13th June saw Aqueduct Classics back on form with an increased rider count up to 50 riders as per the relaxing Covid restrictions. Still adhering to the rules of masks in the public areas and riding in groups of 6, a return visit to Pen Y Graig (which is probably going to be the main venue this year, once again to limit exposure to other venues) started with a lovely sunny day.
Alan Hotchkiss – Twin-shock (Novice – White Route)
I arrived at 9:50 am on a lovely Sunday morning at the top carpark of the farm to be greeted by the carpark attendant (Geoff ) brandishing a large coffee. After unloading the bike I wandered down the hill, facemask adorned and swiftly signed on by two chatty ladies. The hours traveling and coffee had taken its toll so I swiftly had to sort that out but midway through admiring the wonderful scenery I noticed I was surrounded by flies and a pungent smell, Needless to say I think the farmer must have lost a ewe a few weeks earlier! That smell was soon replaced with the fumes of 50 or so bikes firing into life as Russ summons us to the meeting point at section one. The ride to it is one to be enjoyed, down a steep twisting bank , through some water under a bridge which as you pass through resonates with the sound of the bikes. At the meeting point we were placed into our covid safe groups and then dispatched to our allocated start sections.
Off to section nine we headed, which for the white route started with a drop down a loose bank with a tight right turn in the bottom, across a camber,around a tree and up and out up a short bank.
Section one was pretty straight forward, a bit of a meander finishing with a long steep climb which I managed to finish flamboyantly semi in control on the back wheel on all four attempts.
Another favourite section was (I think 7 ) across a little camber, drop in to a bog out across some loose rocks around a tree and up a steep incline to finish.
All in all a great day out accompanied by some very experienced riders who were keen to share their knowledge and banter.
Signed The Whiteroute Wobbler
Steve Harding – Modern Mono (Novice – White Route)
First of all a massive thanks once again to the Aqueduct team for putting on such a great event under the circumstances, and all of the observer’s who gave up a sunny Sunday so we were able to do what we love doing, also a big thanks to Russ and Mark for giving up their Saturday to mark out and clear the sections for us to use. All meeting up in the farm yard some time before the start and a chance to have a walk round and have a look at some of the machines that were taking part in the event and there were some excellent examples. 11o’clock sharp start We were put in to groups of 6 and all covid safety measures were applied. I was with a great bunch of guys and we had a good day and had some good banta along the way ,
Here are some of my favourite sections .
We started on section 7- You started off from the main track and drop down through the start gate down a bit of a bank then straight back up up and a tight left past a tree and across a bit of loose rock then up to the left again tight past another tree and along a ridge and out of the end gate ,
Section 5 – Russ and Sue on watch so no mistakes on this one haha,, It was like a white route just to get down there, but once down there you start and straight into the section and on to some good sized rocks and along through to a tight right between two trees then a tight left and then up a really steep shale slope and out of the section, tough but I enjoyed that section.
Section 6 – A bit of a nemesis for me this one. At the start gate Steve was there keeping an eye on things, from the start you drop down a bit of an off camber bank into some fairly deep sticky mud (and it was a bit of a deep rut by the time our team got to it ). I dabbed it every time on the 1st 3 laps, then a bit of an up hill left and back up and a tight right over a few rocks then fire it up a steep shale slope and out of the section, I decided to just attack it on the 4th lap and managed to clean it, All in all a great days riding with some great guys, extremely warm and humid weather but had a great day. Again thanks to all the Aqueduct team, cheers.
Paul Owen – Pre 65 (Intermediate – Green Route) and
Thomas Owen – Pre 65 (Clubman – Yellow Route)
It was great to get to riding a bike again as it’s been a long time away from competition . Also I had my son Thomas doing his first ever trials. I rode the rigid bantam as Thomas was on the twin-shock bantam, I rode greens and Thomas did yellows. Here are 3 sections we both enjoyed.
Section 3 – A steady ride into the section and around a tree to the left. Over a tree root and up a banking. Thomas had to ride the off camber banking to a left hander to the exit and I had to drop back down the bank and between the trees to a longish climb up the bank to a left hand turn to the exit. It wasn’t hard or technical but it was on little loose stones and could easily catch you out. –
Section 6 – You dropped into a mud bath that got easier as it dried out with the warm sunny weather. Once across the mud we had a few slippy rocks that could easily take a dab off you. Then across into another muddy wet section. Thomas had to ride through it and up the bank to the exit and I had to turn sharp right up rocky slippy banks that turned to the left and dropped you back down the banking and a tight right turn up to the exit gate. –
Section 9 – You started the section on the old lane and dropped down across the banking and around a tight right turn straight into a drop into a left hander and down into a gully for Thomas where I had to turn right up around a tree and drop left into the gully. We then turned right on a very tight turn and up a steep bank to the exit gate.
Big thanks to all involved from riders. Organisers and observers
Our next event is on Sunday 11th July and based on the current known restrictions, this will be once again capped at 50 riders.
Expert -Danny Littlehales, Francis Barnett (15); Kev Ellis, BSA (29);
Intermediate – Paul Owen, BSA (6); Phil Alderman, Triumph (7); Jim Droughton, Triumph (10)
Clubman – Mike Roberts, Ariel (14); Tim Lewis, Matchless (12); Peter Cocking, BSA (14)
Novice – Paul Beswick, BSA (0); Chris Kenny, BSA (26); Alan Hotchkiss, Fantic (37)
Expert – Tony Gush, Majesty (6); Julian Price, Fantic (26); Jack Lycett, Honda (37)
Intermediate – David Matthews, Bultaco (1); Dave Pengilley, Kawasaki (3); Tim Cuffin, Honda (14)
Clubman – William Leigh, Yamaha (8); Steve Blackburn, Montesa (10); Graham Pennington, Ossa (17)
Novice – No entries
Air Cooled Mono
Expert – Ian Jones, Yamaha (17); Robin Foulkes, Yamaha (23); Mark Blackwell (31)
Intermediate – James Mylett, Montesa (5); Paul Cartwright, Gas Gas (14); Ian Emery, Gas Gas (17)
Clubman – No entries
Novice – Tony Williams (18); Chris Matthews, Fantic (26)
Expert – No entries
Intermediate – Dave Riley, Vertigo (2); Steve Serwin, Gas Gas (5); Paul Hempkins, Gas Gas (11)
Clubman – Martin Howard, Beta (11); Kev Finney (46)
Novice – Glyn Roberts, Montesa (0); Steve Harding, Gas Gas (21)
As I started to write this report, I popped over to the last one to see the format and structure and took a look at the date. The last competition was 20th September 2020 when 60 riders enjoyed what we thought was going to be the first on many Covid friendly events but things moved on and lockdown hit again. Wind the clock forward 231 days (yep that’s the number) and Aqueduct, after official guidance being checked, opened the regs up to 30 riders to get things moving again.
Before I go any further I have got to say that even though it was only 30 riders, Russ and Mark still marked out 10 sections with 4 routes and made sure each section had an observer. This was only cut down in entries and the same fantastic level of effort was put in by the club to make sure as we returned to completion so on behalf of all of the riders a huge thank-you to all of the organisers for Sundays competition!
So back to the event… as I had volunteered to dog sit I was unable to grab an observer board so I cant give you the usual niceties such as “it was a lovely fresh morning when 30 keen riders turned up at Pen Y Graig for the first event of 2021”, but if I could that’s probably how it would read… so lets just cut to the chase and listen to the riders views.
Now a word of warning…. we encourage our riders to express their personalities in their reports so just bear that in mind when reading ahead….
Stephen Harding – Modern Mono Novice Route
First of all I would like to give a massive thanks to all the team at Aqueduct putting on such a great event again and keeping us all informed of the mine field of government regs throughout this tough time ,big shout out to Russ and Mark for spending a day in the pouring rain to mark out the sections .
I was so nervous starting as I had not ridden for 7 months and a bit worried about my fitness (lockdown belly) haha, so here are some of my favourite sections of the day, and also a massive thanks to all the observer’s , without them the event couldn’t take place.
I rode with 5 other guy’s and we started at section 9, It was a bit of a tricky start ,a drop down from the start, down and then straight back up a slippy shale bank on to a ridge and then left along a ridge and a steep drop down over a tree root and then still a drop and a tight left past a tree through the flags and then up and out of the section.
Section 10, down at the bottom of the quarry, a nice easy entry into the section and a fairly straight line through the slippy mud through a couple of rocks and then a tight left exit , a nice flowing section to calm the nerves and a bit of a breather to be honest.
Section 6,Deep in to the quarry, we start from a fairly muddy puddle through the start gate and a really tight right round some rocks in some really slippy mud, then up on to a bit of a ridge then down past Paul the observer and up tight left past a tree and on to an off camber shale bank and round to the left over some rocks and a couple of tree branches and out .
Section 7, a bit of a nemesis for me. From the track you could see the start and finish but not an easy section, from the start you drop down a very steep slope and as you get to the bottom you have to climb a bit and then tight left past a tree and then straight up a long a really steep shale climb where I just kept on getting the back wheel spinning and a few dabs. On the 4th lap I took some good advice from one of the guys in our team , I think it was a Mr Williams on the Honda TLM (really nice bike too) and I cleared it on the 4th lap.
Section 8, one of my favourites ,as you drop in you are straight back up and a really tight right through the flags and then along a shale ridge then a small drop down and back up and a tight right on to an old concrete platform and over a small gap and then out of the section. Over all I had a brilliant day, big thanks to everyone involved , without all of your time and effort we wouldn’t be able to do what we all love and enjoy. Thanks
Paul Beswick – Pre 65 Novice Route
Great to be back on the bike again and we the few, 30 actually, gathered to enjoy the four laps of ten sections laid out for us by Russ and Mark. Rob asked us to add a few words about our three favourite sections. To be honest it’s all a bit of a blurr and to be honest I can’t remember some of the sections but I do remember how easy it was to get lost in them but that was probably more down to me and my one brain cell than anything else. It took a lot of concentration to keep your feet on the pegs and I’m really pleased how things turned out. More luck than judgement as I’ve never made so many skin of the teeth recoveries for ages.
Talking to the other members of the group, I really like riding round in groups of six and I hop we retain this when all the covid restrictions are just a dim memory, I wasn’t the only one. Us wobblers never change lol.
Sections 5, 7 and 8 come to mind thinking back but I think it was section 3 especially on the first lap that was particularly challenging. All the sections were flowing which I love with some loose rock’s and shale thrown in to catch the unwary and punish lack of concentration. What a great venue this is because with the recent weather I was expecting mud, mud, mud but no what we got was smiles, smiles and even more smiles. Hopefully I will be lucky enough to get a ride at the next trial and fingers crossed I won’t get lost in the sections so often. Either way I can’t wait. Thank you to every member of the Aqueduct classic team that consistently put on such enjoyable events.
Mark Gaskell – Pre 65 Intermediate Route
Trying to remember when I last rode in a trial? Certainly more than six months ago. That’s the excuses started already! Arriving at 2 minutes past the start time in the instructions, I’m met by the familiar faces of Russ, Mark, Geoff, Jan, Suzanne and Christine, albeit behind facemasks! Sanitising and signing on completed, time to say hello to the rest of the 30 competitors, and hope that they are as rusty as me! At the briefing we are split into groups of six, and allocated a section to start at, in order to avoid contact as much as possible. Our group is Mark Newman, Ian Emery, Paul Young, Graham Miller, Steve Blaxall and myself. 5 inters and a clubman.
Our first section is No.3, the first element of which is a full lock, downhill, left hander between tree stumps. My first attempt goes wide for a 5, me underestimating how tight the turn is compared to the momentum of the Triumph. Not the best start to the day. Still, it can only get better from here can’t it? Next lap I make the turn, but need a couple of dabs. Third lap I try an alternative line advised by Mark, and clean. Last lap I have a plan to pivot turn on the back brake. It fails, and 5 again!
Section 7. Down an off camber slope, round to a tight left, then a tight right at the bottom of a steep bank, weave uphill to the end. The steep bank has a slippery tree root just where you would be asking for the throttle. Safety dab on lap one, annoying dab on lap two, clean on lap three, and disaster on lap four! More grip (and right hand) than expected turned a floating turn into a falling dismount. 5.
Section 1. Should be easy, but the middle element is a left around a tree on a polished off camber slope. Target fixation on the flags means a two on lap one, a dab on two, before remembering not to look at them for cleans on laps three and four.
I hadn’t realised just how much I missed this sport, and the way this club organises it. Superb, safe days riding. Many thanks to all for your hard work!
Julian Price – Twin-shock Expert Route
I would start by saying writing one of these reviews is something similar to the Catholic Confession so I’ll start by saying my name is Julian Price, may the Trials Gods bless me, and it is a couple of years since my last review (and I still haven’t grown a set).
Anyway, when I saw Robs increasingly cunning request for reviews come through, I thought having recently retired, and I should make the effort, so here it is.
I’m calling this one “Listen you Pillock”
In a previous paragraph I referred to being under- endowed in the testicular area.
I would like to point out that unfortunately, this hasn’t quite made me feminine enough to take advantage of a wonderful characteristic that the fairer sex has in spades. The ability to listen! This would have been huge benefit when dealing with the challenge on section 8 on the red route! More of that later.
With a reduced entry of 30 there were only 7 riders entered into the expert route and we formed a cosy bubble. These guys really deserved to be in this class, whereas did they deserve to have me tagging along? I guess we’ll never know. It was a great group and with the event having no championship points, advice flowed and the chatting was amiable. I have noticed since moving on to the reds five years ago one advantage of being less able and no threat to any standings means guys are happy to advise and help. This is assuming they save the shouts of “oh god, what’s the fool done now” until I’m out of earshot.
Ok, this review is not going to be of every section but suffice it say I was not going bad for me with dabs here and there.
Now, I have made several observations over the years, and one of which is these high achievers I was riding with really seem to be able to focus, and have a real determination to not dab at all costs and this can do attitude helps further by keeping traction with full weight on bike giving something of a win win. Note to self, must try harder and hang on a split second longer before dabbing!
Section 7 Red route.
This section was ably manned by our mate Steve Jones having rendered himself unable to ride on a previous two wheeled “venture” and decided to observe to the delight of the riders, as we all know a fully manned up trial is great to ride.
Aware that our group of 7 did not have to rush looking at the sections given the entry was only 30, I was getting used to a quick couple of minutes and we were off! ( me and Ian Jones usually prefer a good 10 minutes per section)
So far, a particularly talented rider in our group had gone first on every section and pretty much “showed us how to do it” by cleaning them straight off!
