Sunday 22nd May saw what originally started as a mild day turn into a set of changing weather which challenged the riders as the sections appeared to offer fresh surprises each lap. The 65 riders turned up to the day on 22 Pre 65’s, 20 twinshocks, 7 Aircooled Monos and 16 modern Monos. The class split was broken down into 8 Elite, 18 riding 50/50, 32 Clubman class and always it was great to see 7 beginner’s including Rhys Bagnall on his Oset 20 Light.
This months report is kindly contributed to by
Rob Sloggett (Observer Sec 4)
Ian Emery (50/50 Twinshock)
Paul “Moz” Owen (50/50 Pre 65)
The day starts off as a lovely spring morning with the sun shining, but as we started the trial at 11am it started with light rain as we got to section 1 inside the old rugged Quarry. What then followed was a monsoon, but we all stayed and had fun. I was riding the green route (50/50) on a rigid bantam.
Section 1 was under the rock face and with a steady rise up the bank and around to the right then left down a bank and just kissing the muddy pond you climbed back up the top of the bank to a sharp right turn, down a greasy bank to the out gate. Section 2 was across an old stone wall, zig zaging up and down over roots and the loose stones of the wall. It was very tricky and made you smile if you cleaned it. Section 3 was a slippy section from the rain, climbing up a large mound with an option of a sharp right turn or a slippy left drop back to the path then around the mound to a steady climb and either drop down the bank to a sharp turn back up or you could attempt the slippy roots for an easier exit, just missing a tree.
Section 4 was a short climb to the left then a climb to the right with a fallen tree that so many lost the front end on, that led to a steady ride to the exit gate around some trees. Section 5, was a long rockyish climb between some trees to a sharp left turn down a greasy bank with a rock to help you stop or in my case do a face plant! then an off camber slippy exit. I think I made the observer laugh with my rest in the middle of the section (haha). Section 6 was in a rocky bog, with large rocks to tackle and 2 sharp right hand turns on the bank. It was challenging for the rigid bantam.
Section 7 was a large rocky step followed by a tight turn up an off camber bank, across some more large rocks and to a steep drop down to the exit gate. Section 8 saw you drop down a slippy bank and immediately across some large rocks to a steep drop off to the exit gate. Section 9 looked easy as you had a tight right turn then a big rock which caught a few out including me, then a greasy mossy long climb up the bank that got grippy after the first 2 laps, then followed by a downhill bank to the exit.
Finally Section 10 was a nice easy one to finish the lap with a short steep bank around 2 trees to the exit.
For this report I thought for a change, it would be good to give my thoughts on two sections where it all went right for me and two where it didn't.
Section 2 with Albert in command - I just couldn't get a flow in this one. The section swept up the bank and across a log to the right before dropping back down over loose rocks and over a nasty 6ins sawn off tree stump which always seemed to catch my rear wheel and throw me off line for the slippy 180 turn that followed. This opened into a sharp step and right turn over more jagged, loose rocks before dropping back down towards the end cards. I never managed a clean with 2,2,3 followed by a 5 on lap 4 when I locked the rear on that stump and stalled. From the book of excuses I blame this 5 entirely on me being so wet and cold I couldn't get proper feedback from the brake pedal proving my decision not to bother with waterproofs as "it wouldn't rain that much" to be a daft one.
Moving to Section 3 I fared much better. A short climb followed (for my chosen line) by a steep descent to the left, a 180 turn back across a dip to a 90 left over exposed roots, to then squirt across the camber onto a narrow target ledge before turning sharp left and down around several trees to the ends. Some riders chose a different line taking an immediate right at the top of the first hill but this made crossing the dip very steep and I saw several riders in trouble. 0,0,0 and a daft 1 near the end cards for me.
Further on we get to Gordon's section, no.8. This was a tough one with a sharp descent between two rows of rocks to then turn left and up the bank aiming for a "V" between two footrest snagging rocks, which if you got past led immediately to two smaller rock steps before swooping across the top of the embankment to turn right and down a steep descent to the ends. The best I managed was a 1, with a couple of 2's, and a cold shivery 5 on the last lap locking the rear again on the opening descent.
