In the 80’s, Nina sang about “99 red balloons”, well not every trials bike is red but the lovely Honda in the picture above was one of 99 bikes that turned up at Nany y Ffrith on Sunday 6th November for a fantastic event.
19 Pre 65’s and 29 Twinshocks shared the sections with 18 AC Monos and 32 modern monos. We also has a very modern electric mono join the event. The classes were made up of 3 novices, 40 clubman, 41 inters and 15 experts.
Ian Emery- Air Cooled Mono / Intermediate
As soon as I arrived, I walked into a ribbing from Geoff about me missing the last competition with a “runny nose”. His words not mine, haha. I haven’t missed many since 2010 and I was so glad I rode on Sunday despite having doubts about my energy levels as I recover. Anyway, excuses over, armed with a bottle of Lucozade, and practice buddies Paul and Steve riding with me, here’s how my day went.
Section 1: Suzanne on duty here and the section began with a small climb to a rock step with a nasty exposed shiny root on the top, a drop off the far side of the rock, and across to a narrow gate between two trees with an immediate 90° left, up through another gate to a tight 90° right and out. Think I had 3 cleans and then had a tree hugging moment after dropping off the first step, when the slippy root skewed me sideways and into the tree.
Section 2: Steve observing here. Started with a fairly severe looking hillclimb which had me debating whether to use 1st or 2nd and I chose to let it buzz in 1st and found grip every time. At the crest of the climb was a short cross camber before turning right to fly back down again to the ends. The ground was loose and littered with pine straw which gave the sensation of me never quite being in control but I made it for 4 cleans.
Sectiion 3: Dave in charge. A nadgery, twisty start over damp mossy ground to then go up and over the remains of a wall with exposed slippy roots, and immediately make a tight 270° full lock right turn to the ends. Tricky here to stop the front washing out. Cost me a couple of dabs.
Section 4: A twisty meander around the edge of a dip with a sharp drop-in, complicated by a hop over a log on the way down. Tricky bit was controlling the kick from the log on the rear wheel as as soon as that happened it was a 90° tight left with the front pushing against the far bank. A short double climb at an angle finished the section. Managed 4 cleans.
Section 5: Mark on duty here. Began with a short climb over a slippy log to turn right and follow cross camber along, down and up to a nasty tight right hander between two trees and out. Slack dab on the first lap, then 3 cleans.
Section 6: Christine sheltering from the rain in the truck. Section started with a steep then gentle descent leading to a very tight left and immediate steep climb of maybe 10 ft. I watched some take a low line for the turn but the front always washed out whereas others tried a tighter line which was tricky as it was slightly going back on yourself whilst being very steep, no run up and not much grip. A 180° turn at the top followed by a twisty route between trees led to the ends. Two 1s and two cleans for me taking a tight line.
Section 7: Julian holding the pen. A short entry to a hop over a log to a swooping uphill right turn on the camber and then thread between various trees to the ends. On the cross camber turn there was a sticky-up stump which I hit twice and lost marks or rode above it for two cleans.
Section 8: Under Michael’s piercing gaze, a reasonably straightforward twisty, turny section which I cleaned 4 times though one of our little group did manage to go the wrong way and get a 5.
Section 9: Rob in charge. Started with a steep, slippy, root covered climb with very little grip so momentum and a trailing throttle seemed the best way. A very tight right turn at the top led you down and across to the far bank where a short climb up the bank and over a log set at an angle led you then to a left, back down and across to a tight right turn between two trees and out. First lap for me, feet up all the way but went the wrong side of a tree which earned me a 5. Rob wasn’t going to miss that. I did better on following laps but still shed a few.
Section 10: Gordon’s section. The route took you down a bank and part way up the far side to turn left between red/blue flags before swooping down and across to pick up the next green flags which took you along, right, and 180° left to drop back into a dark hole with a big rock step to clear and a big unfriendly tree right in your line of sight. Two cleans, two 1s.
Have to say I really enjoyed the day though I was exhausted by the end. My best lap was 1 dab, if I’d done that 4 times, I’d still have finished 4th in the class with the top three having excellent rides. Thanks as usual to all the organisers, observers, and especially Russ and Mark for setting sensible but challenging sections. Roll on Plas Onn.
