South East Centre Team Trial – 31st May 2015 – Keith Francis

When Luckio sent me a  text to say ‘do you know anyone who wants to ride in the team trial next weekend’, I realised what he really meant was ‘ do you want to ride?’.

I have always said if I rode one trial a year it would be the team trial at Crowborough. So I had to say yes… I love the rocky gullies and it is a rare treat ‘down south’ to ride sections like you find at Hourne Farm and Team Baker, Sturdey always seem to get it right.

Not only is it a great venue but it is also a really good laugh and unique in the fact that you ride in this event as part of a team in what is usually a purely individual sport. Team Tenterden are renowned for enjoying the team trial

Connor had unfortunately had to drop out of one of the 2 teams and thus a space became free at the last minute – I jumped at the chance to rearrange things and ride.

Rather amusingly, I was part of the Tenterden Young Guns team, riding with 2 riders who are developing very fast and improving every week, Joe Millen and Jack Beck.

The other team named Tenterden old boys consisted of Micheal Nutbrown (on a shiny new Beta), Mark Smith and Pete Southcott.

As we were a little slow getting the entry in we started at the back of the field, not ideal given the heavy rain as we arrived in the car park and unloaded… The team and club atmosphere shone through despite the weather with all 6 of us heading to the first section together for a bit of banter and laughter – old’uns v young’ uns..

I haven’t ridden this trial for a few years, but the format is usually the same with half the sections on the rocks the other muddy, slippery banks and climbs.. We got the bum deal with conditions deteriorating by starting on the rocks.. but heh ho.. we elected just to get on and ride having  a laugh.. Expert, inters and Novices all ride one route – just how it should be..

Over the years I have benefited from the experience and guidance of older riders (Graham Kemp, Vince Boozer, Kev Morphett etc)– all of whom have been only to happy to help with tips and assistance and I have always tried to help anyone I can in a similar way, so passing on some of that experience is always a pleasure, especially when people are happy to listen..

So with Joe and Jack we walked the sections together agreed the route and a plan, I tried to stick to the plan (once failing badly much to everyones amusement!) and then the boys could see how it is or isn’t done… well it worked on section one as we started with 3 cleans!!

We kept it steady and started well, the old boys soon pulled away from us, as us ‘young uns’ soon spent more time chatting/debating sections than riding, this probably wasn’t ideal given the conditions but we were enjoying ourselves and actually all riding pretty good.

Neither Joe nor Jack have ridden much on the rocks, but you would never have guessed, Joe was riding extremely smoothly on the rocks at a great speed to maintain control but have enough aggression to tackle the larger parts. Jack equally wasn’t to be out done, riding straight over the more difficult parts with only the odd dab going down and in particular tackling some of the muddy sections with some fine rides.

We caught the ‘old uns’ up on the muddy sections and just in time to watch Pete on his 750cc Beta have an amazing ride on the worst section of the day a straight up and down a bank with the down being horrendously slippery and the up being a deep 4th gear rut.. Pete’s ride to get out was superb, only bettered by his complete collapse on the 2nd lap as fatigue set in on the very same section – so much so I fear he might still be there now!

In truth we caught the other team up as Micheal had a puncture, but undeterred all 3 of them were riding equally as well which was great to see, Mark was even seen hopping the back around to negotiate a slippery section –  a braver man than me for sure..

With over 100 riders there was the odd queue but we kept moving pretty well, staying together as a team with plenty of morale support and jeering going on, even if the walking the sections on my part had fallen by the way side due to tiredness! We were ably and well supported by Colin and Roger and also kindly by Henry and Connor who turned up to watch on the day.. and by Micheals dad Bernie.

6 excellent rides saw all of us to the top of the long rocky gulley with only the odd mark going at the end with the true young ones suffering more than the old boy… There were a couple of fourth gear get through sections and both Jack and Joe gave it everything to attempt to get through, over time both are sure to become very, very capable riders and adapted well from rocks to mud in equal measure.. I think they both found a few extra 1000 rpm’s on their bikes on the second lap which won’t do any harm in the winter months in East Kent..

We finished around 3.30/4 o clock, shattered, wet and very muddy, with the 2 teams finishing just a few minutes apart which was great, soaked and caked from head to foot, but having had a thoroughly enjoyable day..  I for one really enjoyed the trial and riding with Jack and Joe was a great laugh with no one taking it too seriously, with both being great company and equally trying as hard as they could in the sections.. Thanks lads for a great days trialing..

As it turns out not only did we have a great laugh on the day but we actually did quite well with myself, Joe and Jack coming second out of the 18 teams in the team event!! Only being beaten by team Erith.The clubs best place for many a year and so close to winning!! And the ‘old uns’ finished a very respectable 7th. Well done Team Tenterden.

Roll on next year…

Thanks to Rodger Beck for the photos please see attached.

