Friday, 17 April 2009

Vintage thing No. 16.1 - the Cox-Triumph outfit

At the Wilsey Down Control on the Land’s End Trial, Rob and I spotted our old outfit. It was running a bit late in company with Dave West on his XT350 and was crewed by its new owners Peter and Shani Adams.

Although behind schedule, Peter and Shani were obviously enjoying themselves and had already got to know their chariot a lot better on this their second outing on the bike. Their first was the Exeter back in January.

Shani had become something of a workshop widow over Christmas as Pete took the Cox-Triumph apart and put it back together again. As he said to Rob, “It’s got all the right bits on it.”

During re-assembly, he added a very nice crankcase breather (like a little air filter it was) and he reduced the size of the seat box and panelled in the rear brackets on the very back of the chair to allow more floor area and bouncing opportunities when traction is needed.

Rob approved of these modifications and the bike sounded just as good as ever when Peter kicked it over. The only thing that might yet improve it is a pair of shorter forks. These would make getting away on the restarts easier.

Shani asked me what was better to be a passenger on, outfit or car?

This is a very difficult question to answer so I’ll say they were equally as much fun but for different reasons. On both machines the passenger was not really a passenger – there’s a lot to do to help the driver on the Allard like dipping the lights, operating the windscreen wipers and monitoring our water temperature. Steering and changing gear on a car of that vintage takes a lot of concentration. I also did the map reading with the Allard whereas on the bike Rob had his patented illuminated route card on a roll thingamajig. I was physically more active though on the road as well as on the sections.

Shani said, “I was the one to asked Pete to get an outfit after watching them going up Simms. I wanted to feel I was a real part of the team, and the outfit seemed to provide a much better option for this than a car.”

From their cheerful expressions I would say they don’t regret this approach.

We wished them well as they set off and I said that the next hill, Bishop’s Wood, was our favourite section in 2005 because we bounced from one side of the sunken lane to the other. It felt like we were flying at low altitude.

Well, here’s what Shani made of Bishop’s Wood.

“Pete and I had a fantastic time on the Triumph Cox, Bishops Wood was a blast! No part of my body was attached to the bike as we flew over the rock outcrop apart from my hands holding on to the straps for dear life. What a shock seeing that vertical rock face as we raced around the bend to see it face on! I thought to myself 'Pete don't lose it now' and screamed a lot of encouragement to him to keep going. He didn't need it though and we live to tell the tale.”

That pretty much matches my memory of Bishop’s Wood.

“I cannot say for sure whether or not our wheels left the ground on Bishops, I may have had my eyes closed! Pete is still building up the confidence to wheelie up the hills, but I am sure he will get there one day. This was only our second outing on the bike and we cleaned 5 hills and 1 special test.”

Hmm, that sounds better than us on our first LET.

“I am not sure which was my favourite hill. Darracott had me jumping from side to side to keep the beast stable and the chap who we pulled up behind at the end to re-inflate the tyres gave me a look as if to say what's all the heavy breathing for! Bishops was just a blast, so they come very close together in first place.

“I couldn't believe we managed to get off the start line at Ladyvale, let alone restart, but due to the change in tyre pressures the bike did it easily.

“Blue Hills was spectacular and we had an uproar of applause on 2 – this wasn't due to cleaning it though, just down to the sheer effort we had to put in to get it up the hill after not being able to get enough momentum after the restart to clear the slate slippy bit.”

Getting off the start line defeated us when we tried Blue Hills 2 but what Shani doesn’t say is that they came up the hill in instalments, first Pete on the sidecar and then Shani, who somehow got left behind, running up afterwards. Check out pictures 434 to 436 on John Salter's website.

There's another good couple of shots of them on Hoskin Hill here.

They are now part of the LET legend due to their performance on Blue Hills 2 for practically every photographer there must have taken pictures of their heroic ascent. They even made the Cornish Guardian.

As we travelled from section to section in the Allard, our exploits on the Cox-Triumph came up a couple of times. Ron seemed to want to buy it back. We certainly had some fun with it.

But the problem for him is a dodgy back and shoulder – relics of some rugby injury I believe – that limit how far he can ride a bike before too much pain sets in.

After we saw Pete and Shani, the matter of buying it back didn’t crop up again. It was so good to see it used and appreciated by such a likeable pair. Long may they enjoy such a well-sorted machine.

“We are going to head out for the testing trial for a giggle and take the kids so that they can see the fun and maybe even have ago. Our little 8year old has a small bike and blasts around our field like a pro. Our eldest 9yrs sticks safely to the quad, I think he will make a better Marshall!”

I haven’t been to a Testing Trial for years. Some reckon they are actually harder on the machinery than a long distance event but I seem to recall a kind of picnic with great enthusiasts and fantastic machinery.

But I’m sure there will be a big welcome from the trialling fraternity for all members of the Adams family!

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