Motorcycle Trials Riding at RAF Waddington
For a number of years now RAF Waddington has had a healthy number of motorcycle trials riders who regularly compete both locally and at inter-service level. The more experienced among you might remember the ‘Kickstart’ TV programme from the 1970s where Peter Purves would try not to laugh as riders tested themselves against a variety of natural and man-made obstacles.
Well, not much has changed really, although the bikes are now much lighter and more powerful. A local club trial typically includes 40 observed sections. The object is to ride through each section without putting your foot down. If you were any good on a BMX, then you’ll probably take to trials riding quite easily. For the bigger competitions, longer off-road sections require higher levels of fitness, stamina and bike preparation. However, they are also great fun.
Currently there are 5 Waddington riders who compete regularly in the local area. Senior Aircraftsman Dave Mason from GEF purchased his 250cc Montesa motorbike for a bargain £800 last year and is totally new to both motorcycling and trials riding. The only other equipment that he needed was a helmet, a pair of boots and a bike rack for the back of his car. Dave has quickly taken to the sport and has proved that he is willing to attempt any obstacle, no matter how daunting.
Corporal Si Cummins, on the other hand has ridden an Enduro motorcycle for many years but has recently invested £4,000 in a brand new 250cc Sherco, so we are expecting great things from him over the coming season. Sqn Ldr Jem Waring continues to use a 1970s twin-shock Montesa in the easier competitions, which just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what bike you have, or what level you can ride to, there is always the opportunity to get out and frighten yourself.
Motorcycle Trials riding is fully recognised and supported by the RAF Sports Board, which grants travel authority to a number of competitions each year. Consequently, the team has been competing in Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and mainland UK for many years. Our next big outing is to the Guernsey 2-Day Trial over 3 and 4 March and we are always looking for newcomers, both to ride and to act as mechanics. Subject to budgetary approval, a van, fuel card and ferry ticket are provided, which just leaves accommodation and food to pay for. To see a video of the team completing a lap of Jersey last November, log on to http://vimeo.com/32359923.
If you fancy having a go at trials riding, why not join us at one of our practice sessions near the Humber Bridge. That will give you the chance to see what we do and try out a few bikes. You can also chat to the current riders and see whether this relatively cheap form of motorsport might be for you. For details contact Squadron Leader Tom Collett 01522 726845
By Squadron Leader Tom Collett