Now, you might well say well this fella has shown you how to do it so get on with it but you have to factor in the chasm of difference in my ability and his so I literally felt no better off.
My turn came, and down the first descent I went, weaved through the trees (I couldn’t do the lovely floaty turn the real experts were doing) so I dabbed my way round, up the bank and over the loose rocks for a fairly satisfied 3, Yay!
Now remember the title of “listen you Pillock”? Well, here, while watching the others I get some good coaching from the maestro on what to do next time.
Well, for a reason unknown to science I managed to listen. I still couldn’t do the show off floaty turn, but the other advice was heeded and I even managed to clean it on another lap.
Anyway, buoyed up by my 3 on what I initially thought looked like a hard section we moved to the next section.
Now section 8 looked simple. It was simple and was probably the shortest of the day. A flat start followed by a tight turn through a pair of trees, all doable then to the final part. A small rock step followed by a left turn and up short steep, slippy bank. No problem for the willing “first in every section maestro”, but hey, it looked tricky at the end. The next rider was a very good rider and the slippy bank caught him out. A five! What! These guys don’t five much so suddenly everyone took notice. Suddenly there was doubt in the air and it was contagious!
Well I think only 2 guys got around the section maybe 3 but the rest failed.
I took my turn and of course failed completely. I might as well have just thrown the bike on the floor after I went through the start flags. I did what others did and rushed the tight turn and didn’t commit to the steep bank. It didn’t help that there were some hard looking lumps of concrete either side of the section waiting to do you extra harm. That little bank was just long enough and just steep enough to stop you from forcing your way up.
Well the news was out that the clever dicks were making a fool of themselves and sure enough the cameras crews turned up to add insult to injury. With all the fog going around in my brain I couldn’t think of anything witty to say and resorted to sign language.
I’ll cut to the chase. It took 20 points of me but I will also refer to my “Listen you Pillock” title. After failing next lap, (and I wasn’t the only one) another proper expert turned and advised just go really slow. Do not rush it, and you will get straight up from the bottom. Well my brain was just too male. I couldn’t listen.
I just did the same rubbish attempt lap after lap safe in the knowledge that better riders than me were failing too!
So, when the trial was over me and another riding buddy could not accept we had been beaten by such a simple little section. We returned to the scene of the crime. By now a little less adrenaline was flowing and my brain decided to listen to the advice earlier freely given.
Up to the step, slowly does it, look up the bank because that’s where you are going and the bike flew up like there was nothing there. Round and round we went time after time, looking at each other both thinking WTF!!!!
Brilliant trial, testing well set sections took marks off all in the class without killing the making up the numbers me. Result! I had a smile on my face the rest of the day. I am safe in saying the bubble really enjoyed it.
So that was a flavour of my trial. As ever, I try to improve my riding and I think I have over the last few years. I’m just not sure if the pace of the sections difficulty is growing faster than my ability to improve????
I will share my own mantra with you.
If you do what you’ve always done, You’ll get what you always got!
So, listen to advice because what have you got to lose?
I’ll finish by saying being 2021, I will not be changing my gender in order to improve my riding, (still don’t understand how you can do that, Is it just me?)
But I will try to improve.
Big thanks to all that help make these days happen.
Ps. I may have to go into hiding after upsetting the gender police and religious types in a single review!
Expert – Ian Smart, Triumph (18); Jim Hough, Ariel (20); Danny Littlehales, Francis Barnett (20)
Intermediate – Jim Droughton, Triumph (25); Phil Alderman, Triumph (26); Kev Williams, Triumph (27)
Clubman – Steve Walker, Francis Barnett (2); Graham Miller, Triumph (13)
Novice – Paul Beswick, BSA (2); Keith Lloyd, Drayton Bantam (4); Kevin O’Toole, Triumph (11)
Expert – Phil Houghton, Fantic (2); Julian Price; Fantic (56); Terry Musgrave, Aprilia (74)
Intermediate – Dave Pengilley, Kawasaki (7); David Matthews, Bultaco (11); Mark Newman, Ossa (35)
Clubman – Paul Hornsby, Fantic (10); Owain Charles, Yamaha (22); Allan Thomas, Fantic (32)
Novice – Alan Hotchkiss, Fantic (32)
Air Cooled Mono
Expert – No finishers
Intermediate – Ian Emery, Gas Gas (25); Paul Young, Gas Gas (33); Neil Francis, Aprilia (52)
Clubman – Ken Williams, Honda (0)
Novice – Pete Rainsford, Yamaha (27)
Expert – No enteries
Intermediate – No enteries
Clubman – Dave Riley, Vertigo (0)
Novice – Chris Matthews, Beta (5); Steve Harding, Gas Gas (19)
What does a club, which has grown exponentially over a decade, gathered an incredible following and hosted some of the top twinshock events in the country do when Covid hits? Exactly what it should do. It stops competitions, respects the rules and then works silently in the background making sure when it is allowed to recommence, it does it in the best possible way… And what a cracking event it was!
I had to start this report that way, not as a political statement about following the rules but to really show the thanks and gratitude on behalf of the 60 riders who got the chance after 6 months of lock down to get back to the sport we love. With the IOPD attending, it is honest to say that nothing was forced or “for show”, just a bunch of enthusiasts respecting the rules and being grateful to the club team for getting us back riding.
Well enough of that, what of the day? Well Paul, Rob and Elwyn are here to tell you all about it.
Paul Beswick – Pre 65 Novice
The trial was my first with Aqueduct Classics and my first for 2 year’s since moving to Wales. It was a long drive from Aberystwyth, about 2 hour’s which I wasn’t used to having lived in Derbyshire near Matlock all my life and being spoilt for choice never having to drive more than 30 minutes max lol, but well worth the early start and I’ll definitely be back if you’ll have me.
Excellent organisation especially in these difficult times and it made the day so much more enjoyable having every section manned. The sections were nice and flowing, just as I like them, but I was so unfit not having ridden for so long I was glad we were in our “bubble” of six because not only did I have someone to talk to I could have a breather between attempts. I also found that it took me 2 laps to remember where I was going and to remember which flags to follow, totally my fault due to old age and being a bit dim , but the observer’s were so helpful and put me right.
My only bogy section was section 8 when I somehow managed to miss the fact that there was a ruddy great big rock. I might have missed it was there but sadly I didn’t miss it derrrrr. Oh I’ve stopped err might be something to do with this rock I’m wedged on Really haven’t enjoyed myself so much in year’s loads of laughs and 4 laps flew by in a blur .
Looking forward to the next time and hopefully I will be able to introduce myself to more of the team and other rider’s. As I said before “if Carlsberg did trials they would be Aqueduct Classics ones ”
Rob Sloggett – Twinshock (Clubman)
Its been a while….. but they say good things come to those who wait, and gosh it was worth the wait. We were lucky to have a training day a few weeks before and I had spent a few hours practicing figure of eights and this did help on a couple of sections (but more on that later). The main event for me of the day though was my rear silencer coming apart and making the newly restored prototype Bultaco sound lounder that is should have. It was my first competion out on Mk3 of its journey and it rides just lovely, shame the rider is not is sync with its capability now!
So what of the sections? As we had not ridden for a while and the revised Bultaco was new to me in competition I rode clubman. A nice steady uneventful start I thought? My “riding bubble” of Ian, Paul, James, Steve and Graham started on Section 1 which was basically an adaptation of the section we used on the training day. I had no excuses not to clean this! but still felt the front wheel pushing away on the 180 turn. A dab could have happened at any time here but I was lucky to carry a clean card on this section.
Turns on cambers have been one of my key weaknesses and a number of sections had these incorporated (at least three from what I can recall) and normally I feel the bike tipping in and would carry a dab. I’m please to say that the teachings of body position and my subsequent practice meant this time out I didn’t drop a single dap on these challenges.
So what of a specific section? Well Russ was on Sec 3 and this dropped down a bank, turned right to snake through some rocks and trees then the final stage was a very slight ride across a camber and climb a small bank to exit. First lap took two silly dabs where it should have been clean and showed that I still wasn’t settled on the bike but the last lap showed that really I should just put the bike on EBay and give up! A simple ride along the camber and up the bank turned into me getting slightly off line and then basically laying the bike down at the base of the banked turn. To this day I can not work out why or even why it didn’t take the dab to save whatever was going on…Oh I love this sport!
My second lap was also interesting as riding to Section 4, the engine note changed. It got louder. Now the Bultaco was being ridden without the clubfoot on for the first time in competition. It was always the aspirational design but the clubfoot had been added to tone it down a bit. I had been practicing with it off and the pick up was so much more peaky and suited how I like the bikes so after doing a Db test and confirming that with it off, it still fell below the ACU 100db at 2m measured 45 deg from the rear spindle (yep I checked the regs) I have kept the bike like that. What I did not realise is that the end cap was a press fit (not the 4 small bolts I thought which purely connect the end cap to the baffle pipe) and as it no longer had the club foot holding it in, you guessed, the pressure of the exhaust popped the end cap off. The baffles now rested part out on the swing arm. Sorry to anyone who thought it was a bit loud, it wont be like that again as its currently being stripped and rebuilt with pop rivets to hold it together.
Another great part of the day was actually riding in groups of 6 and with Graham also riding clubman it was good to have someone riding the same line and actually almost 1 for 1 on the scores. Unfortunately my silly 5 on the last lap pushed me out further but it was interesting to feel that competitive spirit as we completed each section even if it was purely in a fun way!
Elwyn Beedles – Twinshock (Clubman)
Well it finally arrived after months of Covid lockdown and restrictions the Accy team made the decision to organise a trial for our enjoyment. Always ahead of the game we entered via the website and payed via bank transfer. Very bold move when you are dealing with mainly old fossils who don’t know one end of a keyboard from the other !
Limited to a lucky band of 60 riders we were pre selected via email into teams of 6 and allocated a start section. Signing on was by individual pen after using the sanitising station then the girls presented us with coloured laminated numbers one for the bike and one for rear of helmet not the customary bibs for obvious reasons. We had been informed via email prior to the event our riding number !
Masks were mandatory around the paddock including the organising team. Fuel cans were loaded in the back of the pick up as we were not allowed back to the vans during the event. The Accy guys must have spent weeks making and laminating signs so no one could say they were not informed as to what was expected. I did hear a few moans but come on lads if we want to ride we have to adhere to well thought out guidelines.
After the briefing by Russ and Mark at 10.45am prompt we rode down to the quarry in our group and started at Pauls section 6. Took a little bit of finding initially but we soon got into things. My group had captain Mark along with Neil, Richard and Roly riding intermediate then Graham and myself on the clubman route. I was on the TLR and Graham was on a very trick Cub so it was great comparing notes and watching each other progress especially as he was pre 65 and I was twinshock.
Bit rushed so never really studied the green route to comment on but the yellow route was spot on twisting through the trees then a tricky rooted camber to section ends. We all waited at the end of the section to re assemble into our group then made our way to the next section following the well marked route. At that section we waited behind the yellow line for the section to clear then moved forward into the zone. This was the routine throughout the event with Roly ‘I don’t do hanging about’ Jones leading the way from section to section and Mark ‘can I give you some advice’ Newman taking overall control of the group.
Russ was overseeing section 4 (I think) with the lovely Suzanne. It was good to see Suzie after her recent problems. This was my bogey section when on lap 2 for some unknown reason (oh yes rider error) I found myself on my ear when the front washed out along a loose camber much to the amusement of the observers and a very unnecessary 5 on the card
The evergreen Elwyn Williams was looking after section one. We go back a long way and it was good to have a brief catch-up with him. I think I heard Elwyn shout to one of the lads he was 81 and only stopped riding last year so there is a long way to go for some of us to match that. Tricky turns and cambers were the order on his section but safe and rideable as were all the sections. The one downside of the Group of 6 rule was that I never got to see any experts strut their stuff on the section and come to that I hardly saw another rider all day we were so equally spaced out.
Overall the sections were very sensible given that we had not competed for a long time. Russ commented that from an observers point it was good just having 6 at a time at the section, easier to explain the route initially then a small break as one group left and the next group arrived.
The inspection by IOPD was welcome and they left more than happy with the way things were running. Geoffers and the team have taken on board a bit of feedback that I am sure will be attended to for the next event. It was very enjoyable in a group as we got to know each other a little as we rode around and with no queuing we travelled at a good pace. Importantly we all finished at the same time with no stragglers keeping the observers waiting at the end which normally happens.
Great event and now roll on 11th October
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 – Jim Hough (Ariel) 0; Ian Smart (Triumph (6); Darren Walker (11)
Intermediate – Jerry Hawker (Francis Barnett) 1; Simon Thornley (BSA) 3; Roly Jones (Dot)3
Clubman – Keith Gardner (BSA) 2; Steve Jones (Triumph) 6; Graham Miller (Triumph) 10
Novice – Paul Beswick (BSA) 14; Jack Curwell (BSA) 10; Kevin O’Toole (Triumph) 20
Expert – Jim Williams (Honda) 14; Steve Williams (Honda) 18; Kev Ellis (Yamaha) 30
Intermediate – David Matthews (Bultaco) 11
Clubman – Elwyn Beedles (Honda) 9; Graham Pennington (Ossa) 9; Owain Charles (Yamaha) 13
Novice – No riders
Air Cooled Mono
Expert – Peter Ruscoe (Honda) 6
Intermediate – Ian Emery (GasGas) 7 T; Paul Cartwright (GasGas) 7T; James Hornby (Beta)11
Clubman – No riders
Novice – No riders
Expert – Mark Diggle (Sherco) 15;
Intermediate – Steve Sherwin (TRS) 29
Clubman – Bobby Chadwick (Beta) 7; Ken Williams (Beta)10; Ade Robinson (GasGas) 15
Novice – Chris Matthews (Beta) 30; Tony Williams (Scorpa) 37; Alan Hotchkiss (Beta) 43
Following the very successful and enjoyable training day for Inters and Clubman on the 16th August, the club were able to arrange an additional session for Beginners and Clubman who wanted to improve their skills further.
Below is a set of reports kindly provided by Martyn and Gavin and photos by RogerKenyon.
I arrived for the Beginners/Novice training day a full 24 hours early, that’s how keen/desperate I was. So having realized my mistake I’d either got a long lonely wait and be very early or I come back tomorrow. I messaged Geoff to explain what a plank I am and that I couldn’t get my bike to the venue on Sunday. No problem says Geoff, come anyway.
I am so glad I turned up, even attending a training day without a bike worked for me; the Aqueduct Team as usual were spot on, ever friendly, welcoming and effortlessly creating a very special environment for those attending their events; people today of all ages and ability.
