Archive for August, 2023

Thursday August 31st 2023

Thursday, August 31st, 2023

Yes the last day of what has been a very traumatic month for thousands of people evacuated from their homes in the NWT and the Okanagan Valley - We can only hope that the next month will bring some relief.

For me, the month of September is a bit special, because I have a birthday on the 5th - I have tried to get out for a ride on this day as the years rolled by, with perhaps the most memorable,being on my 75th birthday, when Stan Bakgaard and myself did the Joss Mountain Climb - my 8th and final time. ( Eight years ago) - Yes it was tough for me at that age and some health issues, but glad to have my name in the book one last time. ( The book was only put in the Look-out in 2007, when the Forestry put a new roof  and new windows in the old original Fire Look-out from 1920.) - My first trip up and the other ride that really sticks in my mind, was in 2003   - at that time the route was almost impassable in places and only a Trials bike ( or a pack horse) could make it. - definitely not a ride for newbies.

This is a pic I took at the top on that last trip with Stan - we did not loiter as those are snow clouds.

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A brief sunny spell as we got into the high ground
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The spec in the center of this pic is Stan picking his way up the rocky path  - I was already knackered by this time and rode the Factory Evo 300 up in 1st gear with lots of dabs - ( This was totally  the wrong bike for me to be on at age 75 (  and my unknown at the time diabetes   problem)  but this was a last minute idea by Stan and while it was a struggle - I’m glad we did it. - The mountain is now Off limits to Motorbikes - due we think mainly because of the Mountain bike people - although we don’t know this for sure - we do know that the original trail that was built in 1920 using pack horses, was a great challenge in the early years we tackled it - often driving through snow ( The Beta was always great pulling 4th gear )  and in later years we went up we found some “Gardening” had been done on the difficult rocky sections above the switchbacks.
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Answer to the last quiz - Lane Leavett - Top USA Trials rider in the 70’s and sponsored by Bultaco  - He is married to the famous Debbie Evans who used to do the trick of standing on her head on the TY 175 - Debbie and Lane both rode in the Scottish and both work as Stunt people in the Movies. - - A few correct guess’s  - Pete Varey got in first - then Bob Clark followed by Harlow - ( Maybe I need to put more modern pics in for the younger set !!!!)


Today Katie and maybe other members of the Canadian TDN Team Fly out to France - They will first take in the World Round before picking up their rental bikes and getting some local practice, before the big team event the following weekend. - We wish all the teams the very best of luck - leave your nerves back at the hotel and go do it!!!

The Belanger family will be part of the Canadian contingent going to France.

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Yesterday I was pleasantly   surprised to have a visit from Terry Bainbridge - and while we have only touched base a few times over the years, we have shared many friends and lost a few. - A former Doctor at the Kelowna Cancer Clinic - Terry has been a Cross Country racer most of his life and was also on the Canadian ISDE Team one year, - Suffice to say that his short visit turned out to be many hours sitting in my shop swapping stories - what could be better ??


Wednesday August 30th 2023

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

Quiz - Who is this?
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Answer to the Tuesday quiz - the rider is Thierry Michaud - correct guess’s from Bob Clark-Brett Clark (on holiday in the UK) and Harlow.

Interesting story from the past. Rules are rules - but most observers would I think have called this a dab rather than a 5
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Tomorrow Katie and some of the other Team Members head for Europe - they will get to watch the World round this weekend before picking up their bikes and do some practice before the big Trial next weekend -
2023 Trial des Nations Team Canada fund raiser, organized by Michael Traves


They forecast some rain for the Okanagan - today - but nothing so far - yesterday it was very smoky again

Cancel that comment - it just started raining in Vernon at 7am - but will  it be enough?

Tuesday August 29th 2023

Tuesday, August 29th, 2023

Most of our Motorcycle friends in Canada are used to spending time around the campfire at both Trials and other events, but we have never seen a portable Fire unit like this one that Heath used in the UK last weekend while out doing his Dragonfly Demos.
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Quiz - Who is this ?

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A few people recognized  Steve Foord in the Monday quiz - but only Neil Carter knew where the pic was taken.

