Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Ian Emery, Kev Williams, Mark Gaskell, Talei Mallard, Paul Owen and Steve Blaxall
After missing Junes round due to a practice related injury, I knew that I was unable to ride Julys either, due to the timing of my summer holiday in Rhodes. Well it looks like I should have saved my money and stayed in the UK as the event was greeted with Mediterranean weather at Plas Onn and the stream which normally plays a predominant part of this event, now being quite dry offered some new challenges to the riders use to this popular venue.
The turnout was good with 69 bikes entering. A good split of 17 Pre 65’s, 25 Twinshocks and 10 Aircooled Monos were joining with the accompanying class of 17 modern monos. A good spread across the classes resulted in 8 Beginners, 20 Clubman, 28 Inters and 13 Experts.
It has been great to see 6 riders contribute to this months report and I would warmly invite other riders to offer some words in the following events in 2018. These articles are well read and form a great reminder of the clubs events in years to come!
Ian Emery – Intermediate (Air Cooled Mono)
The last time I rode at Plas Onn was the Kia round in February with temperatures of minus 2 degrees and fast flowing, freezing stream water into which I took an unpleasant early bath on the second section. Sunday was the absolute opposite with clear blue skies and scorching sunshine. Almost too hot!
Section 1: This was a tester to start the day. A traversing climb over deep undulations before a swing left to climb the loose bank, around a tree, to then cross an even looser camber towards the ends. I dithered about 1st or 2nd gear and chose wrong meaning I didn’t get the height in the turn and needed a 2 as both wheels slipped sideways down the hill as I approached the ends. No problem for later laps as I skimmed through it in 2nd.
Section 2: Tricky start to this with a hop over a log and an immediate tight left up and round a marker followed by a tight u-turn between two trees and out. The biggest issue was that the log rolled forwards as you tried to clear it and if you didn’t get the rear over it quickly you ran out of room to make the turn and a few riders picked up marks under the watchful eye of observer Izzy. Suspension on the Yam got me out of trouble each time.
Section 3: A hill climb with a difference. Started with a slight descent with an arcing left towards a rock step on the ascent quickly followed by a clay step before the climb meandered up and away across the hillside. I nearly lost it on one occasion when I was a bit enthusiastic on the rock step and struggled to get the front wheel back down to earth to make the next step. Managed to hold on clean though.
Section 4: A twisty path around a tree and up a small rooty gulley to make a left turn on a clay mound before crossing a jumble of loose slate before a right onto another step and out. I had unfond memories of the clay mound turn from the Kia round in Feb when, with the ground frozen solid, I fell off twice at that point. No problems with frost on Sunday though.
Section 5: A new section snaking its way around the trees, up and down a shaded hillside. Turns were very tight and needed a lot of concentration to prevent the front from pushing out. It was nice to be in the shade away from the baking sun. Nice and shady for the observer too………..
Section 6: A full bore climb up the stream bed with the little trickle of water and the looseness of the rocks causing some issues. I flew at it in 2nd and was OK until a rock stepped out in front of me and cost me a 1. Final lap I rode straight into the section with no queue only to realise I was in 3rd gear but I couldn’t get a moment to change down . The Yam pulled from nowhere and saved me again.
Section 7: This was a series of down-up crossings of the stream with the final drop-in needing a steady front before a twisty climb out on surprisingly slippy rocks. I felt the back squirm around each time as I climbed out but managed to stay clean.
Section 8: Into the stream with an immediate tight right up the embankment to a tight u-turn back down again. A short distance to get settled before a climb up and over a jumble of rocks before a right turn into a muddy bog with a climb out onto the bank followed by another u-turn and back in again. Nearly messed this up on my second lap by following the yellow route but just managed to get inside the green marker at the top of the rocks.
