Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Patrick Forde, Steve Bird and Mark Gaskell. Photos kindly by Gillian McAveety
Well it was a cold start to Sunday morning but a warm reception greeted the 140+ riders who had pre-registered for the opening round of the 2108 Kia Twinshock Championship. This was Aqueducts third year of hosting a round and we felt honored to carry the responsibility of the opening event in its fourth season. Plas Onn is a great venue and the club team had exploited the area to its full potential, mixing the areas used for the regular club event sections with some new land opportunities. I was observing on Section 8, one of the new areas and if my section was anything to go by, it was clear everybody was going to have a great day.
Many thanks to those people who have contributed to the report and the soundbites in italics have been grabbed from social media.
Steve Bird – Yamaha TY250R, Aircooled Monoshock Expert
We warmed up for the Trial with one of Chris De Burgers full English breakfasts. Well fuelled and time for a little wander round the new car park, specially built for the trial, to catch up with people after the break and check out the lovely variety of bikes. The venue was fantastic with a wide variety of hazards. Rocky streams, muddy banks, roots and even some icy patches to add to the mix. Not forgetting the breath-taking views of course.
Sec 6 was my favourite and undoubtedly the hardest section on the day. It was only my 2nd section so still a bit cold. Having dropped down the stream there was an awkward rutted approach through mud up some very difficult root steps which tried to throw you the wrong way into the fence! I hit the roots a little off balance and needed a dab on landing. Next there was an awkward camber leading to a steep, slippery muddy bank. I had spotted a new line on the bank which although was much steeper, did away with the turn that was catching everyone out. It was a bit risky and would only work if I was on line with good speed. With the Yam in 3rd I hit it as fast as the sparse grip on the short run up would allow and thankfully sailed up. I managed to keep feet up for the turn and drop, knocked down a gear and picked up good drive for the slippery rocky climb to the exit. It was a good confidence booster and I was pleased to finish the lap with just another 5 separate dabs.
All was going well for lap 2, cleaning all the sections I’d dabbed on until Sec 12. A relatively easy section, I didn’t take another look for the second lap and promptly took a wrong turn missing the flag. I tried to recover with a big foot down pivot, but quite rightly the observer was having none of it!! A stupid 5 to give away. This was a bit of a wake up and seeing rivals near me have some excellent rides I dug deep and managed to finish the 2nd lap for no further loss.
I have to say I thought the sections were brilliant, the organisers managed to get the severity perfect. Some easy, some hard but nothing dangerous. A good ride rewarded a clean but you had to work for them and mistakes were punished. I think most riders appreciate a Trial where they can recover from a mistake, I certainly did. Thank you to everyone involved, see you all soon.
Helen (on behalf of Paul Hobson) – Paul really enjoyed the whole event but enjoyed Sections 6,7,8 and 9 the best. Over the hill, a bit of mud and tree roots. As an watcher, I enjoyed watching sections 14 and 20 and may have a go myself next time.
Mark Gaskell – Drayton Triumph 350 Twin, Clubman route
First of all, I must congratulate all the team at Aqueduct Classics for such a fantastic event. To cater for so many riders at such a level requires a huge amount of work and organisation, and a lot of thankless hours. So it’s a big thank you from me!
Section 7 – A slimy start, into a deep water filled rut, then a short upward slope to a choice. Slippery clay on the left, wet mud over rock on the right. Hmm. Then up a cambered slope to an evil looking root step. There was one spot where two roots crossed and your back wheel could gain purchase and keep you pointing ahead. I made the right hand choice, but then slipped off a rock and had to paddle hard to keep going forward. Managed to get through to the root step, pointed and squirted and cleared it nicely, but then hadn’t enough momentum to get out through the flags. The observer generously judged that my axle was through, and gave me three.
