Once again the Phil King East Anglian kick-started the National trials with 130 riders heading east to the Castle Colchester event, again the first round of the Normandale Masters Traditional Championship.
The weather around the UK had been poor meaning that there were a number of nonstarters but the snow had fortunately missed this part of the UK, although a severe frost had left the course and roads treacherous.
On the day the weather was bright but chilly as the first riders took the short trip down the road to the sections along the stream from Pebmarsh village. As usual the non-championship Pre 65 riders got things under way pioneering the route but the frozen ground took its toll with three riders retiring with punctures.
Tim Blackmore had an outstanding ride to take the class win losing just 17 marks on his Bantam followed by James Newstead, also on a Bantam but with a rigid rear end. Next out were the Twin-shocks and it was an Eastern Centre and (Fantic) 1-2-3 with Andy Barrell, Mark Banham and Tom Norman heading the field.
Andy set the early pace but a disaster at Alphamstone losing two fives opened the door for Mark and it was neck and neck to the last group at Cross Ends where Mark picked up a five just three sections from home handing it back to Andy.
The aircooled monos were next away and it was tight at the top with Rob Sherlock with his tidy Gas Gas edging the win over Chris Collins on his Yam Mono. Rob looked good all day but signed off with a five on the last section of the day but had done just enough for a one win over Chris. The Over 60s were the next out with a healthy entry of 14 on a mixture of modern and 80s bikes.
Mick Marshall set the early pace cleaning the first two groups and had his first dab at the end of ten where the low sun blinded the riders as they crested the hill. Meanwhile Mike Flanagan and Clive’s, Charlton and Dopson were in a battle for second place with Flanagan getting the nod thanks to a good run through Alphamstone and Pebmarsh.
The Over 50s is usually the biggest class and sure enough there were 37 riders on the start line. Ian Wakeford from Waterlooville had an incredible ride losing just six for his day.
All the top three riders had super cleans on the slippery log at the end of Colne Park and Wakeford kept his feet up all the way to 22 at Alphamstone where he was finally caught out by the slippery clay and roots.
Last year’s winner Graham Haslam was in a battle for second with Julian Page just edging it on a most singles tie-break. The last away were the Over 40s and the club deliberately set them off when the conditions were at their worse, nonetheless the ability of these riders makes a mockery of the sections set out by clerk of course Jim Cammack and his team.
After 20 of the 37 sections it was tight at the top with Ben Skinner and Phil Wiffen on five and seven each, Phil pulling a couple back in Alphamstone but it was the two by Ben at the very difficult 32 at Pebmarsh that got him the class win. Last year’s winner Steve Swanson was in third place with John Cowley in fourth.