-room wasn’t thinking.

On to the present day, and we have new bikes coming out with all sorts of stuff - Fuel Injection etc etc - All adding to the starting issue and causing grief to new customers who are misled to believe that this is the way of the future. - Sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, ANY bike that is hard to start, should be taken to the landfill. ( Or the salesman who didn’t  know the product,- hung drawn & quartered.!)

Now on to a really nice story concerning one of my hero’s - Steve McQueen - read this then click on to the full story printed in Cycle News.

Editorial: Mert Lawwill Pays It Forward

A Helping Hand

AMA Grand National Champion Mert Lawwill’s racing career was over in 1971.

Or so he thought. After crashing on the opening lap of the Castle Rock TT and smashing his left hand to smithereens, a local doctor told Lawwill to figure out just how he wanted his hand to be positioned. Because it was going to be that way forever. Forget about racing, from his elbow to his fingers would be positioned one way and one way only. Forever.

Enter actor Steve McQueen, Lawwill’s friend thanks to the movie “On Any Sunday.”

“We became very good friends after working together on the film,” Lawwill recalled while at the AMA Hall of Fame banquet in Las Vegas a few weeks ago - on a night when he was announced along with Malcolm Smith as one of the Legends of the hall.

Just how good of friends, Lawwill was soon to find out.

For the rest of the editorial,click on the following link to visit this wee’s Cycle News…


UPDATE - Google this link to see and hear another sad story >>>

Wednesday November 28th 2012

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Lets start the blog today, by asking the question ” Is Trials Competition becoming more popular”? - Although most people in the industry know the answer to this - the average motorcyclist seems to think it is !! - So how did Joe Public arrive at this earth shattering bit of news? - The “Facts” are that “NO”- the sale of Trials bikes, and numbers of riders competing, has shrunk dramatically over the past decade.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and our annual Outlaw event, has shown very steady figures over the past 25 years, but in other areas, rider entrees that used to be in the 60’s for a club trial, are now lucky to sign up 25-30.

The FIM ruling to impose the Non-Stop scoring system for 2013, has already caused a mini revolt on some Trials forum’s - particularly in the UK, the home of the sport that originated back in 1909. - So what is the reason for the change? - The Manufacturers are telling the FIM that sales are down, as are entrees at the World level, and therefore something has to be done. - However, in my humble opinion - they are missing the whole point of why people started riding Trials in the first place, - for the average spectator, possible buyer, looking at even a very simple arena type event, will bring remarks like ” Well I could never do that” - and even stronger comments from wives, who anticipate their bread winner ending up with broken bones.

In other words, World Championship Trials, while showing off the unbelievable skills of the top riders ( maybe 5) - all it really has become is a Traveling Circus, with little relation to what the average Joe, thought the sport was all about.

Moving to traditional club events, the same problem exists, few Trials really cater to the new rider, with “Really” easy sections and the emphasis on fun - hardly surprising then to find numbers in the junior class dropping like a stone.

Looking back to the 70’s -80’s - Trials seemed to be enjoying a huge following in North America, but the Japanese found out all too soon, that this was a very small market, with an even smaller percentage of true dyed in the wool enthusiasts. - Japanese bike dealers who were talked into putting one of these new much talked about bikes on the showroom floor, very quickly shuffled it to the back corner, when sales people ( who knew nothing about this strange sport) got fed up of wiping the dust from it. - Again there were exceptions to the rule - Joe Brown in Victora, and Walt Healy in Calgary, sold lots of the Yamaha TY models, but in the motorcycle business World, at least in the land of the rising sun, numbers are where it’s at, and only the much smaller European Factories continued to flourish.

Not that much of this is anything new to the old timers, but for the younger kids watching Toni and the boys hopping and bopping around and over impossible objects on U Tube - they relate it to what is happening at their local skate board park, rather than what the sport is all about. - That is a great day out in the woods.
Again the question would appear to be - how and do we really need, to fix the problem? and if so , How? - Certainly just changing the rules again, will cause more confusion and unrest. - so your guess is as good as mine. - In the meantime, we have no idea what the CMA plan on doing with their events for 2013 - as far as we know, the WTC will stay with the old stop allowed rules. - Next season should be interesting to say the least.  - Will we see any increase in sales of Trials bikes World wide, I doubt it. - There are already too many factories competing for a piece of this small pie.

