The first event of the year is always a good indicator of how the season is going to pan out and Aqueduct tend to favour Nant Mawr Quarry for the January event due to the large parking area and the fact that if the weather is bad, you dont need to tow cars out of a muddy field!
Whilst Wales was operating under restricted Covid restrictions, fortunately this venue was just over the English border and whilst the club still maintained its good Covid protocols, its OK for me to report that 99 riders turned up without fears of a Chester FC type investigation happening!
The 99 riders were spread out over 26 Pre 65, 27 Twinshock, 18 AC Mono and 28 Modern Monos. The Expert route was contested by a brilliant tally of 23 riders with 39 running on the Intermediate route. The clubman class had a healthy 37 riders and those up and coming novices took the final 7 spots
Steve Harding – Modern Mono / Clubman
First of all I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone involved in setting up another great trial, especially Russ and Mark for spending a day in the rain on Saturday to set up the sections for all of us to enjoy on Sunday. So a huge thanks to all the team and observer’s for braving the cold so we could have a trial on Sunday, and not forgetting Chris Deburger for keeping us fed and watered throughout the day.
Upon arrival we were met by Paul and Sue to guide us to our parking space, then a bit of time to get the bike and myself sorted for the day, a decent brew and a bacon butty off Chris Deburger and get signed on and collect my bib off the girls and ready for the day,. It was a cold but sunny morning so perfect conditions for the trial, all of the sections were spot on, some forgiving and then some tough ones, so here are some of my favourite sections of the day.
Section 1: A bit of a queue, but it soon went down. You start off from the top of a steep bank, so slow past the start gate and down a very steep slippery slope towards a large pool of water trying to avoid the deep ruts into the water and then back out up a bit of a slippery muddy bank and then a bit of a tight right on a slippery off camber bank in-between two trees and then follow the ridge between two more trees. Drop back down into the water over some deep ruts and then a tight left back up a bank on to a very slippy surface and almost stop to turn tight right again and out of the section, tough but I enjoyed it,
Section 7: Sue on watch. So you start off from a bit of a bank then straight into the section and turn a bit of a left and then right straight up a slightly slippery slope and over some roots up a bank and then a bit of a tight left on an off camber bank and follow it along to a tree and a tight left again and drop back down into the bottom of the section, then head towards a tree and a large rock and turn tight right between them ,and it was tight then back up a slippery bank and left through the end markers trying to avoid the deep ruts to put you off, another good section.
Section 8: You follow on from 7 along a bit of a ridge and the stop before the start of section 8 in a bit of a deep muddy puddle, you start off from the mud and through the start gate then straight away turn left up a bit of a step and turn tight right again and head up a very steep slope and over the tree roots and keep right as it levelled out a bit before going up again and choose left or right to pass a large rock and the over a few small rocks turning left and then drop back down the slippery slope and turn tight right and out , I messed it up the 1st 3 laps but some good advice from Mark and I cleared it on the 4th lap,
Overall I had a great day riding with Tony Williams, only us 2 from our normal crew but enjoyed it, Massive thanks to everyone involved and look forward to the next one.
Wal Cope – Twinshock / Intermediate
I guess the invisibility cloak worked well – I reckoned I’d dropped 6 but the results said 4 – definitely not complaining! I won’t mention where the cloak worked.
Last time I rode an Aqueduct trial was before furlough and Covid 19 was in most of our vocabularies, when a huge entry turned up at Nant Mawr. I remembered enjoying the intermediate route that day so thought I would have another go.
Starting at section 9 (so I wouldn’t forget – last number on my bib) I was clean for the first 3 sections, but dropped a dab on the first rocks of section 3. This section proved by nemesis as I lost half my marks here.
Next dab went down on the very slippy middle turn of section 7 on the first lap, but the annoying one was section 6. 3 cleans taking the tight line on the first turn, but sat in the queue on the last lap, everyone was taking their front wheel outside the rock and rear inside, so thought I would do the same. Down went the right foot – should have stayed on my line!
