Archive for February, 2017

Tuesday February 28th 2017

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

The last day of the month and nice to see the sun shining - Sorry for the delay in the blog today - I post so much stuff on here that it sometimes gets overloaded & I have to call my Web master Bob Johns.

I saw this neat shot today showing Debbie Evans and Mick Andrews at a US World round in the 70’s both on Yamaha of course.

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Our latest Beta shipment arrived yesterday - and it was a cold afternoon to unpack them - we have another load coming soon so things will literally start to fly out the door - The TRS bikes for 2017 will also arrive sometime in the middle of March, so things are going to be hopping around here.

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I received a nice surprise yesterday in the mail, an original copy of the FIM Program from the 1975 World Round. - A big thanks to Jamie McGregor of Brantford Ontario for sending me this - I never did keep a copy, and this one has a bunch of autographs on it.  - We certainly still have lots of memories of setting this one up - the first ever in Canada, near Bragg Creek Alberta, and with a challenging 69 mile loop that had some of the European riders struggling.

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Here’s another neat pic of Mick at the 1975 Scottish, with the first Factory TY Mono - called a “Cantilever Frame”  - it also had a “pumper” carb modified from a Yamaha snowmobile. - Mick told me it would run even when the bike was up-side-down ( not that this happened often with him)

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And finally - here is memory pic that popped up today from 2014 on this day - the old guy looking happy at Bear Ridge - where you can’t see any snow - bit different this year for sure. ( But I was still smiling at being able to get out)

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Monday February 27th 2017

Monday, February 27th, 2017

So Sunday turned out to be quite the day - the driveway was white over, as I headed out for the ride at Bear Ridge, and must admit I was a bit apprehensive as to whether anybody would show up.  - I arrived to find Shane, Nelson and Tyler already there - ( haven’t seen Tyler out for a couple of years at least - says he’s been busy with a business project over in Castlegar) - The wind was cold coming off the lake, but soon a bunch more guys showed up - Olivier, Blake and Kyle all from the Vernon Off Road club, who are usually out on their race bikes, thought they would come out to see what Trials is all about, and then to my surprise Brandon also arrived. ( We had a total of eight riders - not bad for a cold, snowy day)
After some introductions we showed the new guys a couple of sections in the parking lot - before we headed up the hill and into the snow. - Everybody had a fantastic day, although I struggled a bit due to old age and poor health, having to make a lot of stops - very frustrating when you cant ride at your normal level, but at least I’m  still able to  get out. - Here is a shot of some of the gang up at the lookout near Fintry.

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Here is an early morning shot of Olivier on the Outlaw TRS 250 - he has an old Gasser, but couldn’t get it to go, so rode this all day - he loved the bike, but also has a new X trainer on order from us, as he is quite involved with the off road race scene - he also looks after the Website for the Vernon Club.

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Back at the parking lot - Shane pulled out his propane fire, and we roasted some wieners, washed down with a brew - nice way to end the day, and a great start to our season with the ne guys now super keen to join us again, whenever they have a break from the Off road racing.  - Everybody got a chance to test ride both the TRS and the 2017 Beta - with each model getting rave reviews.  ( The new guys were having so much fun on these they were late getting to the fire)
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Meanwhile over in Europe their Trials season is already well underway - here is a  great shot of one of the Team Beta Trueba lady riders - impressive style>

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More news as it happens >>>

Sunday February 26th 2017

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

OK so this is what it looked like up on Bear Ridge five years ago on this day - Barry is shown in the pic at the spot where Shane & myself got to last Sunday in “Way more snow” than seen here.

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As forecast, we did get a dusting of the white stuff last night - at 7 am looks like about 2cm through the window, and while it’s not ideal to ride - that is what we plan to do. - Yes we will be at Bear Ridge near Kelowna at 11 am today, and will have both the TRS and Beta available for new interested people to try out.  If you are unsure of directions please phone me (250) 545-6139. Obviously the poor weather will deter some people, but just think of it as getting out of the house for a bit of fresh air.

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Meanwhile over in the UK at least in the South, they are running Trials in nice spring-like conditions - here is another Heath Brindley photo from Saturday of Ashley Newberry on the TRS.

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And we just had to share this great shot by Heath, of Steve Saunders - still riding, putting on schools and Importing the TRS for the UK.