Pen-Y-Graig has so much to offer, great to build experience. Arriving without a bike turned out not so bad; having the option to sit, listen and watch the delivery and participation of training sessions worked out perfect for me. The size of the groups today certainly seemed beneficial; I think there were two groups of ten-ish. Come the afternoon a bike became available and Russ offered me the use of his Montesa,…
Brilliant. I spent the afternoon learning the Montesa, I think it was a 250, very positive, very forgiving, very different from the TY’s and TLR I’d been using. I went back to the early sections Russ and Mark had laid out and repeated their sessions, starting with the Figure of Eights, by now quite muddy, the Montesa rode very sweet, the front end sometimes gently washing out in the mud, but having listened and watched the mornings sessions it was good to put into practice the body position and balance techniques the guys had spoken about, the front wheel slightly washing out was manageable, another new experience.
Moving on from the Figure of Eights I gave the white sections ago, again I was really surprised how confident you could be with the Montesa, ample power when needed and good useable engine braking. I’m now quite pleased, I’d just completed my first section, albeit White.
Completing the second section as well really boosted my confidence. Back to the beginning and this time giving the yellows ago, again, I am really pleased, another success; the guidance and instruction given by the guys throughout the day had been spot on.
Having just a couple of hours riding in the company of these guys has certainly improved my humble ability, I’m confident others will agree, sitting there at the end of the day watching the last practice session there were beaming tired content faces everywhere, the youngsters were doing laps and loving it, Russ was fine tuning to the end, taking that extra time with the youth riders to hone their skills and provide memorable life experiences.
A Good Day. Many many thanks for your time and patience, just the right pace for me…Oh, and the bike.
Arriving at the venue selected for the training day, seeing all the vans and trailers with sweet smell of 2 stroke engines in the air just gets the blood flowing. With it being the first time at a trials event after lock down it just made everything seem back to normal. After signing on and grouping up at the bottom of the quarry, we were asked to ride in a figure of 8 between 2 logs while one of the instructors watched us, this was done to work out the level of the riders abilities as the training day caters for all riders some of which where attending for the first time at an event, as throughout the day it was done in a relaxed and unpressured environment, I feel is consistent within any aspect of trails whether competing or just at a practice day everyone always wants you to enjoy yourself and help you improve.
Once the groups had been figured out we followed the instructors Moz and Jimmy , to the first section of the day we would be working on, the section had been set out with white, yellow, green, blue and red routes, I normally ride the yellow routes so I choose to first have a walk of that, while walking through it with Dave we both started looking at the green route and both switched to ride the green routes, as we were walking through our instructors gave us advice on which lines they would take and which areas to watch out for, as it worked out the two instructors had different lines from each other which I thought was brilliant for learning as everyone is different so to get two opinions helped me see there’s not just one line. After I had 2 rides though there was one area where I was spinning out on an causing me to either take a dab or completely taking both my feet of the pegs, the area was on a off camber incline straight after a sharp left turn, with the ground in this area being loose stone I was just loosing grip, while I was riding the section Moz had been carefully watching letting me try it twice and then stopping to have a quick chat, he showed me how I needed to slow down take the sharp left at a wider angle in which to give me time to open the throttle to give a little blip before starting the incline, then to roll off the throttle to tickle it up the rest.
We then moved onto the next section which had some nice features in it, come through the start sharp left, up a short but steep incline to then turn back on yourself back down to then ride over loose stone off camber area, with a slow turn right to the end gate. What I found with all the sections set out was that they all had a lot in such a short area absolutely fantastic, as for me it was taking that next step in my riding having more to remember and link together. Jimmy gave me some great advice he said that within the sections there will always be key areas in which to focus on and then the bits in between you can usually just ride through, this advice made me see the sections in a different light as I had always seen them as one where from Jimmy’s helpful advice it broke it down into more of a slower and manageable area which helps your mind focus instead of thinking of the whole section.
We then all regrouped for a spot of lunch an in which the learning carried on with Jimmy having a quick chat with us asking how we were finding the day and if we had any issues that he could help us with.
After lunch we moved onto the next section had a walk through but this time with all the hints and tips fresh in my mind, myself and Dave started to eye up the blue and red route we both agreed that we might as well have a go as where better to learn than to do it on the training day. The route took a lot more concentration I had to really think on every move I was making, I can’t remember how many times it took me till I was able to clean the section but what I can say is the smile on my face was absolutely huge I was grinning like a cheshire cat.
I was only able to reach being able to clean the red and blue section due to the ever so helpful advice and guidance from the instructors, I would highly recommend for everyone to take part in a training day because you can always learn something new.
Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Elwyn Beddles, Paul Jones, Mark Gaskell and Mark Newman
With the recent poor weather and flooding in the local areas, a number of local trials had been cancelled and with March’s event being in a relatively dry quarry area, as well as guaranteeing the venue integrity we were also expecting another high turn out. A fresh morning greeted the riders who were all asked to turn up a bit earlier to allow last years Championship Trophies to be presented and you can see some of the photos at the end of this report. Whilst having its roots firmly as a Pre 65 and Twinshock Club, Aqueduct has always allowed AC Monos and Modern Monos at the events and runs a Championship Class alongside the Classic Classes. This has always been well supported as the more flowing nature of classic sections lend themselves to people coming back into the support on the more modern bikes but dont want the severity of the way modern clubs mark out their sections or those of us who are in our later years and just don’t want to get injured!
This months event saw 93 riders contest the day with 24 Pre 65’s, 19 Twinshocks, 11 AC Monos and 39 Modern Monos. The split across classes was 15 Experts, 36 Intermediates, 31 Clubman and 10 Novices.
As mentioned above, the event started with a presentation of last years Championship Trophies which this year once again were a very nice style which I am sure will be taking pride of place in a number of trophy cases / shelves. The full results can be found here. It was lovely to hear the number of kind words said about the club during the presentation and I think it is a true testimony to the warmth felt by the riders for the huge effort put in but the club team and the observers!
Elwyn Beedles – Twinshock Clubman
With the weather battering us and the trial in doubt it was lovely to see the sun shine last Sunday for round 3. It was more of a relief to Russ who had been worrying so much he left the lovely Suzanne in bed to go and inspect the venue at 4am then proceeded to put the road signs out. I was one of the first riders to rock up (I do look forward to these events) to find Geoffers with a bit of a stress over parking. With other local trials cancelled the expectation was for a lot of vehicles turning up. After a survey of the newly stoned top area Geoff had it sussed so sorted him out a cup of tea and gave him a bit of a hand with Mark and Russ on the road guiding vehicles in. The walkie talkies are a godsend in these instances.
After a Chis De Burger breakfast courtesy of the club (many thanks all) we had the presentation. This again takes a lot of organising things don’t just happen and it was kind of Dave to explain a little of what goes on behind the scenes and thank the club for their hard work. I took a few piccies that should appear somewhere for those that are interested. Anyone who has done any successful organising will know that the events do not come without a lot of organising, stress and time committed. Landowners have to be looked after, local residents have to be informed and looked after, endless paperwork with H and S etc, then on the day will we have enough parking spaces, enough observers, have we enough signing on sheets, shift that van who has parked irresponsibly etc etc . Perhaps when we are moaning that our score is a mark out or we had to park a bit tight time to think outside the box a little.
On to the sections, Marks section 6 :Unbelievable that the lads found a stream in the quarry ! Tricky section drop into the water left around a large rock through some rocks in the gulley that could easily catch you out then with a choice of a wide left turn or a more direct route to a slippy bank for section ends. Perfect length and a section that was very satisfying if ridden well
Gordons section 7, on first inspection looked pretty straightforward a rocky climb over a small step bearing right with a tight right turn at the top and a drop down to section ends. Riding it was a different matter. With the slope trying hard to push the bike left after the step meant a re adjustment but if you didn’t commit enough the very loose stone under the wheels caused a lack of forward motion with Gordon recording more fives than he can remember. Looks like your name had to be Steve on a modern mono to record a clean on our clubman route. Well done both of you.
Section 8, Lovely little trail through the woods with a bite in the tail at the end with a tricky right turn that wanted to wash the front out. Perfect length for a section, felt it wasn’t just in and out and the turn required a certain skill to negotiate and miss the trees directly after it. Few more cleans recorded on this one but noticed a few lads battling with the turn. For me it was another well organised event that gave me the opportunity to test myself on my ‘new’ Honda TLR.
Great to see half a dozen youngsters who appeared to have a great time and a lovely photo of Allan with one of the lads on his bike. Really captured what trials is about no matter what your age it can be enjoyed by all.
Paul Jones – Pre 65 Novice
I always enjoy Pen Y Graig quarry and this event lived up to my expectations, I met up with the Wigan massive only to be taunted by Mr Newmans protege about looking forward to the big boys challenge and didnt reveal that he was riding his latest weapon the BSA C15. During the annual presentation including free bacon butty which cant be a bad thing, it became apparent just how big the entry just showing how this club is going from strength to strength with regular entries of above 90 riders for past few events. With all the recent rain we were no surprised that some new streams were running in the quarry where it was normally dry but they did provide some good sections.
My three favourite sections of the day were:
Section 5: As we entered the section we dropped straight into a water trough then climbed onto a camber and dropped back into the stream feeding the initial water trough exiting the stream up a slight climb around a tree then between a couple of rocks and up a final slippy bank through the end gate. This was a really nice flowing section but you couldnt be too complacent whilst riding it.
Section 9: This seemed quite a straight forward section on the face of it but I had my heart in my mouth a couple of times, we dropped in through the start gate and down a steep g gully which as the day went on became more slippy providing some excitement trying to pull the Triumph up whilst going sideways at the bottom before taking a right up a bank and out the end gate to the left.
Section 10: This was observed under the beady eye of Mr Ellis, once through the start gate we proceeded down a slight incline to round to the left where you had to be careful your front end didnt wash out as it became slippy, up another slight incline between two trees then drop down a steep shale bank, this is where Mr Dyson decided to show off with a very impressive forward somersault over his handlebars to win the observers claim to be the best of the day. I just decided no I wont try that and dropped down the back and turned right up the next bank and out the section. Being a true sportsman I wouldnt like to mention who won the big boy challenge but I was smiling the rest of the night once the results came out.
Mark Gaskell – Pre 65 Intermediate
After all the warnings about storm Jorge it was a pleasant surprise to wake to a bright, clear morning. Second surprise was to find that the farmer had made some improvements to the land giving far more parking space! The Aqueduct crew always manage to make great use of the quarry to give us 10 interesting sections, and it is difficult to narrow them down to just 3 notable ones, but these are mine.
Section 4, Russ. Start by dropping into a bomb hole, turning right to climb out across the camber. 180 degree left and over or round a rock step, then 90 degree off camber right which tried to pull your front wheel from under you. Over a jumble of small rocks to a 180 degree left round a tree, then into the sting in the tail, a 180 degree downhill, off camber right turn before a fallen log. Around a tree and out. First three laps took a 2 and two 1’s off me, as I couldn’t manage the last element without footing, but on the last lap I put the wheels in all the right places at the right times for a clean.
Section 10, Kev. Kev didn’t have a working bike, so generously offered to observe. I tried to make his day more entertaining with my antics. A gentle roll downhill, tight to the right hand side of the section, then up an off camber slope towards a small tree. Over its roots, then turn right after it and down slope to another right, across the slope and out. Simple, yes? Lap one I tried to climb the tree, with the Triumph. This has never been successful in the past, so quite why I thought I should attempt it again is beyond me. Needless to say this was a 5. Second lap was easy, and clean. Third lap I struggled to get round the tree, and lost the front immediately after it, dumping the bike onto its side and me on my knees for a 5. To add injury to insult, I scratched the fork leg and the tank, then rolling out of the section the chain jumped off. Last lap was easy, and clean.
Section 9, Ange. I couldn’t see any green flags, so asked the observer. “No problem” she said “you follow the red, expert route!” This put us (inters) at a psychological disadvantage, as we are now scared. Down a deceptively slippery bank, then a right/left slalom round trees to a fallen log at a slight angle. Less than a bikes length after the log was a downhill right turn, hemmed in by saplings on either side, so the turn had to be made with your back wheel still on the log. Down and back up a short gully, left over some rocks and back down into the gully, tight right and blast up a steep bank to the exit. First lap, and I am surprised to find that the bike rolls perfectly over the fallen log and into the right turn with ease. So surprised that I nearly overcooked the next element, but managed to hold it for a clean. I must have been holding my breath throughout, as I felt dizzy after the end cards! Thankfully for me there is video evidence of this clean, as a few people were sceptical. Second lap and again, the log caused no problems, but I did overcook to turn to the last bank and needed a dab. Third lap and a silly dab on the deceptively slippy entry, but that doesn’t matter, as over the log I am distracted by a broken mudguard on the floor, (my excuse) and drift into the saplings on the left. These pull the bars left and furious paddling is required to get back on track for a three. Last lap and disaster! I am too far to the right before the log, and catch a sapling which pulls the bars, and therefore the bike further to the right, but I am by now going left. Over the log, without bike, and headfirst into the bushes. Five.
Superb trial, yet again. A huge thank you to all concerned.
Mark Newman – Pre 65 Intermediate
First things first, a massive thank you to Russ Geoff, Mark, and the whole team for putting on another great even that was run without any problems. Weather was cold and a couple of showers of light snow but on the whole very good.
Riding the inters on my Francis Barnett, Section 1 was wet and deep mud but totally cleanable took at dab on my first lap just because it was the first section and putting pressure on myself to do well ..you dropped into the muddy water about a foot deep up a short steep bank round a tree and back down into same mud crossit and up the opposite bank and round another tree….acrossthe muddy bit again and up a short steep bank across a chamber back into the flat muddy path to the end gates..
