Event Report by Rob Sloggett and Ian Emery
A lower than normal turn out due to some other events did not dampen the spirits and the 43 riders who turned out at Pen Y Graig were not disappointed with a great event.
As well as the normal competition it also turned into a bit of an informal workshop as Mark Gaskell rolled out his latest project and took the opportunity to get a range of advice on fine tuning activities. Mark has moved through modern mono, into twinshock and is now contesting the Pre 65 class which really fits in with the spirit of what the club is all about in my opinion.
Rob Sloggett (Observer) – Section 9
A shortage in entries can sometimes mean a shortage in observers so I took the opportunity to grab a board and dive in. I really enjoy observing as it gives you a unique opportunity to watch the other riders techniques and lines which ultimately can help make you a better rider. I had Section 9 which was just off the beaten track in a bomb hole type basin, so I positioned my bike at the top of the drop in to give the early riders a bit of a visual prompt.
A great section for all classes had a fantastic rock step early on for the Experts, a nice tricky across camber climb for the Intermediates (with a cluster of rocks on the exit), a nice challenging 180 around a tree for the clubman and a simple meander with changing textures for the beginners. As I said, for me the benefit of observing comes from watching the other riders and it was great to see the Experts in action with what was a formidable obstacle.
Once through the entry gate they were presented with a simple set of choices. Ninety degrees to the left a drop into a gully presented a set of flags about 20 feet apart. Why 20 feet? well they had three options:
1) A hard drive up a steep bank with a loose surface
2) A jagged rock step
3) Between the two options above a climb up the same steep bank but more grip, the downside being the entry in being more complex
The first lap saw all 5 Expert riders attack the step with a range of scores ranging from fives down to a two I recall. On the second lap, Kev Ellis, after taking a five on the first lap stood back, assessed the route and tried the third option for what I recall a single dab (but cleaning that main part). That was it, route for the rest of the day decided with only a few riders still attempting the rock step (I think more out of a “you wont beat me” rather than optimum route!)
Intermediates did not have it easy either with the entry missing the step but still being presented with a left to right camber to climb before dropping down around a tree. Once they cleared that aspect they were then presented with a diagonal run across a cluster of rocks with a left turn off of them. Unfortunately on the left had side was a slightly larger cluster at the end which caught a few rides out on their sump guards for the odd dab and in extreme cases the odd five.
A really good section which I thoroughly enjoyed observing. It is always great seeing the riders of all ages having a great time.
Ian Emery – Intermediate (Yamaha TY Mono)
Section 1 was a double climb firstly over moss strewn jagged rocks and followed by a clay embankment. It looked daunting but a straight line approach proved successful for many but some failed to get enough traction on the clay to make the top where others got too much grip just at the wrong time and got ejected off the back. I ran 1st gear for 3 laps but a slack dab on the third lap had me using 2nd for my final attempt.
Section 2 was another that looked straightforward but needed full concentration to stay clean. It started with a climb to the right with a tight u-turn left around some trees, to then drop back across the path to a 20ft climb and immediate 90 right at the quarry face to then traverse a very slippy, moss covered camber and down across two sets of polished tree roots and out. Very easy to lose the front crossing these obstacles.
Section 3 was my joint favorite of the day. In cards took you up and to the left before an immediate tight banked U-turn to the right, across a camber which fell quite sharply away to the right, the issue being that we had to make a tight left and climb a very slippy clay bank of c10ft before turning left again and heading down for the out cards. I watched this carefully before I had a go and saw some riders lose the front slipping away to the right at the base of the climb and others just not having the momentum and/or grip to make the climb itself. I chose a reasonable pace in 1st and attacked the climb at 45 degrees letting the front lift a little as the back got stuck into the grip. It worked for me with three cleans and a 1 which I was well chuffed with.
Section 4 was another which used the right embankment of the path with a tight u-turn back down and a double climb with dropped into a sump followed by a very tight right, and another, and another to the end cards.
Section 5 was my other joint favorite. A descent across a camber with an exposed root just where you didn’t want it to be, to then thread yourself left right between three trees with a rock protruding just where you didn’t want it to be, followed by a cambered right turn and across to then make a left up the hill and aim for the best bit – a double staircase of jagged, slippy rocks, some loose, some fixed, which once up and over led to a tight left and out. I managed two hard fought cleans, a 2 and a 1 which again I was very pleased with. The suspension of the Yamaha being fully stretched but working superbly.
Section 6 started with a muddy bog crossing which caught a few out, followed by a greasy step between two trees and a drop down between two footrest snagging rocks, to then go tight left and head through slippy mud to the out cards. Full concentration needed to stay feet up.