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Saturday February 25th 2017

Saturday, February 25th, 2017

OK, so here’s the deal. we still plan on being at Bear Ridge tomorrow, HOWEVER,  if we get a big dump of snow overnight, we will confirm on our blog tomorrow morning EARLY.

For people not familiar with our Trials spot ( this is NOT Bear Creek) email me for directions,                 ( daverhodes@shaw.ca) ph (250) 545-6139 -  we do not post this on social media ( for obvious reasons) - It will be nothing formal, just a few Trials enthusiasts getting together for an early spring “Get together”  - Just like this one in the UK  ( No we won’t have any sidecar rigs !!)

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It’s a big day in the Rugby World, with Wales playing Scotland, and as is the tradition in Sherwood Park - the local enthusiasts are already in the Pub to watch the game on the big TV - While we don’t recognize the two burly figures on the left & right - there is no mistaking the smiling face of our Welsh buddy Taff Parfitt in the center complete with Welsh tartan ( Yes all the “Celt’s” wore Kilts back in the day - Scottish, Irish and Welsh)

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Here is a link to an article from OZ of why Riding a Trials bike improves rider skills ( Of course all us old timers learned this back in the dark ages) check it out >   https://thehellteam.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/7-good-reasons-why-every-motorcyclist-should-own-a-trials-bike/

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We only had one correct response to our photo quiz from yesterday - It was from Vancouver Island resident Harlow Rankin, who correctly  knew that it was the late great Diego Bosis, who sadly died a few years ago of a heart attack at age 40.

The Italian ace, finishing 2nd in the World Trials Championship at least once, with his main rival being Jordi Tarres. - Perhaps his greatest victory, may have been the UK Round held in Scotland, where he was the only rider under 100 points lost ( don’t think they got that one quite right)

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Here is another neat video, which shows why most people ride “FOR FUN”  it features some big names in Motorcycle sport -check it out. >>>  video

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Now this is what I call a great Trials section - Old English style mud !!

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Friday February 24th 2017

Friday, February 24th, 2017

I’m sure that most Motorcycle enthusiasts are pretty fed up with our seemingly never ending winter, but maybe we have become short in the memory department, when it comes to our Canadian seasons. - It was -20 when my wife and myself along with our baby daughter , arrived in Calgary on March 3rd, back in 1965. - I can still recall my initial shock  as we walked down the stairway on to the white snow, with a bitter cold wind blowing.  - Like other immigrants, we adapted to the conditions, and began to enjoy our new lifestyle, dressing accordingly and learning Canadian ways.

With so much in the news regarding refugees and our Government policies on immigration, the only comment that I would make is that in the past, everybody adapted to the different customs, and that is how it should be.  My advice to any new immigrant would be “Learn how to live the Canadian way - leave all your baggage in the old Country - where-ever that might be”

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Does anybody recognize the rider in this photo from many years ago ?  The Italian Fantic brand were huge back in the day, winning many World titles with names like Thierry Michaud, and Steve Saunders, John Lampkin, all winning events. - Hint, this rider passed away at a young age.

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There is a huge Protest Rally planned for Calgary on March 4th, to lobby the NDP Government on their new legislation to close most of the Forestry to Off Road vehicles. If you live in Alberta or are visiting, I urge you to support this movement.

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Tomorrow, there is another Snow-bike event going at Revelstoke - this new exciting sport appears to be gathering momentum, and I saw that Arctic Cat are now building their own version of a “Snow-bike”  - this will be a complete, from the “Factory floor” to the snow approach, rather than just a track kit bolted onto a regular Dirt bike.

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With the month of March, just around the corner, it will soon be time for Daytona - the annual motorcycle festival of speed. - I remember the first time we went down in 1976 - all the Cannucks got off the plane dressed in heavy jackets, to see everybody walking around in shorts & T shirts. - After the first day, everybody was nursing very red sun burns. - It’s a wonderful place to enjoy the early spring, and the racing is always very special. - A high-light of my time at Yamaha, was being able to join Bob Work in the pits with Ron Peirce riding the very special V twin that Bo built, in 1979.
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This is a pic of Matt Reading on my 2015 Evo 200 - up above the lake on Bear Ridge - we have yet to make it up to this spot this year because of the very deep snow - this bike is now in Winnipeg.