Favourite section for me was number 8 – the blast over and between the rocks on the way up needed a good attack after getting the corner right at the bottom – 4 cleans was very satisfying!
Maybe the inter route was a bit easy for me – I’ve upgraded to the hard route at Red Rose so maybe next time out I’ll do the same at Aqueduct.
Thanks for a great day out, especially to the observers who stood out in the cold but kept smiling!
See you next time.
Richard Osborn – Modern Mono / Intermediate
Arriving at the venue on a cold, bright, sunny Sunday morning in January you are met by what can only be described as an amazing view, the intimidating slabs of rock rising high above the car parking area forming an impressive arena. The quarry is a change to the other Aqueduct venues which tend to be more wooded areas, therefore the quarry offered an interesting mix of sections over rock, water, mud and shale.
Section 1: At first the section looks pretty straight forward, but after walking the section it becomes apparent that there are some tricky bits. The initial drop down the bank seems ok, but then you find that the ground offers little resistance, at the bottom of the bank there was a tight little turn over a hidden tree root that caught a few people out resulting in a silly dab (me included). Once the turn and the root had been negotiated it was up and over a small incline in to the water. Out of the water and in to a tight turn between a couple of trees. A tree root sticking out in between the trees focused the mind before a muddy incline and tight left turn took you out of the section. The mud got increasingly deeper during the day meaning each lap was slightly different.
Section 2: A completely different terrain to section 1. The start gate for section 2 raised questions regarding the new AMCA rules regarding the front wheel entering the section as it was proving difficult to undertake a standing start at the gate without poking a tyre past the flags. Therefore, it seemed better to start the section from further down the bank and enter the section a bit blind. The section started with a left hand turn in to a rocky ‘trench’ before turning right across the path which gave a little bit of respite before launching across a series of greasy rocks. I found out that any hesitation resulted in walking the bike through the rest of the section for a big 3. Once the rocks had been mastered, a 90 degree turn round a tree led to the exit gates.
Section 3: The start gate was at the top of a steep rise that meant caution was the best approach before tackling a series of pointy rocks. I think I picked a different route over the rocks on each lap. Once over the rocks there was a tight left and right over loose shale followed by a tight left handed turn down over more pointy rocks, the tight right at the bottom of the rocks was surprisingly difficult as the bike had to be threaded between two rocks that offered the ideal place for a dab …..or two.
Section 4 : Up the bank to the next level of the quarry led to the next section, and like section 3 the section offered a variety of pointy rocks to bounce off. A slight right turn led across loose rocks which meant that momentum was the key, hesitation over the rocks resulted in another embarrassing 3 as the bike was walked over the obstacles. Then just as you could see the exit flags, a big rock in the middle of the route that seemed to move to a different place on every lap, would catch the front wheel and lead to a silly dab as the front left the section, but as new AMCA rules were applied, what would have been a clean resulted in a big fat 1!
Section 5: Initially looked an easy clean, a rise through some pretty stable rocks led to a right hand turn around a tree, but this is where the terrain changed from rock to a shale down hill section. With the back wheel locked, the front needed to be threaded to the left between rocks before you could relax and exit the section.
Section 6: This section was hidden away further down the quarry and the technical aspect of the section meant that queues started to form on the first lap. However, the position of the section meant that riders could look down on the section whilst queuing so they could pick their line. The section was short and tricky, with tight turns over rocks which meant that total commitment to a line was required, any change in route seemed to result in a dab or three as I found out.
Section 7: Now we were out of the rocky part of the quarry, we were back to muddy sections. Section 7 was a series of tricky tight turns that tested the rider but the terrain offered surprisingly grippy conditions. The final left turn required lots of concentration as the front wheel needed to be lifted over a slippery rock and tree root to successfully exit the section with a clean.
Section 8: For me this was the most difficult section of all. A quagmire of mud and water needed to be negotiated before you even entered the section. Once in, a tight right handed up hill section required a bit of beans to get over the rock step, before making another tight right hand turn which required less speed and more precision. I got caught out twice by excessive use of the throttle on the first step resulting in both feet down to stop me ploughing into a tree. Once the second right hander had been negotiated, a smooth left handed turn around a tree led to an easy down hill section and out.
