One Hundred and One! Not my final points tally (although it could have quite easily have been that). Nope, 4th Feb 2018 was the landmark date when Aqueduct broke to 100 rider number for a standard club championship round. And what a venue to do it at.
Dave and the Kynaston family have invested a signficiant amount of time over the last 12 months to continually develop Nant Ucha Farm into one of the favourite practice and event venues in North Wales and the working party over the New Year break opened up a new section of the stream which really got the riders excited (but more on that later on).
The 101 riders saw 31 Pre 65s enter (with 15 BSA's and 6 Triumphs topping the marque list) and at the other end of the spectrum, 33 modern monos (with 21 Betas making up the pack). A healthy 24 twinshocks and 13 Air Cooled Monos made up the rest of the entry list and the swelling in numbers (from the normal average of 75-80 riders) seemed to have been split evenly across the classes.
The intermediate route continues to be hugely popular with 41 riders contesting this class. As always it great to see new riders coming through the ranks and some new names appeared in the 10 beginners, so welcome to those riders enjoying their early taste of motorcycle trials, we wish you well on your journey.
Mark Newman - James 250 (Intermediate Route)
Firstly let me say this was one of the best trials I have ever been too, loved every bit of it and a massive thanks to the obsevers who stood out in the cold.
Section 1. This looks worse than it rode, very muddy slippy slope dropped down to the left side. You touched the brakes early here and you were defo lying in the mud. You just had to turn in, point it down the muddy bank and let it roll in the stream. Over the water across the rocks, give it some gas up the banking and over the tree roots, keep the momentum up across the mud and out the end cards. Simples!
Section 2 was on the new bit of land as well. The same bit of steam just along abit. A drop back into the stream, sharp left turn, follow the water, right turn out the stream, plenty of gas up the bank and around a tree. Then over the fallen tree, back across the steam, up the bank, over the root and out again. Sounds so easy …
Section 3, most of us have been up this climb before. It is very steep and loose and will always catch you out. A third of the way up, off to the right around a tree, back onto the climb trying hard to stay to the left because you need to go out to the right, it levels out then a short steep bank to exit. This caught me out on the second lap for a 2.
Section 4 was into the stream following it along and over all the rocks to then head over to the right for a couple of big rocks to get over. Mind the tree hanging in the section, you need to be just right but too far right and you hit the tree. Too far left and your wedged on the rocks. Be committed and your out but got me 3 times for a dab.
Section 5 starting in the stream, then a tight right turn out of the stream with a cluster of rocks to get over. Then an immediate left turn run your front wheel onto the base of the tree or you hit the rocks on the left. It got me for a dab here ! A wobble on the cambered slope, right up the greasy snarly rocky slope working hard over the rocks and out .
Section 6 was a short blast up the track then drop down back to the stream where the start cards presented you with rocks and small waterfalls. Into the stream, a wink at the good looking observer, up and over the rocks where you can be thrown around and lose it here. Momentums was your friend here, aim for the V between the rocks , get it right as I did on all but the first time through, and it seems easy. A few larger rocks to contend with, go round or over it works both ways and a short blast to the end.
Section 7 and no pressure on this as Russ is observing. Similar to 6 into the steam, keep going over the slippy rocks, up between a large "pair" and it levels out over the fallen tree stump. Back over the stream and out. I think the pressure got to me a couple of dabs on the first lap.
Secton 8, on no the bloody godfathers on this section! Its always a 5 ….. A couple of tight turns in the mud then an off camber bank that need a good blast to get high up to avoid slipping down to the right and a nice stump sticking up about 6 inchs that you have to navigate around. Up sharp and tight to the left, over the crest and point at the end cards, jobs a good one. I needed a single dab on the first lap.
Section 9 and over to the other field and into the very tight, twisty, rocky, rooty, muddy, slippy stream. Up the stream, into a muddy hollow, out over the tree roots ,leaning right to avoid slipping back in. A few metres along a drop back into the stream following it round, back out to the right, a blast up the slippy bank and back into the field.