Looking ahead to this upcoming long weekend - we hope that the rain forecast will enable some people to get out on the bikes - Anybody interested in going to Revvy one day? I can remember a lot of great sections with easy ( for the old guy) access.


Somebody posted this pic saying it’s Mick Andrews TY 400 ??   - Now most people at least the older folks - will remember that Mick had the Factory Mono shock bike that he won the Scottish Six Days on - but that was a 250 and the rear sub frame was tubular as I recall- Mick did tell me that they experimented with a 360 motor but he found it too much and wrong type of power. - He also tested a unit fitted with a modified XT 500 4T motor .

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Anybody looking for a good Vintage Triumph cub ?  This one’s a bit special, having won the Pre 65 Scottish this year - asking price  ( excuse me while I cough) $20,000.00.- $30,000.00


A few of the South Okanagan Club took in the Outliers Hard Enduro in Alberta including Jason Munns and his family - they managed to get pics taken with some of the super stars - here are the kids with winner Manny Lettenbichler.
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Monday August 28th 2023

Monday, August 28th, 2023

Best wishes go out today to a few of our friends who have birthdays - Katie McG, Paul Throssel , Keith Simmons ,-Dave Chambers and Darrell Heidrick
We hope you all have a great day.


I was quite surprised that we got two correct replies to the quiz yesterday - The rider was Chris Cullin on a 1952 Francis Barnett  -  Neil Carter was first in followed by Pete LeGrove  in England.


It was another fairly quiet weekend - watched some of the golf from Atlanta - the winner got a staggering  $18 million !!!!!  - the guy who finished 10th even got to take home a million bucks. - wow!!

One of our  new TRS customers stopped by yesterday and I did an oil change for him plus supplied a spark arrestor  ( Yes we are often available on Sundays!!)

We had a request to ship stuff to Malta !!  - Sorry that’s not happening.

Manny Lettenbichler won the Outliers hard Enduro in Alberta at the weekend - Billy Bolt was 2nd - Trystan Hart 3rd.
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Quiz today - Who is this rider?

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Sunday August 27th 2023

Sunday, August 27th, 2023

We just got this pic of Ross Rathbone - ready to take water-hose   out on his property at Magna Bay and put out spot fires - This might be the first time a Factory Beta has been used for this.  ( I see he is wearing his Wulf Trials gloves)
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We saw a post recently from a Beta rider, regarding Chevron gas - and Ethanol  ! - Just thought I would mention that Opti 2 - comes with a built in fuel stabilizer and riders using this product ( which we have Distributed since 1987) need have no worries.

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Quiz This is a toughie - name the rider and the bike - Hint he was a British rider
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Answer to the Saturday quiz - Donato Miglio - who later joined the Beta  Factory. - Correct guess’s came from Pete Varey- Brett & Bob Clark- and a late entry from Neil Carter.  - Harlow also knew who it was but spelled his name wrong.


Did you know that in 1886 the City of Vancouver burned to the ground? must have been global warming right? These folk were forced to camp out near False Creek.
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Please note because of the Extreme Fire danger - there is no riding allowed at either Ioco or Iron Mountain - ( and anywhere in the Okanagan - Shuswap)

Saturday August 26th 2023

Saturday, August 26th, 2023

The Latest on the Shuswap Fire

Late yesterday we got a call from Ross with all the latest news regarding  the Scotch Creek/ Magna Bay/Celista areas - and so glad to report that so far !!!   Ross & Judy’s place, plus Martin and Julie’s place - Dale Lewis - Jake’s place up near where we used to start the Outlaw - all safe -

Now as most of our Trials friends know Ross is a pretty mild mannered type of guy,  but how he explained everything that these folk from the Shuswap have put up with,  in trying to fight this fire  AGAINST ALL ODDS - is not only remarkable but heartbreaking - - If these brave people had not stayed to defend their property and help their friends - all would have been lost. - While Ross would never put blame on the Fire fighters - there is no question  that in this and many other cases - the wrong General is in charge both in BC and at a National level.

We can only hope that this Summer of Natural disasters will soon end and we can all enjoy getting back out riding

Quiz - Who is this Fantic rider ?