Section 9: Where was the observer ?? A strategically placed van offered the perfect spot for the observer to view the short, muddy section. After picking your way through thick mud and water, the uphill left hand turn was tricky and required lots of smooth throttle control and shifting balance (and a tongue out of the side of the mouth) in order to keep the forward momentum. Once at the top of the turn eyes were focused on the greasy tree root running across the path, a little hop of the front wheel cleared the root, a tight left hand turn led in to a water filled ditch and out.
Section 10: The terrain could not get any different to sections 1 – 6 ! Mud, water, tree roots, Section 10 had it all. The section started with a steep muddy incline and left around a tree on to a traverse across the bank and over a tree stump, then a tight left hand turn took you down to the water. There were a couple of routes to choose from in order to exit the section, but by the 3rd lap, I realised that the slow route straight through the water was better than trying to keep to the edges. A steep muddy step up the bank on the other side led to the end of the section and the end of the lap.
Some tricky sections and a mix of terrain meant that it was a great trial. I’ve only ridden the venue once before but I hope it becomes a regular on the calendar, maybe a summer trial with Chris de Burger on the BBQ would be an idea!
Paul Owen – Pre 65 / Intermediate Route
Nant mawr quarry . This is always a full entry with it being the first event of the year and in the unique setting of the high walled dish shaped rock quarry. With 100 riders on bikes from pre65 to modern it was going to be another excellent event by the club. Here is 3 of my best and worse sections in the green intermediate class.
I dropped 4 marks on Section 2 . It was very challenging on a rocky terrain. You entered the start gate to the left and across a path with a rock sticking out that could easy take a dab off you. You then dropped into a dip then over a lot of bigger rocks that if you got it right you would just skip over then. But get the first one wrong and you got them all wrong. Twice I messed up and I manage to get my foot trapped in the rocks and as I was falling I hit the tree that squashed m fyingers covering the clutch. My hand slipped off the clutch and bars and the bike shot forward with the kickstart digging in my calf muscle but it also released my foot from the rocks. Lucky I still stayed upright and kept moving forward around the tree and out to the exit gate. This happened on lap 1, section 2. I knew it would be a long painful day after that (haha). I still have a nice bruised leg days after.
Section 5 was another rocky section. It was a simple easy section as you rode up a bank, turn right ,drop down to a left hander then out. But it was all loose rocks and so unpredictable as to where it will kick you on the climb up and down. I managed to stall the bike as I dropped down the bank just because I’d give it to much back brake as the front wanted to slide from underneath me. So that was another 5 marks to my score. But I wasn’t the only one picking up big marks on that section.
Section 7 was very challenging as you started off and up a muddy greasy bank over a big tree root. You had a very tight left hander off camber turn back down the muddy bank and straight into a tight right hand turn on the flat but the mud was slippy and so easy to tuck the front . Then it was up another bank and left hand turn but this time it had a steeper drop and with no run off you were onto some slippy rocks that you had to turn sharp right and over a rock and log then out to the exit gate. I had no dramas on that as the old bantam has a good tight steering lock. I dropped 11 marks from a possible total of 200.
I was hurting and aching after a poor first lap, but I was happy with the results as I came 2nd in class. Actually 3 of us were on 11 points .
Big thanks to the club and the observers for a great day.
Chris Garlick – AC Mono / Expert
Nant Mawr Quarry is one of the best venues I have rode at, possibly my favourite. I dont know if this is because I have raced Enduros there and driving into the quarry bought back memories or the fact that it has a variety of sections from deep water to muddy banks and roots, to big dry dry rocks and slippy ones. It really has a bit of everything.
Sunday saw a good turn out of riders, all ready to do battle but not before getting a bite to eat from Chris DeBurger who’s food is always on point. At signing on we were greeted by the usual smiling Aqueduct team who are always great to chat with and always helpful.