Section 3 Dave’s A nice flowing section up and round the trees and banks all good if you keep wide and smooth finished off with a muddy patch the up a very steep bank you had to go for it or it bit you immediate tight right turn over a nicely placed group of logs and out ….1 silly unnecessary dab on my third lap …
Section 5 Mark Sam’s I was expecting a tricky one ..but to be fair it rode really well my favourite of the day …you dropped into a good 2 feet of muddy water which has rocks and branches in it from previous experience, across and up a offset chamber upto the top sharp left back down making sure your on the left side deep mud again and having seen people dabbing and Niel stalling his bike here…then up tight around a tree over a nicely placed rock which went fine with a slight tugg on the bars…the up a loose stoney waterfall smoothness reqd here dropped back down the a short step bank to get out…lovely
Geoff Jones – Chairman
I woke, on the morning of the trial, after a restless sleep. The weather and size of the entry had been on my mind all night, but thankfully we were blessed with a dry sunny day and a large but acceptable number of riders. Everyone arrived early and were parked up ahead of our awards presentation. With a full quota of observers I was not required. I thought my day would consist of getting an overview of how things were running, and “socialising”. How wrong could I have been. I drove down into the quarry to find a queue on section 1, so I jumped in to help Izzy get the riders through. It was on this section where we had our first breakdown of the day, good job I had a tow rope in the jeep. With my foot to the floor to gain momentum, wheels spinning we negotiated the climb up the steep, slippery track. I’m not sure if the rider appreciated the tow as I had kicked up a bit of muck and he looked like he had just he’d ridden a motocross event!.
Whilst back in the farmyard I thought I would take my opportunity to partake in some light refreshment, but that was not to be, a shout came over the radio another rider had broken down, fuel issues, four stroke !!! I grabbed the first can of four stroke fuel that I could find, headed back down and met a distraught rider. Looking at his bike the realisation was that it was a two stroke not a four, so back up to the farmyard we went swapped the fuel, went back down and got him on his way.
Now time to socialise I thought, but again, how wrong could I have been. Another shout over the radio, “ where is the four stroke fuel for the broken down rider”, who would have thought that more than one rider would run out of fuel, so back up to the farmyard yet again, and down to the rescue. As I was down amongst the action, I thought I would have a drive around and check that all the observers were OK. I couldn’t believe it, another refuelling required, big Mark was hungry and wanted a bacon and cheese butty, so back up to the farmyard, again !!!!
Within the blink of an eye it seemed, the day came to an end. Flags collected, observers transported back up to the farmyard, no time left for me to socialise as we needed to load the trailer and get back home to collate the results. All in all, a hectic, enjoyable and exhausting day.
The feedback on Facebook from the riders provided a few sound bites as follows:
Thanks Aqueduct Classics for another top event and to everyone envolved will be back again – Ade Robinson
Many thanks to all at Aquaduct for putting on yet Another fantastic enjoyable trial! Also a big thanks go out to the observers without them there would be no trial….PS Thankyou to the main man Jan Geoff Jones for fetching me some fuel – Alan Dyson
Another fantastic day out in sunny Pen y Graig Quarry with the Accy Classics team. Thanks to all organisers, section setters, observers and catering for a great trial. Absolutely honoured to be awarded the Chris Davies memorial trophy for 2019. See you next time – Graham Pennington
Guys you put on a brilliant trial today, well set out great sections thanks to all the observers and all who put time and effort into a great day. Well worth the trip from not so sunny Southport. Will defo be coming down again thanks – Jeremy Clark
Pre 65 Expert: Paul Edwards, Drayton (9); Chris Gascoigne, Velo (43)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Roly Jones, Dot (12); Phil Alderman, Triumph (22); Mark Gaskell, Triumph (38)
Pre 65 Clubman: Steve Walker, Francis Barnett (11); Jordan Hobbis, Triumph (18 – Tie); Tim Godsmark, BSA (18 – Tie)
Pre 65 Beginner: Kevin O’Toole, Triumph (4); Paul Jones, Triumph (13); Alan Dyson, BSA (21)
Twinshock Expert: Chris Garlich, Honda (31); Mark Blackwell, Yamaha (76); Steve Shelly, Honda (76)
Twinshock Intermediate: Tim Cuffin, Majesty (19); David Matthews, Fantic (27); Jim Droughton, Majesty (31)
Twinshock Clubman: Paul Hornsby, Fantic (14); Elwyn Beedles, Bultaco (28); William Leigh, Yamaha (28)
Twinshock Beginner: No enteries
AC Mono Expert: Ben Butterworth, Hoda (18); Pete Ruscoe, Honda (22); Shaun Montford, Beta (23)
AC Mono Intermediate: Paul Cartwright, Gas Gas (36); Ian Emery, Yamaha (43); James Mylett, Honda (52)
AC Mono Clubman – No enteries
AC Mono Beginners – Tony Williams, Scorpa (25)
Modern Mono Expert: Shaun Hadlington, TRS (37); Mark Linge, Gas Gas (65); Neil Jackson, Gas Gas (78)
Modern Mono Intermediate: Mark Diggle, Sherco (16); Robert Reese, Beta (19); Nigel Sproson, Montesa (28)
Modern Mono Clubman: Paul Hadlington, TRS (1); Mike Jones, Beta (5); Gary Jones, Beta (11); Ken Williams, Beta (11)
Modern Mono Beginners: Chris Matthews, Beta (6); Alan Jones, Beta (12); Glyn Roberts, Montesa (17)
Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Stephen Harding, Paul Owen, Mark Gaskell, Kev Williams and Russ Jones
The first event of the year gave us a great turnout of 132 riders and traditionally Round 2 normally drops to the average run rate of 75-80 riders. It was therefore great to see a turnout of 117 bikes as we returned to Nant Y Ffrith for another crack at the great terrain which this area offers. As well as using a number of the previously tried sections (albeit with a bit of a variation), Russ and the section setters picked a couple of new spots to add to the mix. This also incorporated a nice extended ride from Section 4 to 5 then 5 to 6 to dust the cobwebs off.
The 117 entries were broken down into 41 Pre 65’s, 23 Twinshocks, 13 AC Monos and 40 Modern Monos with 22 Experts, 44 Intermediates, 34 Clubman and 17 Novices making up the distribution.
I think it was fair to say that the precipitation over night made the day challenging and whilst everything was rideable the score count on some sections and in some classes was probably higher than the norm. That is probably one of the great things about this sport, as a rider you are basically presented with a set of start gates, a set of end gates and a path in-between and regardless of what skills you have practiced before hand, that’s the route you have to ride. The skill of the course setter is to make sure that regardless of the condition changes the sections remain safe and whilst it was a tough event I hope everyone felt that a good balance was achieved.
Stephen Harding – Modern Mono Beginner/Novice
Well where do I start, first of all a massive thanks to all the team and observer’s for putting on such a great event and Chris deburger for keeping us fed and watered.
Section 1, looking up at the observer and wondered how am I going to get up there but having seen a couple of others go first I had a good go and made it up the steep banks past the tree stumps and up on to the the top and then along a narrow ledge then drop down over a large loose rock and out. Not to many dabs but really challenging for me.
Section 2, Look all the way back down a very steep slope and as you start you drop off a very slippery rock and straight down in to a bit of a dip up and over some slippery roots and down to the exit.
Section 4, A bit of a tough one for me from the start, you have to navigate past a large stone and tight right then almost full lock left and up over a small wall and tight right back then up inbetween two trees and tight left back out of the section not my favourite but a good one, them out for a fairly long slippery ride all the way down to 5
Section 6, A bit of a steep bank up to the start where Sue had her beady eye on the job, an up hill start then dropped in tight left down in to a bit of a dip tight right back up the hill past some tree stumps and out straight on to.
Section 7 where Geoff was standing at the top of another steep climb, from the start you have to gas it up over the first bank then straight away get back on the gas up the steep banks past a long log then up past Geoff and out of the section over the wall and back on to the track.
All in all a great days riding with some great people cheers acc.
Russ Jones – Pre 65 Expert, Clerk of the Course and Red route setter
It’s very rare I get a chance to ride our trials due to lack of observers so here it goes…. The week leading up to the event I was thinking of a lap in my head due to a big entry in the first trial of the year. After communicating with Mark Samuel via phone calls we came up with a plan, so up 7.30 Saturday morning dogs in tow load buggy with equipment and on the trailer she goes. Off we go to Nant Y Frith meeting Rob Slogget and Mark in a very cold and windy forest but very dry we soon battled the elements put against us the ten sections were plotted in with a nice long lap.
Sunday morning soon comes around after listening to the rain and wind thinking of the days sections ahead what can I do ease them off?? Sunday morning we arrive early at the forest only to get out of the car to listen to the trailer tyre going down (yes I caught and split the tyre). I eventually get the trailer off to be reversing back and caught my bloody bumper on the buggy trailer causing a little damage can the day get any better?
YES. 117 riders turning up . So after the briefing and a minute silence for John Cruchlow it was helmet on and ready to ride. So off to sections I go, I’m going to write about two, three and four.
Section 2 – was quite a simple down a slab down a long right hand turn with a fallen tree to the left of us, after walking the section back to my bike thinking of a different line I’d seen, so in I go dropping off a rock I caught my foot rest resulting in my foot down but managed to hang on to it for the rest of the section which was down a Bank tight turn around a tree and out through the end gates.
On to Section 3 – as I arrived there quite a few red route riders shaking their heads at me so off I walk it with abit of banter on the way it was a steep climb up turning left across a off camber going through some trees was quite a hairy drop down then the rest was quite straight forward. Back to bike with red route riders still standing there I was thinking I need to clean this, so Gorden calls me in up I went and holding on very tight to survive the roller coaster drop but to my amazement I went round for a clean.
Section 4 – was in through the gates up a little wall with a right hand turn dropping back off it then into a bomb hole which caused a few problems for some riders you had to get the rut bang on. After the bomb hole was a little wall to climb up then an off camber bank through some tight twisty trees stood there for a while watching and thought shit or bust! On bike off through the start cards managed the bomb hole, going up off camber bank had two silly dabs the only time I cleaned was last lap.
I hope you all enjoyed the trial was a very tricky day but with the rain poor during the night there wasn’t much else we could of done. Thank you keep your feet up ….
Paul Owen – Pre 65 Expert
This took place on the hills high above Wrexham town. We had rain the night before so I knew it was going to be challenging as a lot of it is in the woods and the roots and rocks always stay slippy. 6 weeks early I’d hurt my wrist and have been struggling as I’d broken it many years ago. Yes old age catching up to me (ha-ha). I was contemplating dropping back to greens but said sod it let’s stick with reds and try and learn off the experts and was great to see 110+ riders ready to tackle the tricky sections.
So here are 3 of my favorite sections.
Section 1. I thought this section would be gentle to ease you into the trial. How wrong was I! You entered the start gate and had to turn left to get a tightish right turn up a meter high rock and immediately into a tight left as soon as the front wheel landed. You threaded your way between two trees with slippy roots and then up a bank and over a rock. Turn right across a someone roots and drop into a dip with a sharp left turn and then squeeze between two trees and over a slippy set of roots to a steep incline of a mossy slippy rock face with a groove in it for some grip. If you got that wrong it was a 5 all day long that I found out later in the event. As you crested the rise there was a meter drop off or you could opt for the smaller step down that was going to catch your cases and pegs and send you straight into a tree. Then a right turn and a left up a small rise. Over a few rocks and a tree then to the out gate.
Section 5. This section was at the far end of the trial and a good mile or two of narrow dirt track riding that was muddy rocky and slippy as I found out as I lost my front wheel and slid into a big thorn bush (ha-ha again). and all this before you got to section 5. I liked this section, as you rode into it and a tight right turn up a bank and back down an off camber to a right then left around a tree and a tight right hander up a 3 meter steep bank with a left turn and drop back down a vertical drop to the out gate. I cleaned it 4 times but managed to hurt my wrist again on that final drop off but the top lads made it look so easy. Think I need to possibly move my bars or something to find a smoother ride.
Section 7. You climbed back up the wooded lane about a mile and almost back to the paddock. This section was in the woods and you rode through the rocky remains and footings of a old cottage or quarry house . It was all up a steep hill. We started on the right and up the bank to a left turn between 2 trees. And into what looked like a doorway. With a little shimmy to the left over some rocks and up a short steep climb of what seemed like the old rocky stairs and a sharp turn right to another level and out the side door to a slippy rooted greasy bank as you had to turn left and climb to the out gate. I think this section got worse with the roots and big rocks moving so your line changed every lap. I actually had a lay down twice in the top bedroom on this section!
All in all it was another great trial set out by a great friendly club. Big thanks for the observers for there time as well and well done to the winners and all who competed as they all looked tired but still smiling at the end for the post trials banta. Hope to see you all at round 3 of Aqueduct Classic Trials
Kev Williams – Pre 65 Inters
The day started with a 5 minute trip up the road to my local Nant y Ffrith so I was there on the ball to have a cup of tea and admire some stunning machines and have a few chats then before I knew it a hour and half had flown by then it was time for briefing off Russ and Mark then off we go.
Section 1: Starting with a right hand turn up a bank over slippy roots then kept gradually climbing and weaving in and out of the trees with the odd hole and exposed tree stump to try and catch you out then when you got to the top there was a foot high rock to jump off through the out gate.
Section 3:This one you approached with a gentle climb turning to the left around a tree then dropping into a little gully then over some tricky positioned rocks up a bank then as soon as you got to the top it dropped back down around a tree to the left and over some really slippery exposed roots while trying to get over to the left for the out gate.
Section 7:Another gentle climb along to the left then a tight right 180 degree turn then in to a old ruin over some loose rocks then out the other side then turning left up a steep bank with exposed roots but seemed to be plenty of grip.
All in all a great day sections were spot on and a big thanks to all observers and all Aqueduct team and everyone involved.
Mark Gaskell – Pre 65 Inters
After my first ride at Nant Ffrith last year, I was really looking forward to seeing what the Aqueduct crew had got in store for us this time. It has quickly become one of my favourite venues. Apparently with quite a few other people too! “Green” Intermediate route, Drayton Triumph Twin. Riding with Mark Newman, also on the green route, and Tim Godsmark on the yellow.
Section 3, Gordon. A reverse of last years section, the two main elements being the off camber gully that needed the front wheel to be in the right place, but you couldn’t see it until you crested the rise beforehand, and the rooty left hand plummet at the end. There was a final sneaky little left to stop riders from launching off the top and avoiding all the slippery roots. This concentrated the mind, but the Triumph handled it better than I did. On the third lap my front wheel went a tad off line, which resulted in a wide eyed panic stricken two, and a chuckle from Gordon.
Section 4, Dave. On first inspection, this looked easy. It wasn’t! Through the cards then up a low crumbling stone wall, immediately turn right between two trees and back down crumbling stone wall, which changes each lap. Left and over ruined remains of stone wall, then immediate right before a tree. Roll down to ride into an uphill left bank which got rougher and looser each lap. If you lined each element up perfectly it went smoothly, get one slightly wrong and it went to pot. One saving dab doesn’t reflect how hard I found this section!
