I can’t remember the last time I rode in competition. Probably 11 months ago, but it was lovely to be back at Nant Mawr Quarry for the inaugural year of the Kev Williams Memorial Trophy and meet up with old friends. Its wonderful to see Kevs family at the events and their long term connection with the club continues to ignite peoples memories and love of Kev as the fantastic person he was.
The first event of the year always is a biggie and 2024 was no different as 112 bikes rolled up into the quarry bowl. An incredible 40 Pre 65 bikes (of which 23 were Intermediate riders contesting the Memorial Trophy) were accompanied by 18 Twinshock, 2 Pre 2000 WC Mono (our new class this year), 20 AC Mono and 32 Modern Monos.
The top class was 47 riders taking to the Intermediate route with 45 Clubman having a great day on the yellow route. Add the 17 Experts and 3 Novice riders and we have a full set!
Paul Owen – Pre 65 / Intermediate
Nant Mawr Quarry 2024. The first meeting of the year was actually the last round of last year’s championship due to bad weather. With 112 riders the venue was ideal to cater for so many competitors. It was a cold icy start to the day but the sun soon made a appearance even if it was just for an hour or 2. The sections were all challenging and the rocks slippy but everyone was ready after the Christmas break and the Pre 65 Inters green route riders were all challenging for the inaugural KEV WILLIAMS memorial trophy. I believe there was 23 riders of us?
Here are 3 sections of the 10 of the pre65 green intermediate class.
Section 3. With a flat start we had to weave our way between big boulders in a sequence of tight turns. Then we had to attack a big rock step and then immediately into a tight right with a steep climb to the top between some big rocks. Then we rolled back down the banking to the out gate. This section became very slippy and I managed to land heavy against a rock and damaged my gear lever shaft and the bike was stuck in 3rd gear for the last lap that wasn’t ideal on my little bantam.
Section 7. Starting off on the banking and you rolled into the section. Over a few rocks and into a tight right turns the led into a left and about 5 metres of big jagged rocks that looked very daunting and then a right hand turn to the exit. I was actually surprised how easy the rocks were as I hit them with some speed instead of trying to pick my way through them. Maybe more luck than anything. Haha.
Section 8. You followed a shallow stream of water into the section under the trees and you had to get onto the right bank to then drop back across onto the left bank and over the top. Then you dropped into a deep puddle that the easiest line was the deepest part of the water. If you stayed in the shallower water the submerged banking was more slippy. You exited the water onto a rutted muddy section that was so easy to slide your wheels and take a silly dab as you turned right. You then dropped back into the water and up a slippy bank with tree roots showing. To much power and you’d spin out. Once at the top you had a right turn down a steep 15 foot drop back down to the bottom and into the muddy water. You had to be careful on the brakes going down the bank. As you hit the bottom you had to turn sharp left and immediately on the gas to get you back up a wet muddy climb out the section to the exit gate. All the sections were spot on. Nothing dangerous and a bit of everything.
Big thanks to the club and the observers who stood out in the cold all day and congratulations to all the 2023 championship winners.
Graham Pennington – Observer/Section 8
As Billy Connolly once said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes”. However, as result of the Weather Gods having a slightly different view last December a group of around 150 riders, officials and supporters found themselves in Nantmawr Quarry on a chilly early January Sunday Morning. What is normally a season opener, with no championship status, to help shake of the Christmas excesses, was now the final round of the 2023 Club Championship for all classes with the added prestige of the inaugural Kev Williams Shield for best Pre 65 Intermediate rider. Kev was a much-loved member of the club very sadly taken way before his time and as a mark of respect, the Aqueduct Committee decided that the Kev Williams Shield will be
an annual competition at the final trial of the year.
Having agreed to observe a section at the event, with one eye on the weather forecast and an ear to the words of the Big Yin, I decided that layers combined with some trusty ex Forces cold weather gear was the order of the day. As a result, I stayed toastie all day, even slightly warm when the sun made a very brief appearance. But by the time the last rider passed through the section just before 4 o’clock there was a definite nip in the air.
Section 8 was my allotted section, a classic combination of greasy mud, water, ruts, banks, tree roots and loose gravel. Most riders were familiar with the Section from previous events at this venue the twist being that this time it was running in reverse. As is normal practice for the club four routes were marked out for Beginner, Clubman, Inters and Experts. Each one had a perfect line for a clean but a slight hesitation or straying off the
line would readily take marks off you. Overall, the Section rode very well with only a handful of Fives, plenty of cleans and everything in between.
As it was a special event for the Pre65s it was nice to see so many well-presented machines in this class and a noted determination from the riders through my section. I know that the number of modern bikes competing can be a contentious issue, but for me the number of
old riders on modern bikes is a positive thing. With Men’s Health being such a topical issue I have long believed that Clubs such as Aqueduct Classics play a crucial part in the mental wellbeing of the people who take part in its events. And if switching to a modern bike can prolong the participation of an individual in these events for a few more years then so be it. As far as observing goes I would recommend all riders to give it a try at some point. It’s as enjoyable to watch so many different bikes and riding styles as it is to see the achievement of riders starting poorly but mastering the section by the final lap. However, it does demand a level of concentration and attention, from the first riders through at the start of the event it was non-stop for almost 5 hours, although it certainly didn’t feel that long.