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It seems like everyday we get emails etc asking us how things are, because of all the fires, and obviously we are a bit stressed out hearing choppers going over trailing buckets, and fire engines blaring by with sirens shrieking -  but glad to say that so far we are doing just fine. - For people who don’t get to see the news updates - I suggest you click onto You Tube and check out the various very good and unbiased videos, showing the destruction and also the teams from all over who are in BC fighting this fire storm.


Anybody looking for a mint vintage bike?  This 73 Bultaco Sherpa T 325 is for sale in Alberta for $3500. -

This was the last Bultaco model we rode in competition, as an Expert before I joined Yamaha Canada, and I loved that bike. - We did buy a few more Sherpa’s later for Vintage trials,  but none were as good  as that one.  - email me if you are interested and I will put you in touch with the seller.


Most people that read this blog, know that one of the reasons that I took to Trials back in the UK, was because I just  loved the long loops and riding through the beautiful Countryside -( my first event was 70 miles)  I think this is also the reason why many dedicated riders still enter the Scottish Six Days - the pic below shows a hiker on a trail that drops down into Kinlochleven - where the section known as Pipeline is located. - Likely this track  is used in the SSDT . - Although the weather in the Highlands is often ugly and sometimes riders encounter snow at the higher elevations - the sheer thrill after riding 100 miles per day for a week, must be unbelievable - unfortunately - I never got to ride the Scottish - the rest of my life got in the way..

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Inside Story - Raga + Prep Team…
The purpose of this article is to give you an idea of the team surrounding Raga and the level of work required to prepare the bikes of the best riders.
In April 2016 had the pleasure of escorting the TRS team to the first world round in Cal Rosal.
This took place from Thursday to Sunday including, granting me 4 days with the TRS team in Rellinars, Manresa and then to Cal Rosal, home of the first world test of 2016. The purpose of my visit was mainly to support Pol Tarres, which sponsors. The second goal of the visit was to enjoy and experience the world test from the team’s point of view from the inside, rather than as a spectator.
Here’s a chronological list of the day’s events, focusing on bike prep and the rider team.
At this stage the fully equipped TRS team bus was painted and delivered with TRS team decals. It was equipped with beds, bathroom with shower, kitchenette, TVs, storage for 8 bikes, scooter paddock and multiple awnings and tables. Catering was booked, food and drinks purchased and awnings prepared. Everything was ready.
Adam Raga receives 3 bikes from TRS. Always ride his number one bike. This is the bike that gets almost all the attention at all times. This bike is the top priority. The other 2 bikes are for Sergi and Jordi Mira. Adam Raga’s TRS ONE receives a very high level of professional attention, as you’ll find out.
Adam wasn’t present at the factory so he couldn’t test his bike after Jordi Mera had fully prepared it. Sergi and Jordi, however, are both fully aware of Adams requirements for motorbikes. They know Adam likes the engine that revs it from zero to top right away. They know Adam likes incredibly smooth acceleration, with almost no resistance. They know Adam likes a strong grip that makes an immediate grip. They know they like the sharp, progressive, strong brakes. They also know it’s their job to make sure Adam’s bike is perfect and fits him. No excuse at all… no exceptions … must be corrected the first time.
Shortly after taking the picture above, Sergi rode Adam’s bike for several minutes around the parking lot to make sure everything was perfect. Sergi was testing the friction, brakes and accelerator response. Jordi Tarres was also present who also tried Adam’s bike to make sure everything was perfect. I also asked to walk around the parking lot and Sergi looked at me like I was a madman….. and then he said “No, it’s not possible”. Do not ask - do not get ? My plant visit only lasted about 15 minutes, so I hadn’t learned much at this point.
After this short visit to the factory we left and returned to Rellinars to deliver to Pol the new clothes that we had previously collected.
Later this evening (always Thursday) we headed to Cal Rosal (40 minutes away) and witnessed setting up the paddock, setting up the awnings, tables and chairs among other things.
They held a memorial to Chris Castles at the Vernon Flying club yesterday, which I was unable to attend - this included a “Fly past” - I took this pic of Chris sleeping on the flight back from the ISDE in Wales back in 1983 - Gerry Nilson who was also on the Team looks over his shoulder - sadly Gerry also died some years ago - rest easy Chris - you were a good man.
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Friday August 25th 2023