Section 6, Suzanne. Again, looked easy. Cost me the most marks of the trial! Gentle climb to a 180 degree left, down a steep 6 foot bank with exposed tree roots, to an immediate 180 degree right on loose sandy soil, and back up the bank to the end. On the first lap I stretched a long single dab on the right turn to keep the plot upright. On the second lap I tried to manage without the dab, and dropped three instead as I nearly missed the turn. On lap three I thought I had managed it, but lost two more marks when I hadn’t. Last lap, and a different line at the top to give a wider line into the right turn, and I tucked the front wheel by not leaning the bike far enough over and fived it.
Section 7, Geoff. An old ruin on a hill [Ed… the section of Geoff?] . From the start, up a gentle slope, through the front door of the hut, over a jumble of rocks and out through what would have been the window. Left before a large log and then climb up a steep bank to the end. On the first lap, the bike didn’t go where I expected over the rocks and needed 2 to recover. On the second lap I took 2 to be safe. On lap three, I approached too cautiously and stalled for an annoying 5. On the last lap it rode as if it were a motorway for a clean. Geoff asked why I couldn’t have done that before? I couldn’t answer as I had held my breath throughout the section and had now gone faint!
Brilliant trial, thanks again to all involved in the organising, setting and running of the event.
Rob Sloggett – Twinshock Inters
After a bit of a break from riding and getting my legs back on the clubman route it was time to hop back into the Inters and push myself to start chasing the middle of the pack from the lower end. 40 marks dropped on the day was only about 15 marks off the middle and a silly 5 and quite a few needless dabs (with the odd 3) made me comfortable that its possible this year and to be honest for me that is what the sport is about. Man and machine against the section and striving for personal improvements each time you go out. So what were my favorites of the day?
Well you have to start with Section 1 kindly observed by Ian and the route as reported by Kev above. This for me epitomizes the sport! Having dropped silly dabs and threes on much lesser sections this complex entry and flowing turning climb laced with roots and rocks should have taken marks, but for me I only dropped a single dab all the way and it was such a great feeling nailing the entry into this section each time, especially as it deteriorated as the day went on. Its quite interesting looking as the marks dropped on this section across the bike types with Modern Monos having a much higher level of dropped marks as an average per rider on the Inter route?
For something a bit different, you had to look to Section 4 (Dave). This seemed simple. A straight entry towards a rock step but with scattered embedded rocks prevented a clean line. Tight right turn on the flat then drop down at a diagonal across the bank. Turn left but with a set of rocks that regularly moved so never the same path each lap. Now the first rub, two choices, a small step up the bank and tight turn right or try and squeeze both wheels through a nine inch gap between the flags and the step, without running over the flags for a 5! Once through that, a sweeping left hand up a bank, cresting then running out toward the end cards. This took 9 marks from me through out the day, mainly as singles through the section but over the 4 laps I learnt two things. Russ once coached me “if you can its better to ride over something than around it to get the straighter line” and for the entry to the first rock step, whilst the run in had a long rock at a 45 deg angle it was not high and set far enough back not to impede the area where the wheel needed to be lifted. This allowed me regular cleans at that part of the section, The final banked turn seemed to be where I was loosing marks and playing around between first and second across the laps taught me that the shorter gear favored this part as I carried much less speed albeit using the higher part of the rev range. I an sure the last 2 laps saw me at least clean on this part as well.
Finally Section 10, which was Petes section. This one, I was out of kilter with the rest of my class, losing 6 marks (3 on the last lap!) compared to mostly cleans across my class. Once again a simple, unimposing section with a cross camber run in, traverse a ridge downhill, a right hand turn still downhill over some roots then a longish climb up a bank which scrubbed out as the day went on. As the last section on the last lap of the day I an still unsure what happened! The final bank just turned into a dabfest! at least 3 up the bank where before I had cleaned it. Probably totally not committed at the bottom…
All in all a great days competition. Some sections had single elements that were highly challenging such as the final exit on Sec 3, others looked tight and mark takers but once in the section rode very well. I am slowly getting use to the Majesty after years on the Bultaco and will be staying on that bike for this year. Thanks to Mark for setting the Green route, you certainly made it interesting and thanks for not putting the exit drop the same as Red on Sec 5! Observers, as always a huge thanks and to all the other people who make this happen, 117 riders on the day must mean you continue to do the right thing each time.
The feedback on Facebook from the riders provided a few sound bites as follows:
Mega trial today absolutely loved it can’t wait for the next 1 – Chris Garlick
BIG thanks to all the Aqueduct team especially the set up crew for the really fantastic sections, the observers for being out in the cold for so long and the De Burger team for the fantatic service, as always with a smile, great day was had by all, already looking forword to the next one. PS so much mud on the bikes, feel like i took part of the event home with me, should mayby offer to return to the land owner fantastic site love that place – Jeff Hughes
Great trial today some brilliant section and some buttock clinching ones !!. Thanks to all the organisers and marshalls – Mark Lucas
It looks like the next event on the 1st March is at Pen Y Graig Quarry. Round 3 of the Championship. Also make a note in your diary for 17th May. If you are not riding the Kia round, the club will need 20 observers plus a few spare if any of the sections are long and would run best with 2 observers. If you can help out, please let the team know as quickly as possible.
Pre 65 Expert: Jim Hough, Ariel (20); James Francis, BSA (21); Russ Jones, Francis Barnett (25)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Simon Thornley, BSA (1); Carl Winstanley, James (4); Peter Edwards, Drayon Bantam (10)
Pre 65 Clubman: Graham Miller, Triumph (9); Steve Walker, Francis Barnett (14); Mike Hughes, Triumph (23)
Pre 65 Beginner: Graham Turner, Triumph (42); Kevin O’Toole, Triumph (44); Alan Dyson, BSA (56)
Twinshock Expert: Paul Smart, Fantic (24); Dave Wood, Ossa (27); Chris Garlich, Honda (34)
Twinshock Intermediate: Tim Cuffin, Yamaha (5); Josh Matthews, Fantic (6); Dave Matthews, Bultaco (7)
Twinshock Clubman: Stephen Knight, Fantic (3); Perry Tatum, Fantic (25); Ian Thomas, Bultaco (35)
Twinshock Beginner: William Leigh, Yamaha (20)
AC Mono Expert: Pete Ruscoe, Honda (7); Robin Foulkes, Yamaha (73)
AC Mono Intermediate: Paul Young, Gas Gas (10); Shawn Mountford, Beta (13); Martin Powell, Honda (20)
AC Mono Clubman – No enteries
AC Mono Beginners – No enteries
Modern Mono Expert: Colin Sagar, Beta (16); Dan Charles, Beta (68); Steve Williams, Tenachi Wong (72)
Modern Mono Intermediate: David Ellis, Beta (15); Hayden Rainforn, Montesa (15); Nigel Sproson, Montesa (21)
Modern Mono Clubman: Steve Sherwin, GasGas (17); Ken Williams, Montesa (18); Mark Kelly, Honda (21)
Modern Mono Beginners: Sean Halstead, Gas Gas (20); Charlotte Bloor, Gas Gas (27); Alan Jones, Beta (29)
Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Paul Owen and Ian Emery
The first event of the year has become a bit unpredicatable. Only in the way that the normal entry is in the mid 80’s but for some reason last few saw over 100 riders sign on. For some reason Russ had “a feeling in his water” that this event was going to top that so picked the brilliant Nant Mawr Quarry as the January venue again. Luckily the natural hardstanding bowl in the centre of the venue can accomodate a large number of vehicles regardless of the weather so its the ideal choice.
Well he got his prediction spot on because 132 riders signed on (up from 104 the year before) and these were broken down into 40 Pre 65’s, 30 Twinshocks, 24 AC Monos and 48 Modern Monos with 34 Experts, 37 Intermediates, 46 Clubman and 15 Novices making up the distribution.
Whilst the ratio of modern bikes was quite high, the last few events has seem a number of newcomers to the sport and obviously the forgiving nature of a modern bike on sections laid out mainly for the Pre 65 and Twinshock scene is a great way to ease yourself in. Aqueduct has always welcomed the modern bike scene into the events (obvously with the hope that at some point the rider will “see the light”, sell their modern bike and buy a nice Twinshock or Pre 65). But that is not compulsory…. the friendly nature of the club is just happy to see riders having a good days sport on whatever they are happy riding.
Paul Owen – Pre 65 Expert
A early January crisp winter morning saw the 2020 aqueduct classic trials kick off. I’d decided to move up to the expert red route from the greens after clinching the championship a few times now. I knew it was going to be a big learning curve for me and with 130+ competitors turning up that morning, I had a look around to see some very experienced expert riders. Here are 3 of the 10 sections I did.
Section 1. This was a muddy entrance and across a small slippy bank. Then you dropped across the water and out up a bank to a immediate right turn and a off camber climb up a muddy bank to the top and then a very tight right hand turn down where I thought I was going over the bars every lap. And as you just got it stoped you turned sharp left on a small steep drop into the water and then turn right to the out gate.
Section 5. I was dreading this section as it was a big challenge for me. You dropped in right after the start gate and with a tight left turn in the slippy mud it was straight up a very steep bank as you had to turn sharp right on the off camber around a big massive rock and plunge back down to the flat. I suppose it wasnt bad but was something new for me with moving up. As you slowed at the bottom you turned left between a log and rock and gentle back up a mound. Around a tree and out to the exit.
Section 8. This one looked impossible for me but I gave it a go. You started on the quarry path and rode over a big mound as you dropped to a tight left then right as you climbed up some big rocks and then with a sharp left and keeping the clutch covered with high revs you either skipped up them or found every holes going like I did. Just as you got out, there was a sharp right turn and you followed the path along to the right and over a few more rock to the out gate.
This was a cracking trial and a great venue at Nant Mawr quarry in Oswestry. A big thanks to the observers and the club officials for a great start to 2020 and to burn off some excess turkey. Happy New Year everyone .
Ian Emery – AC Mono Inter
Here’s a few of Sunday’s sections which stick in my mind for good and bad reasons………
Section 1: this started with a cross camber traverse alongside fairly deep water filled ditch, to then turn 90 right dropping off the bank, into the water and out the other side, climbing the bank and round a slippy, rooty tree. A steep descent followed dropping sharply into the ditch which had a dog-leg left right where you had to be careful the far bank didn’t grab the front wheel and halt progress. I watched a few people slip off the first camber into the water which made the climb out and up the hill impossible. First section, first lap, always a bit nervous, but managed a steady clean which I repeated each lap.
Section 2: tricky one this one. Started with a drop into the gulley bearing slightly left to then fire up the far embankment and swoop round a tree to the right. A descent followed with a drop back into the gulley and a bike’s length u-turn up a 2 foot rooty step and round and out. The turn round the tree was technically very hard. You needed enough speed to get round the turn wall-of-death style. Too slow and your right hip or footrest would hit the tree, too fast and the front wheel would float and you needed it to be on the ground to traverse the camber. Oh, and just as you were climbing there was an exposed root on the turn meaning if you had any power on you would spin to a sudden halt and crash into the tree. First lap I rode round on the back wheel but couldn’t control the planting of the front wheel back on the ground as the camber fell away without a steadying dab. Following laps I got it right twice and needed a dab again for a high front wheel. Overall very pleased with a score of 2.
Section 3: another one where you had to be careful. Started with a left turn and steep climb dropping onto a grooved track of slippy grey clay. A 90 right turn was required which was tricky to keep the front flowing before going up and over a hump. A cross camber followed where you needed full control of the front to place the wheel in a narrow slot as the traverse continued. The bank on the left was very steep and offered no traction and the slot was beginning to collapse only being held in place by a small sapling which threatened to snag your right hand as you passed carefully through. It really was like tip-toeing through with gentle throttle only. If you got through OK a tight right followed with a sneaky dog-leg just before the ends. Happy with 1 for the day.
Section 7: My nemesis! Technically didn’t look that hard but cost me a lot of marks. Started with a 90 right had to done as a left right 270 as you needed to gain a bit of clear ground before shooting up across a flat rock slab on the hillside followed by a long left turn over a jumble of loose rocks, still climbing before turning back down. First lap I just didn’t have enough momentum and escaped with a 2, second lap even worse with a 3 losing speed and chucking rocks out behind, third lap much more speed but hit a displaced rock with the front and ran over a marker for a 5, last lap rode it like a main rode clean asking myself why I couldn’t have done that previously.
Section 8: Geoff on duty, better not mess up. Started with a climb up and over a steep embankment with a 90 left followed by 90 right, to then climb a series of big jagged rock slabs, up round a high flag on loose gravel before dropping back down over more big rocks and out. Got it right 3 times but needed a 1 once when I slipped off my rear brake pedal on the descent down from the front which messed me up for lining up for the rocky climb. Lucky to escape with a 1. Section 10: didn’t like this one either. Too many big rocks, too many big holes between the big rocks. All in the wrong place in relation to each other and where my wheels were at any point in time. Rode the Yam round like a pogo-stick gritting my teeth.
Happy with my score though, couldn’t have done better. All in all, a really good day. Thanks as usual to the section setters, observers and results team.