Section 7 started with a dry climb up a rocky bank and down the other side, to then make a tight u-turn left between two trees and over a jumble of fairly big rocks. One rock was about 15ins cubic and moved around during the day. For two laps I squeezed past on the left, then one lap to the right, and on the final lap it was bang in the middle and I had no choice to ride straight over it with the Yam’s suspension seeing me safely over. After these obstacles there was a double climb to the right with two steps that claimed marks if you weren’t fully committed or spun you to a halt if you had too many revs.
Section 8 – I just couldn’t get to grips with this one! An immediate right through the in cards followed by a left over a jumble of rocks to a cross camber which fell away to the left just as you were required to turn right and start a very steep climb of c10ft. Control of the front wheel was crucial on this turn with many coming to grief as the camber took their front away. If you mastered the turn and made the climb the next bit was even more challenging as you dropped into a steep sided bomb hole which you had to climb out bearing slightly to the right. The front had to start climbing out before the back had finished falling in causing a compression effect in the middle which led me to have two 1’s and two 2’s in my efforts to get through. A great section!
Section 9 started with a left turn and up a clay covered bank which had a lot more grip than it portrayed. A long swooping turn to the right followed by another nice jumble of nasty rocks to cross before turning left and out. Again full concentration required.
Section 10 started with a gentle right turn falling into a tricky right turn over a fallen tree which moved back and to as you crossed it making it difficult to maintain control for the swooping banked turn that followed. After that was a climb to a blind summit before dropping sharply down, up across some more rocks and right between two trees to the end cards.
I enjoyed every section as each had its own challenges and each flowed superbly using the terrain to its best – a credit to those who gave up their time to set them out, thank you again. I couldn’t fault the Yamaha – it did everything I needed it to do and got me out of trouble on many occasions.
All in all a great day’s sport. As always, our thanks have got to go to the land owners, the club officials, section setters, observers, catering team and results crew who make everything happen. A special mention from me also to those people who offer their time and knowledge to help maintain some of our bikes where we either don’t have the time or the skills.
Our next event will be on the 1st and 2nd of July at Plas Onn. On Saturday we have a fun trial commencing at 3pm with the usual Championship Round on the Sunday. Camping and catering is available and for those who have not come to this 2 day event, it really is a good weekend of fun and socialising.
Pre 65 Expert: Kev Ellis, BSA (66)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Mike Hughes, Triumph (12); Vernon Roberts, BSA (21); Barry Jones, BSA (29)
Pre 65 Clubman: Graham Dukes, James (9); Steve Jones, BSA (10); Peter Cockins, BSA (12)
Pre 65 Beginner: Ray Critchlow, Triumph (4)
Twinshock Expert: Tony Gush, Majesty (20); Ian Jones, Fantic (41); Dave Pengiley, Kawasaki (44)
Twinshock Intermediate: Jim Williams, SWM (6); Stephen Knight, Yamaha (17); Alex Barrie, Honda (28)
Twinshock Clubman: Phil Cottiga, Fantic (11); John Sowden, Bultaco (15); Chris Forshaw, Montesa (21)
Twinshock Beginner: Steve Williams, Bultaco (5); Pete Thomas, Bultaco (9); Chris Jones, Yamaha (16)
AC Mono Expert: No entries
AC Mono Intermediate: Ian Emery, Yamaha (12); Gordon Wilson, Honda (42); Paul Cartwright, GasGas (42)
AC Mono Clubman: Andy Steele, Yamaha (23); Steven Blaxall, Fantic (23)
AC Mono Beginner: No entries
Modern Mono Expert: No entries
Modern Mono Intermediate: Patrick Forde, Beta (94)
Modern Mono Clubman: Mike Sutton, Beta (49)
Modern Mono Beginners: Ken Williams, Beta (1)
Sec 1 – Albert
Sec 2 – Annette
Sec 3 – Kevin Lyon
Sec 4 – Mark Litherland
Sec 5 – Mr Cartwright
Sec 6 – Russ
Sec 7 – Brad
Sec 8 – Rocky Holland
Sec 9 – Rob
Sec 10 – Geoff
Pre 65 – 15
Twinshock – 17
A/C Mono – 8
Modern Mono – 3
Total = 43
Expert – 5
Intermediate – 19
Clubman – 13
Beginner – 6
BSA – 7
Francis Barnett –
James – 3
Triumph – 5
Beamish Suzuki –
Fantic – 3
Honda – 1
Kawasaki – 1
Montesa – 2
Ossa – 1
SWM – 1
Yamaha Majesty – 1
Yamaha TY – 4
Aprilla – 2
Beta – 1
GasGas – 1
Honda – 1
Yamaha – 1
Beta – 3