Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Rob Ayres, Mark Gaskell, Talei Mallard, Ian Jones and Paul Owen
A bright Sunday morning welcomed 67 riders back to Carrog Isa, a venue which had not seen a visit from the club for a few years. Whilst the club had a clash with another local Kia round which saw a number of riders take part, we still saw a great turnout of 29 Pre 65, 12 Twinshocks, 11 AC Monos and 15 Modern Monos.
8 Experts enjoyed a challenging set of sections, with Russ Jones getting the opportunity to get back on the bike. Almost half of the riders (32) took to a very challenging but enjoyable Intermediate route with the Clubman and Beginner routes taking 16 and 11 riders each.
Rob Ayres – Twinshock (Beginners)
After a health related lay off, it was great to get out and Sunday’s venue did not disappoint. Even though I am very much a White route rider, the feeling of achievement cleaning a few sections still does it for me.
After an off on section 6 of the first lap, the rest of the day was a bit painful, but achieved! And finished all 40.
Section 9 & 10 were my favourites, 9 with the little stream on the entry and exit and 10 with some good old mud! Most of the sections put something in there that stretched you a bit, whilst not being dangerous for someone who still has loads to learn. Doing the white route also allowed me some time to watch competent riders doing what I keep saying in my head that I should do!
This was my third Aqueduct event and like I said in the beginning, it did not disappoint, a great day. It is without doubt, the friendliest club I have had the opportunity to ride with and I certainly do not aim to miss any more events on this years calender!
Talei Mallard – Modern Mono (Beginners)
Section 1: I thought this section was a good starter (beginners) section because I had to think about the best line, and I had to ride over loose ground which I haven’t done before. I only lost 1 mark over the four laps.
Section 10: This was difficult because the mud just before the hill was sloppy and wet, so you got stuck at the bottom. If you got past that bit it was easy enough to ride out. I lost 16 marks overall, and snapped the back mudguard !
Paul Owen – Pre 65 (Intermediate)
Aqueduct classic returned to Carrog Isa. A great venue on the green hills above the Carrog valley.
There was a great turnout and a few riders still chatting about their Scotland tour.
The sections were spot on, I was riding the green route and looking at the sections they looked like yellow route but actually rode like red route! There was nothing dangerous there and with plenty of slippy banks and rocky streams it made for a great day. Here is 3 of my favourite sections.
Section 2: With a muddy left hand turn up the bank and a sharp right turn along a slippy off camber and then between 2 trees and down right to a short right-hand banking with a drop off into a sharp left to the out gate.
Section 3: A slight uphill climb into the start gate and a 180 left turn with a long right handed climb that turned into a tight zig zag up a good steep climb and a slippy descent between the trees to a trick left with a old tree stump that could easily catch you out. This was followed by a drop off into a left muddy turn and out gate.
Section 8: This was a drop down a banking into the rocky stream and a steep climb over the slippy rocks to a green mossy slab were we had to turn left but still keep traction and momentum as you then turned sharp right up some slippy root to the out gate.
I’d like to thanks the organisers and observers for a great trial and Mark Gaskell and Mark Newman for pushing me all the way.
Oh …. and my toolbar on the bike was in demand with some poor lad who’s front wheel spindle had fallen out……
Rob Sloggett – Twinshock (Intermediate)
I was so looking forward to getting back to Carrog Isa. It always conjours up memories of when I rode the Beamish and could not get grip at the start of a section and accidently sprayed the rider behind me with mud…. or the brillaint section just up in the top right hand corner of the parking field which always brings something new each time…. And I was not to be diasappoints as that Section (3) resulted in 15 marks being taken off me, but more on that in a minute.
They say bad news come in threes. A few weeks ago we lost our beloved pet dog of 13 years, a few days after we lost the Suzuki Jimny we had for 15 years to a major MOT failure and on Sunday 19th May I lost what few trials skills I possesed!
Yep, first section (2). Did not walk it correctly and got a five, next section (3) the climb was unscrubbed and I failed to get grip and got a 5, the rest of the first lap I think tallyed 6 x 5, 2 x 3, a 2 and a clean. I actually was ready to drop down to yellow to try and regroup my self esteem or put the bike on the trailer, take it home, put in on ebay and take up basket weaving. Don’t get me wrong, the sections were not massively difficult, walking the sections my head was saying in most cases they were single dabs at the odd place and maybe the odd two but when I got into the entry gates it just all went wrong.
I took the decision to regroup in my head, reset the aim of the day to complete each section by the end with a 2 or less and rewalk the sections on the second lap and if I ran out of time as a DNF so be it. At the end of the day I wanted to enjoy myself and have fun (as thats what the event and this club is about) and I genuinly could not get my head around the first lap disaster.