Friday, August 25th, 2023

This pic just showed up om FB - a reminder of the great National WTC Trial we held at Revelstoke in 2016 - As always, these events take some planning, and we saw this as a chance to host a trial with a difference. - In the first place, we started at the Local Lodge run by a Transplanted Brit via Australia. - With riders staying over in the comfort of the lodge or camping in the grounds. - This made for a quite European aspect and with the help of the Revvy Club - ( Florian - Chris  and others)  we plotted a fairly long loop which took in three of the local disused quarries   - lots of rock etc. - These were all connected by trails for the riders, but with a forestry gravel road available for spectators to drive their vehicles with lots of parking to watch all the action. - We printed up a program as seen below, which featured Spanish rider Tino Banon on the cover - a pic I took of him riding the Outlaw Evo 200 at a previous Trial in Alberta.

The event itself, proved to be a huge success   with a good turn out of riders and a large crowd of spectators - Tino and Sammy King were the top experts, but the other classes were well represented by riders from all over Western Canada,

At the end of the day - the awards presentation was held in the bar of the lodge - another unique experience for Canadian Trials, - The pic below, shows myself ( looking very knackered) Stan and Steve Day relaxing on the podium logs after it was all over.
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Trials sections always used to feature a lot of mud !!
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This weekend is the Red Bull Outliers Hard Enduro in Drumheller- Alberta - this year it’s part of the World Series, so all the  top riders will be in attendance - However, most Canadian fans will be rooting for BC boy Tristan Hart - who has just signed a multi-year contract with KTM.
Red Bull Outliers video preview: Hard Enduro World Championship round four hits Canada


Answer to the Thursday quiz - Jim Sandiford - Montesa UK Importer -we saw Jim at the 1992 Scottish in Fort William - he was having a drink with Malcolm Rathmell, but looking very sick, and he sadly died from cancer soon after. - A few people got this - but first in was Nick Hellings from Edmonton.


And finally - Remember Jake Cook ???  well he quit riding Alberta Trials to start a family & this is his lad !!

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Thursday August 24th 2023

Thursday, August 24th, 2023

Quiz - Who is this???


A great Neil Sturgeon photo of young 14 year old George Hemingway  - brilliant lad who just won his class in the British Championship on his Beta Evo 125.


News from Nova Scotia  by Michael Traves >>

Weekly Trials Update

I heard from Jonathan English last week that had received the sad news that Lawrence (Larry) Dawdy died. He was 84.  He was the father of a good friend of his, Rich, who really helped him improve as a rider. They had spent a bunch of time together through the 90’s and he was very active in trials at that time.

It really is people like this that really are the foundation of Trials in Canada !

With the TDN just around the corner I believe we have the majority of the logistics worked out Jenn has been awesome in getting things organized for the team and produced a full team itinerary yesterday including the 5 different dates that people are arriving, who is renting which vehicles for moving people and bikes, who is going to which accommodations when both at the world round the week before and the TDN and when everyone is flying out. It is an extremely helpful thing to have when trying to organize a team of this magnitude traveling in France.

On the Fund raising side things we recently received $1,000 from an anonymous  donor through the CMA. A quick shout out to the CMA for their help in providing official tax receipts for companies that can use it as an expense, unfortunately it is not a “charitable tax receipt” but still very helpful for larger donations and all the money is sent directly to the team.

Also a big shout out to the ATA at their last event the Dave Cordy was good enough to run a fund raiser for the TDN and the people who donated will be entered into the go-fund-me draw


An old pic from when they started building the Pipeline at Kinlochleven. Scotland - followed by

Some Trials results from the East.

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This pic just showed up on FB - seems a long time ago that we got that first Jordi Tarres bike - the brilliant TRS

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How times change !! - not all for the better - but Go Pro sure would have helped this guy!!