Dave Wood – Twinshock / Expert
After missing the last event due to a clash of dates it was good to be back at Nant-y-Ffrith, a great venue with a fair bit of section variety and one I like a lot. I’d entered on my Bultaco but decided to give my older 310 Ossa a try out before its last trial in a couple of weeks before going on the bench for some overdue engine work. That raised the dilemma, red route might be a bit much on this bike, common sense said go to green – sod it, red it is then.
Section 1: Off to section 1 from the van and noticed the clutch was slipping when I gave it a fist full. Back to the van, adjust clutch springs, back to section 1. Good section. This was a short climb off the track, over a greasy rock which was taken at an angle and not square on, tricky, between two trees and up a steep 8’ rock face with a tight left at the top over some embedded rock and a couple of biggish roots, needed to be line perfect here. Then a short descent, a U turn and back up over another small slab and a tight left behind a tree, more roots and embedded rock before a tight right and out between two trees. Looks ok I thought but no room for error, need to be online or it’s dabsville city. Whilst looking at the rock slab from the top, I heard a commotion behind and looked around to catch the aftermath of Andrew Williams losing a scrap with his Beta in section 2. The Beta had ende’d on the final descent and I was just in time to see it give him a savaging, arms and legs bent in positions they had no business being in before arriving at the bottom in a tangled ball like two scrapping gerbils. Rich Webster was on hand to seperate the mess and luckily Andrew was fine. Looking forward to that on the Ossa then I thought, if that’s happened on an air cooled mono…. Into section 1 and over the rock and nail it up the slab and – instant stop near the top, chain derailed. Now in reverse at full tilt my thoughts couldn’t help but turn to how hard I was going to hit one of the two trees I’d just passed through and how many pieces it might smash my spine and ribs into. Luckily the brakes on this bike actually work and I was able to haul it up before the air ambulance was needed. Russ helped me with the chain and was delighted at how clean a condition the bike was kept in as he didn’t have a speck of oil or grease on his hands after handling the chain… Great start I thought, 5 already. Back to the van again to sort it. I never managed a clean on this one, dabbed it twice in different places and had a 2 on one lap but it needed to be line perfect rides for clean as flicking and jinking your way out of trouble on the Ossa isn’t an option, it just wants to keep ploughing forward.
Section 2: Another good one. Through the start, over a hump and up a long, loose and steep cambered climb to the right followed by a sharp left at the top back across the bank below a tree, then a U turn back across above the tree and back down to the end with a tight right / left at the bottom before the cards. The trick here was up the camber with enough speed that the bike could be rolled off using momentum to make the left turn below the tree on trailing throttle. The ground was loose so coming to an almost stop and then using more throttle to turn would just dig the rear wheel in or lift the front. Going wide up the camber at the top seemed the best approach. This was the hard part, once past this bit the rest was straightforward. The hump at the start had to be taken accurately as if it knocked you off line it could really affect the line up the camber. Managed 2 cleans a 1 and a 2 on this so pretty happy as the bike was bogging on the carb on the turn at the top of the camber
Section 3:This was going to be tricky, from the start, up a small bank and U turn behind a tree, back down and straight into another U turn, back up the bank, turn right along the bank and back down over a rock and out. The first U turn around the tree had rocks in the ground that weren’t embedded and they could move around. They were in a different position every lap and could easily roll under a wheel and put the bike off line which would have compromised the next turn. The Ossa has decent lock but isn’t a great bike for clutch/brake riding in really tight stuff but I could just about ride this one clutch out so no real problems. It was a tester though.
Section 4: Fairly straightforward this one, off the track up and onto the bank with a slight chicane shaped ascent, along the bank and down over a root which needed a bit of ground clearance to clear, tight left into the ditch, tight left again up the bank and straight back down again, across the ditch and up and out. No problems with this one apart from sumping on the root every lap which tried to throw the bike off line but there was just enough room at the bottom to sort it out.