Well I’m please to say the day got better until the last lap (but more on that at the end) and a couple of sections stood out for me. Section 8 (Gordons) section was the first one which lifted my spirits. A long gradual shallow drop on grass into the section led to a wide left hand turn which then presented you with a 50 ft run up a narrow stream bed with a few challenges on the way to keep you thinking. You then hit a flat rock slab about the size of a car bonnet with an uphill, left camber profile. Once over that you had an immediate (and I mean immediate) left turn to be presented with a reasonably steep dry mud climbing bank with roots in the middle and a left/right switch combination. Immediatly on walking the section I was planning deliberate dabs to make the turn than a couple of footings to be be expected up the bank and after the run of five’s up to this point I was very much about getting through as opposed to getting clean! I think the first lap I had a single footing on the bank, second lap another single and then two cleans with the tricky bit (in my mind) of the rock slab being cleaned each time.
Section 3 was my worse scoring section with I think two x 5, a 2 and a 3 and I really could not get what was a truely great section. As Paul had described previously, a wide entry with a 180 switch back led to a great climb between trees in a left / right / left snake pattern. Loose soil to push the front wheel out, just enought dryness in the ground to break traction and enought turns to mean body postion and movement of the bike was key. I really could not get this. I know what I needed to do but my execution was a disaster. Their is a similar section we mark out at Swans Farm when we practice and it gets me every time so definately a skill and technique I need to focus on.
So what of the last lap? Well a 5 on Section 3 should have alerted me to a problem on the bike as I actually managed the climb but the front end did not feel right in hindsite and caused me an error later on. I rode to Section 4 which had an up bank entry, turn left, tight right turn between two trees (whith a root to the left) and then drop down etc etc. The previous lap I dropped a couple of dabs at the root stage as I went to far left and had my head dialed in (for once) for the final attempt. I knew the line I wanted and felt confident. As I approached the right turn with the root the front out pushed out wide for no logical reason and then the back wheel lodged in the root and spun out. The root was shallow and a bit of footing should have got the bike through but it would just not budge. It was almost like the front brake was jammed on…. hang on, it was almost like the front brake was jammed on!
Yep disaster, what had actually happened was that the front spindle nut had come loose, the spindle had forced itself 1/3 of the way out causing the front wheel to twist down between the fork legs jamming the front brake tie bar under the fork leg and as the brake plate had rotated, the front brake was now solid on.
So a few problems…. how to get out of the section with the front brake wedged on, how to get the bike from section 4 to the car to fix it and how to finish the trial which I was really enjoying and riding better by this stage. Luckily Messers Owen, Jones and Ellis were on hand and with a few tools at the section side we were able to release the brake cable, reposition the wheel, drive the spindle throught and tighten up the pinch bolts. Luckily the main nut had contained itself in the fork recess so Kev pinched this up with a pair on long nose pliers and I was able to finish the last 6 sections to end what was a bit of a nightmare day but still really enjoyable.
In the good old days in the 80’s, youth club events had scrutineering and it forced you to make sure your bikes were ready. Working away from home I know my bike prep has slipped between events and this time I played the price and embarresment! I definately need to pull together a basic check list of minimum checks and get back into a discipline of commiting a few hours between events to check things over better.
Ive got to close by thanking Paul, Russ and Kev again for helping me out and also the last 6 observers for waiting around as I think I was probably the last rider through!
Mark Gaskell – Pre 65 (Intermediate)
Perfect weather conditions for Carrog Isa on Sunday thankfully, as it can be a tad slippery in the wet! Drayton Triumph 350 twin, on the green, or intermediate route.
Section 2 caused me more grief than it should, the first right turn at the top of the bank getting the better of me for a loss of 6 marks. Only managed to clean it once. One of those annoying bits that despite knowing the right way, you always go wrong!
Section 5 was a slalom across the main track, with four tight turns up on the banks to negotiate and a root/rock step combination to catch an unwary wheel. The bike handled this perfectly, another rider asking me if it had a hinge in the middle. Sadly the pilot didn’t handle it quite as well and nearly went the wrong way on lap 2, requiring a couple of hefty dabs to get the plot back on course.
Section 6, slight downhill to a left up a bank, then a downhill right that got slippier as the day wore on. Onto a lower path, then tight right and immediately up a short steep bank between two trees. How fast you went up the bank dictated how much time you had to make a left over some loose slate, then a right out of the section. Watching a couple of riders fail the climb made me a little nervous, but the Triumph dispatched it with ease. I lost one mark on the last lap for not concentrating on the loose slate.
Section 10. My only 5 of the day. Drop down into a stream, turn right and up and over a jumble of rocks and roots. Left and over a large tree root before turning right and around aforementioned tree, then a short blast through a boggy hollow to the end. I overshot the left and ran wide outside the flags on lap one, and lost three subsequent marks, only managing to clean it on the last lap.
Ian Jones – Twinshock (Expert)
A dry overcast morning greeted nearly 70 competitors, showing how strong classic trials is in North Wales now, to Aqueduct classics Round four of the ten round series at Carrog Isa roughly halfway between Llangollen and Corwen beside the historic A5 with fantastic views of the Dee valley and its famous steam train running throughout the day.
After a short briefing from head honcho Russ it was off to the first of ten sections on this mountain side course, I’ve nicknamed this my joker card event as having ridden around here many a time as a hare and hounds course I sort of knew what type of sections they would be.
