The Taverners section of the VMCC is probably best known for the Founders Day Rally at Stamford Hall. Many visitors to that annual event will have witnessed the light hearted display of trials riding in the arena. What most may not realise is that the Taverners have been running a competitive winter trials series, in and around Leicestershire, for the last 40 odd years.
We hold eight (more or less) trials between September and April at venues which provide a variety of challenges, most of which include mud.Our events are, generally, laid out to suit the ‘Big Old Bikes’ that have fallen out of competitive favour in most ‘classic’ trials events. Our intention is that riders on girder forked rigid machines should be able to compete and, any rider, irrespective of age or skill, should be able to complete the event without excessive physical distress (although 8 laps of 8 sections is a good workout). With that in mind, our trials are designated as Pre-57 events. This decision was made many moons ago as providing a demarcation date after which the unit lightweights took over; resulting in tighter sections and more acrobatic riding styles becoming the norm.We have four competition classes in which trophies are awarded. Girder/Rigid machines (Pre-41), Tele/Rigid 4 stroke machines, fully “suspendered” 4 strokes and two smoke machines (for those that must).
We also have a youth class for riders under 16. When numbers permit, we have a non-championship ‘guest’ class. This was originally intended to allow riders of ‘trick’ pre-57 bikes to ride without taking points from original machines but we now have a number of regular pre-65 riders making up the numbers. While we don’t ask for dating certificates, machines should, generally, be of the period. Concentric carburettors, electronic Ignitions and nonstandard fork internals are acceptable modifications.
We have a healthy following for the events with our absolute limit of 50 entries regularly being fully subscribed. The temptation to extend the entry limit, to prevent turning riders away, has been resisted as this would result in longer queues at the sections, longer queues for the lunchtime soup and less time in the pub afterwards. The events attract a good variety of machines and rider ability. We have some keen younger riders and many of the ‘old hands’ are riding well past retirement age. As usual, scores range from the odd ‘dab free’ ride to those, like mine, matching the bike’s engine capacity! We have a loyal and enthusiastic group of volunteers who act as observers, lay out sections and clean up after us – more are always welcome.