Section 5: Pretty straightforward again until the end, start off the track up the bank and around a tree. Along a short track with a left, right, left jink through some trees then a sharp left and short climb up the bank with a U turn around a large stump (or rock, or something…) then down between the stump on the right and a large rock on the left and out. This last part was the tricky part as the short climb had a small stump which needed the front wheel taken wide around to its left allowing the rear to go over it which gave enough room to U turn and get back down without clouting the rock on the left. It was tight but if you had the right line for the U turn it was alright, so no problems with this one.
Section 6: A tricky one as it was all on loose ground. Down the bank off the track and turn left before the bottom across the camber, inside a tree and back up to the track, U turn on the track, back down the bank to the bottom, turn left and then left again back up the bank to the track, another U turn and back down with a left right jink through trees to the ends. Careful on the throttle and brakes so as not to lose traction on the climbs or the front on the descents and turns and all cleans here
Section 7: This was a tough one on the Ossa. In off the track, over a log and past a tree then a left right kink through a bit of a dip then very shallow climb with some roots for good measure and onto flat ground, U turn and back down into what I thought was going to be impossible to clean. A full lock left U turn on the clutch and brakes followed by a short steep climb. The problem here was the bike was still at an angle to the climb with no more room to turn as the front wheel was right at the base of the climb, so it was either foot down, pull the front around early and go, or try and do something Ossas were never intended to do, flick turn it from virtually stationery and up the climb with no run up. Once on the top the rest was just the ride out along and down the bank. I thought I might as well try it but if the flick turn goes wrong it’s usually going to end in a 3 or 5 whereas the planned dab and pull the front around is a certainty for a 1. So, in we go and get to the point where it’s flick turn city. It’s a heavy bike for this and the engine with the big flywheel isn’t a quick revver so doesn’t have GasGas 300 like acceleration… Get balanced, pull on the bars, flick the clutch and gas it and somehow it got up. Another inch on the climb and it wouldn’t have made it but this was my best ride of the day and I was dead chuffed, especially when I managed it again on lap 2. Lap 3 I had a dab at the top and by lap 4 I was tired and didn’t quite flick it enough so had 2 but nonetheless, well pleased with that as the bike was never designed for sections like that and it was on its absolute limit of what it can do.
Section 8: A straightforward route on the first half of this one, a right and a couple of left turns around trees which led to the tricky bit which was down a short bank from behind a tree, then full lock right and half a bike run up to a short climb up a root covered bank and on to the ends. The roots were at angles, very slippery and there were a couple on the top also at angles which could catch and slide the rear wheel, easily causing a foot down. There was just enough room in the run up, just, to get the Ossa going so 3 cleans on the first three laps but a slack attempt on the last lap cost a 1 that I shouldn’t have had. Some expletives muttered and a bit of self-chastising exiting the section.
Section 9: Start off the track and left up a climb over roots onto the top. At the top of the bank was a U turn – tricky, followed by – holy crap, that looks nasty, a camber across roots high up the bank and between two diagonally opposite trees. The U turn was tricky as there were a couple of rocks in the ground not ideally placed. One prevented you from taking a line further out for better position and the other was difficult to get inside of after the U turn, which is where you needed to be, as if you went top side of it the approach to the camber and dreaded roots was all wrong. The roots on the camber were like ice and running vertically so the camber needed some commitment to attempt a clean as if it went wrong the bike would slide from under you and there were several options of how the inevitable crash could severely hurt you in lots of different places – all at once. I reasoned that if I was stupid enough to go for a clean the inevitable jettison of bike and rider off the roots back down the bank would effectively skittle everyone waiting in the queue below, so I took a planned dab on lap 1 and it worked, tried the same on lap 2 but had a 2. Lap 3 I was now thinking big as I’d seen Andrew Williams have two nice cleans on it with a brave approach and thought I’d give it a go. A change of mind at the last second, or coming to my senses more like, saw me go for another dab but I was out of position for that by now and put my foot on the ice-like root – well, where else. That’s a 5 then as foot and wheels gave way to gravity on the roots. Lap 4 was back to a planned dab
Section 10: Straightforward start, around a tree and then oh shite, how the hell am I going to get over that I thought, gawping at the blue and red on top of the large trunk of the fallen tree at the bottom of the bank that was around a foot and a half in diameter and raised off the ground as well for good measure – on a bike that can ground the sump riding up a kerb stone. There was a bit of a kicker at the base, which may have been of more psychological than practical use, not sure. On the other side of the log you were straight into the rising bank and had to turn right, behind a stump and back down, up the other side, U turn and back across and out. That was fine, the tree was the problem. The approach was from behind another tree at the base of the opposite bank and you could stay tight to the tree and turn left which put you on the same level as the fallen tree now in front of you, or you could go high up the bank and come down towards it which gave you more room but from a downward approach. I opted to stay low which I thought was a steadier approach albeit with less run up. Get square, clutch, revs, front up and hit it – well bugger me, up and over on the back wheel and away clean. Almost as chuffed with that as section 7 as I didn’t think it would do it. Same again on lap 2. Lap 3 the kicker had gone so I tried the higher line approach but it didn’t work as the bike is hard to hold straight on a descent on clutch/brake and I got off line and had a 3. Last lap I reverted to tight around the tree but caught my foot which caused a dab right there – moron. The kicker was still gone but this was a better approach so launched it and had a dab over the tree so pretty happy with that, apart from the noddy dab around the tree.
