Well, once again this all started with an email from Doug Miller, ‘Fancy doing this?” The Taverners Road Trial arose as a result of the demise of the Leicestershire Vintage Club founded during 1956 as a joint club for Vintage Cars and Motorcycle enthusiasts living in the Leicester area.
Handy for Doug as he lives in Leicester. I asked a few friends who declined, for one reason or another, apart from Max Aldous. Max usually spends most of his spare time on the track, sprinting his Lambretta’s. Anyway he was keen to give it a go, which was great!
I met Max on Saturday and we vaned the scooters up to Leicester for an early start Sunday morning. We met Doug about 8.30 on the starting point at Husbands Bosworth airfield. It was a beautiful morning, the mist was rising as the sun burnt through to produce a hot sunny Septembers day, perfect riding conditions. We signed on and were issued our numbers, 74, 75 & 76. Tea consumed, scooters at the ready we were raring to go. However, before could set off we had to answer a few highway code questions. Once answered we were off! The directions were issued in the form of fairly simple turn by turn instructions. Lucky for us Doug’s navigational skills are second to none as Mine and Max’s are simply none!
You have a choice of road or green lane, we’d chosen to take the green lane route, 90 miles of on & off road! We reached our first off road section which in fairness was fairly easy, apart from the morning dew on the grass we all tackled it with success. Having said that they did get a little more difficult throughout the route. Gate after gate we made our way around the lanes and fields. At one point Max took a spill and I got stuck in a rut and had to lift the scooter out, I knew that rack would come in handy for something. No surprise when you consider we were both sporting road tyre’s, unlike Mr Miller who had the sense to don knobbly’s.
The highlight of the day for me was when we tackled the Ford. As I approached, Doug was checking out the depth and general condition of the river bed. “Bit rocky, what do you think?”, “Yeah, let’s do it!”. Doug went first and you could hear the bike struggling as the water washed up over the running boards, into the exhaust and around the engine! Anyway, he made it through and it was now Max’s turn. He set off revving the scooter as to not stall, which was fine until his open mouth carb glugged in a gob full of river water and choked! He managed to keep it going, however at the expense of two boots full of water! Now it was my turn! I decided I was going to hit it pretty hard and fast. I hit the water running and managed to get through with no problem. Although once on the other side my scooter cut out and wouldn’t start, well it would but was farting like an elephant who’d just snorted a barrel of gun powder, much to Doug’s amusement!
We ventured on and with no sign of anyone else, which was a worry. Then we passed a fella who had a flat, “sorry can’t stop we’re on a mission to prove 10” wheels can cope with the same terrain as big wheels. Max was running low on fuel so we stopped and topped him up. At this point Paul Sacha who’d ridden up from Sussex on his BMW R80 GS passed us and stopped for a quick natter. All good & well, we set off.
Four hours after we set off we returned for lunch. All paid for in the registration fee for a princely sum of £5.00. The scooters were received really well. I love the finger pointing and hushed tones of ‘they’re not doing it on those are they?’ then to be pleasantly surprised when we return looking a little for the worse, however, all in one piece and even better before some of the other riders.
After a few more hours of riding in the afternoon, we decided to call it a day. Max and I had to make our way down South and I had the additional 60 mile ride home. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it, however, have to say that riding in the dark, Sunday night, the Autumn night clear and crisp the scooter was singing along. With a big grin ear from ear I was loving it. An hour and half later I was home, absolutely shattered from, well having too much fun.
Days really don’t get much better than this.