Section 9: This was my nemesis! A steep drop into the stream with an immediate tight left with the far bank grabbing the front wheel if you weren’t extra careful. Then it was up the stream to pass between two large rocks with the only line being cutting from left to right to give you a chance of getting high on the far bank to make a tight left back across the stream, missing a rock that was just in the wrong place, to then make a steep climb with a u-turn high up to then skim back down to the ends. Laps one and two I kept tight to the left bank before cutting between the rocks but each time managed to clout my clutch lever on a rock in the embankment which in turn squished my fingers against the bars causing havoc and more seriously a 3 each time. I was more careful lap three and rode it for a 1 and on the final lap, with great encouragement from Gordon, I rode it clean. If only……
Section 10: This was a steady meander up the stream to a long climb up the left hand embankment, to a u-turn right near the top, to then plummet back down into the stream . It was a “plummet” – the sense of falling as you began the descent was un-nerving especially for me with my ribs still reminding me the damage a trip over the bars can do. I managed four cleans but I was relieved to get that section over with. Some riders picked up big scores here.
All in all, the day was really enjoyable and challenging. Good flowing sections, a credit again to Russ and Mark for putting a lot of thought into the marking out. Thanks to all the observers too who braved the baking sun to give us all a day’s sport and to the results team for speedy publishing.
Kev Williams – Intermediate (Twinshock)
What a fantastic trial it was at Plas Onn on Sunday, it was a scorching hot day and hard going in the heat. My three favorite sections were 5,7 & 10. Here is a bit more about them:
Section 5: Consisted of a steady climb following around to the right weaving between two trees and a tight right hand into a downhill slope. Then a off camber and loose soil tricky left around a tree stump then out between a couple more trees.
Section 7: It started with a downhill, dropping into a stream around to the left then up a bank on the right. A turn back through the stream and up the opposite bank then another turn back into the stream then little climb out over some rocks.
Section 10: This was my favorite section and after making a complete mess of it on lap one I decided another walk of the section was needed and after receiving some good advice off the observer I went for it and cleaned it but did drop a couple on lap three and four. It consisted of heading up a stream, over slippery rocks then out of the stream on the left and up a steepish bank, into a tight right turn dropping down a steep bank, back into the stream around a tree to the left through the out gate.
Mark Gaskell – Intermediate (Pre 65) and Talei Mallard – First season on Beginners (Twinshock)
Section 1: Talei enjoyed the sheep track along the side of the hill, which I thought would scare her. I enjoyed the hill climb, the twin finding plenty of traction on the loose sand at the end.
Section 2: I had to retrieve the Whitehawk from the end of section 1, as Talei didn’t fancy the climb. The section was quickly dispatched, once she got over her fear of overshooting the end cards. We won’t mention my attempt.
Section 3: After carefully leading her around the hillside I was surprised at how keen Talei was to try this section, as she has an issue with downhill’s. The widest line ever, nearly to the fence, saw her make the transition to uphill smoothly. Then across the track and back to the ends cards, where her bottle went! The combined encouragement of Moz Owen and Mark Newman helped her down. I had a little trouble with the sandy step, but otherwise ok.
Section 4: First lap Talei rode this perfectly, with help from Ange, Tim and myself. Second lap went a little awry, third lap was ok, but fourth lap saw her off line and too close to the bank. Just as I thought “Stop there!”, she gave it a fistful and looped the Whitehawk up the bank, landing it upside down. She was surprised but unhurt. Far too many “friends” commented on the previous riders ability to do that. I enjoyed this section, the twists and turns and gradient changes flowing perfectly for me. The ride between 4 and 5 caused Talei a problem, as a rock slab caught her out, and put her on her butt.
Section 5: At first Talei was convinced that she would run into the fence, but after missing it by a country mile on the first lap she enjoyed it. A slack dab on lap one for me, and a five (that Russ didn’t see) but I knew about. Serves me right for rushing!
Section 6: Here we have an example of different perspectives. Talei walked up the stream, and started to worry about it before she even got there. She tried it once, but the feel of loose rocks under her wheels fazed her and she didn’t want to try it again. I loved it. The twin blasted up the stream as though it was on a main road.
