A taste of the old days

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Sir,
In an unassuming sort of way the motorcyclists of Yorkshire have, for many years, taken part in an annual frolic on similar lines to those you suggest for cars on page 1265 of the December 1971 issue.

The event is the annual re-union trial run by the Ilkley Club for riders who competed pre-war, results being calculated on a performance/machine-age/rider-age formula. The nub of the whole thing is that this is a trial “run in the spirit of the twenties” and, of course, over the kind of course which would be used at that time. How fortunate we are to have hundreds of square miles of open country virtually unchanged since the pack horse days, and to be able to savour the free and easy atmosphere at the start with its bustle, chatter, leg-pulling, machine inspection and so on.

And what a pleasure it is to see Oliver Langton (in his 60s) bucking a 2 3/4 A.J.S. over the boulders of Keighley Gate or Eddie Flintoff (in his 70s) plonking quietly and certainly up a steep rock and heather covered bit of Pockstone’s Moor on a Sunbeam as long as a row of houses, or to hear Stuart-White’s Scott droning up the hill out of Dob Park Splash, or… but one could go on for a long time. The spirit of the 1920s is here all right—friendly, helpful, humorous, knowledgeable—riding to win, but still prepared to stop and give a hand to anyone in trouble. The list of winners makes interesting reading too, dating from the days when you could be a
dirt track star two or three nights a week, compete in a trial or hillclimb or sand race on Sunday and get time off in June to ride a works bike in the T.T.! The rest of your spare time was spent in making your bike go faster or handle better than the next man’s.

I know that the age of the rider rather than the machine is the governing factor here but there is always a high percentage of vintage machinery being used. Those who elect to use modern trials-ware are shown the error of their ways by having to tackle some additional, very serious section. Serve ’em right!

If you want a nostalgic day out in “Superb scenery with magnificent sections”—I quote from the Scott Trial comments in the current Motorcycle Sport—come to Yorkshire next year at re-union time. Please don’t ask me for details, though. I am, to my regret, just a spectator!

K. L. Griffin.
Bramhope.