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)
Section 1 – Ian Jones
Section 2 – Annette
Section 3 – Gordon
Section 4 – Dave
Section 5 – Mark
Section 6 – Suzanne
Section 7 – Geoff
Section 8 – Izzy
Section 9 – Chris
Section 10 – Pete Thomas