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Thursday February 23rd 2017

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Another gloomy morning - winter is still hanging on in the OK Valley.

Last night I attended a meeting with the Silver Star Motorcycle Club committee , to discuss the September 23rd weekend “Bonanza”  - this will entail a WTC National Trial on the Saturday, but also an Endurocross, bike training schools, plus a Hare Scramble on the Sunday. - In other words a very busy weekend, with something for everybody.  I think the only similar event in Canada is the one that takes place in Ontario for the Vintage Crowd.

This will certainly be the first ever Trial hosted at a Canadian Ski Resort, and will be a ground breaker for the future. We will keep everybody posted as we progress through the summer months.

Of course the first round of the two event WTC National Series, will go at Revelstoke on August 13th at  Glacier House Resort, with Florian Schott our main man over in that region - With the season not yet “Off the ground” - it would appear that 2017 will be one of the busiest ever on our Trials Calendar.

For “Non Trials” people, our sport can be quite confusing, and somewhat of a mystery, with comments like “Oh those are the bikes without seats” or You are the guys that hop from rock to rock.

Yup - we have heard them all, and really I suppose the “Racing” crowd have only now caught on to  why riding Trials is such good training, because of the Xtreme Enduro wins, by Graeme Jarvis, Taddy Blazsuek, Cody Webb etc etc. -  - Not that this aspect needs to be explained to anybody from the UK, where it was always normal for riders to compete in all sorts of competition events,  going slow in Trials, just improved your skill when it was time to go fast.

This is a pic from the 1980 World Trial at Ioco (Vancouver)  Outlaw sponsored this particular section, and for those not familiar with Trials, the route is marked with blue tape on the left and red (or pink)  tape on the right.  the riders are “IN” the section when their front wheel axle is past the “IN” cards and are out of the section when their FRONT axle is past the “End” cards. While negotiating the difficult terrain, the rider loses points for putting a foot down - called “Dabbing” or stopping/ falling off, going out of bounds etc.  One foot a Dab - is scored one point - two “Dabs”  two, more than that or just scrambling through with feet down is scored “Three” with the maximum points loss in any section is “Five” - usually this is for falling off or going out of bounds etc, but the rules are quite easy to follow for people involved in the sport.  The rider carries a score card, which is “punched” at each section on the loop, with the winner in each class being the one with the least points ( similar in some ways to a game of golf)

At National Trials, a “Checker” or “Observer” is stationed at each section with a paper punch, and this person watches each rider as they traverse the section, then punches the correct score on the rider’s card, before signalling the next rider through the section. - It should be mentioned that riders stop and “Walk” the section before tackling the obstacle, in order to figure out the best “Line” or technique to use.  Trials riding is a “Thinking” man’s (or ladies) sport - it’s not about speed, although many top Trials riders excel in other motorcycle sports, including road racing.

While most people who read my blog understand all the rules and regulations of our sport, I thought that this brief outline may help the newcomer understand the basic  way all Trials events are run.  As we grow older, we tend to forget that for a large segment of the population, Trials and Trials bikes are still very much an unknown quantity.

Anyway here is the picture I mentioned, which shows the World class riders walking the section at Ioco, before giving it a shot. - I believe the name of this one was “Stan’s Falls”  ( named after our own Canadian hero and multi time Champ Stan Bakgaard)

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Wednesday February 22nd 2017

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

After many phone calls and emails, we finally found out our Opti Oil shipment had been delivered up the Valley to Backus Racing - We used this as a drop point, as the 45 gal drums of Snowmobile Injector are going to dealers as far away as Golden, so using the large facilities at Backus made more sense. - If you have never visited this location, and are into sleds or ATV’s/ Snow bikes etc - you should make the effort to stop by.  - They are on the right side of the Hiway, just North of Grindod on the way to Sicamous.

Its a family business, with  Everett Backus and his sons, running the show, and we are happy to say they have been our customers for over twenty years.  - As a Polaris dealer, they know all about the snowmobile business, with Tyler Backus a former World Hill Climb Champion, running the parts department. - They also stock all the latest gear for Snow-bikes such as Timbersled kits.

After picking up some stock, we headed up to see our old friends at Action Rentals in Sicamous, another old established family business, with deep roots in the Industry - Kevin Fleming has had a long association with Bombardier doing Skidoo commercials, with his Dad Terry, being the former Honda/Yamaha.Skidoo dealer in Revelstoke for many years.