Section 8 – This should have been bread and butter to the Twin. Cross a small stream, then blast up a hill, turn right over some roots and out. Sadly, I messed up the hill, had to turn round at the bottom to try and get out, got stuck on the roots and needed a hefty pull from Barry to get me moving again. Unfortunately at this point I hit a metaphorical wall, which I blame on some sort of virus. I decided that one lap was enough, discretion the better part of valour, and slunk off home to sleep for 11 hours straight.
Section 15 A familiar section, but in reverse. The entrance caused the most stroking of chins and scratching of heads. A downward slope to an off camber root step between two trees. Choosing an angle of approach anywhere in a 90 degree radius gave options between finesse and momentum. I took momentum and 60 degrees, clearing the step with ease, but then finding myself in a spot with no grip! Thankfully it picked up and made the right turn into the streambed, following it down to a gap which didn’t look wide enough for the Triumph, but was. Left turn at the bottom then pick a path over some rocks before a greasy bank to the exit for a clean.
Section 19 Another reversed section. Right, across the stream,up a short greasy bank and turn left round a tree before going back down the bank and recrossing the stream. Round the trees before turning left up a rooty climb, with a step just before the end cards. Could you get front axle through if your back wheel stopped at the step? Hmm. I found too much grip on the greasy bank, which launched me down the other side with my front wheel in the air. Spectacular, but ineffective, as I had to dab to steady myself. Applying plenty of right hand on the rooty climb meant that the step became irrelavant, but scattered spectators on the fire road above as momentum carried me too far.
Section 20 Do not try to pose for the camera. That is all. Three.
Graham Pennington – Small Club, Big Event, superb organisation thanks to all for taking the time to plan set up and run. Huge thanks to Landowner Barry for use of his farm and ‘new’ van park
Rob Sloggett – Observer Section 8
Wrapped up in plenty of layers, I took my trusty 175 Sherpa for the long run over to Section 8. Getting there and walking the two routes, the Expert route looked daunting. A straight entry into a stream gully was straight forward but the whole gully was strewn with shale and slate fragments that just shifted underfoot. The first set of riders were going to struggle with this! Then a steepening climb still in the gully traversed left into a 180 right on an upward camber. Into a mud pit for a few meters then fire up a mud bank with an over handing thick branch as you got on the throttle. The Clubman route looked OK. Enter the gully but this time you did not enter the main gully but traversed across it then up a muddy bank between some trees. The area then opened out wide to line you up for a set of flags over a root and rock cluster (still moving up hill) and simple right turn out of the end cards.
As the day went on, the Expert route tended to ease up as the shale stream bed scrubbed out giving more grip but the turn and the mud pit did still catch some riders out. The Clubman route was a different story, and the later riders were definately caught out as the sun trap drew the frosty moisture out of the ground and made the first phase of the section slippery. Unless you were really committed and got the line right, twos and threes (and a number of fives) came into play.
We had some great rides on this section and as always, it is great to see the cross section of riders and bikes. My ride of the day has to go to Jacob Potts on his little TY125 on the clubman route. After missing the section, he came to the section late and missed the advantage of the ground conditions on the early part of the day. A tough 5 on his first try, he dug deep, dropped a gear, gave it the beans for a lovely clean.
Fredina Minshall – Huge thanks to the Aqueduct Classic for hosting the first round of the Kia National Twinshock Trials Championship. It’s a big challenge for the rest of the clubs to follow. Great to see everyone .
Patrick Forde – Observer Section 19
From the point of someone who normally competes, section 19 looked like it would not proved too difficult, at least for the clubman route. This didn’t proved to be the case. The riders started by immediately turning right to ride up a bank , before rounding a tree and dropping back down again. This proved to be the first hurled for some, especially as the terrain began to show signs of use. Quite a few found themselves dropping marks as they rounded the tree, getting stuck, or occasionally hitting the tree. This was followed by crossing the rocky stream bed to round another tree, with what then looked like a simple straight ride up a stream. The sting in this was a rock step which due to the cold weather proved to be more slippy than expected. This was the cause of a number of riders dropping a 5, as they often ended up struggling and going backwards.
