A damp morning still brought out some interesting bikes for the 30th Snow-Mann trial
on Bo-peep lane at Firle in Sussex. An easy to miss location off the A27 as I found
out on our TOMCC ride from West Sussex, ah the joys of U turns on a gravelly road.
In the early part of the last century the Firle Hill climb was for racing motorcars,
but since its demise in 1967 it is now just a hill, a steep bumpy hill which is still
public right of way for pedestrians and is where the East Sussex VMCC holds their
Snow-Mann regularity trial in April.
Now this is not a race, it is a trial for skill, handling and machine control; although
several seemed to take it quite enthusiastically from my vantage point on the first
bend the concentration was evident. Competitors are tested on skills such as balancing
and hill starts and slalom. If one of the skills tested was U turns on gravelly corners,
I would enter, but my bike is far too modern for this.
There is an eclectic range of bikes too taking part, ranging from Vincent comets
and big old family sidecars to the blue haze of scooters at full chat.
A few spectators commented that it was quieter than usual, but this may be because
of the poor weather forecast, though despite the chill it stayed dry and those taking
part seemed to be enjoying the day.
Now I have no idea of any of the scores, it all seemed very complicated with all
sorts of bits of paper on clipboards, bell wire and bells and little flashing lights
but it seemed as much of a social events for friends as a trial.
How if this has been running 30 years, back in the days when I thought my 15 year
old bonnevilles were modern had I not heard of this event before, it may have been
my first visit but not my last.