John Fulcher Memorial Classic Trial Report :: Sun 6 Nov 2016

For those wondering about the origin of this memorial trial, Brian has written the John Fulcher story up for the site.  It is here in the About section.


*Thanks to Bronwyn and Murray for the photographs.

The weather was ideal for riding - cool and overcast, clearing to sunny and warm around midday just in time for the braai and social after the ride.  We were joined by the Nomads observers who had helped run the Nationals a few weeks ago, and things were quite lively around the braai.

The sections were set for classic bikes, which made them relatively easy on modern bikes.  For this reason all the modern bike riders rode the experts line.  Of course those on classic bikes have generally been riding for a few more decades and this evened things out somewhat.

The sections almost all started with some slippery uphill on pine needles, and tight turns between trees.  The riders who were smooth on the throttle tended to do well.

Section 1

After meandering upwards and turning around a tree, experts had to cross two logs on a diagonal down slope before reaching the path and exit gate.  Clubmen had to ride between the logs and execute a tight off-camber turn at the bottom.

The logs took a number of points - young Stephen Shearer went down when his front dug in, and people who were too tentative crossing the logs ended up hitting their bashplates and dabbing.

Section 2

This was one of two that went down at the start.  Down over a step into a tight, slippery left turn, then up and around a tree to the right followed by a left turn uphill with very little space.  On the first lap very few riders managed a clean, but things got better as riders' nerves settled and a line wore through the pine needles on the track.

Section 3

This section started with a small log on a right turn, followed by a slippery tight left u-turn, which if you did not execute tightly enough put you on a poor line for making the root-covered gap between two trees.  This was followed by a turn to the right to end on the downhill.





Section 4

The only section I managed to clean on all laps.  It was a diagonally uphill line, with a bit of a left/uphill deflection around a tree, followed by a narrow gap between two trees to exit after turning right, back down again.


Section 5

More trickiness.  A tight left u-turn, followed by very slippery diagonally left uphill riding (where at one point I suddenly found traction and parted ways with my bike for a 5).  Once at the top experts had to cross a log with a docile entry, but quite a drop on the other side.  Part of the landing area was quite level and success lay in having a fair amount of momentum with a slight uphill angle.

The log I managed fine, but the slippery slope was exactly that for me.


Section 6

The other section that didn't start with a slippery uphill.  The start here  was a small ditch with the river in it.  Many popped a whee over the ditch, but I preferred to keep both wheels on the ground (given my propensity to overdo these things).  Tight turn right, step down with an uphill curve left between trees.  Experts then had the only rock of the trial, a sloper on the right with a docile landing area and very tight left turn with a dip in the middle.

I cleaned this twice in a row, then put myself in the wrong place over the rock and had to 3 the tight turn.  On the last lap I recovered to a 1.


Section 7

For me the most scary section due to a log crossing with a high drop-off diagonally across the slope and a sloping landing area.  A perfect recipe for me to really lose it.  However, I did fairly well - with a 3 on the first lap while I felt my way around, followed by a 2, a clean and a precautionary dab.


Section 8

To reach this section we had to backtrack towards Section 5.  Section 8 went uphill and formed a liason with the track at the top where we looped around to Section 1 again.

This section started with a small log and a small climb to a left turn parallel to the slope.  Then a very tight turn right to climb up and out.  I did not exactly cloak myself in glory on this one.  In fact (and here is a lesson I failed to follow up on) - the only time I cleaned this one was when I was in 4th gear by mistake.  After riding back from Section 7, I was in a high gear.  Before starting the bike to ride Section 8 I manually shifted down to reach neutral - except I was in a false neutral between 3 and 4.  When I shifted up to what I thought was 2, I was actually in 4.

I could feel that the bike was lugging, and had to slip the clutch to avoid stalling - and this gave me the smooth action needed to not break traction.


Experts Classic   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total Position
Brian Barson Honda TLR 200 0 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 5 1
Clubmen Classic                      
Johann Van Blerck SWM 0 0 4 0 0 1 0 0 5 1
Trevor Kinnear Ossa 250 0 1 6 0 0 0 0 0 7 2
Mark Shearer Suzuki Rl 250 3 0 3 1 0 0 0 1 8 3
Duncan Barson Yamaha TY 175 0 2 6 0 1 0 0 0 9 4
Expert Modern                      
Sean Pretorius Gas Gas 4 4 5 1 4 0 1 0 19 1
Craig McIver Beta 2 1 4 3 7 1 0 1 19 2
Steve Shearer Sherco 7 5 1 0 7 0 0 2 22 3
Will Gould Beta 0 2 10 0 5 1 6 0 24 4
Mike Sydenham Gas Gas 5 6 9 0 4 11 6 1 42 5
Charles Oertel Beta 3 5 9 0 10 3 6 7 43 6
Murray Thomas Gas Gas 9 6 16 0 10 9 15 6 71 7

Member for

7 years 3 months

Thanks Charles for the report. Brian for setting the trial and Bronwyn for the nice pics. Very pleasant day altogether and well done to Johan for his win this year!

Member for

7 years 4 months

Thanks for the report Charles. I thought the event went off very well and was a fitting finale to what has been a very good year.

Member for

3 years 10 months

Nice pics- stunning white and red Yamaha. Is there more pics of it and some detail please