The expert route started with a sharp left to round a tree, followed by crossing the stream bed. This was follow by riding up a bank, turning left to round a tree and back down again. Now came probably the hardest part for them. As they dropped back down, they had to turn sharp right and without much time or space, ride up a rock bank, with water running down. These rocks were unstable in places. Immediately after getting to the top of this, the riders performed a left u turn and dropped back down. Over time quite a rut formed at the bottom, with quite a few nearly getting caught out by this. This followed by arching to the right, to pick up the rock step used by the clubman, follow a stream over rocks and out the section.
It must be said though that the riders , regardless of how they did, rode with smiles on their faces.
Peter Thomas – Great day out, thanks for use of the van to sit in and observe and thanks to Gordon for the lift to the trial. My section (20) looked difficult, no cleans on expert route until three experts arrived and cleaned what looked impossible. Riders said the event was difficult but its a national trial…
I think I can close by saying that the club can hold its head high with a great event and a level of organisation that is expected with such an established National Event. As always thanks have got to go to Barry for the use of the land, Chris for keeping everyone fed and full of hot tea plusthe team who spent the last 3 weeks marking out the sections. A big thanks have got to go to everyone of the observers who stood out on a very cold day. 20 sections is alot to man and its testimony to the friendship within the club that makes people want to support events like this.
Finally acknowledgement has got to go to Russ for keeping the vision of the club growing and with the close family and friend approach makes reports like this such a pleasure to collate.
Twinshock Expert: Richard Allen, Honda (15)
Historic Spanish + Pre78 T/S Expert: Christopher Kyers, Bultaco (52)
Monoshock Expert: Steve Bird, Yamaha (11)
British Bike Expert: Philip Houghton, Triumph (18)
Twinshock Clubman: Gary Hawkins, Fantic (9)
Historic Spanish + Pre78 T/S Clubman: Robin Oliphant, Suzuki (23)
Monoshock Clubman: Paul Whittaker, Fantic (16)
British Bike Clubman – Jim Pickering, Drayton Bantam (7)
Sec 1 – Fiona Brimelow
Sec 2 – Geoff Jones
Sec 3 – Trevor Bennett
Sec 4 – Harry South
Sec 5 – Bryan Devereux
Sec 6 – Paul Cartwright
Sec 7 – Tim Godsmark
Sec 8 – Rob Sloggett
Sec 9 – James Bell
Sec 10 – Angela Godsmark
Sec 11 – Gordon
Sec 12 – Steve Walker
Sec 13 – Pete Raisford
Sec 14 – Dave Williams
Sec 15 – Andy Steele
Sec 16 – Mike Sutton
Sec 17 – Vernon Roberts
Sec 18 – Roger Kenyon
Sec 19 – Patrick Forde
Sec 20 – Pete Thomas
British Bike – 53
Historic Spanish + Pre78 T/S – 20
Twinshock – 49
A/C Mono – 38
Total = 160
Expert – 53
Clubman – 107
Twinshock Expert – 20
Twinshock Clubman – 29
Historic Spanish + Pre78 T/S Expert – 4
Historic Spanish + Pre78 T/S Clubman – 16
Monoshock Expert – 14
Monoshock Clubman – 24
British Bike Expert – 15
British Bike Clubman – 38
Ariel – 4
BSA – 22
DOT – 2
Drayton – 4
Francis Barnett – 4
Greeves – 1
James – 5
Historic Spanish and Pre 78:
Bultaco – 9
Jawa – 1
Montesa – 1
Suzuki – 2
Yamaha – 2
Beamish Suzuki – 1
Fantic – 18
Honda – 8
Kawasaki – 2
Montesa – 1
SWM – 5
Yamaha Majesty – 7
Yamaha TY – 7
Beta – 4
Fantic – 9
GasGas – 4
Honda – 7
Yamaha – 13
Unlisted – 1