The feedback on Facebook from the riders provided a few sound bites as follows:
Well!! What can I say about last weekend?!! The turn out of riders was unbelievable!! Fantastic sections as always My first time riding intermediate, dropping 43 marks which I think was ok for my first time! Even tho I had a bit of a crash on section 2 on first lap But thanks to whoever picked me and bike up? As it’s still a bit of a blur!!? Got some bumps and bruises but the bike didn’t even get a single scratch! “cheers Russ for helping me ride a better line after” as I managed to do it lap 3 and 4. I am already looking forward to the next trial next month!! Massive thanks once again to all the observers!! – David Williams
Great trial today well worth traveling to it, big thanks to all involved and to the observers. Well done will be down again for sure. Cheers – Jeremy Clark
What a brilliant trial today . The green route was just testing enough for me cleaned most of the sections once and then made some mistakes the next time. Section 10 was my bad one but bloody brilliant. Thanks to all organisers and Marshalls for a Bostin day – Mark Lucas
Well that sort of round off the event report for the first comp of the year. We are always rooking for riders to provide copy and as you can see from the reports above, they are very personal and different and thats what we like…. different. So after the next few events, if you have enjoyed reading this, why don’t you put 30 mins in your diary to write a short report. I mean the observers stand around for a full day so its not a lot to give back for a day sport is it……
Pre 65 Expert: Phil Houghton, Triumph (7) tied with James Francis, BAS (7), Chris Chell, BSA (10), Tony Gush, DOT (10)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Simon Thornley, BSA (3); Sam Alderman, BSA (10); Peter Edwards, BSA (16)
Pre 65 Clubman: Chris Forshaw, BSA (0); Roger Smith, BSA (2); Peter Elvidge, BSA (2)
Pre 65 Beginner: Alan Dyson, BSA (18); Graham Turner, Triumph (18); Chris Atherton, BSA (44)
Twinshock Expert: Chris Garlic, Fantic (7); Paul SMart, Fantic (13); Dave Wood, Bultaco (29)
Twinshock Intermediate: Paul Cook, Montesa (8); Andy Cope, Fantic (12); Mark Blackwell, Yamaha (14)
Twinshock Clubman: Tom Houghton, Honda (1); William Leigh, Majesty (5); Graham Pennington, Ossa (8)
Twinshock Beginner: James Griffiths, Yamaha (10)
AC Mono Expert: Pete Ruscoe, Honda (14); Jim Williams, Honda (35); Stephen Burgess, Montesa (43)
AC Mono Intermediate: Paul Cartwright, Gas Gas (15); Shaun Mountford, Beta (22); Paul Young, Gas Gas (22)
AC Mono Clubman – No starters
AC Mono Beginners – No finishers
Modern Mono Expert: Daz Miller, Gas Gas (7); Jake Jones, Beta (12); Ian Jones, Yamaha (19)
Modern Mono Intermediate: Dave Ellis, Beta (8); Paul Hempkins, Gas Gas (13); Jack Curwell, Gas Gas (14)
Modern Mono Clubman: John Hunt (2); Mark Tagg, TRS (5); Timothy Crampton, Montesa (9)
Modern Mono Beginners: Mike Jones, Beta (4); Sean Halstead, Gas Gas (7); Chris Matthews, Beta (8)
Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Paul Norman, Eirian Davies, Ian Emery, Trevor Bennett and Steve Blaxall
With the weather report good and the pre-entered list running at 170, there was a good vibe at the opening round of the 2019 Kia Championship. Aqueduct Classics now veterans at hosting a round (this being their 4th time), had the honour once again of hosting the opening round and chose to return to Plas Onn, the venue for the 2018 opener. Those riders who contested the round last year knew that they were in for a varied set of sections mainly comprising of banked sections with good root / rock combinations or some great stream sections with cascading waterfalls and a great deal of hidden rocks.
As this had been months in the planning, a strong backbone of observers had been secured with the longer sections having two in place and the team had been studious in creating some great new sections to tempt riders and keep the interest keen.
If you are reading this article, do not forget to explore the additional tabs across the top. The Bike Stats one gives a great breakdown of the differences in the classes and bikes compared to last year. It does make interesting reading.
We kindly have 3 articles from riders and two from observers and I will warn readers now that in most cases they are the “raw” text direct from the named author. A few choice words have been edited out for our younger readers but in most cases its how I received it….
It all starts with a report from Paul Norman who decided to set himself a challenge and contest this years rounds on an RTX. This little known trials bike is little known for a reason, but I will leave him to report why!
Paul Norman – RTX. Twinshock Clubman
So the weekend started off well with the “Crazy Gang” all meeting up in the Griifin Inn, Oswestry to be humbled at the Rugby. (Ed note – for those reading at a later date, England had just been beaten by Wales in the 2019 six nations). Works riders in abundance, Butch Robson, Ossy Beers, Fuji Gilbert, Ludvig Granby, Darren Walker & Kev Ellis (our Local Guide). The drinking all went as planned and we were all pleased to get to Chris De Burgers Butty van for Butties and Coffee. Then the serious stuff starts!
Ludvig the Master Spanner goes to fettle the carb on the Works RTX which wont rev out, gets it better so we decide to try it. We go to the briefing, let everyone ride off and get a coffee. Like true works riders.
We blundered on Section 13 so we started there. A Soft Five and Scrappy three being my best effort
Section 14: More Like it, Nice beck & a couple of cleans
Section 15: A steady clean on the first lap but a slack 2 bouncing off the roots on the second lap
Section 16: Clean on the first lap with a soft dab whilst bouncing all over the place on the second
Section 17: Nice pair of cleans
Section 18: A good section with a tricky run up a root by a tree. No speed, no grip and a dab each lap was a good result, oh and a big thanks to my spotter Liz Kenyon for giving me the line !!!
Section 19: A couple of cleans which I was happy with
Section 20: Me old Mate JD and Gillian Lawson were there with the Camera’s Out, no pressure. The first lap the RTX was choking up and I struggled out for a 2 nearly running Dicko Over, 2nd lap, 2nd gear and it flew out. Quick pit stop on both laps at the van to guzzle some fluids down and change some Carb Jets
Section 1: Nice beck section and a couple of cleans
Section 2: Same again
Section 3: Same again up and over the field to section 4. Pair of cleans again, its all going too well
Section 5: Observed by my good friend Roger Kenyon, AKA the Voodoo Man. 1st lap all going well, till I went right over the bars 2nd last turn from the end & same again on lap 2
Section 6: Good section but couldn’t get grip or power / speed at the exit and had a couple of slack 2’s
Section 7: Proper section but not on an RTX …..Short of power / grip & speed. A 3 on lap 1 and a couple on the 2nd
Section 8: I bump into the legendary works Honda Moped rider FUJI GILBERT who levels the section and puts the pressure on. I end up with a 2 & a dab
Section 9: A Couple of cleans
Section 10: It all goes pear shaped under the eyes of the two legends, Granty & Lusky ( And Ludvig ). Lap 1, up round the tree in first, change in to 2nd, down the bank open the throttle and go backwards as your in neutral. Numpty moment. 2nd lap, rev the nuts off it in first, did the job…
Section 11: The highlight of my day. Two crap 5’s. But I could have sat and watched the observer all day, must have been a dozen riders ringing the Samaritans just after they thought they’d got out the section only to find they’d had a five & I’m not moaning, he was consistent so fine by me, and there was a few on their bums too
So to Section 12 and me old mate Trevor with the legend Andy Gardner watching. No pressure then. Throttle wide open, no style & a couple of cleans
All in all a great days fun ………I could hardly move on Monday ….I was battered and bruised but that’s sport ….
A massive thanks to all the organising crew as to cope with 170 riders is no mean feat. I never saw some riders all day. Thanks to Ludvig for keeping me and my bike going, I couldn’t do it with out you. Thanks To Fuji Gilbert for embarrassing me and everyone else on the moped. Thanks to Eirian Davies for making me look good & sober (Ed note – see next report!) Nice to see Lusky back and well done to all of the class winners especially Dean Deveraux. Finally thanks to Gerry & Freddy for the tireless work they do …it is really appreciated
But mostly thanks to the Guy that designed the RTX …..He knew bugger all about trials riding !!!!
Brilliant trial today- well out of my depth, but had a great time Haven’t felt so knackered at the end of a trial for a long time. Apologies to the observers I forgot to thank (not used to 2 lap format). Thanks to all involved – Ken Williams
Eirian Davies – Fantic 200. Twinshock Clubman
Trial was brilliant, just don’t go to rugby match day before and drink any booze! fell off all the time, lucky I had taxi. Very plonkish rider, but ok here goes….
Got blitzed on Saturday, in Cardiff, fell out of bed at 5am Sunday, phone noises, wife with foot pushing me out bed, luckily taxi picking me up 05:30. Drive up from Llanelli, interesting, 3 stops because I felt like a milk shake.
Signed on with 2 blondes to die for, Jan gives me money for something which I quickly lose. My mates ?? taking great urine out of my state. Kia staff look at me like I’m wierd.
Start at Sec 19, clean, 20 clean, too easy? then 3 x 5s on the trot, want to go home.
Being a hard little so and so, I keep going. It was a mixed ride. Roger Kenyon, good friend, not impressed when I say ogi ogi ogi to him, gives me a 3 when definately a clean then hit the section with the observer who shouts (think its 11). Go for it and hit deck on my backside, big bruise and the rest of lap don’t remember!
Second lap seems to get into normal mode and get some cleans in but the damage was done. Ultimately a cricket score, laugh a lot so it does not matter!
Good club, dedicated organisers who are also real humans. I will try to come and ride more of their events, but no booze! I lent my spare bike to a pal who only been riding a year and beats me, he has not stopped talking all week. Life’s good….
Thanks for a great trial yesterday,nice to have a day out riding with friends,Anthony Charles and Paul Cook. We all suffered handicaps with Pauls bike misfirenig like a pig, Anthonys shocks taking half an hour to decompress and me riding with one eye,which between us provided some great entertainment – Adrian Kent
Ian Emery –Yamaha TY Mono. AC Mono Clubman
A brief outline of 4 sections over the far hill.
Section 5: With Roger Kenyon’s beady eyes watching me, I approached the steep downhill entrance to the section and readied myself for a squirt of throttle to climb the first muddy slot up to the right. This was followed by a 180 left to then drop down another muddy slot where a 90 right was found. With little run up, the next challenge was a slippy clay bank with polished roots and a camber which sent you left and into a tree if you weren’t careful. I saw a few struggle for grip spinning out for a 5 which had me pondering using 2nd. Decided on 1st and got more grip than I expected, flying past the tree on one wheel and needing a dab to bring it down for the rooty 2 foot step that followed just before the end cards. Cleaned it second lap letting the Yam cruise past the tree on a falling throttle.
Section 6: Steve Walker looking after this one. Started along the fence on a slippy clay bank, into a slot before traversing a jumble of rocks to a 90 right to then cross a slippy rock slab with awkwardly placed rocks catching the front as you dropped off it, a 180 left, across the bank, to a 180 right with a few metres to get settled for the final climb out. This climb was steep and the upper half was criss-crossed with a lattice of polished exposed tree roots. A choice to tip-toe left and pick a path up or a fast ascent straight over the roots. I saw a few failures, either too slow to the left losing momentum, or too much power on trying to cross the roots, losing the rear and falling sideways. I gave the Yam a handful prior to the roots and it gripped perfectly meaning I had enough momentum to shut off over the slippy bits and fly up to the ends. Two cleans for me, very happy.
Secton 7: Steve and Graham sharing the observing here. A cross camber entrance into a shallow, wet, slippy stream, with an immediate tight right scrubbing any speed, before a long, twisty climb over loose rocks, where momentum was needed but difficult to gain. Decided on 2nd, approached the first turn, a gentle amount of throttle ( so I thought) only to find the rear trying to overtake the front and steering me to the right and totally off-line and all speed gone. Managed to struggle out for a 3 but was more careful second lap and managed a clean.
Section 8: Tim and Ange in charge here. Started with a tight left over loose, slippy rocks followed by a tight right, to a steep slippy clay bank with little run up. Once over this you dropped into a muddy berm, swooping left, with a nasty hidden root part way round. After this turn was a wheelie/bunny hop over a fallen tree quickly followed by a right turn, up hill and over a narrow step between two trees, the left one showing the scars of grabbing a footrest or two and I saw several people getting stuck here. I managed a 2 and a 1, could have been better but could have been a lot worse. All in all, I really enjoyed my day and was very pleased with my score. I only had one 5, running over a marker on S13, a couple of 3s but lots of 1s.
Thanks to Russ and co. for the day and to the large number of observers who gave their time.
Great trial at Plas Onn I was a bit out of my comfort zone from the usual yellow route I ride .But felt really chuffed to have a few cleans on sections that Felt were too hard for me Finally achieved my goal of a 100 break shame its at trials and not snooker – Rob Goodwin
Trevor Bennett – Section 12
Firstly could I just say they were lucky on Sat and it’s only ‘poshboys’ kickclapclapclapclap rugby not proper council estate rugby like we have up north. The trial from Section 12 ( I was down for section 2 but Russ took pity on me and sat me in the sun all day) tucked into a quarry at the back of a barn. Nothing sets me off more on a Sunday than the sound of hidden bikes starting up after the trial talk and start appearing on there way out to sections. Lots of handshakes and well wishes as riders came past at the bottom of the lane and off they went. An hours wait as some started at sec 13 but when my first victims arrived it was a steady flow for the next 5 hours. I was in good company all day with lots of faces coming in for a chat. Lot’s of banter to and fro and plenty of just general insults, love it. The section was good and long (how I like them) and I had a good vantage point of it all. It never ceases to amaze me the different ways we approach riding a section and I wasn’t let down this time. From the perfectly poised to the slap dash, the looks like he knows what he’s doing to the hasn’t got a clue and never will have ( I fit in here) to the excuse mongers (Eirian I’m still pissed) and the right let’s have it brigade. It all makes for a brilliant day. A good spread of points and quite a few from riders who I wasn’t expecting to dab. Riders falling off where no one else did, Colin made me smile and riders showing off and it going tits up. Lunch provided and brews from our Dawn and Trevs a happy lad. All in all a wonderful day in beautiful surroundings and wonderful people, thankyou. Right I just need to sort the turbo on my van and we will be ready for the next one. Many thanks to all who helped me out, Richard and Shani. Jan Geoff Jones. Russell Jones, Russell and Suzanne Bowkett thanks mates.
I agree with all my fellow observers, you guys n gals put in loads of effort through the year so its good to give a little back.See you for the March Accy round – Steve Walker
Steve Blaxall – Section 7
This was my first time at officially observing, but I offered my services when the call was made for observers by Russ at Aqueducts first trial of the year. Russ had asked would i bring a bike.( He’s all ready got a plan in mind)I arrived feeling a little nervous at the responsibility of the task in hand. I reported to Russ at sign in. He told me i was paired with Graham Pennington on the section 7 . Having Practiced with Graham and not being on my own i felt a lot more relaxed.
Section 7 indeed required two observers.We hatched a plan after seeing one observer could not see all the section. I would be at the bottom of the climb on the bend (in all the sunshine!) and Graham would be towards the top of the section. I would signal the riders in and score to the corner, Graham would then take over.The system worked and we had an enjoyable day.
Both routes had a short downhill start that was a little tricky over some roots which caught the odd dab for the clubman. Then a blind right hand turn into a loose rocky uphill stream. The red route had the same start but made the turn early over the roots /base of an up turned tree. The clubman route went beyond and around this.
Both were now faced with the task of getting up the stream with its loose minimal grip surface. Speed was what seemed to be required to overcome the lack of grip. It was interesting seeing how obvious lines appeared then disappeared as when the red route boys turned up they cut up the clubman path.
Most Memorable ride for me has to go to Ben Butterworth. Very early on, when no obvious line had been formed,he just went up there like a march hare. Plenty of speed and forward motion, rebounding and digging back in. Brought a smile, a joy to watch.
Ive got to say, whilst I was unable to get to this years event due to work, this reads as not juat one of the best club reports but also I think our best Kia round one (and thats not taking anything away from the reports we have had before! I think the report really brings out the spirit of the Kia Championship but also illustrates a little bit of the personality of Aqueduct Classics as a club.