Thoroughly enjoyed it, definitely was hard work in places on the Ossa but that was what made it all the more enjoyable, being on the absolute limit of my ability on that bike in a few sections and managing some cleans that I didn’t think were possible. Happy. A big thanks to all of the team again that make it happen, sadly can’t make the next one at another of my favourite venues, as unfortunately it clashes with our centre trial
Rob Sloggett – Observer (Sec 9)
My last visit to Nant Y Ffrith 2 montrhs ago saw me as a DNF as the Bultco blew the baffles out of the modified exhaust. As this is the 2nd time this has happened it needs a proper mod or a better box so with that bike in the workshop and the Majesty running a bit rough (needing a carb clean I suspect), I thought I would offer to take a board and give the regualrts a chance to either ride of have a break. I love the chance to observe. You get to see a lot of riding styles and techniques and see those riders in the improving classes develop as well as study the Experts approach to the harder stuff.
My section was bascially broken down into 3 zones. If you looked up the gully from the lower start, zone 1 (left hand lower section) was only used by the Experts and Inters, then zone 2 (right hand mid) was used by all 3 with the Novices and Clubman having this as the first set of challenges then zone 3 (upper left) being used by all routes.
The section was basically an uphill traverse made up of banks, roots and tight turns around trees. The highlights of the section were different for each class and starting with the expert, after a snaked climb up a bank they had a nice tight 90 deg right to be presented with a very tricky camber between two trees but the most evil diagonal down hill exposed root that just got more exposed and polished as the day went on. Basically two techniques. Either a well planted steadying dab or a full on “attack the block” which if you got wrong resulted in a rapid descent into the bottom of the gully. Total respect to the riders in this class and to Mark and Russ for picking such a great element.
Inters had a more simple climb up the bank, albeit, at the start it looked worse than it probably was. They then joined most of the clubman route but the exit was different. Quite a few riders picked up simple 5’s for getting this element wrong. Easily done…
Clubman had a perfect route for the class with a mixture of some simple challenges such as exposed root and banks with tighter turns. Lots of single dabs being taken with the maximum total for the 4 laps being 9. Finally, the Novice route was a really nice simple S between the flags. Its probably the hardest route to mark out in my opinion and it the class which is people coming into the sport and you want them to have a good days sport, feel like they have had some challenges but not freighted to come back.
It was great to be back on the boards but two observations from the observer…. firstly I was surprised at times that people who were walking the section not being aware of riders either coming into or actually walking the section. A few times I had to shout at riders to make sure the rider in the section was not impeded. Secondly (and to be clear we don’t do it for the thanks, we do it as a way of supporting the club), I was really surprised this time around how few riders said thank-you at the end of the last lap. Probably a maximum of 20. I really makes our day after being stood there for 4 hours to get a simple thank-you and actually you are verifying its your last lap so if for any reason we have recorded one of you laps against the wrong rider (it does happen when you are trying to record 400 individual scores) we can check our error with you.
