Its always nice to get back to Nant Ucha Farm. A lot of us know it as a practice venue and have used it to develop our skills (or lack of them) but March 2023 saw a welcome return and with the Bultaco still in bits I grabbed a board to observe and grab some video footage for possible projects.
With parking being tight on the hard standing (although fortunately we were able to use the top field), entries restricted but that did not stop 76 riders getting a place on a cold but dry day.
19 Pre 65’s rubbed shoulders with 23 Twinshocks and 15 Air Cooled Monos. A final tally of 19 Modern Monos made up the numbers.
We continue to develop new blood with 4 Novice riders (2 on Pre 65 and 1 on Twinshock) developing their skills to join the 25 Clubman riders in the future. Experts saw 14 riders in place (3 Pre 65 and 6 Twinshock) with 33 riders contesting the Intermediate class.
Michael Griffiths – Observer Section 2
What a grand start to the day. Plenty of parking and some smiling faces. Sadly the shorts were still in the butty van but his pretty assistant more than made up for the sight of dodgy knees. Walking down to my section I came across Allan Jones trying to get his bike going.. Yes he was surrounded by helping hands but alas ‘Mr Nice Guy’ failed to start. Section 2 was my destination and what a cracker it was. Easy, but easy to drop a mark as Jim Hough was to prove. There were rumours going round one of the riders had a chain reaction and was in a huff (should that be spelt Hough ?) about it !
Back to 2 and some good riders were watched with Chris Garlic on the C15 who was a pleasure to watch. OK I’m a BSA fan. A dab from Chris Gascoigne was a surprise though. Then we had one or two riders that thought they were Man United goalkeepers ? Yes Elwyn Beedles ,Patrick Edwards, Johnathon Hughes, Tom Austin Devey , Davw Wood and Bert White all let 7 go past them. The ever smiling Tony Williams nearly swore when he damned near missed a gate and utterances were heard.I think it’s time you lads did something about Peter Rusco and stop his winning ways. Let his tyres down if need be.
Sadly there were some queues on 2 but I think that was down to it being a long section. All in all an enjoyable day with plenty of smiling faces . Non more than Sophie Meredith who at the end of the trial was going round to see if she could help pick up a section. What a fine example of todays youth. Thanks all for a grand day and just a bit of banter now and then.
Mark Gaskell – Twinshock / Intermediate
Before I built the Triumph, I used to ride a Whitehawk 175, which unfortunately then found itself pushed to the back of the shed. It had been rebuilt with all the best of the bits that I had, then did a brief spell as a beginners bike for Talei, my stepdaughter. Deciding that it was too precious for the abuse it was getting (it was me who taught her to ride after all), I got her a more modern bike (thanks Rob) and once more relegated the Whitehawk to the back of the shed. Until couple of weeks ago, when we had a re-arrange, and the bike once more saw daylight! Put some fresh fuel in and she fired up second kick. I had a potter around the garden, and remembered how much I enjoyed riding it, and decided that I should enter the next trial on it for a laugh. I had acquired a better kickstart shaft a while ago and decided I would fit that first, only a five minute job after all. Taking the sidecase off I was surprised at how much surface rust there was on the gears. Run those old engines regularly folks, to get the oil circulating! The kickstart assembly has a “idler return spring”, best described as a cut off r-clip, which should clip to the back of the idler gear. Mine was a bit tired, and kept falling off as I put the assembly back in the case, causing much consternation and swearing. Eventually I got it to stay on with a dab of grease, and put it all together. Just as an aside, said spring costs less than a fiver, and I really should know better.
This long intro is to make up for the lack of writing about the riding, as after one and a half laps, that spring fell off and jammed the idler gear, necessitating a long push back to the van. We won’t mention spare bikes, walkie-talkies (and their ability to summon a tow if you were to use one), or fitness levels, will we? Thank you.
My favourite sections:
Section 4: A meander into a downhill left turn, over slippery off camber roots, up a short climb then round a couple of trees and back down to the end. The roots were taking no prisoners, but I thought I could lift the front end of the Whitehawk up and over if I timed it right. In the section I found that a well positioned safety dab worked better and got through for one.
Section 5: At the far end of the woods, drop right down into the stream, the right again in the stream bed before a rock step that looked scary but rode easily, then climb left on a slick rock slab before exiting in the stream bed again. I think I had a silly couple of dabs on lap one, but managed to clean it on my second attempt.
Section 9: Short, rooty climb, to a left turn down and across a steep off -camber, then tight right around a tree to another steep climb with no run up. The Whitehawk flew through this section both times I asked it to, but it was after the second attempt that the clip fell off and my day effectively ended.