========================================>BREAKING NEWS :


Sheppard continues with Beta

Jack Sheppard is set to continue his relationship with the Beta brand in 2013 when he will join the highly respected Italian Top Trial Team (TTT) to compete both at World and European level, whilst still riding under the Beta UK banner back in Britain. Sheppard will also maintain his association with the prestigious Jitsie brand as they continue to support him with boots, helmet, clothing and hard parts for his full 2013 assault. The new season will also see Jack extend his connection with Red Bull, with the Austrian energy drink company keeping the emerging young athlete under their wing for another year.

Sheppard, who is currently in Spain for several weeks of intensive training in preparation for the new season, will now look to add the FIM Junior Trial World Championship to the Youth title that he secured back in 2011. Additionally Jack will also contest the European Championship, the British series, the Scottish Six Days Trial and other selected events as he returns to a full campaign having endured a restricted programme during 2012 as he recovered from his well-documented wrist injury.

With the nineteen year old from Suffolk having now put the potentially career ending condition behind him, he is perfectly poised to continue his rise up the ranks with many tipping him as a real hope for the future. Sheppard’s immediate focus is to be 100% fit and ready for the start of his 2013 assault, which will include him adapting his style to suit the recently announced non-stop format under which the FIM Trial World Championship will run next season.

Delighted with his overall new package Sheppard said. “2013 is looking good already. I have ridden with both Beta and TTT before, so I know that they can give me what I need to win and the same goes for both Red Bull and Jitsie too. As always I am so grateful for all their support and that of my other sponsors too. 2012 has been a difficult year, but thankfully everyone has been understanding and have stood by me.”

“With that in mind I am working harder than ever to repay the faith that everyone has shown me and to make sure that I get my riding back on track and to where I know it should be next year. There is still a lot of hard work to be done this winter, however already I am really looking forward to the new season.”

Speaking on behalf of the Beta brand, John Lampkin stated. “We are very pleased that Jack will continue to ride Beta in 2013. His time with the Jitsie team has been very good for Jack and they have worked very well together. The Jitsie team have been so supportive of Jack especially throughout recent times when he has had his wrist injury. I would like to personally thank them for the excellent support they have given to Jack over the last few years. “

“Next year Jack will ride for the Italian Top Trial Team. They work in a very professional way and I am confident it will be a good move for him. Jack has had a lot to deal with in recent times and I recognise it has been a hard fight for him. He has showed his strength of character often riding with a lot of pain, although never giving up. I think Jack is a very naturally talented rider and now with his wrist being much better, plus with his new team, I look forward to a successful 2013″

Tuesday November 27th 2012

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

My morning ritual goes like this - switch on the Computers, put the kettle on, check my blood count, then settle down to looking at the emails that have come in overnight - delete all the spam, - click on to the various web-sites for the latest news. - then try to come up with something to post that my readers will find interesting. - I guess that the fact that we get up to 80,000 hits on our site at peek periods, proves that a lot of folk like what we do, and that many use this as a “One Stop” place to get the latest on subjects such as Moto GP, Formula One, Enduro and Trials.


So moving right along, ( I also check the weather channel first thing) - I see that it’s cooler in the Valley at -5 this morning, but a nice sunny day is forecast, before we get some snow tomorrow - then warmer again for the weekend.

Yesterday was quite busy, with a drum of oil to ship off to Golden, and a load of junk to take to the landfill, before Chris Castles stopped by to pick up one of the nice Wulf Jackets, and a Toolbelt. - Chris has a million stories ( Like all us old guys) so we usually get quite a charge out of swapping yarns.


There has been some discussion by the WTC Reps from across the Country, regarding the 2013 Trials Championship, with various ideas being considered, and a final tally of the results from 2012. - As expected, there were a number of ties, because of the events being so far apart, but congratulations to all the riders who participated. - It was a difficult year out West, because of the weather causing a delay of the Victoria event, and the subsequent low turn out of riders, - all beyond the control of the organizers. For more info: on the WTC click on to the website via Trials Canada.

