As it's not a world or national championship trial the sections don't have to be ridiculously difficult in order to cater for the top 'works' riders. Consequently, each section is laid out with three routes to cater for riders of differing abilities: easy, medium and hard. Mind you, on our section (section 9, just outside Sardent village) the easy route didn't look that easy to me! And, as for the hard route that featured a near vertical climb up a 10 feet high granite rock face, well, it looked impossible. However, the local champion flew up for a 'clean', as did Andy Cripps from Rochdale (a dead-ringer for Keith Lemon) on his 250 Sherco after bellowing a wonderfully apt expletive in his broad Mancunian accent on confronting the rock for the first time.
Fortunately the locals probably weren't familiar with all the effin' and blindin' that pierced the quiet of the woods with alarming frequency in thick Lancastrian, Yorkshire and cockney accents as riders battled their way to the 'ends' cards. Other European riders probably expressed themselves in a similar manner but, not being fluent in foreign lingos, I couldn't say for sure.
As this was the first trial I'd been to for ages, years actually, I was particularly interested in the bikes, most of which were recent offerings from manufacturers such as Montesa, GasGas and Sherco. As I'm an old fogey whose primary interest is in pre-'65 old bangers and twinshocks, I have to admit to not paying much attention to how far modern trials machinery has advanced in recent years. As a result, I was really impressed by their lightness, monoeuverability and quicknes of response to braking and accelleration. They seemed a whole lot easier to ride than the trials bikes of old. Good fun too.
This got me thinking...
Having recently sold my Greeves, I'm now left with just one trials bike: a 350 Ariel. It's a magnificent steed and ideally suited to pre-'65 trials, both in France and the UK. Trouble is, most of the French events are miles away in the Alps and Pyrenees, and the UK events are even further away, so I'm unlikely to ever ride again if I keep this bike. Realistically, the bike's just an ornamental investment which, let's face it, is never again going to be used for purpose while it remains in my ownership. Thinks... time for change?
There and then, while being surrounded by modern engineering masterpieces that danced over rocks in a manner that left me gobsmacked, I decided to sell my beloved Ariel, buy a 300 Sherco (or maybe a 250 Repsol Montesa), join the organising trials club (St. Christophe) and enter next year's event doing the gentlemen's route (easier sections). So that's my plan. Ariel currently on eBay and Sherco search on-going on the leboncoin site. Might have to practice bellowing a few Scottish expletives. Should be fun. P.S. - Am now being tempted by the GasGas Raga Replica so I've added a couple of pics.
300 Sherco 250 Repsol Montesa
2013 GasGas Raga Replica