My thanks again to all concerned with the running of the events, we really do appreciate it!
Rob Sloggett – Observer Section 7
With the introduction of VAR in top flight football, it was about time observer disputes were settled with good old bodycam technology. So armed with two GoPro cameras I walked my section to get a feel for the routes, popped one camera down looking at the complex bit and the other one on a hand held and waited for my first victim (sorry rider). Actually the cameras were with me for two reasons. Firstly I had just bought a new one and wanted to get a feel for the quality but also to make some content to share on the club facebook page so don’t worry, it wasn’t used to verify your scores!
So what of the section? At the bottom of the woodland before you moved across into “the new area”, sat looking at the wall that is my Nant Ucha nemesis, it was good to see that it wasn’t being used. Everyone had the same exit with Experts having a slightly more complex set of turns to approach it but the main action was in the first 1/3rd for Greens and Red and the middle third for whites and yellows.
So whites on paper looked straight forward. Drop in, straight line up the stream then a small bank and straight climb out. After a bit of a look, the entrance was actually a bit more complex. Its great watching the novice class as these are the future of the club and with 3 out of the 4 riders on Pre 65 and Twinshock things looks healthy. Graham and Sophie had a great progressive day building confidence each lap.
Yellows, came in lower down with a very defined set of gates to bring them into the stream and force an across stream turn with a number of medium sized rocks which the modern monos with their peaky power delivery found much harder that the more sluggish older bikers. A really interesting turn of events. Whilst the section resulted in a lot of cleans where marks were being dropped it was mostly in the 3 or 4 points across the 4 laps (so a singe dab) and looking at the video footage it was either in the early part of the stream for the modern bikes or in the mid phase for the others.
Greens (my usual class) looked very tasty on the first walk around. The first challenge that was posed as the riders hit the section was clarification on the entrance. After the start gate a tight line to the first challenge would be to follow the first pair of yellows but without this constraint they could run out wide with a more natural run up the bank. Any rider that asked was advised that I would accept a “reasonable”arch but not to take the mick! After the bank and a right turn they dropped back into the stream at 90 deg to the water flow to then have a bank step with exposed roots. I was expecting this to be more of a challenge but most riders approached it with confidence. Once again the video footage was interesting looking at the different techniques, Some riders just allowed the front wheel to run up the bank whilst other favoured a lift of the wheel. After the bank was a 180 turn and drop back in but then a blind sighted right hand tight turn to approach the climb out. A large outcropping rock blocked the view and took a number of dabs to the unaware. Where it wasn’t a clean, it was very much low losses but interestingly the AC Monos faired best with everyone clean apart from Steve B with a single dab. Looking at the results, in the Twinshock Inter class, 4 points separated the top 3 positions (22,25 & 26) with the riders taking 5, 1 and 1 respectively on my section.
Now I love watching the Experts, as well as learning from their lines and technique, generally speaking their is a different level of determination and competitiveness! Now Expert riders come in one of two forms. Firstly there is the “pack animal”. These travel around in groups , walk the section together discussing lines, ride the section, watch their mates then tell the observer if they think their mate 5’d it because their wheel went just over a flag and you have to mark consistently and by the rules. The second type is the “lone wolf”. These fly low under the radar and celebrate their good lap and laugh when they get it wrong. They are my favourite……
My section had a brilliant Expert route. Whilst the bank had a detour with a left cross bank change in direction over some challenging terrain, the drop into the stream and the root step raised a problem based on flag position. The natural option was to approach at a diagonal with the bank adjacent to the right hand side of the bike but with a bike tree at the entrance it was a high risk approach which took marks of a lot of riders. An alternate approach was straight on to the bank but the flags bordered a large rock about one and a half bike lengths from the bank which you had to hit and either maintain lift on the front wheel to clear the bank or drop the front wheel then immediately lift it again. A few riders demonstrated perfect technique on this and when executed perfectly was an absolute joy to watch. Once again, looking at the top 2 spots on Pre 65 Experts, the final scores were 2 and 5 respectively with the top placed rider cleaning the section but second place picking up a score of 3