Section 7: The white route dropped down towards the stream, but turned left before it. Talei worried about the rock at the start, and whether she could make the turn. Both of which caused her no trouble at all. The exit was a gentle climb with a slight camber, which again caused no problem on lap one. On lap two however, the rocks had got damp, and her front wheel slipped away dumping her unceremoniously on the floor. I could tell that it hurt, but after a minute she got back on and tried it again. “Higher, and a little quicker” I told her. Which is why she cleared the end cards with a foot of air under the bike. “Maybe not quite as quick” was perfect next lap. I had a silly dab, rushing again, but otherwise blipping the twin through the section for Geoff’s benefit for 3 cleans.
Section 8: The white route crossed the stream, took a wide turn around the waterfall before dropping back into the stream, then a short bank to exit. Talei didn’t like the look of the bank, and sure enough, it caught her out and she stalled at the bottom. “Look past the bank, and give it a little more throttle”, clean next lap, but I had to turn the bike back round as she had gone too far up the bank. Third lap, clean, and turned around herself. Fourth lap, and she cleaned it but threw the Whitehawk up the bank as she had found too much grip. Sound familiar anyone? The green route climbed the rocks at the side of the waterfall. I overshot the turn after that and had to paddle my way out for a three, but cleaned it thereafter. As Talei hadn’t liked the stream in section 6, I didn’t think riding between sections 9 and 10 would suit her just yet, so I tried these on my own.
Section 9: This was an interesting rework of a previous section, which took a dab off me for going too slow over the big rocks in the middle.
Section 10:This hurt, as I cross threaded the front wheel in the rut at the top of the descent. Thus stopping the Triumph’s plummet, but not my own.
Sadly time constraints meant I couldn’t finish, but enjoyed myself immensely. Talei grew in confidence with the encouragement of the other club members and officials, and was displaying her bruises that night with pride. An excellent trial, and a huge thanks for all the hard work put in to set the course and organise the event, and to the observers for braving the extreme heat to mark our progress.
Paul Owen – Intermediate (Pre 65)
It was a nice pleasant drive from Llangollen over to the Carriog Valley to Plas Onn which is only 7 miles drive. The setting is great and the views spectacular. The riders briefing was busy as always with so many good riders who travel to support the club. It was the usual 4 laps of 10 sections and not one section was dangerous or even looked dodgy. Saying that, so many riders picked up marks in all 4 different routes. I was on the green (Inter) route and really enjoyed the trials even though I drop 9 marks.
Section 2: This looked straight forward but it caught so many out in the dry dusty conditions. You started by having to turn sharp right over a 1ft high log that would rock back and to, so you had to commit to it, but then you turned sharp left up a short uphill bank into a sharp right, back down again and then back up the bank between two trees that your handle bars only just fitted through and then you just rode to the out gate. If you messed up on the log it would make it hard to get the sharp consecutive turns and with the ground so hard, the dry grass was slippy.
Section 8: Definitely very challenging with a steep drop into the slippy rocky stream and even though there was hardly any water, the rocks were still green with slime. You would follow the stream but had to pick your line carefully and attack some big rocks. Speed and aggression was needed unless you would become stuck. As you then came over the rocks you had to turn right up the bank and just clip a tree root to drop back left into the stream and then up a 12 ft steep bank with a very tight right hand turn to drop you back down into the stream and out gate.
The other 8 sections were just as challenging and changed a bit every lap.
Steve Blaxall – First season on Intermediate (Air Cooled Monos)
This is the first time I have ever written a trials report and still very much learning the sport, so this is from the perspective of my 1st year moving up from yellow route riding a 250cc Fantic 309 ACM. A bit of a handful but fun all the same.
Section 1: Basically a narrow path with a bumpy rutted start that went across the hillside on an incline until the route turned off left for a climb to travel round a tree then back down left at an angle to the end cards. I found the 1st lap the hardest on this section with the run down from the tree to the end cards being slippery and no definite route carved out. Cleans were obtained quite easy after 1st lap.
