Event report by Rob Sloggett, Chris De Burger & Paul Owen
It was another one of the those “it was dry but it could turn wet” days, but the temperature was mild enough to see 69 riders return for the November visit to Nant Ucha for the penultimate round of Aqueducts 2018 campaign. Always a great venue and well known as a practice spot for a lot of the club riders, a slight increase in the Pre 65 turnout saw 19 bikes (an increase of 7 over the last event) line up against 20 twin shocks,13 AC Monos, 16 modern bikes and once again an entry into the electric class with a single Oset. The Intermediate class was down by 5 but it was great to see 9 beginners (and increase of 6) over the last event.
Chris De Burger – Observer (Section 8)
You will have to forgive me for any grammatical errors or for just plain boring you as these hands and mind are far better suited to flipping burgers than typing words.
I had the pleasure of observing Section 8 which had been laid out to make all classes of riders make some key decisions, ie taking a more cautious route and sacrificing a dab or going all out for the clean.
Whites, a simple drop in to the river with wide open markers and then a climb out of the river to exit the section to the top of the bank. Russ had been quite clever in spacing the marker flags so wide apart as this really put the onus on the rider to plot their route and pick a good exit line for the bank. It was kind of straight forward but if you went the wrong way in the stream then it messed up your exit.
Yellows, very similar to the whites but exited the stream a bit further up. The riders had plenty of room to go over far side of the stream to straighten their exit, but once out of the river they had to make their decision for the section. Basically, there was a boulder half a meter out of the river bang straight in the middle of the line. So the choice was to go over or go around. The problem with going around the rock meant losing momentum and being off balance which could result in lack of traction at the top of the bank. Any one who rode over it soon realised it looked worse than it really was and cleaned the section. This was a big learning point for a novice rider like myself, far to often I would chose to go around such an obstacle when the bike is more than capable of going over it.
Greens, straightforward start to the section with a sting in the tail as they climbed the waterfall before a sharp right through the exit gates. I say straightforward but at least one rider was so focused on the waterfall that he forgot he had to navigate the stream 😉 Now the decision on this route was to either keep to the right on the waterfall and a take a dab on a rock on the left as you climbed up or go big and go straight up and onto the slab and grab the clean but get it wrong and it was a three at best. I still dont know which was the best way but over the slab was sexier.
Experts, again all the interest in this route was the waterfall go straight up or go around, now being poor clubman rider I didnt even see there was a straight up route until Kev Ellis cleaned it on his first attempt. It certainly made good spectating especially with the sharp right exit as too much speed going up meant an extremely tight turn to exit the section without a five. The alternative was to go to the right which involved some good balancing skills to prevent a dab. Again on the route there was no clear best option as each way suited different riders bikes and skill.
Credit has to go to the course setters because they certainly made the riders make decisions rather than just follow the markers.
Paul “Moz” Owen – Intermediate (Pre 65)
After the last event at aqueduct classic I only stopped 2 marks but still didn’t win. But this trial at Nant Ucha was made a lot harder. There was nothing dangerous but just really challenging as the sections were longer and if you messed up the first part of it you would struggle to keep momentum going and get back on line. Here are 3 sections but all 10 were spot on. I was riding the green route.
Section 3…. You started of on the flat in the field and entered the edge of the woods. The First obstacle was a big log to get over and then a immediate left turn down to the stream were you turned right into the water. Between to large rocks the over some roots and stopped back down into the water to a really tight right hand uphill bank to a sharp left and along to the out gate.
Section 8….You stopped into the slippy rocky stream and rode 30 meters between the small loose rocks up to the waterfall. As approaching that you had 2 lines. Over the big rock slab or around it and over smaller tricky rocks to the end gate. I managed to stall my bike on this section so picked up my only 5. I stopped 28 marks in total but it was enough to win the green route.
Section 10….You stopped in down a bank to the stream were you had a slight right turn over solid rocks and into the deeper water. You then had to exit the stream up the first of 3 rocky sections. If you got the first bit wrong you were in trouble and had to take a dab or 2. Then you crossed the stream again to exit the rocky river bed to the exit gate.
It was a really good challenging trial with lots of tight turns that suited a smaller lighter bikes.
Rob Sloggett – Observer (Section 5)
“Have a look at the white route when you get down there, if it looks a bit greasy, move it to the bottom”. Good words of advice from the Clerk of the Course. For me the white root is the grass roots of trials. As well as being the sections where you get newbies inspired, its a place to learn the basic techniciques as well as in a Pre 65 club (where the riders tend to be a bit older), its a place for people just to have a good day out on the bikes without coming to any harm. The original white route was across a camber and whilst rideable if anyone got their wheel the wrong side of a rutted group of roots, it could have pushed them down a shot bank and we would not want that to happen would we… so I grabbed the flags and followed Russ’s instructions and took the riders low with a simple left right turn across some mud and across a very low hump. It was enough to take a few daps but most importantly watching the beginners, the mud and turn gave them the chance to practice some throttle control so I think the adaptation worked.
Yellow route was a good step up for the clubman and with a cambered approach on the bank the first main obstacle was a set of roots. Some riders took the “lift the wheel” technique with others just choosing to steadily roll it over the cluster. A few dabs from here but as the riders came through en-mass this part eased up. The top of the section was a turn on a flat part of the hillside then a cambered decline rolling left to run out to the out flags.