Dave Pengilley – Twinshock / Intermediate
It looked like it was going to be a wet day as we climbed towards the Nant y Frith parking area and into the low mist and cloud. Directed to a parking spot by Geoff on his usual efficient parking duties getting the maximum out of the available space. Prior to the start of the trial, coffee in hand. It was good to catch up with a few riders that I had not seen for quite a while. Quick briefing from Russ and Mark and it was off to section 1.
I like to start at section 1, seems to save confusion later on. Must be an age thing. Section 1 looked a tricky opener with some innocent looking roots just waiting to catch you out. Walked section 2 at the same time as they were quite close, this looked as if could have been a very different section with a fallen tree across the start of a drop towards the ends cards, but it had all but disappeared after the first few bikes had been through it. I managed to clean both sections every lap albeit a bit close at times.
Section 3 was a new one tucked off the road. This was again a tricky
little section observed by Dave, special thanks goes out to him coming our to observe while injured. This caught me for a 1 on the second lap with a dab that was not on the ground long enough to be of any benefit but we have all been there.
Section 4 was a straight forward section dropping down through some trees over a large root into a gully, up the bank and out. Rode down the first part, dropped into the gully and fired it up the bank, I thought that seemed easy, other riders seemed to make a bit of a turn near the outs, quick glance over to the observer expecting a nod or thumbs up and he says wrong side the ends card mate. So that why it seemed easy!!!!!!!. Never mind some you win some you loose. On down the cracking new fire roads where there were sections spread out on either side of the tracks, this managed to keep any queuing to a min and kept the trial moving well. Every section was well thought out on the green route and had to be ridden accurately, slightly off line and you were in trouble.
Section 9 was a quick blast up a bank and around a tree, this has caught me out at an earlier trial so I decided plenty of gas slightly wider line to make sure I was the right side of a perfectly placed green marker close to the tree. This did have the observer Rob beating a hasty retreat on one lap with a slightly worried look on his face.
Section 10 was one of my favourite sections. First 2 laps it rode very well again making the most of the room to go wide around the first tree, dropping down the steeper part giving a good line for the tight right hand turn around the back of a fallen tree before a sharp climb over a rock to the end cards. Laps 3 and 4 was very different the short drop after the tree got very slippery and it was a bit of a lottery how you landed in the bottom before the turn.
Massive thanks to all the observers who stand out all day so we can enjoy our sport, especially the riders injured or just giving it a miss for other reasons picking up a board. Once again an excellent well organised trial, thanks must go to everyone involved not just the bits
we see on the day but all the work beforehand admin etc, and after sorting & washing markers, and getting the results out almost before some of us get home.
Tony Williams – AC Mono / Beginner
What a great trial again. 100 riders and very little queuing at the sections. Well me and my mate Steve Harding started with section 8, observer Michael. A figure of 8 section, really tight, did not like this one but got through on a 2. Next one, Section 9, a short climb to a tight left round tree about the easiest of the day. Now go to section 4, a very tricky section, go straight through tight trees, gentle on throttle then a very tight off camber left turn. You had to trust your front wheel or go for safety dab. Dropped one. I can go on and on about trial but really enjoyed the white route. Simple but still could trip you up. Well done Russ and Mark, good job.
Steve Harding – Modern Mono / Clubman
First of all a big thanks to everyone involved for putting on another great trial. As usual, big thanks to Russ and Mark for giving up their Saturday to set out the sections over good long lap. A massive thanks to all the observer’s for giving up the Sunday and standing there for most of the day just so we could have a great day riding the sections, not forgetting Chris Deburger for keeping us fed and watered .
So the day started with me getting there early to assist with setting up and on car park duties with Geoff, with over 100 rider’s expected it was going to be a bit tight but Geoff was on it ,
Aĺl parked up and ready. So 11 o’clock arrived and every one met at the main part of the car park for Russ to give out the regulations and directions of the lap and then the day began. So here are a few of my favourite sections of the day.