Crowborough Trial 2015

Bike For Sale – BETA 300 EVO 2015

Pete Southcott has decided to sell his virtually brand new 2015 Beta Evo 300. Needless to say its immaculate and had very little use. He is looking for £4,400.00… please contact Pete direct on 07738 626 561 or

Weald “Non Expert” Trial – 19th April 2015

Just a quick note to say don’t forget to send in your entry for our first
trial of the year “Weald Non Expert” at Clay Hill, (Opposite the Tenterden
Gold Club, TN30 7DR) on Sunday 19th April. Along with your riding support we
will be looking for observers to help out on the day so if you have a spare
morning then your time would be greatly appreciated by the club to make this
event a success.

Full details can be found in the Sporting Motorcyclist magazine. Keith
Dampier will be the secretary for the meeting and he can be contacted on
07736 068003 or

This is a non expert trial so will have routes for Inter, Novice and
Beginner and no doubt we will also be using “Rashers Ravine” as well. Let’s
hope the weather will be kinder this year after the monsoon that engulfed
Tenterden at this trial last year.

Tenterden Museum

Roy has very kindly updated the museum with some new pieces donated by Karl Pugh’s family through Ned.

Please take a look at the attached photos…well worth a visit as well.

Museum 1 Museum 2 Museum 3


Barry Swann R.I.P 1948-2015

BARRY SWANN 1948-2015

I’ve known Barry since the 1960’s, at a time when we both used to frequent a Tunbridge Wells café called “Toms” It was a favourite meeting place of local motorcyclists or “Rockers” as we were known in those days. I remember first being introduced to Barry at Brands Hatch. They had open practice on Wednesdays back then and if it was my half day at Philpot’s Motorcycle shop I used to go up on one of my bikes to watch.

This particular day Barry had come up on the pillion of some local hero that thought he could be world champion. Needless to say he went out in one of the practice sessions, crashed and ended up in hospital, wrecking his bike also. This left Barry stranded at the circuit with little money. Someone, I forget who, asked if I could give him a lift back to Tunbridge Wells, which I duly did. “Never again” I heard him mutter as he got off!

After that he took up an interest in trials, as had I, and we used to travel together sometimes to events. One notable event was the 1970 Isle of Wight 2day trial, but that’s another story!

He joined Tenterden and District MCC, and later the Owls MCC, sitting on the committee, and helping set out trials for some years.

In the late 60’s we both got married and started families, so other things occupied our time. We met again in 1973, when both moved into a new estate at Matfield where we have remained to this day.

After a few years we got back into pre 67 trials on Triumph Twins with some success. Barry also worked as a reporter for TMX, and covered many South East trials including national and internationals.

In the mid 70’s he started working as a mechanic at the Kawasaki Paddock Wood motorcycle business run by Paul Smart and Roy Francis, during the boom time for bike sales. He was a valued and well liked trials riding member of the staff.

One day he asked me if I would like to help out as a mechanic on Saturdays “you bet” I said! We had a lot of laughs there and made contact with several famous motorcycle racers at the time.

The years rolled by and Barry spent more with his other passions, fishing, train spotting and model railways, which I believe he kept up to very near the end.

Barry was a good looking lad with a great personality and always made a big impression with whoever met him.

We will all miss him a lot.

Tony Rout.

Mr Gordon Davis – R.I.P

The South Eastern Centre and trials has lost one of its ‘characters’ in the form of Mr Gordon Davis.

He died at his home in Bexleyheath on New Years Day at the age of 87.

Gordon has been a leading light in the South Eastern Centre trials scene for many years, a former Centre President and Management Committee member.

His funeral will be on Thursday 22nd January at 10:15am at Eltham Crematorium, Crown Woods Way, SE9 2AZ.

Everyone is welcome to attend and I’m sure that many will!

Gordon’s family have requested no flowers, but donations instead to Diabetes UK, for which Gordon raised donations by various means.  One for which he would enjoy relating was a ride on his 1955 BSA from Lands End to John o’Groats, where he even persuaded diners in transport cafes to part with some loose change!

Donations can be made on the day of the funeral, or a cheque (made out to Diabetes UK) posted to the undertakers, W. Uden & Sons. 6, Townley Road, Bexleyheath, DA6 7HL.  Please mention the donation is in Gordon’s memory and the date of the funeral.

EKTC Trial 11th January – Entry List

This weekend sees Round 1 of the 2015 East Kent Combine Championship (and our own club championship round) with a trial run by our friends from the GEST Club. Details and entry list below. Day entries accepted and all riders are eligible for championship points. For those that have never been there before this is an excellent piece of land to ride with some good banks, a rocky gulley, streams and usually plenty of mud!

1030am Start. Monkins Farm, Horns Cross, Northiam, East Suusex. Trial will be signposted off the A28 between Northiam and Broad Oak. Seceratry is Jen Heathcote 07541206131. Entries to date.


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