As well as the usual thanks to all of the observers, organisers, back room staff, support team, land owner etc etc (and I leave you with Russ’s soundbite below from facebook to close that out), I would like to wish all of the riders in the subsequent rounds, the best of luck, keep safe and above all enjoy yourselves, after all it just a bit of fun on a Sunday isnt it?
Rob Sloggett (Report Editor)
Hi folks sorry this abit late from yesterday’s event but would like to thank … Graham Pennington, Steve Bee, Steve Walker, Anglea, Angela Godsmark, Tim Godsmark, Gordon, Harry, Dave Murphy, Roger Kenyon, Trevor Bennett, Izzy Cartwright, Tony Cartwright, Paul Hempkins, Roger Smith, Keith Jones, Peter Thomas, Celyn, Mark Newman, Alan Dyson and Colin Davies with out you we couldn’t of run the event as smoothly as it did. A long day but we really do appreciate your help THANKYOU….. aqueduct team x
Twinshock Expert: Chris Koch, Fantic (12); Richard Allen, Gori (33); Matt Spink, Fantic (37)
Historic Spanish + Pre78 T/S Expert: Dean Devereux, Bultaco (8); Dave Wood, Bultaco (45); Stephen Bisby, Ossa (54
Monoshock Expert: Steve Bird, Yamaha (9); Ben Butterworth, Fantic (10); Dan Sanders, Yamaha (18)
British Bike Expert: Ian Peberdy, BSA (19); Nick Paxton, BSA (23); Yrjo Vesterinen, BSA (23)
Twinshock Clubman: Martin Gilbert, Honda (13); Jim Williams, SWM (14); Dave Pengilley, Kawasaki (17)
Historic Spanish + Pre78 T/S Clubman: Martin Beech, Ossa (14); Dave Wardell, Montesa (23); Butch Robson, Montesa (28)
Monoshock Clubman: Jerry Hawker, Honda (1); Andy Perry, Yamaha (26); Darren Morgan, Fantic (27)
British Bike Clubman – Robin Luscombe, Matchless (8); John Chatto, James (10); Peter Edwards, Drayton (15)
Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Paul Owen and Steve Blaxall
Its probably no coincidence that the remake of 101 Dalmatians was release round about Christmas in 1996, and what a way to parody this by having 102 bouncy trial rider pups (I know its a very tenuous link!) turn up to Decembers trial at Plas Onn for the closing event of the 2019 calendar!
With no nasty Glenn Close character to be found, only happy faces and warm smiles on this chilly day were treated to a very well deserved thank you to Harry South who was hanging up his observer board to the last time. I did not realise the pure breadth of Harrys observing activities (not just at Aqueduct) and it truly is people like this who ensure that week in, week out we get to enjoy our sport! A final thank you from me Harry.
So how did the numbers break down? Well in terms of classes we had 32 Pre 65’s, 30 Twinshocks, 10 AC Monos and 30 Modern Monos. Across the routes we had a great turn out of 20 Experts, back on the Green flags saw 40 Inters, 29 Clubman and a really health 13 Novice riders.
Can I close this introduction by asking the question…… In what other club could you see a Velocette lining up alongside a Vertigo !!!!!! I think that says it all….
Paul Owen – Pre 65 Inters
It was a cold icy morning up on the frosty mountain tops of the ceriog valley at plas onn farm. It was the final round of 10 and there was 101 competitors turn up for what must be one of the premier classic trials clubs in the uk.
Quality riders from all over the country went head to head to take top step honors to finish off the 2019 season. All 10 sections were challenging and here are 3 of the 10 for the green route. But this trials had a festive Christmas theme with many riders dressed as Santa and his elf’s plus a snowman and a Christmas pudding.
Section 3 was a up stream start in the water. And over a submerged large rock and immediately up a slippy muddy 4 meter high bank and as you crested the top you had a meter drop off and back down the bank into the stream that almost seen me going over the handlebars . and then another similar climb and decent on the opposite banking . Then back into the stream to the exit gate .
Section 5 was interesting as there was a reindeer in the section. But at a closer look it was the observer in his Christmas fancy dress costume. Ha-ha. We drop down off the path into a rock stream gully, we had to keep to the right and that brought us out and across a muddy off camber bank that wanted to drag you down and so easy to take a dab to save losing the front wheel, we then dropped down across the stream to the left and a steady climb over a rooted bank and back into the up hill rocky stream and with a sharp right up the bank and to the exit gate.
Section 9. This was a drop down a slippy bank into and across the stream and straight up a muddy bank into the field. The dropped back down and across to the other bank. Then back down again but this time we stayed in the freezing water in the stream and we picked a line over the green slippy rocks and then into a very tight left turn and I steep climb over rocks next to the waterfall and then a right turn and out gate. On lap 3 I was just about at the top of the waterfall section and I lost traction but then it gripped and the front wheel was up high. I managed to put my right foot down to save it but with a muddy slippy rock my foot was on the move. And with this the bike did a perfect 180 degrees pirouette and I plunged down back into the stream. Luckily with some fancy foot work I managed to stay upright , then I looked up the banking and seen about 20 riders waiting there turn. Hopefully they didn’t recognize me as i was dress in a Santa suit. Hehe.
Finally I’d like to thank all the observers and members of the Aqueduct Classic trials club for all there hard work and efforts. Roll on 2020. And merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone
Steve Blaxall – AC Mono Inter
I arrived at a very cold Plas Onn confident that i would stay warm for the day in my Santa outfit. It was great to see so many riders turn up in fancy dress and having a laugh. Sad to see Harry hang up his clip board but good to see the warm send off he got. I’m sure his services will be missed. Here are the 3 sections which kept me thinking – even after the trial had finished :-
Section3 – A straight enough but narrow approach along the left side of the stream, where the stream bent left ,we carried straight on and immediately up a steep climb muddy bank. At the summit was a slight left turn with a nasty little drop off back into the stream up the opposite bank, turn right, back down across the stream turn left and out. 1st lap was a right royal cock up! Concentrating far to much on the narrow approach, i had no speed at the foot of the climb, gave it far to much throttle and half way up the climb all i could see was my petrol tank. I had to bail out. That’s a 5 then. Next lap a bit worried i would repeat the same, i made an effort to keep up my speed before the climb. It worked. With a little extra burst of throttle at the foot of the climb the bike went up with relative ease. I was surprised, The rest of the section just seamed to flow. Think i learnt something there.
Section8 – Simple enough or so i thought when i walked the section. Wrong! Very muddy down hill approach in to the section, follow the stream down hill a little then turn right and out up on to the bank. turn round and back towards the stream. Here was the real problem for me. A very tight down hill, left hand turn around a tree in to a shallow channel. The section then went gently uphill to the right with a left turn to the exit. The turn around the tree got me every time. I did not have an answer for it. Still don’t! I’m still thinking about it.
Section10- Right turn down the bank, across the stream. Turn right again in the muddy edge of the stream and back across the stream. Take care to miss the large rock on the left and go up the opposite bank, turn left at the top back into the stream and line up for the rocky climb out, turn left at the top and out. Was finding this section really flowed well for me. Until lap 3! . Not sure really what happened. But the large rock i needed to miss. think i hit it, and down i went. Cleaned the section again last lap. It got me thinking, don’t take a section for granted. Keep your concentration up. Despite wearing a Santa suit all day.
I managed to get an ok result. Yes i got some 5’s but that the way it goes. Really enjoyed the day. The club did a great job handling such a large entry and so did the observers for sticking out the cold. And not forgetting Mr. DeBurger for feeding the 5000. A Big thank you from me for a superb 2019
Rob Sloggett – Twinshock Clubmans
Having not ridden for a few months, I thought I would close the year having a leisurely ride on Clubmans and having a go at getting to know the Majesty better. One thing I do know is that I have been a 1st gear rider and had not really used second in ANY sections, so my aim this event was to where possible use 2nd and get use to the gearing characteristics. This turned out to be a really good and interesting experiment as in most cases, 2nd was really useable, for one section (more on that later) it did get me in trouble and in another I accidently pulled 3rd and discovered just how much low down grunt the Majesty still had…
So what were my three favorite sections of the day? Well first choice had to got to Marks on Section 8. This has always been a favorite of mine as the uphill flowing gully’s between the trees really make you think about allowing the bike to move between your legs. I ended up clean on this one, even after pulling 3rd on my 3rd lap! But every run had the potential to lose the odd dab.
Section 9 was my Achilles heal! What seemed simple section with a drop down a shallow bank, across the stream bed, cut back across and up and around the bank, drop back in then back up the other bank for an easy exit should have been clean all the way for me….. But it wasn’t! 3 on the first lap, 3 on the second…. right stop. What’s different ? Gear choice. Drop down to first for the 3rd lap for a clean and a silly single on the last lap. Analysing my ride, the first transition across the stream and up the bank had me carrying to much speed in second gear, getting me off line and then totally putting me out of my stride. Definitely a good learning exercise, I should have been able to compensate but didn’t so one for the practice area I think….
To be honest the rest were all good and I would struggle to pick another favorite as they all had something different….
As always, we received great feedback on social media and some of the comments are below:
Well today finished off another brilliant Aqueduct Season and what a cracking trial to finish with. Thank You so much to the Accy Team for putting on such cracking trials, thank you to all the landowners for letting us play, a massive thank you to the observers as always I’ve stood there with a clipboard it can be a bloody cold job. Lastly thank you to the riders for supporting both the club & ourselves. Over a hundred riders today, amazing – Chris De Burger
Another amazing event!!! Ace to see everyone in costume! Can’t thank all the observers enough!! Plus Harry on his last day! I had a excellent ride and only dropped 2 marks. Only been back riding 6 months after 15 years, July Aqueduct trial was my first introduction back into trials, and I have met some amazing people! So as I’ve had 3 wins “one white and 2 yellow” I think I will move up from Clubman’s to Intermediate next January! Hope everyone has a good Xmas See you all again next year – David Williams
Great day at an absolutely brilliant trial today, sections were perfect for the nice wet slippery conditions. Big thanks again to all involved in the setting up and running of all the events this year and I can’t wait for next year. Best decision this year, buying a bike second best, joining Aqueduct Classics. See you all next year – Jeff Hughes
So that concludes 2019….. A BIG THANK-YOU to everyone who has contributed to the event reports. They get read by a lot of people and are a permanent record of the event and paint such a great picture of the club, especially for people thinking about joining us. I hope if you like reading them, maybe in 2020 you could write a short bit as well…
Pre 65 Expert: Phil Haughton, Triumph (4); Chris Gascoigne, BSA (8); Kev Ellis, BSA (20)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Craig Haworth, James (12); Dave Lovell, Triumph (14); Paul Owen, BSA (15)
Pre 65 Clubman: Rober Smith, BSA (8); Jeremy Sutton, BSA (10); Garry Holt (13)
Pre 65 Beginner: Kevin O’Toole, Triumph (17); Alan Dyson, BSA (27); Tarquin Millard, Triumph (54)
Twinshock Expert: Matt Spink, Fantic (7); Paul Smart, Fantic (13); Ian Jones, Yamaha (21)
Twinshock Intermediate: Vince Brett, Honda (7); Paul Cook, SWM (8); David Matthews, Bultaco (9)
Twinshock Clubman: Tony Haughton, Honda (8); Trevor Bennett, Beta (10; Graham Pennington, Ossa (10)
Twinshock Beginner: William Leigh, Yamaha (4); Chris Jones, Yamaha (10)
AC Mono Expert: Robin Foulkes, Yamaha (60)
AC Mono Intermediate: Paul Young, Gas Gas (15); Paul Cartwright, Gas Gas (18); Martin Powell, Honda (28)
AC Mono Clubman: David Lewis, Ossa (7); Ken Williams, Honda (15)
AC Mono Beginner: No enteries
Modern Mono Expert: Colin Sagar. Beta (6); Declan Marsdan, Gas Gas (69)
Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Trevor Bennett, Paul Owen, Mark Gaskell and David Williams
Whilst the initial forecast promised a 40% chance of rain, the day remained beautiful and dry as we visited Nant Ucha Farm for the last time of 2019. I am sure we will be back again soon next year as this is a very popular competition (and practice) venue and with the stream not being over fast or high, the club was able to mark out a nice mix of muddy banks and rocky stream sections for the 69 riders who turned up.
The riders were broken down into 20 Pre 65’s, 15 Twinshocks, 7 AC Monos and 27 Modern Monos with 7 Experts, 25 Intermediates, 23 Clubman and 14 Novices making up the distribution.
Trevor Bennett – Twinshock Clubman
Firsy Akky trial I’ve done in a good few years, I’ve threatened to but never got round to it, but after doing the Akky Kia trials or turning out to observe them I knew it would be a good do. An early start so a quick check of the weather forecast as I was entered at the Castleside Kia. Pissing down up there, sunny at Nant Ucha. No brainer really as I wanted to give a new to me Beta tr240 a shakedown test before I took it out to the Costa Brava trial in a couple of weeks. Out of the house at 07:30, foggy as a flippin foggy thing so steady away down to the M6. 2 Hours later I pull into the farm in glorious sunshine. Geoffs there to welcome us and have his first rugby dig. Park up as directed, give him a bit of stick back and time for a brew.
Walking down to the butty van I remembered I hadn’t stopped to fill my petrol can up (dozy beggar) and didn’t fancy driving the Sprinter back down that lane against all the traffic coming up. Danny Littlehales sorted me out with a tankful, cheers mate. much appreciated. Bacon butty and brew in hand it was time to go see who’s here. Oh look there’s a Jones a Jones and ooh look another Jones the place is full of them. Sign on with the lovelies Chris and Jan, have a bit of craic deciding which route to ride. The Marks (Samuel and Newman) decided for me and back to the sign on to put the red card back in the box and while I’m there convince Chris it would be a good idea to chaperon Mark out to the Andorra trial I am transporting bikes to in April. An instant yes was her response. BINGO Mark you owe me a beer. Gear on bike started and another Jones walks up with a shocked look on his face. Blimey Trev, didn’t expect to see you mate says Russ. Another brew (cheers chaps) pre trial speech and we are off.
Section 1 Russ is observing so the craic will be fierce if there’s any cock ups. Sure enough a cheer goes up and loads of laughter when someone gets it wrong. Doesn’t matter to me much I only want to ride the bike around and make sure it’s ok so I can put up with any banter and don’t suffer from nerves at a trial. Simple enough to start with drop into a stream, out up the bank, drop back in around a tree and back out through the end cards. Clean every lap.