Then came Section 9 with Anette observing, taking shelter high on the bank under the big tree. It started with a full lock sweeping right turn over a jumble of rocks, with no run up to a big cubic lump of rock which caught my sump each time as I tried to hop over it. In less than a bike's length followed a tight 90 left and straight up a 15 foot steep climb to where Annette stood, followed by another short climb and up round a another tree to then begin the steep descent to the ends. I watch Harry Lyons on his Bantam approach the big climb and with clutch in, gave it a big handful of revs before dumping the clutch and just flew up the hill. Many others didn't. I took a different approach not being a fan of touching the clutch once in a section, and let the Ossa chug round the left turn a smidge over tickover before squirting it at the hill, fighting the rear for grip whilst making sure I didn't get too much and end up thrown off the back. Four cleans for me which I was well chuffed with.
Credit must go to the observers who sat/stood through some of the heaviest, persistent rain I've seen for a long time. As a rider at least you generate some body heat, as an observer you don't but I noticed some had more sense than me and wore waterproofs. Thank you all including a very wet Roger Kenyon who didn't expect the rain either.
Where else can you get to watch a pre 65 Matchless 350, queue up with an Oset 20 Lite (that’s 900w/36v for those that are interested). A wet day did not dash the riders spririts, even those who started the day in mild weather gear and did not bother to then get changed as the rain poured down.
Section 4 was a really interesting if not slightly long section broken down into 3 distinct phases. The entry pitched the riders up a bank with a 180 deg on camber turn. Beginners and Clubman had a gently turn, although with the changing weather the climb up the bank took a few 5’s from those not quite reading the lack of grip accurately enough. The 50/50 and Experts had a higher climb up the bank and then a loop around a tree with the Experts having a tighter turn, following the natural contours of the root system. Dropping down for the 2nd phase, the Beginners and Clubman had an easy run into the 3rd phase whilst the 50/50 and Experts once again had a climb up a low bank, with an immediate left hand turn over a log which rose up from the apex, forcing the front wheel into the curve unless the front wheel was lifted. An immediate right turn then ran the rear wheel over a hidden root which caused it to slide, taking a number of dabs off of the riders. The 3rd phase mixed it up a bit with the Beginners having a wide swing to approach a left hand turn and curved climb towards the end markers. Clubman and 50/50 had to extend further into the section with a left hand turn around a tree and a climb out across a camber. Finally the Experts had a series of tight left / right turns across a variety of gradients before linking up into the clubman route.
As a regular rider, it’s always nice to be an observer every now and then and whilst I could comment about some great rides in the Elite group, demonstrating great bike craft and an understanding of the terrain, for me the stars of the day were the beginners, some only just at the early stages of their competition experience but giving it their all. It’s no surprise that the majority of these were on smaller capacity machines as these give a safe and forgiving introduction and allows the riders to fully develop their balance and throttle control without getting themselves into trouble.
It was also great to see a number of riders not just moving classes but also bike types and I have got to say how comfortable Mark Gaskell was looking on his Tiger Cub after moving from a Sherco to a Whitehawk.
As always, a big thanks to the organisers, observers, catering team and land owners and we look forward to seeing you all at Plas Onn on the 5th June for the next event.
Pre 65 Elite: James Francis, BSA (8); Russ Jones, Francis Barnett (20); Kev Ellis, BSA (22)
Pre 65 50/50: Harry Lyons, BSA (12); Mark Newman, Banville (33); Tim Lewis, Triumph (34) tie with Steve Walker, Francis Barnett (34)
Pre 65 Clubman: Jon Flower, BSA (7); Roger Smith, BSA (9); Graham Miller, Triumph (12)
Twinshock Elite: Paul Smart, Fantic (12); Stephen Knight, Fantic (33); Julian Price, Fantic (36)
Twinshock 50/50: Rob Jones, Honda (25); Ian Emery, Ossa (29); Alex Barrie, Honda (38)
Twinshock Clubman: Karl Kavanagh, Fantic (12); Steve Jones, BSA (18 FC); John Sowden, Honda (18)
Twinshock Beginners: Bill Beverage, Fantic (19)
AC Mono 50/50: Gordon Wilson, Honda (34); Paul Cartwright, Beta (51)
AC Mono Clubman: Neil Francis, Aprilla (7); Steven Blaxall, Fantic (17); Andy Steele, Yamaha (19)
Modern Mono Elite: Tony Gush, Beta (4)
Modern Mono 50/50: Declan Marsden, GasGas (37)
Modern Mono Clubman: Andrew Dean, Beta (17); Nick Macgillivray, Montesa (20) tied with Steven Creaser, GasGas (20)
Modern Mono Beginners: Wayne Francis, Sherco (39); Tyler Jones, Sherco (45); Rhys Bagnall, Oset (47)