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In weather news - things have improved in the Valley with clearer sky’s  on Wednesday - we still hear Choppers flying around and know there is a new fire up above Armstrong - but at least some folk are now being allowed back into their homes in Kelowna - We still have no word on Ross Rathbone’s Trials Center - all we know is that they stayed on to fight the fires and protect both their own and other people’s property - We know Cecile’s house survived but her shop burned.

Obviously we have a lot of concerns as we have a large core of Trials riders and friends in the Shuswap - latest we heard is that our daughter’s summer home at Cottonwoods ( Near Scotch Creek)  is still OK ( that is a miracle with everything burned around that area)

We know this battle is still not over, but it would appear that a Fall Trial at Martin & Julies would be doubtful. -  Maybe a Revvy Trial if we can drum up some enthusiasm?


Nice to see this - we saw lots of these on our rides at the Bear Creek area. - plus on the Westside Road.

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Wednesday August 23rd 2023

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023

We have watched all the videos being posted on the TV regarding the wild fires and of course countless speeches being made by the various department heads, and the Political  parties - While there is no doubt that most of these people are very genuine and are doing a great job, in cases like this, there is always going to be some criticism - here is some things I saw posted, regarding the fires burning in the Shuswap. - Obviously we are all very concerned about our Trials friends who live in that area., and host our Trials events.

We are still OK in Vernon, but there have been a couple of fires - However - glad to say they are jumping on these quickly - not that we like the sound of Helicopters going over the house trailing a bucket !! - bit like a scene from a Vietnam Movie.
. - I do have the van parked close to the shop, where I can quickly load stuff - but just the thought of what to pack is scary.

I actually wanted to be a journalist when I was a kid. Now I’d be ashamed to be associated with people who produced the twisted, edited ”interviews” aired on CBC.
Having to watch a BCWS spokesperson say that the catastrophic back burn saved hundreds of homes after they used a photo of our business in flames as an attention grabber….
Where are these hundreds of homes that it saved? Homes and businesses are lost (and still being lost every day) in Celista, Scotch Creek, Lee Creek, Adams Lake, Squilax—i don’t even know about Sorrento, Turtle Valley or Bear Creek. I have seen photos of active fires everywhere right now, approaching homes.
We don’t know the scope of it: this is far from over.
In the time that Brian and incredibly supportive local contractors spent defending our home in the last few days he saw only two BCWS people who arrived in one truck. They were clean and stayed that way. Didn’t lift a finger. Said “looks like you’re doing the right things” and left.
Now military police won’t let people leave their property. The minister of Forests texted “starve them out” (this can be verified) Fuel delivery has been cut off. People won’t be able to use their generators to run their pumps.
How could they expect us to trust authorities when
1. They didn’t put the fire out when it was small and manageable
2. Executed a disastrous large scale ignition that sent the fire places they never predicted
3. Failed to issue an evacuation order in time, trapping people who had to be rescued by boat
4. Withdrew personnel on the worst night possible, leaving locals to fight all night to save their homes: with some remarkable success
5. Continue to paint local people as criminals when they tirelessly continue to fight fire every day with their own equipment
6. Encourage the media to distort the reality