Section 1: Sue and Russ on watch. I started to the right of the start gate and into the section. You had to keep left, tight against 3 trees before a tight right and up in-between a rock and some bare roots. Up onto a sandstone bolder before dropping off it into a dip and a tight left as soon as you drop off then. In-between two very close trees and then gas it up a bit over another bit of a steep bank, over more roots and a bit of a left on an off camber bank before another bit if a steep right handed bank. Over more roots and out of the section. I dropped some silly marks but found this section a bit challenging but enjoyed it,
Section 4: Ben on watch. You start off from the main track and straight into the section into a bit of a muddy dip and then up towards the trees. Then a bit of a left and along a bit of a ridge, some very wet slippy leaves, carry on between more trees before going over a big root (almost a log haha ) and dropping down a wet slippery muddy bank and turn tight left at the bottom. Along a bit, before firing it up another steep slippery slope and out of the section back on to the main track,
Section 9: Rob on watch on this one. You start off on the main track. I opted to start to the left of the start gate to give me a bit of a better line though the start and straight away in to the section. A bit of a dip and then straight away up over some slippery roots and close to a tree before climbing a bit again up to a very tight left, round another tree and keeping it left along the top of a ridge before a very tight left. Straight away, dropping down a steep bank before firing it up another steep slope covered in roots and then straight away a very tight 180 round another tree and then drop down and left out of the section.
These were just three, but I think all sections were spot on and found it hard to choose my favorites. Big thanks to everyone involved again and all the observer’s
Well done aqueduct , you guys smashed it again, Looking forward to seeing you all next time…Cheers
Before we move into the usual stats, we have to close by once again say a huge thank-you 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 – None
- Intermediate – Paul Owen, BSA (5); Craig Howard, James (8); Kev Williams, Triumph (11)
- Clubman – Paul Brimelow, Cotton (4); Graham Miller, Triumph (6);Harry Edwards, James(12)
- Novice – Terry Lloyd, Triumph (14)
- Expert – Richard Webster, Fantic (16); Dave Wood, Bultaco (29); Jim Williams, Honda (50)
- Intermediate – James Brooks, Honda (3); Tony Dillon, Fantic (4);Dave Pengilley, Kawasaki (6)
- Clubman – Rob Jones, Honda (2); Elwyn Beedles, Honda (2); Phil Cottiga, Fantic (5)
- Novice – None
Air Cooled Mono
- Expert – Paddy Edwards, Yamaha (21); Kev Ellis, Yamaha (39); Ian Jones, Fantic (43)
- Intermediate – Neil Brooks, Fantic (0); Robin Foulkes, Yamaha (1); Paul Young, Gas Gas (3)
- Clubman – Adrian Kent , Montesa (10)
- Novice – Tony Williams, Scorpa (11)
- Expert – Owen Edwards, Gas Gas (10); Tony Gush, Gas Gas (22); Ian Owen, TRS (32)
- Intermediate – Paul Hornsby, Vertigo (1)T; Garry Parr, Montesa (1)T; Tomos Matthew, Gas Gas (2)T; George Jones, Gas Gas (2)T
- Clubman – Andrew Dean, Beta (3); Jeff Hughes, Beta (4); Stephen Hall, Beta (6)
- Novice – Glyn Roberts, Montesa (16)
Electric Modern Mono
- Clubman – Seth Adams, EM Epure (9)
1 – Suz and Russ
2 – Steve
3 – Dave
4 – Ben
5 – Mark
6 – Chris
7 – Julian
8 – Michael
9 – Rob
10 – Gordon
- Pre 65 – 19
- Twinshock – 29
- Air Cooled Mono – 18
- Modern Mono – 31
- Electric Mono – 1
- Expert – 15
- Intermediate – 41
- Clubman – 40
- Novice – 3
- Ariel – 2
- BSA – 6
- Cotton – 2
- Francis Barnett – 1
- James – 1
- Triumph – 6
- Armstrong – 1
- Bultaco – 5
- Fantic – 11
- Honda – 9
- Kawasaki – 1
- Montesa – 1
- Ossa – 1
Air Cooled Mono
- Aprilia – 1
- Beta – 1
- Fantic -3
- Gas Gas – 4
- Honda – 1
- Montesa – 1
- Scorpa – 2
- Yamaha – 4
- Beta – 8
- Gas Gas – 12
- Montesa – 6
- Sherco – 2
- TRS – 2
- Vertigo – 2
Electric Modern Mono
- Electric Motion – 1