Finally Secton 10 was just along from 9 and the same stuff but starting in the slippy field. No drive at all, sliding about to get to the section although once through the start it dropped into the stream with various rocks and debris. Then up onto a plato, along it, drop back in, turn to the right and a good drive out keeping the momentum going over the slippy slimy grassy mud.
The bike ran faultless, more rider errors than needed, all good challenging sections but cleanable. Silly dabs dropped me to 4th in class and the same old storey "can do better".
Mark Gaskell - Triumph Twin (Intermediate Route)
Nant Ucha Farm was packed to bursting, glad I got there early! I had a novice rider with me, riding in her first trial. I had my doubts as to whether she was ready, but as usual, teenagers know better! I was riding the green, or intermediate route, on a 350 Triumph Twin,
Section 1 was the first of the sections in the recently cleared area. A greasy off camber bank, down into the stream, over a jumble of rocks and out again. This proved to be easier than it looked, if you got the camber right.
Section 2 had a tricky entry to the stream, then a short sharp climb round a tree, over a log and out across the stream.
Section 3 combined some previous routes with a slalom up a steep bank, with a 270 degree turn on the bank before the exit. I couldn't quite manage this without a foot or two.
Section 4 was a ride up the stream, and up the "waterfall". It was a case of taking the right line, and I managed it once!
Section 5 started in the stream, then wound its way out over the rocks. I used a combination of delicate clutch control, and indelicate throttle application.
Section 6, back into the stream, over a jumble of rocks. The exit of this turned out to be trickier than it looked, and had me making some interesting shapes to stay within the gates!
Getting to section 7 gave me wet feet, as the girth of the Twin put me deeper into the stream than most, and therefore over boot tops. The section itself would have been easy enough, if I hadn't been put off by my wet feet.
Section 8 contained a nasty looking, root infested climb, that you approached on a full lock turn. My first attempt surprised me, when I flew up with ease. So surprised that I put a foot down. Next time I was less surprised, and did it properly.
Section 9 was an old favourite, in and out of a narrow stream, up and down the banks.
Section 10 an old favourite in reverse. I had a spectacular 5 here last time, so was pleased to clean it first lap. Second lap and back to normal, as I slipped off the step and fell into the bank for my first 5 of the day.
Sadly for me, my novice rider was worn out by now, and with time pressing we had to retire early. She know understands why I thought more practice was necessary, but is keen to try again. Thanks again to all concerned, a super trial.
Richard Beddoes - BSA C15 (Intermediate Route)
The Trial at Nant Ucha was the first time I have rode my 61’ BSA C15 so expectations were mixed between spending the day with the bike in bits or having no mechanical issues.
Section 1: Starting on new land right at the bottom of the stream was fantastic, although the previous weekend I was there on my 4RT so apologies the mud was probably my fault ;) The drop into the stream was eventful involving composure and calm but determined to ensure a clean on the C15s’ maiden voyage I stuck with it, the stream was deep in places but I find the trick is to lean back with legs apart and keep relaxed. Straight cleans on this one.
Section 2: The drop into the stream and tight left hand turn meant good positioning was key; again weight back to reduce the risk. Its surprising how bad body position can lead many into a tricky situation. A gentle climb up the hill with the C15 wound right up, I was told on several occasions how good she sounded! The jump over the log at the end meant full commitment, one to divide the experienced from the not so confident! Front wheel up and weight back, ignore the rear end Straight cleans all round again!
Section 3: It would appear my luck ran out here, spending the previous day working on the bike (Trying to sort the useless AMAL carb) I forgot to adjust the chain. The steep climb up to the top and sharp left step before the short turn meant the chain came off leaving me stranded with egg on my face. The turn at the top was the trickiest part, timing it right and keeping the C15 going, I dropped too many marks here with some schoolboy errors. I looked back and saw my Dad, probably thinking ‘What a fruitcake, get out the way’ Move on…..