The 2012 WTC Canadian Champ. is Will Duggan of Vancouver Island, with a tie for 2nd, between Jon English and Dan Johnson, both from Ontario, Thomas Cordner finished 4th and Devon Dargis 5th

In the Expert Class, it was Stan Bakgaard and Felix Belanger tying for the number one plate with Andrew Watson 3rd.

Advanced class was another tie between Jacek Jablonski and Trevor Howarth. with Travis Howarth 3rd.

Senior Advanced showed - Dave Nunn 1st with Don Venn 2nd and Phil Plasterer 3rd

Senior Inter has Kevin Couves 1st followed by Bob Clark and Brett Clark

Intermediate - another tie between Vincent Potvin and Ross Rathbone with Mark ONeill in 3rd

Junior Alexis Horik is #1 with Yves Doyon 2nd and Chris Storrar 3rd.

Full results will be posted on the WTC Web site shortly.

Monday November 26th 2012

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Sunday morning dawned with thick fog in Vernon above Swan Lake, but by the time I got up by Butcher boys store - I was in bright sunshine - this was looking good, and it turned out to be an incredible day riding the ridges above Kelowna.

Kevin and Jeff were already there when I arrived - and Kevvy couldn’t wait to try out the 2013 Beta Evo 300 - his smiles when he got back to my van said it all !!! - Yesterday, I elected to shoot video of the lads so that they could study their form, and to say that we had a blast would be an understatement. - this was truly a day to remember - November 25th, with weather more like September, and what better place to be than in the OK Valley.


Later back at home - I lucked out by being able to watch the Formula One race from Brazil - and if there was one race in the series to see - this was it. - fantastic wheel to wheel action, with the Championship in doubt right up to the final lap. - In the end it was Jenson Button who won the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Filipe Massa, but by finishing 5th - Sebastian Vettel clinched the drivers title for an amazing third year in a row. - What a race, what a year.


I see that James Dabill, will be taking delivery of one of the very trick new Beta 300 2T Enduro bikes this week - yet another Trials Superstar to try his hand at a few race events. - Alexz Wigg recently took part in a muddy enduro on a Gasser, and of course Graham Jarvis took the World by storm when he switched to Extreme style Enduros.


More news as it happens >>>>>> - Check out this link to see a good video of a vintage trial in Ireland - I don’t know why they see the need to add music - but I guess that’s the way they do things these days.  You can also click on to Trials Central to access the link.

Sunday November 25th 2012

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Hats off this morning, go to young Matt Reading of Vernon, who phoned me yesterday afternoon, to say that he had been down to our Kelowna riding area, and chain sawed out the trees that had been blocking the Forest trail all summer. - Great to see this kind of action without being asked. Thanks Matt.

I had a visit from Chris Castles yesterday , - hadn’t seen him for about a year, so we had lots of news to share - Chris likes to ride the Vintage MX stuff, but also has an old TL 125 with a big bore kit in it, so maybe he will come out to our Vintage Trials, next season.


Steve Fracy emailed from the Ferry, with a pic of a couple of new 2013 Beta Evo 300’s on the trailer, on route back to the Island, young Matt will getting one of these and another local rider gets the other. - I think the first shipment is now pretty much sold out.


Today we are meeting up with Kevin, who wants to check out the new Beta - then I guess I will watch the Grey Cup, although to be honest, I don’t have much interest in it. - I will miss the FI race early this morning, but maybe it will on later - It’s an all McLaren front row of the grid at the final race in Brazil - Sebastian Vettel, needs to finish 4th or better, in order to take the Championship.


Saturday November 24th 2012

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

I see from my office window this morning that there is a light dusting of snow on the hills across the other side of Okanagan Lake, but fortunately it’s pretty high up..


There is a link  below, of a great video, showing the 2013 Sherco bikes being built  - check it out, they have certainly come a long way since they started production of the “Bultaco” model back in 1998.


Last night was another time to watch old VHS tapes, as once again, there was nothing on TV that appealed to me - I enjoyed the footage I shot at the 1995 Outlaw Trial, which we held at Bear Creek. - The weather was gorgeous and we had a great turn out, for both the Vintage and Modern. - As I recall Steve Fracy and myself shared one of the heavy Honda TL 250’s that I owned at the time, with Steve taking the win, and myself finishing 2nd ( With about three times as many points) - my wife and I had been to the UK the previous month, and I had bought the video camera to take all the action at the World Round at Hawkstone Park. - Although a far cry from the very latest small digital units, this camera captured all the action at numerous events, as I changed from being a competitor to recording things at a local level.