Section 1 was a steady one to get us warmed up, made up of muddy banks with rocks before diving into some deep water. The bottom of it felt solid enough but just before getting back onto the banking and going right for the end markers there was a soft spot which tried to grab your rear end wheel if you hesitated.
Section 2, this was a good section where your reactions had to be quick as there were slimy rocks, you had to be precise and ready to correct the bike at any time. One wrong touch and you could of been facing the other way.
Section 3 was probably the hardest, quiet technical and one wrong move would of put you over the bars into a rock pile. Riding high on the banks and around a small tree then dropping down naturally put you on your left then you made the next turn through the rock garden… tricky. After this it was a blast across the quarry to section 4.
This was my favourite section of the day. It looked easy until you rode it, it was a banking full of rolling rocks and stones that could and would move at any time.
The next 4 sections were more rocks with twist turns, then it was back across the quarry where we finished the lap with slippy banks, deep water and some rocks!
All in all another good trial and a well deserved overall win to Steve Martin on the Expert route. Looking forward to the next event.
We return to Plan Onn for Februarys event and will be closely monitoring the Welsh Covid rules to make sure we comply. . We always 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 – James Francis, BSA (6); Ben Butterworth, Ariel (7); Paul Smart, BSA (17)
- Intermediate – Paul Edwards, Drayton (2); Paul Owen, BSA (11T); Carl Winstanley, James (11T); Phil Alderman, Triumph (11)
- Clubman -Steve Walker, Francis Barnett (2); Paul Brimelow, Cotton (4); Mike Jones, Triumph (17)
- Novice – Terry Lloyd, Triumph (15)
- Expert – Steve Martin, Majesty (2); Jim Williams, SWM (11); Kev Ellis, SWM (16)
- Intermediate – Tim Cuffin, Majesty,(3);Andy Cope, Fantic (4); Robert Reese, Honda (6)
- Clubman – Robin Boyd, Honda (6); Elwyn Beedles, Honda (11); Steve Blackburn, Montesa (17)
- Novice – Peter Reese, Honda (30); Sam Swift, Montesa (36)
Air Cooled Mono
- Expert – Chris Garlich, Gas Gas (4); Peter Ruscoe, Gas Gas (12); Mark Blackwell (44)
- Intermediate -Paul Edward, Fantic (3); Mike Jones, Gas Gas (13); Alec Roberts, Scorpa (18)
- Clubman -Andy Steele, Yamaha (24)
- Novice -Pete Rainsford, Yamaha (72)
- Expert – Julian Price, Beta (18); Mike Hawker, Beta (73)
- Intermediate – Dave Ellis, Beta (2); Steve Sherwin, TRS (9); Neil Matthews, Gas Gas (10)
- Clubman – Oliver Cookson, Vertigo (6); Tomos Matthews, Beta (9); Phil Clarkson, Beta (10)
- Novice -Logan Price, Beta (31); Jay Hanmer, Oset (43); Tony Williams, Scorpa (56)
1 – Ian
2 – Chris
3 – Roger
4 – Gordon
5 – Martin
6 – Paul
7 – Suz
8 – Mark
9 – Elwyn
10 – Dave
- Pre 65 – 26
- Twinshock – 27
- Air Cooled Mono – 18
- Modern Mono – 28
- Expert – 23
- Intermediate – 39
- Clubman – 30
- Novice – 7
- Ariel – 1
- BSA – 9
- Cotton – 1
- Drayton – 2
- Francis Barnett – 3
- James – 1
- Matchless – 1
- Triumph – 8
- Aprilia – 2
- Bultaco – 3
- Fantic – 5
- Honda – 8
- Kawasaki – 1
- Majesty – 3
- Montesa – 2
- SWM – 2
- Yamaha – 1
Air Cooled Mono
- Beta – 1
- Fantic – 5
- Gas Gas – 4
- Honda – 2
- Scorpa – 1
- Yamaha – 1
- Unlisted – 2
- Beta – 8
- Gas Gas – 5
- Honda – 1
- Montesa – 4
- Oset – 2
- Scorpa – 1
- Sherco – 2
- TRS – 1
- TW – 1
- Vertigo – 2