Barry Robinson turns the clock back 33 years to the heady days of sidecar trialling.

SIDECAR trialling is a form of motorcycle sport on three wheels where, when it goes wrong, the passenger gets the blame, not the person up front holding the handlebars. Before anyone has a notion to argue, let it be known that the writer of the column did attend the annual Bainbridge Sports Day as a reporter for Motor Cycle News and ended up in a sidecar race with Eric Atkinson, whose passenger only managed one lap of practice.

The outcome was Barry Robinson won the Lancashire and Yorkshire grass sidecar championship as a passenger. The Richmond Motor Club did organise sidecar trials, where there is little speed and a lot of balance – basically the prime task of the passenger.

The Gerald Simpson Trial was a major event on three wheels with huge entries from all over the British Isles. The 1988 event attracted 52 entries, who converged on Wensley from the Isle of Man, Kent, London, Nottingham, Derbyshire, Lancashire and Scotland. The competitors left the start field on the Saturday to ride 30 sections at Kellheads, Redmire and Wensley Gill, followed by an evening at the Wensleydale Rugby Union Football and Athletics Club.

On the Sunday, Gale Bank got the field moving via Carlton and Hindlethwaite with a lunch halt at the Thwaites Arms at Horsehouse where a video of the day’s action plus food, refreshments then a disco rounded off the day.

Legendary Leyburn trials caterer John Dale was at the start field dispensing bacon butties and drinks of all variations. No competitor ever left a Richmond event without sustenance.

For the record, the winners were Keighley’s Robin and Karen Luscombe, from Nelson’s Bruce Rushton and Neil Watson with neighbours Phil and Andrew Scott in third place.