Queues can be another contentious issue, but there was nothing on the part of the organisers or riders that would have got them through the section any quicker. I don’t believe that given the number of competitors and a reasonably compact venue, queues could be avoided. So, if you do find yourself queueing take the opportunity to relax for a minute and either catch up with old friends or make new ones.
Happy New Year.
Ian Emery- AC Mono / Intermediate
I’ve ridden every Aqueduct event at Nant Mawr over the years and usually come home with a nasty bruise from the unforgiving rocks and it’s always bitterly cold. Getting the first lap out of the way is always with trepidation but I have to say Sunday’s sections were spot on. Here’s a few of may favourites.
Section 1: I like mud and this was muddy. A drop into deep (muddy) water led to a right/left turn and up a small rooty step on the far bank. Follow along the edge of the water for a few yards before a 180° turn up the embankment, over another rooty step to a drop back down to the ends. Reasonably straightforward unless you go the wrong way as my riding buddy did
Section 3: The section began just like an arena trial with snaky tight turns around big chunks of rock. After the last tight 180° there was rock step of about 18″, a bike’s length of flat ground, and a steep exit climb of about 6 feet which was c.5 feet if you peeled to the right as you climbed. I chose the straight line steep route and needed a 1 on my first lap followed by two cleans and then on my fourth lap it all went wrong on the crest of the climb and I had a floundering three. Some riders made it look so easy but you had to be accurate and carry some speed.
Section 4: More arena trials stuff with a hop over a tractor tyre, a jump up a fairly steep rock step, a traverse across some slippy stuff to a 180° turn to then attack a root stricken slippy climb between trees to the end cards.
Section 5: A variation of a previously used route but with a tricky climb made more difficult by a nasty rocky step at the bottom. The crest was right up against the rock face and was quite narrow. There followed a traverse along the edge of the quarry face with a slight climb. The tricky bit here was staying on the narrow piece of safe ground. Get a little bit to the right then either the front would slip away, or the back, or both – all leading to a big 5. There followed a steep descent over loose shale, a fairly tight left over a jumble of rocks and then out. Lost a slack 1 but otherwise managed OK.
Section 6: More rocks. Wendy in charge here, always with a smile. A drop in to a turn across the top of a big rock to then drop off its far edge. Then a swooping 180° around the far bank to drop back down across more rocks, up a rocky climb, across some loose shale to cross even more rocks on the way to the end cards. I don’t normally like rocks but these were nice ones. 4 cleans.
Section 7: Gordon in charge. This section looked really daunting. Entry over some awkward slippy rocks to a 90° right and an immediate 90° left to then be faced by a horrible looking selection of big rocks with big gaps in between. I watched a shiny new 4RT take a high line to the right, big handful of throttle, straight over the first big rock and landing the front wheel way past all the other rocks that followed with his back wheel riding over them all and the rear suspension doing its job perfectly. Hmm, could I do the same on my old Gasser without getting bashed and bruised? Turned out I could with 3 cleans and then a daft two as I messed up the entry on the last lap. Think I had my eyes shut each time.
Section 8: Penno with the pen. My favourite section of the day. It was muddy, very muddy. The entry needed front wheel placement high on the right hand bank before dropping tight left into a hollow followed by a steep hump, followed by deep muddy water. You had to take this hump on the turn as you dropped over its crest otherwise the far bank would grab the front and forward motion would cease. After a wade through the depths with no idea what was under it all you climbed out to a 180° right turn to approach a steep, rooty climb which got wetter as the day went on. A right turn at the top, being careful not to knock Penno over was followed by a steep descent back into muddy water, a 180° left turn using the far bank with the front wheel and then climbing up a slippy hill with a kink in the middle which dragged you towards a tree and a pesky sawn off stump which caught a few people out. 3 cleans and a slack 1 for me.
I enjoyed the day in close competition with my riding buddy Steve and it was tight at the end between us. Thanks as usual to Russ and Mark for some great sections, to all the organisers and helpers etc but mostly to the observers who stood out in the bitter cold all day to allow us to have our fun.
Stephen Harding – Modern Mono / Clubman
So where do we start ? First of all as usual a huge thanks to all the Aqueduct team for putting on such a great event again, a big thanks to Russ and the team for setting out on Saturday. Also a big thanks to all the observer’s for giving up the Sunday and standing out in the freezing cold so we can do what we love doing. So a big thanks to the land owner for letting us use the venue also congratulations to Sam Alderman on winning the Kev Williams memorial trophy.