Section 2 Turned out to be my bogey section. Drop in, cross the stream up the bank, engine stops, no petrol, FIVE. It’s going to be one of those days I think. Smarts drags my bike up the bank out of the way (cheers mate) and I look to see what happened. No fuel coming through so I blow back up the pipe and it runs free. I presume it must be blocking the built in filter so will have to keep on clearing it. Section 2 took a dap of me every lap because my mind was on it stalling first time round.
Section 3 Drop into stream, ride over a couple of rocks to give a good low line onto the root step then wall ride around the bank to come out past the obs. Dropped 2 here when I tried to take it tighter on the 3rd lap, clean the other 3.
Section 4 Is this the Albert I read so much about. A bit of banter with him while I walk the section. Ask him to be gentle with me as I’m in mourning over the WC defeat and we’re both off on the right foot. Drop into stream under that dodgy branch that should of been cut out Russ around the dead tree, up a fairly flat section then sharp turn right up a steep bank. The little Beta catches me out as the front end comes up and I have to have a couple of dabs to pull it round through the end cards. One more dab on the next lap and we have it sussed, clean after that.
Section 5 Down in the woods. A few slippy roots to cross before we drop into the wider stream and ride across to a muddy lefthander, Back across the stream and up a big nasty root step, first 2 laps clean and a 2 lap dab when I found extra grip and came out with the front wheel pawing the air and just got it dropped down between the end cards. Last lap clean.
Section 6 Steady enough twisty start over roots and rocks, drop into and cross the stream and out up over rocks on the opposite bank. Clean every lap.
Section 7 By the bridge. Drop into and cross the stream out up tight right around a tree. back into the stream and cross on a diagonal and out over rocks. Clean every lap.
Section 8 Twisty ride up a muddy slope and the drop down through end cards. One of those sections where it would be easy to lose marks because you presume it is simple to do. Tried different gears the first 2 laps to see how the Beta would pull them. Stuck with second when I found there was ample power. Clean every lap.
Section 9 Favourite section. Drop down to stream to start and then ride up against the flow. Cleaned first lap and then dropped 2 next time round when I went in in 3rd gear, rookie mistake but that’s what happens to me when I don’t stop and check what gear I’m in. I just rode down the bank and straight in when Jan waved me on. Clean next lap and drop another when I slipped off line and bounced out over the rocks at the end hanging on determined not to paddle out.
Section 10 Simple enough twists and turns to start and then up over roots to happy smiling Mark giving me his best banter. Plenty of time for that in Andorra mate, we’ll have a blast. Clean every lap.
All in all I achieved what I wanted, apart from the fuel issue (which I later found to be a ‘no breather’ so it was vacuuming) making me wonder. The bike performed as it should. A great club trial at a great venue. I came away thinking I should of done better. I had myself down for 18 which I was hoping would not be to bad. Russ’s ‘check the scores on the doors’ comment had me searching the results minutes after I had got back in through the door (amazingly speedy) I was on 17 and had won the clubman twinshock. BLIMEY CHARLIE never expected that. It made the 200 mile 10 hour day round trip well worth the while. What with that, the great trial, amazing organisation, happy people, good banter and good food I will be back for the next one in December. I might step up to the inters route and make a fool of myself but as long as I’m riding my bike I’ll be happy among you. Thanks to all observers, organizers and caterers you did a great job. See you next time.
Paul Owen – Pre 65 Intermediate
Nant Ucha Aqueduct Classic Trials. A dry day but it was still wet from a few days rain. The venue is always set out good and the club always make the best use of it. Here are 3 of the 10 sections.
Section 1 was down the bottom of the soggy feild. We entered the stream and followed it up the slippy lose rocks and then a tight right turn up a 4 foot tree rooted greasy bank and a sharp turn left passed the observer and drop back down to the rocky stream with a muddy right turn to the out gate. I pick up a silly 5 on the 3rd lap as the front end was sliding top of the bank as I was turning left and I hit the coloured flag. I blame the observer who had to jump out the way and I believe he stood on his own coat and squashed his butties (hehe). The observer was my best mate and event organiser Russell Jones, and he gave me a 5 so I dont mind about his butties and coat (HAHA).
Section 7. You entered the wide section of the stream from the right and followed it up between the rocks to the left side and over a log as you turned slight right along the waters edge and then back across to a tricky rocky exit of the stream that seen me have a dab and up a steep muddy bank to the out gate.
Section 9. Was a down hill start and across the stream on green slippy rocks and around a tight right on the edge of the water as you turned and attacked the 2 steps of the rocky climb up the stream. It was a constant battle to keep the bike rolling over the rocks as every lap seen me take a different line as you headed to the out gate. This section took 3 dabs off me, 1 on lap 1 and 2 on lap 2.
The trial was very enjoyable and every section was challenging but ridable and even though I dropped 9 marks it was still enough to just take the win for the green route.
David Williams – Modern Mono Clubman
Hi all “bit about myself before I continue” my name is David Williams and I’ve been riding since a young age and since the “80s” I’ve not ridden since in over 15 years and did my first trials with my wing man John Warren at Pen y Graig at the July trials riding white route and we both only dropped 1 mark. Then I decided to go to yellow clubmans route for the October trial and I dropped 6 marks. So for November Nant Ucha I thought play it safe and do another on clubmans as I was “very tempted to ride intermediate” My score was 29! But I didn’t get any 5s it was mainly silly dabs…but a lot where justified due to the slippy sections So my three sections I would like to mention are…. Clubmans
Section 3 Down a average drop into the stream and a right turn through a narrow part and up over a medium but slippy tree root step, that instantly gave you not time to tackle a sharp right turn that have no grip at all!!! So had to take dabs and 3 it every lap apart from managing to get a 2 on final lap!! Really wouldn’t mind if this section can be added again or at least this annoying but challenging corner
Section 4 This was a interesting one at the drop got a bit harder over time going into the stream and a few low branches…but then face two ways out of the stream, either a tight but short slippy climb, or to go up a higher bank faced with slippy slightly tree routed and rocky bank…. I chose the higher bank as it had a bit more grip and a extra second of momentum to get up. Scoring 4 in total as I didn’t get my line correct first 2 laps but happy to earn 2 cleans last 2 laps
Section 9 Arrrr a interesting one…as it was only for clubmans and above So anyone on white route didn’t see this one. So will explain best I can. Fairly difficult but ridable. Almost immediately into a stream with a choice of left side that was narrow “with the chance of dabbing” or up the middle over 2 rocks that I found fairly ridable if enough momentum was given at the bottom!! Then faced with some annoying rocks just before the final gate!! First lap I did what I thought the hard part was and took 2 dabs, 2nd and 3rd lap I cleaned it and final lap I took a STUPID dab all at the final part lol but a total of 3 marks in total My total score for the day was 29 not happy with my score! But I blaim myself taking too many unnecessary dabs that as we all know add up!!!!
Above all a excellent event with Aqueduct trials club and as I always look forward to them!! See you all at the next one Thanks again to the organisers and observers!!
Mark Gaskell – Pre 65 Intermediate
After the atrocious weather we had on the Saturday, Sunday made a refreshing change. Mild, dry and sunny at Nant Ucha Farm. My three stand out sections, Intermediate route, Triumph Twin.
Section 1, Russ. Drop into the stream, avoiding knocking your head on the tree. Ride upstream on deceptively slippy rocks, then keep tight to the left to give enough room for a sharp right over a six foot root infested bank. Left, drop off a ledge and tight right through the end cards. On lap one I gave the bank too much throttle, much to the amusement/terror of those nearby/in the way. This required some footwork to recover the plot before it all went South. Lap two and four clean. Lap three however started to go wrong when I didn’t concentrate on the deceptively slippy rocks, and ended up on the wrong line for the bank. Over compensating with the throttle (who, me?) resulted in me landing the front wheel outside the flags, and directly in front of Russ’s coat and buttie bag! That could have been a life ban!
Section 7, Christine, with help from Albert. Starting next to the bridge we rode into the stream, slalom right left around some rocks, then up a short step. Swing right and thread the wheels through or over a jumble of varied height rocks, then pick a line to ride out, over between or round some more rocks and up a bank. The bike handled these beautifully, until lap three when the pilot allowed a deflecting front wheel to point the bike sideways at the bottom of the bank. Attempting to recover by using more of the surrounding land than usually necessary, and more throttle, resulted in me parking on a tree stump somewhat short of the flags.
Section 9, Jan. Do you ever have one of those sections that you can’t seem to get right no matter what you do? This was one of them. Riding across the stream into a tight right turn, either “float” turn or run the front up the bank. This left very little room for the decision to ride round or over the rock you were immediately faced with, which in turn decided the line up the waterfall after it. Turn right after the huge boulder and ride over a succession of smaller rocks to the exit. I managed each element successfully, but not on the same lap. I had a 5 within inches of the end flags when I hit the wrong rock, and dropped the bike in the stream. I had a 5 when too much throttle (who, me?) after the first right put me into the deeper part of the stream, which I dropped the bike trying to recover from. I think the remaining scores were a 1 and a 3, if so, I’m really pleased with the 1!
I believe the setting out on Saturday was challenging, even more reason to thank everyone involved for giving up their time for our enjoyment. Thank you!
Rob Sloggett – Walking around taking photos of riders after helping mark out the day before
I wasn’t sure whether I was going to turn up on Sunday… Let me explain why quickly. After helping mark out on Saturday, Russ offered to let me drive the 4WD buggy from the forest up to the car park. Mark in the passenger seat and Russ in the flat bed, he passed the keys through to me. CLUNK… THUD… OOPS. Hang on that was not my fault… Russ you didnt tie it in a knot! Yep if you have not worked it out, the buggy has two keys. An igntion key AND an isolator key. Both needed to start it but when one of them has fallen under the plastic panelling and all you have is a 10mm spanner to strip the whole buggy you know you have a problem. As I said, I’m not taking the fall on this one…. but as I had to shoot off home for a preplanned appointment, I had to leave them there (I did feel bad!)
Anyway back to my part of the report. I have been helping to mark out on the Saturday for a few months, and asked Mark and Russ if I could focus on the white route. My reason for this is the Beginners for me represent the future of the sport and if we can maintain interest and develop sections that are not dangerous but each time allow the rider to experience at least one skill or obstacle type, they will continually develop and feel like they have had a good days competetive sport as well as going home happy and having learnt something. The difference between practicing and competition I have found is that when you practice you tend to ride within your comfort zone / skillset but in competition you have no choice but to ride whats between the flags.
Section 3, was definately the hardest white route section of the day. Whilst not dangerous, it offered an end set of flags that had the riders riding across a gradual right to left camber and then being presented with a moderately tight right hand 180 being approached up a bank. For me the natural line would have been to run out wide, hit the bank straight on using the full width of the over run and then complete the final bit of the turn on the flat. The photos, vidoes and scores indicate that this was probaly the hardest of the Begineers sections of the day with the range of scores from 7 to 14 and in most cases this single section was about 40% of the riders total marks for the day. The feedback on Facebook seems to indicate enjoyment?
The other section for me was Section 8. Sometimes you have to work with what you have for the White route and with the top part of the section being very steep and rooted banks, there is no way we would put the beginners up there as any deviation from the line would result in a tumble, so it was a case of using a flat rutted area and then a muddy expanse up hill to the end cards. The aim here was to give some tight turns over rutted ground to develop slow throttle control and then a short blast where more throttle would be needed to commit the run to the out markers. Once again, the range of scores was from 1 to 13 so it just goes to show how hard it is to gauge the section for the cross section of experience, skills and bike (bearing in mind it ranges from a high end Modern Mono, a 50cc Beta, bog standard TY 175’s and older heavy Triumph 500’s) .
I spent the Sunday having a relaxing day. I had been ill the week before and did not have the energy to ride so I grabbed my camera and spent the day taking some competition shots as they had a full coverage of observers. It was great to spend some time persuing another one of my hobbies that I have not had much chance to do and I hope people have enjoyed looking at the pictures on Facebook.
The feedback on Facebook from the riders provided a few sound bites as follows:
Another great trials. Sections were spot on. Very tricky and slippy but ridable. Was great to see Albert Higgins pay a visit to nant ucha – Paul “Moz” Owen
I loved the trial so much…. I fetched the bib home! Thanks to everyone involved with putting on a great trial, especially the person who organised the weather! – Kevin O’Toole
As always!! Another amazing turn out and familiar faces! Bit of a challenge due to the slippy sections but although I droped some extra marks I enjoyed the challenge!! Much appreciated to everyone!! – David Williams
The final event of 2019 returns to Plas Onn, always a great venue and a cracking place to wrap the year up. As always we have to pass our thanks over to the Kynastons for use of the land and all of the Aqueduct team, observers and Chris DB for the catering.
Pre 65 Expert: Danny Littlehales, Francis Barnett (38); Kev Ellis, BSA (59)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Paul Owen, BSA (9); David Beddoes, Francis Barnett (13); Kevin Walker, Triumph (18)
Pre 65 Clubman: Terry Lloyd, Triumph (26); Graham Miller, Triumph (33); Steve Jones, BSA (35)
Pre 65 Beginner: Kevin O’Toole, Triumph (22); Chris Kenny, BSA (31)
Twinshock Expert: Ian Jones, Fantic (42)
Twinshock Intermediate: Dave Pengilley, Kawasaki (5); Tim Cuffin, Yamaha (6); Vincent Brett, Honda (15)
Twinshock Clubman: Trevor Bennett, Beta (17); Allan Thomas, Fantic (40); Graham Pennington, Ossa (43)
Twinshock Beginner: William Leigh, Yamaha (19); Chris Jones, Yamaha (33)
AC Mono Expert: No finishers
AC Mono Intermediate: Gordon Wilson, Honda (8); Paul Cartwright, Gas Gas (12); Ian Emery, Gas Gas (14)
AC Mono Clubman: Ken Williams, Honda (46)
AC Mono Beginner: No starters
Modern Mono Expert: Ian Smart, Montesa (28); Paul Edwards, Beta (55); Nigel Sproson, Monyesa (78)
Modern Mono Intermediate: Hayden Rainford, Montesa (17); David Ellis, Beta (20); Steve Walker, Sherco (23)
Modern Mono Clubman: Paul Haraker, Beta (5); Ad Gray, Gas Gas (6); Colin Steele, Beta (15)
Modern Mono Beginners: Chris Matthews, Beta (27); Jeff Hughes, Beta (28); Sean Halstead, Gas Gas (32)