So on Saturday I went out for an hour on the Fantic near my home to practice on similar terrain, off cambers tight turns and climbs to get the feel of things which hopefully would benefit me in the trial.
After studying the first section for ages I noticed it was getting easier as every passing bike was taking the moss off the rocks and the loose soil on the tricky climb, so I was pleased with a clean start.
Section 2, one of my favourites,proper old school section, after watching Kev Ellis and Russ blasting their triumph twins up the steep climb someone thought that they’d heard thunder!! This was either a clean or a five section you’d be lucky to get away with a dab on this one.
Section 4 was different as this one got tricker on the last 2 laps , lost 2 dabs on this one (but didn’t loose a wheel!) sorry Rob….
Section 6 seemed to cause a few issues on the Expert route with a few 5s, by the time I got there, a nice path had been made, steady throttle in bottom gear was the order, section 7 was a cracker very easy to get it wrong up the narrow slippery slate bed, had three cleans and a clumsy 3 on this one.
My other favourite was section 9, another 2nd gear one up a stream bed then a blast up a jumble of rocks then a sharp left to the exit cards, managed 4 cleans, happy days!
All in all a fantastic days trialling with well thought out sections, all cleanable but ready to take a mark or two if you let your concentration lapse. Many thanks to the regular and new observers, Chris de Burger catering, landowners and organisers and the super quick results team.
A thoroughly enjoyable day, all credit to the Aqueduct team for putting on yet another excellent trial. Many thanks to all concerned.
The feedback on Facebook from the riders provided a few sound bites as follows:
Hi just like to say thank you to everyone for making me very welcome on my first trial shame my gear selector broke. Look forward to having a go at your next trial – Tarquin Millard
I must say that the yellow route rider that shone today over the tricky boulders was, Ken “Bou “ Williams, he floated over as if they wernt there – Geoff Jones
Big thanks to all the Aqueduct team for another great trial today-really enjoyed the sections and the workout in between!!! – Ken Williams
Great trial today, thanks to all organisers, observers and caterers – Chris Forshaw
The venue for the next event has been confirmed as Nant Ucha on Sunday 16th June.
As always we have to close this report with a big thank-you to all of the observers, sections setter upers, admin staff and Chris DB for the catering, plus the landower for the use of this great venue.
Pre 65 Expert: Kev Ellis, Trifield (14); Russ Jones, Triumph (17); Danny Littlehales, Francis Barnett (17)
Pre 65 Intermediate: David Beddoes, Francis Barnett (12); Paul Owen, BSA (13); Dave Lovell, Triumph (18)
Pre 65 Clubman: Roger Smith, BSA (14); Chris Forshaw, BSA (18); Graham Miller, Triumph (29)
Pre 65 Beginner: Kevin O’Toole, Ariel (31); Harry Barefield, BSA (46)
Twinshock Expert: Ian Jones, Fantic (7); Paul Smart, Fantic (14); Julian Price, Fantic (22)
Twinshock Intermediate: Dave Pengilley, Kawasaki (4); Adrian Kent, Bultaco (8); Alex Barrie, Honda (27)
Twinshock Clubman: John Sowden, Bultaco (52)
Twinshock Beginner: Chris Jnes, Yamaha (31); Rob Ayres, Majesty (65)
AC Mono Expert: No enteries
AC Mono Intermediate: Gordon Wilson, Honda (21); Paul Cartwright, Gas Gas (24); Alec Roberts, Scorpa (29)
AC Mono Clubman: Ken Williams, Homda (20); Colin Ashton (33); Andy Steele, Yamaha (40)
AC Mono Beginner: No enteries
Modern Mono Expert: No enteries
Modern Mono Intermediate: Peter Boettcher, Gas Gas (12); Spence Bradley, Gas Gas (30); Steve Walker, Sherco (31)
Modern Mono Clubman: Elwyn Beedles, Sherco (18); Jim Marsden, Gas Gas (46); Carl Jackson, Beta (80)
Modern Mono Beginners: Chris Matthews, Beta (28); Nigel Rigg, Honda (37); Talei Mallard, Beta (47)
Section 1 – Geoff
Section 2 – Fiona
Section 3 – Izzy
Section 4 – Dave
Section 5 – Jan
Section 6 – Harry
Section 7 – Suzanne
Section 8 – Gordon
Section 9 – Mark
Section 10 – Chris
Pre 65 – 29
Twinshock – 12
A/C Mono – 11
Modern Mono – 15
Total = 67
Expert – 8
Intermediate – 32
Clubman – 16
Beginner – 11
Ariel – 1
BSA – 11
Dot – 1
Francis Barnett – 4
Norton – 1
Saracen – 1
Trifield – 1
Triumph – 9
Bultaco – 3
Fantic – 4
Honda – 1
Kawasaki – 1
Majesty – 1
Montesa – 1
Yamaha TY – 2
Aprilia – 2
Beta – 1
GasGas – 1
Honda – 3
Montesa – 1
Scorpa – 2
Yamaha – 2
Beta – 6
GasGas – 3
Honda – 1
Montesa – 1
Sherco – 4