All sections were spot on as usual and really hard to select some of my favourites. The day started off getting everyone parked up and there were a lot of vehicles to sort out but at this venue there was plenty of space for everyone, 100+ in the end. It was great to see so many happy smiley faces for the first trial of the year. So we had the usual briefing and a great tribute to Kev Williams !
So here are a few of my favourites…..
Section 5 – The only section on the second level this time here. So you start off and head through the start gate and on to some fairly good sized rocks before you get to a steep climb up and then on to some more slippery rocks before you get to the top and then turn tight right before descending down over even more rocks that were fairly loose down to the exit. Tough but doable ,
Section 8 – Starting off from the entrance road, you go through the start gate and turn left in to a muddy slippery start then you have to turn tight right over some deep ruts ( caught me out every lap ) before dropping a bit into the water. Then up a bit of a slippy bank and tight between two trees then along and drop left back into the water before a bit of a left and back on to a muddy steep climb up a good bank and out of the section.
Section 9 – After a bit of a ride up a slippy track from 8 you arrive at what seemed to be top of the quarry. You start from the top a bit of a bank and drop straight down in to a steep bowl before a steep climb back up on to the very rocky plateau before a right then on to even more big boulders before dropping down on even more large rocks to the bottom. Then right up a bit and over more rocks then down through the exit. A tough one this one, I messed up on the 1st lap taking the greens for the middle part!
Overall I had a great day, thank you to everyone involved, I don’t know how you keep finding these sections , but keep it up, Thank you .
So finally, a huge congratulations to Sam Alderman for taking the inaugural year of the Kev WIlliams Memorial Shield. Dont forget, this is presented to the top placed Pre 65
Many thanks to Nick Shenson and Lynnette Harley Doyle for the photos.
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, Triumph (21); Chris Chell, BSA (32); Simon Chell, BSA (62)
- Intermediate – Sam Alderman, BSA (2); Paul Owen, BSA (8); Mark Lucas, Villiers (9); Mark Spencer, Triumph (9)
- Clubman – Paul Brimelow, Cotton (0); Peter Shone, James (0);Steve Jones, BSA (3)
- Novice – Terry Lloyd, Triumph (10)
- Expert – Paul Sagar, Honda (33); Jim Williams, Honda (50)
- Intermediate – Dave Pengilley, Kawasaki (1); Paul Cook, SWM (3); Robin Foulkes, Armstrong (12)
- Clubman – Phil Cottiga, Honda (7); Steve Blackburn, Montessa (12); Darren Riley, Yamaha (12)
- Novice – Graham Seagar, Bultaco (60)
Air Cooled Mono
- Expert – Chris Garlic, Gas Gas (1); Patrick Edwards, Yamaha (6); Peter Ruscoe, Honda (17)
- Intermediate – Ian Tracey, Ossa (9); David Matthews, Yamaha (9); Michael Warburton, Honda (11)
- Clubman – Andy Steele, Yamaha (13); Stephen Hall, Gas Gas (17); Paul Corfield, Yamaha (19)
- Novice – No Riders
Pre 2000 Water Cooled Mono
- Expert – No Riders
- Intermediate – Neil Francis, Gas Gas (29)
- Clubman – George Edge, Montesa (38)
- Novice – No Riders
- Expert – Mikey Wright, Gas Gas (37); Hayden Rainford, Montesa (43); Jordan Bannon, Gas Gas (48)
- Intermediate – Neil Brooks, Sherco (3); David Ellis, Beta (3);Mike Smith, Montesa (9)
- Clubman – Kev Williams, Beta (3); Gareth Evans, TRS (3); Alan Corfield, Montesa (3); Phil Clarkson, Beta (3)
- Novice – Richard Yeoman, TRS (71)
1 – Elwyn
2 – Dave
3 – Nigel
4 – Ian
5 – Brian
6 – Wendy
7 – Gordon
8 – Graham
9 – Jeff
10 – Dave
- Pre 65 – 40
- Twinshock – 18
- Air Cooled Mono – 20
- Pre 2000 Water Cooled Mono – 2
- Modern Mono – 32
- Expert – 17
- Intermediate – 47
- Clubman – 45
- Novice – 3
- Ariel – 1
- BSA – 2
- Cotton – 2
- DOT – 1
- Francis Barnett – 1
- James – 1
- Matchless – 1
- Triumph – 11
- Velocette – 1
- Vincent – 1
- Aprillia – 1
- Armstrong – 1
- Bultaco – 4
- Fantic – 2
- Honda – 4
- Kawasaki – 1
- Majesty – 1
- Montesa – 1
- Ossa – 1
- SWM – 1
- Yamaha – 1
Air Cooled Mono
- Fantic – 1
- Gas Gas – 5
- Honda – 4
- Ossa – 1
- Scorpa – 1
- Yamaha – 8
Pre 2000 Water Cooled Mono
- Gas Gas – 1
- Montesa – 1
- Beta – 10
- Gas Gas – 8
- Montesa – 7
- Sherco – 3
- TRS – 1
- Vertigo – 2