Section 4: This is a section that’s hard even on a modern bike, (I know all too well) straight up the stream on slippy rocks, with a rather difficult exit up an angled rock with a double step in the stream, its really east to get caught out here. A repeat of section 3 on attempt one meant a trip back to the car to sort the chain, somehow my Dad and I (It was mostly my Dad but I’m going to pretend I did all the work) took a link out by tapping it out with a hammer through a ring spanner. This section took a figure of marks from me I would rather not state.
Section 5: Returning after the chain adjustment and some swearing, myself and my Dad proceeded to walk section 5, though to the observers amusement (I do not know the ladies name) we walked straight past the inters flags trying to face the fact we had to ride the expert route. Once we ‘readjusted’ our priorities and pretending we knew all along the weave through the rocks out the stream and up the hill was very tricky but I managed to clean this every time even with how tight it was and conditions worsening.
Section 6: I always find this part of the venue difficult but also one of my favourites. Dropping in towards the observer, and up a series of natural steps in the stream it can really knock the bike about, especially the turn at the end towards the exit of the stream with roots and slippy cambers. A few marks lost here but nothing major.
Section 7: Russ and Co. watch in anticipation, a bumpy and short start with no run up, especially when your blowing out your ‘a##e’ from the last one. A diagonal path across the stream with some jagged rocks to catch you out, keep the power on and sort the line. Straight cleans here
Section 8: Right at the top of the hill, this was pure greasy banks, no streams or grippy areas. First gear and plonk along, with a tight turn up the hill and an awkward camber to, weight back and weight on the outside leg, straight cleans here.
Section 9: Only a foolish ‘works’ dab lost here, with a gentle ride up the stream, nice and consistent.
Section 10: This took a few more marks than I was expecting A drop into the stream on the far side throwing your balance off, heading up the stream then towards an awkward and at times hard to judge line between a rock and a bank. You had to stay on the camber and getting the step up onto this was key, I had some slack dabs here and really I should have had a clean sweep!
Overall a brilliant event well set out as ever. Thanks to the organisers and observers being out in the cold to set out and keep an eye on us all I hope we get more events like that.
Rob Sloggett - Beta Evo (Expert Route)
I missed out on Januarys event due to a shoulder injury so I was a bit worried tackling only my 3rd attempt at the Red route and not riding for a few months. Nothing to worry about though, Aqueducts sections at this level are challenging but not dangerous. Everything is rideable and within the capability of the bikes (lets be honest they are marked out for Experts on big Pre65's so a super light Evo 200 should not be phased by it)! My personal target of getting down to an average of 80 marks at this level seems miles off and during the event it felt like I was closer to 130 than the 89 I ended up with. I have learnt that to ride at this level I am not fit enough and my arms are taking a battering so as well as develping my riding technique it looks like a regular visit to the gym might be needed! But what of the sections?
Well the two new sections from the opened up area were incredible. The stream is quite open at this part and the banks offer soft inclines, steeper rutted steps and some great fallen logs. Section 1 was my first nemesis and whilst the early parts of turns and banks I was able to master, the exit which was a left turn 180 degrees arch across the stream face finished with something really different. The end point was a steep stepped bank (about 2 foot) but as you approached it a heavy log about 10 foot long ran parallel to the bank through the mid point of the stream and about 3 foot away from the bank. A really tricky combination as you struggled to approach it straight on. This took 16 marks from me and only 3 Experts managed single figures.
On the flip side, Section 3 was an area we practiced regularly but the clerk of the course and his team had found a really good twist of the established contours and a banked climb was staggered in an S profile with tree stumps and rooted cambers giving you something to think about. When I hooked into this I was clean or a single dab in that part of the section but as my energy levels depleted my last 2 runs resulted in a 2 and a 3.
Section 7 was my final hurdle. This frustrated me as on paper it was no different to the other stream sections. Enter in the section, 2 or 3 small waterfall steps, a turn across the stream and a non complex exit. For some reason I just could not get the flow and this section took 16 marks off of me and well out of the norm of the rest of the Experts across the bike classes. The common link is that Russ was observing this and at Plas Onn I had a similar issue with his section. I put it down to stage fright in front of my riding role model......