Stephen Harding – Modern Mono / Clubman
First of all as usual a big thanks to all the aqueduct team for putting on another great trial , Mark & Sam for setting out the sections and all the observer’s for standing out in the freezing cold , Chris deBurger for keeping us fed and watered and the land owner for letting us use the venue,
I got there early to help set up and with the car parking and as we got there it started to snow and I thought we were in for a right cold day but it soon started to brighten up as all the riders began to arrive, soon it was time to get ready for the start, it was good to see Russ back giving out the instructions for the day , 10 laps 4 sections
All sections were testing but great and was hard to choose my favourites but here are a few of my favourite sections of the day,
Section 2: You started off from the field and as you pass through the start gate you head down towards the brook but it was a bit of an off camber bank and over a slippery root just to get your attention and drop straight into the brook and keep left over some good sized rocks to the other side tight right round inbetween the tree and the high bank then over some more rocks in the brook to the right up the bank again before dropping back into the rocky brook along a bit more over some more slippery rocks before turning tight right up a steep slippery slope and out of the section,
Section 5: Rite down at the bottom of the woods you cross the stream to the start, you started on the bank and drop down a bit of a slope before turning tight right on to the rocks at the edge of the water before navigating some more larger slippery rocks then back out on to the bank on the right along a bit of a narrow path before climbing up onto a large boldor an a steep drop back into the rocky stream , and they were very loose and could easily catch you out the through the end gate ,
Section 7: Rob on watch and giving out some good advice while filming, Only a short but tricky section this one ,as you start off from the bank you immediately drop down into the water and onto the loose slippery rocks as you head over towards the bank on the opposite side and turn tight right back into the water and rocks across to the other side and then give it a bit of gas to get you up the bank and out of the section,
Overall I had a great day even though I broke my front brake at this venue again, but still managed to finish, and once again big thanks to everyone involved, and everyone who took photos and videos of all the riders, (I don’t think I’ve seen so many of one trial, ) well done,
Before we move into the usual stats, we have to close by once again say a huge thankyou to the club team for all of the effort they put in over the preceding months to make this happen, the observers for still taking the time to support and the land owner as always.
- Expert – Chris Gascoine, BSA (2); Chris Garlick, BSA (5); Jim Hough, Triumph (10)
- Intermediate – Mike Jones, Triumph (21), Paul Owen, BSA (28); Paul Hornsby, James (36);
- Clubman – Steve Walker, Francis Barnett (19T), Paul Brimelow, Cotton (19T), Alan Dyson, BSA (59)
- Novice – Terry Lloyd, Triumph (19); Paul Corefield, Triumph (45)
- Expert – Richard Webster, Fantic (4); Paul Smart, Honda (20); Mike Jones (31)
- Intermediate – Jerry Hawker, Honda (22); Robert Reese, Honda (25); Dave Pengilley, Kawasaki (26)
- Clubman – Phil Cottiga, Honda (10); Kenton Hackney, Honda (22); Darren Riley, Bultaco (22)
- Novice – Graham Seager, Bultaco (105)
Air Cooled Mono
- Expert – Peter Ruscoe, Gas Gas (7); Patrick Edwards, Yamaha (21); Steve Williams, Honda (42)
- Intermediate – Mark Backwell, Yamaha (10); Michael Warburton, Honda (11); Dave Riley, Yamaha (12)
- Clubman – Ian Thomas, Honda (48); Tony Williams, Scorpa (83)
- Novice –
- Expert – Owen Edwards, Gas Gas (8); Hayden Rainford, Montesa (26)
- Intermediate – Mike Smith, Montesa (19); Stuart Parr, Beta (40); Neil Liptrot, Gas Gas (44)
- Clubman – Jack Edwards, Gas Gas (10); Gareth Evans, Vertigo (13); Burt White, Beta (18)
- Novice – Sophie Meredith, Beta (62)
1 – Harry
2 – Michael
3 – Dave
4 – Elwyn
5 – Gordon
6 – Bill
7 – Rob
8 – Laura
9 – Ian
10 – Mark
- Pre 65 – 19
- Twinshock – 23
- Air Cooled Mono – 15
- Modern Mono – 19
- Expert – 14
- Intermediate – 33
- Clubman – 25
- Novice – 4
- Ariel – 1
- BSA – 6
- Cotton – 1
- DOT – 1
- Francis Barnett – 1
- James – 1
- Triumph – 5
- Armstrong – 1
- Bultaco – 4
- Fantic – 5
- Honda – 8
- Kawasaki – 1
- Montesa – 1
- SWM – 1
- Yamaha Whitehawk – 1
Air Cooled Mono
- Fantic – 3
- Gas Gas – 2
- Honda – 4
- Montesa – 1
- Scorpa – 2
- Yamaha – 3
- Beta – 8
- Electric Motion – 1
- Gas Gas – 5
- Montesa – 3
- Sherco – 1
- Vertigo – 1