*Long post but plz read* I ask anyone to please not believe the bs you see from CSRD (Columbia Shuswap Regional District), BC Wildfire, North Shuswap Emergency Program, news casts, and RCMP. “United” they say. RCMP cutting off all people attempting to help with water tanks, gas for people’s generators (nobody has power), food or water, respirators, anything. All of it is being turned away while our locals are there fighting to save their homes and the community. It’s been OUR family and friends in the thick of it. Inhaling smoke. Covered in sut. Exhausted. Hungry.
A Sysco semi was to deliver tons of food, water and supplies and the RCMP turned them away while locals are on the other side of the roadblock fighting. CSRD is not picking up the phone or returning calls anymore to those wanting to help while our community runs out of resources. Even if you walk across the Squilax Bridge, you’ll get arrested (told to our amazing local owner of BeTeased, Sharon, while she was returning to Scotch Creek with food and supplies. Caught on camera. Look up BeTeased on Instagram as she has all the footage). If you think for a second that they’re actually giving the help they claim they are, Kolten and I have an entire community who will tell you otherwise. And they know, because they’re there fighting the damn good fight. We talk to them daily, we see their footage and pictures.
And now, if you are home, you are to remain ON YOUR PROPERTY (confirmed by an officer last night, also on BeTeased footage). So now you gotta stay in your home, with no food, gas, water, or power and wait for it to burn? Or you leave and don’t come back? And if you try, you could get arrested. I say good luck, because there’s no way our community will sit back and let it burn on their watch. Because they’re not getting help from anyone else. They won’t go down without a fight. Nobody is helping them, so they’re banded together as a community to help themselves.
A joke. An entire joke. What happens will not be forgotten. I’ll tell you this, I’m proud as hell of the Shuswap locals. Proud of our family and friends. Keep fighting. Take care of yourselves and be safe. All the applause and praise goes to you
The link below is to an article in the Vancouver Sun - in which our Good Friend Ross Rathbone says it like it really is.
In Trials news - I watched a You Tube video of the British Championship round from last weekend - Amazing skill by the top 6 riders tackling what look like impossible rock climbs - but somehow they manage it - and remember these sections look a lot easier on film than they actually are in real life. -
I think back to some of the super difficult sections that I put in for some of the Championship Events that we hosted - as an organizer you need both the vision and the experience to push the limits of the riders, but also with safety in mind.  ( Yes we had a couple of injuries over the years - but nothing too serious)
So hats off to the young lads who compete at this level - and yes you definitely  need minders.
As for the rest of the club riders who compete at a weekend  Trial - yes there will always be a class for you - one that you won’t break your bike or your body - club Trials should be promoted as a fun/family sport.
When we first started putting on Trials events back in the 1970’s we used the same idea that was from the UK - but one other thing we did which was I think invaluable then - and could also be now is “PRE -ENTRY” - What this does is gives the Organizer an idea who is coming and they can then set up sections accordingly for each class ( Back in my day - in the UK -  we just had one class - you rode the same line as the Factory riders)
On a more upbeat - Katie has been by the shop to pick up a box of spare parts to take with her to France for the Trial Des Nations - - which is only one week away - Yes she is excited and I hope she ( and the Teams) do well after all the hard work practicing  ( Not many first year riders would attempt  this!!)
Weather today is much clearer in the Valley >>

Tuesday August 22nd 2023

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023

Trystan Hart has won the  latest Hard Enduro in the USA  - 2nd Billy Bolt - 3rd Manny  Lettenbichler
Hart tops Bolt at the 2023 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout; Lettenbichler rounds out the podium


Answer to the Sunday quiz - Geoff Burgess -Lawrence Hacking - Helmut Clasen - Jeff Smith - Smith won the Scottish on a BSA nobody got the complete answer - But Cam Whiffing got three correct - plus he knew Smith won the Scottish


With thick smoke in the Valley, we are staying indoors with the windows closed - and while we have been taking in all the latest info on the wild fires - for a break yesterday afternoon - I clicked onto You Tube and watched “On Any Sunday” the brilliant Bruce Brown movie that inspired so many kids.  - this was followed by “On Any Sunday Two” which I had never seen - not done by Bruce Brown, and overall not as good I thought - but it does have some  good racing clips in it, plus a few shots of Bernie Schrieber on the Bultaco.  - Did you know that in the first movie with Mert, Malcolm and Steve riding on the beach at the end - Mert is actually on a Greeves fitted with Harly decal on the tank - as he was contracted to HD.

The Wild fires still dominate the news with both the Okanagan Valley and the Shuswap suffering huge losses of property - we did get a 5 minute downpour last night - but also heard thunder - not good with lightning possibly starting even more fires. -

It was Tori Rathbone’s birthday yesterday - we saw a pic of her with soot from the fires on her face - we can only hope that all our friends in the Shuswap get through this difficult time safely. - We got a message from Dennis Brumwell who got evacuated from Yellowknife - he is now staying at a Motel in Valleyview. - -

It is now 4.30 am and time to click the TV for any updates - stay safe my friends