There is a bit of a story behind Checkpoints and something we are very proud of. It’s a kind of series of fortunate events. 3 years ago Paul Castle from Dirtpunk put on a private party; ‘it’s a cock-up’ which involved an Austin Vince style navigational event in the morning followed by silly games on motorbikes in the afternoon.
The Austin Vince format is a kind of treasure hunt – you get given a booklet with 20 to 30 locations at each of which there is a small aluminium plaque stamped with 3 digits. For each location in the booklet there is a description, a photograph and an O/S map thumbnail. This triad is Austin’s intellectual property.
At the second of these parties Dean got chatting to Austin who explained all this to us and gave Dean the permission to use this format for a Bristol TRF event as long as we gave Austin due credit. Now you can imagine there is a hell of a lot of work in putting such a booklet together.
The next fortunate event was Gabriel Bolton of Zen Overland turning round at the same party and telling Dean he had already put together such a booklet and had all the PDF files we could use. All that was left was to add a mini trial event to the mornings navigational event and to make a flyer.
What came next was a bit of a surprise. Once we posted our flyer on the TRF forum concerns were raised about the legality of the event and The ACU and MSA regulations and the Road Traffic Act 1988 were quoted at us – the next day the flyer had been removed and we were in correspondence with Mario and John Vanuffel. Essentially it looked like any organised event on public roads with more than 12 riders was a no no.
The Ubley Muddle Fun Trial
I quickly discovered that MSA stands for Motor Sports Association. John Vanuffel suggested a way round was for us to run the event as a road safety challenge – I have to say this sounded like a big turn off to me, but then as manna from heaven as I was Googling around the MSA website I discovered Navigational Scatter.
I will have to read from the guide here: Scatters must comply with Regulation 5(b) of the Motor Vehicles (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969. “An event in which no merit is attached to completing the event with the lowest mileage and in which, as respects such part of the event as is held on a public highway, there are no performance tests and no route and competitors are not timed or required to visit the same places; except that they may be required to finish at the same place by a specified time”
I don’t know if you can imagine what this was like for us – one moment we were thinking our event was fatally wounded - the next moment we thought we had struck TRF event gold! This was a format every TRF club could use – either to raise money or purely for fun and to introduce other clubs to their lanes. Austin and Gabriel denied any prior knowledge of this legal loophole.
It may be that the early worries about the legality of the event put people off as we nearly had more marshals and parking attendants than entrants – those that came seemed to really enjoy it and we have learned a lot for next year.
Wickwar Funduro was conceived as an idea around the same time as Checkpoints right at the beginning of this year. Stephen Harrison – one of our members and his wife have a few acres they have horses on and an established enduro track – lots of open going with some with tight bends in between and a whole load of stream sections. What was really great was that Dean got Mid west Racing to demo the whole range of new Husqvarna bikes and at the end of the day we had lots of smiling faces and a few non TRF members saying their preconceptions of the TRF had changed and they would be looking into joining.