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Life Would Be Boring Without Trials.


Weardale & District Motor Club History.

Weardale Motor Club existed before the Second World War but there is very little information for those years.

The club was reformed in July 1949 by enthusiasts from Weardale and Teesdale and ran trials, scrambles and grass tracks.  The bikes used then were mainly converted road bikes with knobbly tyres fitted and in some cases, the lights and stands were removed. Some scrambles and trials had classes for bikes with standard road tyres.

In May 1950 interest in the club waned but the committee voted to persevere and more members joined, some from the Nenthead area so events were held in Weardale, Teesdale and Nenthead areas.

The club also ran gymkhanas and fun meetings with surfboard races with the motorcycle pulling a board carrying a passenger, also obstacle races where the rider had to stop his bike, get off and negotiate an obstacle like crawling under a tarpaulin or a short sack race and other fun tasks getting off and on his bike between obstacles before racing to the finish.

Even in those frugal times, the club gave 50% of the money made from some fun events to local charities.

In May 1950 the club became affiliated to the Auto Cycle Union and remains so to this day. The ACU provides rules, regulations and insurance to motorcycle sport and is the sports governing body and is split into smaller centres throughout the country. The Weardale club is one of the many clubs that make up the North East Centre of the ACU. Each club provides delegates to the centre from which a committee is formed and meets at regular intervals during the year to provide stewards to events, discuss and rule on various topics ie organisation of events, safety and discipline. There is also an annual dates meeting where clubs apply for event dates so there are not two events in the centre on the same day.

One of the members who helped to reform the club after the war was Arthur Emerson of Dale Head, Harwood in Teesdale. Arthur worked tirelessly for the club helping to organise trials and road events as well as competing himself. Sadly Arthur died on the 9th September 1953 aged 28 from lung complications. He was so well respected in the club that they decided to buy a trophy in his memory running gymkhanas etc, and donations from local organisations funded it.

The Arthur Emerson Memorial Trophy Trial is the Weardale clubs premier trial to this day and has attracted up to 130 riders in recent years. This magnificent trophy is coveted by many riders and has the names of many famous winners on its plinth.

Grass tracks became popular in the 1960s with the club running races for solos and sidecars at Wolsingham Show for a small fee, then on a 50/50 basis with Weardale Agricultural Society at St Johns Chapel Show and Allendale Show. This was much-needed revenue for both the club and the shows at that time. The Club also ran grass tracks with Frosterley Village Hall Committee to help fund the installation of a lift in the hall and also helped other organisation in the Dale.

Chapel show grass track as it was known became so popular with about ten sidecar crews in the Dale, some of the younger members of the club had the ambition to run a round of the British Sidecar Cross Championship so the club decided to look into what was required to obtain a National competition and course licence.

First, the club had to run two Regional Restricted motocross meetings. That meant approaching an adjoining ACU centre and our own centre for an event date so that there was only one event that day in both centres and for the adjoining centre to supply a steward for the meeting to report to ACU headquarters to make sure the club was competent to run a major event.

That was duly done with the help of the Northern, Yorkshire and Scottish centres, so the club got its National licence.

Next, the club applied to run a round of the British Sidecar Cross Championship. On the second attempt the club was granted a round provided it could guarantee it was financially able to hold such an event.  Prior to the application, the members worked tirelessly running social events and barbecues held in marquees and large empty farm buildings, some on a 50/50 basis with show committees and Weardale Young Farmers Club.

Much fun was had and much beer was consumed but importantly the club managed to have enough in the bank to satisfy the ACU.

With help from many people, clubs, organisations and companies the club very successfully ran the first championship round. A stream of cars was seen entering the course stretching all the way to Horsley Hall, almost a mile, and Billing Hills was black with spectators.

Weardale Motor Club ran rounds of the British Sidecar Cross Championship along with rounds of the Solo 125 Championship, the Solo 4 Stroke Championship, and the Quad Bike Championship for almost two decades. Sadly all good things come to an end, with interest waning, fewer competitors and modern bikes making large ruts, reparation of the track was a mammoth task and once again in the club, a decline in members prompted the end of motocross events.

Thankfully trials in the club are strong with the Arthur Emerson Memorial Trophy trial very popular.

The Weardale and District Motor Club will welcome any new members and trial observers. Observing is a good day out which anyone can do and is a good opportunity to see some of the Northeast athletes on two wheels perform on some of our unforgiving Weardale terrain - spectacular!

There are classes in most trials for schoolboys and girls, over 40s, easy riders, novice, intermediate and experts.

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