Section 2: (That Log!) When I first walked the section and noticed the log I knew I was in trouble. My relative lack of experience and to see the confined space we had to get over the log both the approach right and the u turn to go up the bank straight after had me worried. This was new to me. I approached very cautiously and tried to roll the front up – no chance! A dab and a heave on the bars got me over. The rest of the section was tight but I felt comfortable. It was just that log! And it moved! I tackled the section the same way every lap without having an answer for the Log – did I mention the log? Think the young observer took pity on me, I’m sure my marks should of been higher!
Section 3: This section I was relatively confident with and felt back in my comfort zone. Dropping down off the track, a nice long left turn gave you time to line up for a rock step, back onto the track, across the track then up a bigger step which was the earth bank up on to the field. This changed in profile as the trial went on and I changed my line on the last lap. After the bank it was right turn across the field to then take a left arc up the field, followed by a slight drop to turn right up to a turn off point with the field dropping off to your left and back down the field to the end cards. The steepness was deceptive on this section and it was easy to spin the rear wheel. Cleans were obtained.
Section 4: The section started by turning left round a large heavily shaded tree back up a slight incline to the turn right, back down the bank to a long a following left turn, which then starts rising quite steeply to a sharp left at the summit into the mini quarry over the rocks, turn right and out. My problems were the long left turn to the summit due to the loose surface and then the turn at the summit . I just had no confidence. I even wheelied and stalled the bike at the approach to that turn. I managed one clean 3rd lap I think which I was chuffed with. The rest was pants.
Section 5: Tight twisty section this one. Another one I felt reasonably comfortable with. Climbing up the bank off to the right, under the tree to a very tight chicane of trees at the top of the bank then run back down the bank. off to the left through the markers then off right, then left round a handy tree stump as a reference marker into the most difficult part. A left turn taking you back up hill, the soil surface was very loose, the front wanting to tuck, so slowly slowly and delicate throttle. After the climb up it was right and another little chicane through the trees and out. Cleans were obtained and happy with my performance.
Section 6: This section is a recessed straight and narrow uphill stream. The left turn into the stream is not a steep drop in, but due to the narrowness some precision is needed or else a silly dab will result. A left turn out of the stream after a few yards didn’t present any problems, the same cannot be said about dropping back in soon after. Not sure if its the narrowness but a few dabs were sometimes needed to get me back online then after that, full concentration for the run up the stream to the end cards at the top of a little slip way on the left bank. One clean only here, I felt I could of done better.
Section 7: Heading back towards the farm/car park we were back in familiar territory at section 7 but this time it was the green(Inters) route. After walking the section I was not daunted by it. Dropping down the bank you first had a left turn in the stream, over a little step then turn right up the opposite bank, out of the stream, then u turn back down into the stream and up the other bank. This again was followed by yet another u turn back down the bank to a very tricky tight left in the stream. Then follow the stream up and out to the right for the end cards. My first couple of laps cost me dabs at initial entry into the stream and also at that tricky left in the stream. Got cleans for the last 2 laps though. Very happy with that.
Section 8: Could not get this right at all! Struggled every lap. It was the start of the section that I kept getting wrong. It was an open entry into the stream but you had to stay close to the right bank, a short steep climb up the bank out the stream with an immediate left is what I didn’t have the skills for. On the first lap I shot up the bank to totally miss my turn! Everything after that turn was reasonably ok, across the rocks the turn on the bank, even the drop off into the stream. It was just that first part. It got in my head and beat me.
Section 9: Drop down the steep bank into the stream to have to then make a sharp left, then it was up the stream keeping to the left to be confronted by some large rocks to get over. If you survived this it was onto a bit of a plateau on the opposite bank, along this bank a little way to turn left across the stream and fire up the bank. Half way up you did a u turn round a tree to come back down into the stream and left to the end cards. I fell in at the deep end with this section and many dabs got me through for all but the last lap when my front wheel fell down a gap crossing the rocks stopping me in my tracks. Heaving the bike out, I made my way to go up the bank but I had lost momentum and was feeling knackered. I thought I would loop the bike from such slow speed if I attempted the climb. So I threw the towel in. Definitely my hardest section, but its given me plenty to think about.