Inters had it harder (as you would expect). Once in the section, they had a tight left hand turn whilst on the bank and a short run up to the trees. Between two large trees for a right hand 180 then then dropped down and turned a tight left to be presented with a tree to their right (that they had to 180 around). Now this was the killer! The 180 around the tree started with a profile of roots which offered two lines. Most took the lower line (with larger roots) but this took you close to the tree. Think of it as an up over the roots, quick 180 as the profile changes to downhill, then a run out to the flags. The cambered right hand turn, the quick change of direction and the drop off which pushed the front wheel out really tested the majority of this class with some taking planned single dabs and others really calling this their “Achilles Heel” of the day.
The Experts followed the inters into the section but instead of the first left turn, they dropped down right into the muddy basin used by the white route then a flowing anti clockwise 180 degree then a full climb up the bank. Sounds OK? well it had two routs up the bank with different root profiles. The left hand side more complex but an easier line up to the flags at the top of the bank but the right a better climb but offset to the right from the top flags. The rest of the section was the same as the Inters.
It was great to observe again and watching the routes and techniques of the inters and experts was really useful, but…. for the first time in ages I actually found myself missing not being on the bike. Hopefully in the next month or so it should be complete again and I can get back on it but until then you have to put up with me with a clipboard.
So how has this left the Championship?
Based on the normal regularity of entry for the riders, the Pre 65 class Expert honors for runner up is still open. Both James Francis and Danny Littlehales can still secure this spot with only 3 marks between them. In the Inters class 3rd place is once again tight with Tim Lewis and Mark Gaskell fighting it out. In this case a slender 7 marks separates them.
Twinshock class shares a very similar story with the Expert class honour for top spot separating Ian Jones and Jim Williams by only 5 points.
Down in the AC Mono group a very interesting battle is going to play out at Plas Onn with Ian Emery and Paul Cartwright tied at 128 marks a piece. Observers can message both riders via Facebook with their Christmas tipples …….
The feedback on Facebook from the riders provided a few sound bites as follows:
Clief Roberts – Thanks Russell and team.A very tricky trial and the first time for me on the expert route, I was so tired by the last lap but with a big smile…Diolch yn fawr.
Paul Owen – I actually said that today’s trials was harder than a 6 lap superbike race at the TT
Ken Williams – Brilliant trial-yellow route spot on again (challenging but nothing too severe) thanks to all the team
Ken Garfield – great trial, thanks to all involved, worth every mile of the 180 mile round trip to ride, will definitely be back.
As always a huge thank you to the observers, the team who manage the signing on and results, as well as Russ and the guys who spend time before the event marking out the sections. Finally a big thank you to Dave and the Family for the use of the venue and of course Chris for the catering.
See you all at the next event.
Pre 65 Expert: Danny Littlehales, Francis Barnett (10); James Francis, BSA (11)|; Steve Thompson, BSA (29)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Paul Owen, BSA (28); Phil ALderman, BSA (35); Mark Newman, Norton (54)
Pre 65 Clubman: Roger Smith, BSA (12); David Beddoes, Villiers (15); Tim Godsmark, BSA (17)
Pre 65 Beginner: Chris Kenny, BSA (87)
Twinshock Expert: Ian Jones, Fantic (16); Tim Cuffin, Majesty (36); James Samuel, Fantic (40)
Twinshock Intermediate: Steve Williams, Aprillia (22); Adrian Kent, Bultaco (22); Stephen Knigh, Fantic (24)
Twinshock Clubman: Steve Blackburn, Montesa (11); Chris Forshaw, Montesa (18); John Sowden, Bultaco (21)
Twinshock Beginner: Ken Garfield, Yamaha (37)
AC Mono Expert:Terry Musgrave, Beta (27); Colin Hughes, Yamaha (73)
AC Mono Intermediate: Paul Cartwright, Gas Gas (31); Gordon Wilson, Honda (39); Jeremy Sutton, JCM (48)
AC Mono Clubman: Ken Williams, Honda (23); Matt Sinnott, Beta (58)
AC Mono Beginner: Pete Thomas, Fantic (25)
Modern Mono Expert: Clief Roberts, Beta (98)
Modern Mono Intermediate: James Mylett, Beta (66); Andrew Dean, Beta (92); Iain Probert, Sherco (95)
Modern Mono Clubman: Mark Diggle, Sherco (0); Davvid Ellis, Beta (12); Steve Walker, Sherco (15)
Modern Mono Beginners: Joel Diggle, Beta (29); Ewan Evans, Beta (44); Henry Lewis, Montesa (67)
Electric Clubman: Lewis Edwards, Oset (100)
Sec 1 – Geoff
Sec 2 – Suzanne
Sec 3 – Ange
Sec 4 – Mark and Zak
Sec 5 – Rob
Sec 6 – Gordon
Sec 7 – Russ
Sec 8 – Chris
Sec 9 – Izzy
Sec 10 – Dave
Pre 65 – 19 (+7)
Twinshock – 20 (-4)
A/C Mono – 13 (+2)
Modern Mono – 16 (-4)
Electric – 1 (-1)
Total = 69 (0)
Expert – 10 (0)
Intermediate – 28 (-5)
Clubman – 22 (-1)
Beginner – 9 (+6)
Ariel – 1
BSA – 12
Drayton Bantam –
Francis Barnett – 1
Norton – 1
Triumph – 3
Villiers – 1
Aprilia – 1
Bultaco – 2
Fantic – 4
Honda – 3
Majesty – 1
Montesa – 2
Ossa – 1
Yamaha TY – 5
Unlisted – 1
Aprila – 1
Beta – 2
Fantic – 2
GasGas – 1
Honda – 2
JCM – 1
Yamaha – 4
Beta – 9
GasGas – 1
Montesa – 3
Sherco – 2
Oset – 1