If you are a Football fan, - naturally you will be glued to the Telly watching the Grey Cup tomorrow, but I’m just hoping to see some of the F1 racing from Brazil, as Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso  battle it out for the drivers championship.


Here’s another link showing where you can buy the 2012 World Trials videos - sorry you have to type it in - or just click on Heath’s site at


Friday November 23rd 2012

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

The ride at Bear Creek yesterday was fabulous - of course testing a brand new bike is always exciting, but the 2013 Beta looked very special as soon as we took it out of the box, and indeed this proved to be the case.

Matt was at my place at 8am and we loaded both the Betas in my van for the trip to Kelowna ,- the weather was a bit “Nippy” but with no wind and no snow at the Trials site, we were soon geared up & ready to ride, so after taking some pics of the new bike - I fired it up and rode it around some of the usual sections, as expected it handled just like the other Evos - perfect balance and smooth torque, but this one feels even “zippier” than the Factory 300 we had ( could be my imagination) at any rate - it has gobs of power, and as reported earlier the all new tranny is fantastic.

Matt gave the bike a try, and found it very much to his liking as did Jeff who arrived while we were playing on one of the steps. - I spent some time coaching Matt on technique, using the “Double blip” and also doing tight turns using only the front brake to “feather” the action, before we headed up the hill.
Later we went up above the fence line and rode a lot of sections, until I realized that  it was already 11am. and time for me to stop for an energy bar and drink of orange juice - super important with my new medical condition - this was after I had managed a one dab ride on the very difficult loose rock & tree root section that we have been practicing for years - no easier now than it was when we found it. - the 300 pulls this type of section very smoothly using 3rd gear to avoid wheel-spin on the loose rocks.

Both Jeff ( who won the Junior at the recent Ady Trial) and Matt were having a ball on the sections I showed them, although some were definitely  in the inter/expert category. - Back at the truck after around two and a half hours, the old guy was pretty tired, but very happy with the new Beta, which I like to think of as the “Ferrari” of the Trials market. -( If you have to ask the price you can’t afford one) - We took a bunch of pics, which are now on the gallery - check them out.


In other news, it’s black Friday in  the States (who cares) and the Grey Cup goes in Toronto on Sunday for Football fans. - Hopefully, we will be able to catch some of the action from the Formula One race in Brazil >>>>> more news as it happens.

Thursday November 22nd 2012

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

It’s Thanksgiving day in the States, not a good day for Turkeys - but there will be none of them at Bear Creek today, where we will be taking our first ride on the new 2013 Beta Evo 300.

I got the phone message from the Trucking company early yesterday, but with my van still in the shop, a fast call was made to buddy Jeff, to see if he was free to go to pick up the unit in Kelowna - “No problem” he said, ( he was as excited as myself to see the changes made to the new Beta)

Back at the ranch, it didn’t take long to open up the box and take our first peek at what can only be described as the ultimate in quality, from the Italian Factory. - The new frame finished in bright Ferrari red looks fantastic. - being an ex Yamaha Canada guy (Like myself) Jeff was quick to notice the other changes made to the new bike ( Jeff has a 2010 Evo) The engineers, have really done a great job with the Hydro formed tank unit - it’s got all the smooth lines of a thoroughbred, and the all new high quality decals on both the frame and swing-arm should withstand lots of abuse from the rider’s boots.

The side-stand is now a forged aluminum job - similar to the Sherco - lots of Beta owners will like this, and the kill switch is now located on the left handlebar - very clean and uncluttered. - Sharp eyed viewers will notice that the mapping switch ( which really works on the Beta) is now on the right side of the bike, along with the headlight switch, and the cdi unit (much smaller) is tucked away near the gas-tap - We removed the new small trap-door that gives a one screw access to the air filter in the all new rear fender ( now slotted under the new top panel at the front which saves an extra bolt. - and it’s nice to see the cable routing has been improved through the rubber guide - no need to glue that in anymore.