Section 10: This section started off easily enough, run up the stream to an s bend then out of the stream on to the left bank and start climbing on a shallow left turn. Easy enough so far.Then it was the u turn round the tree to come shooting back down to the stream, a quick left and out. The u turn on the incline round the tree got into my head – its a long way down from up here i thought. I just could not get around the tree without a supporting dab or 2.
It was an excellent trial as usual and I’ve come away now knowing I’m useless at getting over logs and turning on steep banks. More practice me thinks. Oh and my apologies to the chap, on the yellow route, on section 9. If your reading this, it was me who got in your way whilst walking the section.
Well that’s it for another event report. A big thank-you to our contributors, it is always great to read it from the competitors viewpoint and also hear from the riders in their first seasons in a number of classes. We now enter the summer break and our next event is not until September. As I am finalising this report, I am waiting for the Evo to be collected by a buyer (so that’s the Evo and the TY Mono now sold). That leaves me with a garage with wait for it…. no running bikes in it! Hopefully the Bultaco will be ready for September in a running prototype form and by the end of the year the Bantam will be is a rideable stage also.
As always a huge thank you to the observers, the team who managing the signing in 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 the land owner and of course Chris for the catering.
See you all at the next event (if I’m not riding, you many see me observing).
Pre 65 Expert:Kev Ellis, BSA (22); Steve Thompson, BSA (43); Colin Leese, BSA (51)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Merv Powell, Matchless (4); Paul Owen, BSA (9); Tim Lewis, BSA (15)
Pre 65 Clubman: Roger SMith, BSA (4); Terry Lloyd, Triumph (7); Rob Goodwin, Francis Barnett (10)
Pre 65 Beginner: None
Twinshock Expert: Ian Jones, Fantic (22); Julian Price, Fantic (29); Jim Williams, Fantic (33)
Twinshock Intermediate: Stephen Knigh, Fantic (6); Christopher Dean, Fantic (11); Carl Winstanley, SWM (13)
Twinshock Clubman: Barry Jones (5); Fred Savage, Fantic (8); John Sowden, Bultaco (27)
Twinshock Beginner: Talei Mallard, Whitehawk (126)
AC Mono Expert: Dan Sanders, Yamaha(9)
AC Mono Intermediate: Paul Young,Gas Gas (5); Ian Emery, Yamaha (10); Martin Powell, Honda (17FC)
AC Mono Clubman: John Sanders, Yamaha (2)
AC Mono Beginner: None
Modern Mono Expert: Jack Savage, Montesa (14); Declan Marsden, Gas Gas (30); Darren Walker, Aprilla (37)
Modern Mono Intermediate: Paul Hempkins, Beta (13); Phil Clarkson (15)
Modern Mono Clubman: Ian Probert, Sherco (8); Richard Corbett, Scorpa (11); Martin Howard, Beta (22)
Modern Mono Beginners: Harry Cottrell, Beta (23); Jake Bate, Beta (35)
Sec 1 – Albert
Sec 2 – Izzy
Sec 3 – Jan
Sec 4 – Ange
Sec 5 – Russ
Sec 6 – Suzanne
Sec 7 – Geoff
Sec 8 – Dave
Sec 9 – Gordon
Sec 10 – Mark
Pre 65 – 17
Twinshock – 25
A/C Mono – 10
Modern Mono – 17
Total = 69
Expert – 13
Intermediate – 28
Clubman – 20
Beginner – 8
BSA – 9
DOT – 1
Francis Barnett – 2
James – 1
Matchless – 1
Triumph – 2
Villiers – 1
Aprilia – 1
Bultaco – 2
Fantic – 8
Honda – 4
Montesa – 1
SWM – 1
Yamaha TY – 6
Yamaha Whitehawk – 1
Fantic – 1
GasGas – 2
Honda – 3
Montesa – 1
Yamaha – 3
Aprilia – 1
Beta – 6
GasGas – 2
Honda – 1
Montesa – 2
Scorpa – 1
Sherco – 2