A great event and all credit to the organisers for managing the 100+ rider turnout, The observers as always were fantastic and kept the sections flowing as best as possible.
Our next event is the opening Kia round on the 24th February at Plas Onn, then we return to the club championship in March on Sunday 18th. As always we have to close by passing on a big thank you to the Club Team, the observers, Chris for his catering and the Kynaston family at Nant Ucha for the use of such a splendid venue.
Pre 65 Expert: Paul Smart, Triumph (14); James Francis, BSA (18); Danny Littlehales, Francis Barnett (19)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Stephen Smith, Triumph (3); Carl Winstanley, James (4); Dave Beddoes, Villiers (6)
Pre 65 Clubman: Roger Smith, BSA (11); Rob Goodwin, Francis Barnett (41); Tim Godsmark, BSA (46)FC
Pre 65 Beginner: no enteries
Twinshock Expert: Dave Wood, Bultaco (25); Antony Charles, Fantic (42); Terry Musgrave, SWM (45)
Twinshock Intermediate: Paul Cook, SWM (7); Stephen Knight, Fantic (12); Rob Jones, Honda (14)
Twinshock Clubman: Phil Jones, Yamaha (18); P Groth, Montesa (22); John Sowden, Bultaco (39)
Twinshock Beginner: Bryan Devereux, Yamaha (29); Craig Fowler, Yamaha (108)
AC Mono Expert: Dean Devereux, Honda (22)
AC Mono Intermediate: Martin Powell, Honda (10); Robin Foulkes, Gas Gas (17); Ian Emery, Yamaha (19)
AC Mono Clubman: Andy Steele, Yamaha(35)
AC Mono Beginner: No finishers
Modern Mono Expert: Gareth Roberts, Beta (19); Dan Williams, Montesa (24); C Hughes, Beta (29)
Modern Mono Intermediate: Lewis Hurdsman, (Beta (14); Paul Hempkins, Beta (22FC); Luke Roocroft, Beta (22)
Modern Mono Clubman: George Waring, Montesa (6); Kevin Williams, Gas Gas (14); Glyn Evans, Beta (23)FC
Modern Mono Beginners: Paul Trevor, Beta (25); Lisa Bolton, Beta (36); Harry Trevor, Beta (60)
Sec 1 - Gordon
Sec 2 - Harry
Sec 3 - Annette
Sec 4 - Roger
Sec 5 - Ange
Sec 6 - Dave
Sec 7 - Russ
Sec 8 - Geoff
Sec 9 - Izzy
Sec 10 - Mark
Pre 65 - 31
Twinshock - 24
A/C Mono - 13
Modern Mono - 33
Total = 101
Expert - 22
Intermediate - 41
Clubman - 28
Beginner - 10
Pre 65 Expert: 8
Pre 65 Intermediate: 14
Pre 65 Clubman: 9
Pre 65 Beginner: 0
Twinshock Expert: 6
Twinshock Intermediate: 9
Twinshock Clubman: 6
Twinshock Beginner: 3
AC Mono Expert: 1
AC Mono Intermediate: 10
AC Mono Clubman: 1
AC Mono Beginner: 1
Modern Mono Expert: 7
Modern Mono Intermediate: 8
Modern Mono Clubman: 12
Modern Mono Beginners: 6
Ariel - 1
BSA - 15
DOT - 1
Francis Barnett - 3
James - 4
Triumph - 6
Villiers - 1
Aprilla - 1
Bultaco - 2
Fantic - 5
Honda - 2
Montesa - 2
SWM - 3
Yamaha Majesty - 2
Yamaha TY - 6
Yamaha Whitehawk - 1
Fantic - 2
GasGas - 3
Honda - 3
JCM - 1
Montesa - 1
Yamaha - 3
Beta - 21
GasGas - 4
Honda - 1
Montesa - 2
Ossa - 1
Sherco - 2
Vertigo - 1
Unlisted - 1