Both these dealerships sell a ton of Opti  Oil and are firm believers in the product, Kevin told me an interesting story yesterday, saying one of his customers, has put 15,000 km on his Skidoo sled this winter all running the Opti 2 Injector.

When the snow clears, there is nothing that Kevin likes more, than heading out with his young son, to ride dirt bikes, his choice being a Beta RR 250, which he bought from Outlaw a couple of years ago.

Action Rentals is also a Napa Dealer, and offers friendly reliable service for anybody in the North Okanagan, or people just passing through Sicamous, again you won’t find any shop with more experience in the Industry.

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Of course, as any of our customers know, we supply a complete stock of the Opti Lubricants, with every bike that goes out of our door - all FREE OF CHARGE.  - We have been Distributing this fine product now, for over 30 years. - While we don’t travel around to dealers anymore, we are always as near as the phone to answer questions on the  Opti Lubricants.  ( They have been around a very long time and supplied the German Luftwaffe during the second World War.- Helmut Klassen of Hamilton Ontario, likes to tell these stories)

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So now we have finished with the commercials - on to other things, which includes the weather - the forecast for the upcoming weekend is for snow, and while we will still likely be out at Bear Ridge next Sunday - best to check with us before you leave.  - The videos I posted of Shane flailing around in the snow last Sunday, were certainly viewed by a lot of people, including TRS boss Jordi Tarres. - The new Spanish bike hooks up really well with very smooth power, similar to the Beta.

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The ATRA have now posted their Schedule for Trials events in Alberta this year, with the first one planned for Blackfoot Park in April.  - We attended this  last year, and were able to supply Tino Marin, with a Beta to ride as he didn’t have a bike - he went on to lose just one point all day, on my Beta Evo 200. - To see the complete ATRA Calendar, click onto Trials Canada.

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Last weekend down in Ontario, they had what they called the “Grand Prix de Snow”  - However with most of the track quickly turning into mud, it made for some interesting racing - This event was all about early season fun - run what ya brung type of thing, just like back in the old days.  We need more stuff like this.

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Just saw this nice tribute to Bill McLean posted - First saw young Billy at a Calgary Moto X back in the early 70’s - he was on a twin shock YZ 125 sponsored by Yamaha. - A few years later I was working for Yamaha Canada and did in fact borrow one of these bikes from local dealer Walt Healy for a Cross Country race on the US border - part of the course consisted of a very long dried up lake bed, and a lot of bikes seized up about two thirds down this flat out section, however the chrome bore YZ never missed a beat all day.   - Billy joined Yamaha Canada and worked in the Product Planning department, and we traveled together to a number of places across the Country putting on Sales Schools - Bill had a great sense of humor, and we had a lot of laughs - I still remember that we had to take a flight back to Toronto from Sudbury in a DC 3 - Bill said the air hostess reminded him of Mary Poppins.

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more news as it happens > or if you want to have a laugh - check this out >

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRQyEBY5YjQ

Tuesday February 21st 2017

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

This should be a great event, and for sure one to attend if you live back East - I only ever saw one race at Mosport, and also one MX at Copetown - Both during my tenure with Yamaha Canada.  -At Mosport, it was Yvan Duhamel who won on that day, ahead of Steve Baker, while the MX event was won by Roger Decoster - lots of great memories from those days.
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Not much to report today, but at least it’s not snowing !!  -

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In my review of all the models available back in the 1950’s when I first got interested in Motorcycles, I forgot to mention this one - another Villiers powered two stroke and quite popular at the time. It’s called an Ambassador.

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Here’s a great shot of Steve Colley - 3 time British Trials Champion, who was often called “Mr Showman”  - I think he still does some shows.  - I met Steve a couple of times in the UK - he won the Scottish Six Days Trial  at least once, including 1992 when I was there, and was a Beta Team mate of Dougie Lampkin, before jumping ship to ride for John Shirt and Gas Gas.