A quick check over the bike, before filling with gas ( It has a larger capacity this year 2.9 Lt)  we always use Opti 2 mixed at a ratio of 80-1 with Chevron 94. - Then it was time to start the bike & after letting it warm up - rode it around the yard. - Wow ! - this Beta shifts like no other, like a Swiss watch - and this is right out of the crate - better even than the Factory 300 we had earlier this year., - and that was good.

Today we will try the bike out at Bear Creek - a place we haven’t been to for a long time, and with no snow, we are looking forward to a great day. - Jeff & Matt will be along for a bit of a photo shoot, so watch for pics on my gallery later. ( I already posted one on face-book after we opened up the box Wednesday)

In other news, the wonderful poem that I copied onto the blog yesterday, has brought about a flood of emails - some from people who have aging Fathers  in nursing homes. - I thank Janis Clark for posting this on Face-book, a very touching reminder, that old folk have a story to tell, and should never be ignored after spending a life-time giving so much to the family, enduring all the happy moments and heartbreak, that is part of the aging process. - We were all young once.


I see that Heath was out at the BVM Open House in the UK, where invited customers got the chance to try all the new bikes - as usual, his photographs are superb, with action shots of many of the top lads doing their thing on the huge quarry walls. - you can check these out on


And finally, we send our deepest sympathy to all the Albertans suffering  with -14 temperatures and deep snow YUK YUK .

Wednesday November 21st 2012

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Another “Balmy” morning at +4 in Vernon. and although there are some snow flurries in the forecast, the weather looks great for a weekend ride - keeping my fingers crossed that I get the new Beta in - watch for details on this.


Last night I decided to check out another couple of my old VHS tapes - The first one Trials Training with Wayne Braybrook, with Wayne showing the various trick techniques on the rather cumbersome looking Montesa 315 - but with all moves that have been developed by all the top riders since the 90’s. - a nice touch on this video, is a section on Physical fitness, and also showing how to fit a rear tire.

Next up was the Steve Colley  “Advanced Trials Training”  with the Manxman doing all the same things at his practice ground on the Isle of Man. - this tape also has a young David Knight helping out with riding duties. - another interesting video, but what struck me most by both tapes, was the difficulty of understanding these top riders speaking with the different accents from Yorkshire and the Isle of Man. - Even coming from the UK, I found it hard to make out what they were saying, so although they are both very good, when compared to the teaching methods of Ryan Young, on his DVD’s - I have to say that Ryan wins the contest hands down. - Not that I’m taking anything away from Wayne and Steve - they are brilliant, and I’ve made DVD copies for a couple of my young protegees - I’m sure they will enjoy them.

( The next ones to  tape are the Mick Andrews and the excellent  “This is Trials” featuring Sammy Miller)

In other news, I see that Ducati ( now owned by Audi) have made some management changes, after what can only be described as a disastrous season in Moto GP - They had high hopes when they signed super-star Valentino Rossi, but the team failed to deliver, and Rossi is now going back to Yamaha. - The huge money being spent on the teams ( in excess 50 million dollars per team) has also been criticized by the new German Boss. - This figure however, is just a drop in the bucket, compared to Formula One.

The final race in the F1 series goes this weekend in Brazil, with the Driver’s Championship still undecided, and even with all the huge money being spent by the top teams, a driver still needs a certain amount of luck, in order to finish on the podium. - It should be an interesting finale to the season.


Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses?… … What do you see?
What are you thinking… … when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man… … not very wise,
Uncertain of habit… … with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food… … and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice… … ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice… … the things that you do.
And forever is losing… … A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not… … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding… … The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?… … Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse… … you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am … … As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding… … as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten… … with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters… … who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen… … with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now… … a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty… … my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows… … that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now… … I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide… … And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty… … My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other… … With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons… … have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me… … to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more… … Babies play ‘round my knee,
Again, we know children … … My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me… … My wife is now dead.
I look at the future… … I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing… … young of their own.
And I think of the years… … And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man… … and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age… … look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles… … grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone… … where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass… … A young man still dwells,
And now and again… … my battered heart swells
I remember the joys… … I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living… … life over again.
I think of the years, all too few… … gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact… … that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people… … open and see.
Not a cranky old man… …
Look closer… see … … . . ME!!