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The CPTA held its first trial of 2017 on Feb. 19 at Ioco, B.C.  Forty
one hardy souls turned out on a drizzly day for a hurriedly put
together event. The area was under snow the previous weekend and the
clerks of the course did a great job of laying out the event. Some of
the sections got a little slipperier as the day went on so the scores
did not really improve on the later loops. Bill Sparks appeared after
many months away and showed the other experts what to do. Roy Anderson
was many points clear of 2nd place in Advanced and Don Doerksen was
chased home by BillyD but managed to win by 6 points in Senior 45.
Just 2 points separated 1st from 2nd and 2nd from 3rd in the
Intermediate class that Brian Pegg won. Bob Clark and Dave Fair tied
on 2 points with 2 single dabs each and had to be separated on
furthest clean in Sportsman. 5 Juniors and 2 Beginners showed up and
Andy Blacker was the best of the Juniors while Roger Teggier was the
survivor in Beginners. All in all a great day and hopefully a good end
to winter.

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Monday February 20th 2017

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Well the snow stopped, and the sun came out - so after a quick call to Shane - I loaded up the bike, & headed to Kelowna.  -Still a lot of snow up top, and we got quite a work-out, but what a blast - We made it most of the way up to our favorite look-out spot, breaking trail for our fun day next Sunday - Here is a pic of Shane plowing through the deep snow - lots of throttle and weight well back.

UPDATE - Check out the video >>    Now Playing Up Next David H Rhodes It was a great day 114 Views 1:17

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And here is one of the old guy - I had to stop a lot to get my breath back, but the 2017 Beta Evo 200 worked really well, pulling 4th gear in the deep snow.
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The route we took was through the middle of the trees - big hand-full of throttle and 4th gear on the Evo 200.

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More news later  >>>

Here’s an old one of me when I was about 17 - back then we rode our competition  bikes every day to work, then took the lights & other stuff off for the weekend competitions, either a Trial or a Scramble.

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Sunday February 19th 2017

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

The Classic Dirt Bike Show is going on this weekend in Telford, Shropshire England, and is one of the most popular events on the UK Calendar.  - This year they had a giant size photograph of Martin Lampkin, riding his factory Bultaco Sherpa T at the Scottish Six Days.

When viewing this, Dougie Lampkin said “This photo says it all for me”  - Of course nobody used the clutch back in those days, using only the throttle and body positioning to get through the sections. - Another famous figure can be seen watching in the background - The late & great Jim Sandiford another rider who died too young from Cancer.

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Today, I will be heading down the Valley to meet up with Shane - we will check out Bear Ridge again, to see how much snow has melted - weather looks a bit “Iffy” but we will just play it by ear.  Not sure which bike I’ll take today - the TRS or the Beta.  - Cancel that - just looked out the window and it’s snowing like a bugger  - damn.
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Jay Colley from Ymir, stopped by yesterday for a visit, and stayed quite a while, as we haven’t seen him for a long time - he picked up a rear tire and some Opti for his 4RT.

We chatted about a lot of things, including the number of factories involved in the Trials market, and how many are likely to still be around five years from now ( my list might surprise some people)

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So  Graeme Jarvis has won another “Hell’s Gate” Enduro - some video clips can be seen on Facebook, but it was interesting to see a lot of Betas in the results, with three in the top ten - could be a changing of the guard? - I remember watching Graeme at the Scottish in 1992 -the first time he rode it - I was standing with Dave Anderson, who used to make my Trials clothing - Dave said - that’s young Graeme Jarvis - he’s going to be good !! - Well, he definitely called that right - Jarvis went on to finish second in World Trials one year, plus he won the Scottish numerous times, before switching to more lucrative Enduro game.
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The proposed Government shut down of all Off Hiway recreation on Crown Land in Alberta is certainly getting some reaction from the various clubs - A reminder that EVERYBODY needs to be aware of what is going on the other side of the Mountains, and needs to support this protest, including Trials Clubs.

Lets not forget that in the 70’s we ran a World Trial just West of Calgary, but if the environmentally stacked NDP government have their way, nobody will have access to most of the beautiful Mountains. I urge both the ATRA and Jacek’s group to join in the fight to keep these areas open.
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Finally here is a great photo of my favorite Road Racer leading the pack in the UK “Match Races” back in the day   #32  Stevie Baker.

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Shane posted this pic on FB yesterday - He took his old Monty out to check out a new area South of Kelowna - He said riding “Miss Piggy”  made the TRS seem like a lightweight  ( Had a laugh at that comment)