The last event for 2018 had most of the Championship already sewn up, although a number of places were still up for grabs. It was a bit of an overcast day with the risk of changing weather but that did not stop the 66 riders turning up at Plas Onn to see out the year in style.
A good measure of 22 Pre 65’s were joined by 14 Twinshocks, 12 AC Monos and 18 Modern Monos. It was great to see some real exotic Pre 65’s come through the section with a Saracen and and OK Supreme seeing the event through to the end. Grahams Whites recently restored Honda TLR 200 also looked fantastic as it rested against the tree by my section.
It was good to see 8 riders take to the Expert route with 36 riders tackling the Inter route, 15 in the Clubman and 7 in the Beginners class.
Mark Gaskell – Inter Route (Pre 65)
My last trial of 2018 before all the family commitments kick in, Plas Onn with Aqueduct Classics riding the Green (Inter) route on my Drayton Triumph Twin
Section 1) Ride down into the stream bed, carefully up the loose rocks, turn between two boulders and back avoiding a low tree, blast to the end. Silly dab I didn’t really need.
Section 2) After a great ride along the stream for a couple of minutes we came to section 2. Up a slight bank, then tight right then left across the stream to line up for the greasy clay rut that climbed up to a right turn around a tree. Slippery descent back to the stream, climb over some roots and back into the stream to the end. Managed to stay clean, and didn’t run over the observer! (sorry Harry)
Section 3) A hillclimb, up a stream. This was relatively straightforward, but the two diversions from the rocky streambed were slippery early on, and required either commitment or legwork. Hence my three marks. The Twin sounded glorious though!
Section 4) Should have been simple, but I made it difficult. A greasy downhill turn, followed by a greasy uphill turn. Drop into a small stream and turn before a large rock, up the stream and out over a root and round a tree. First lap I messed up the greasy uphill turn and had to paddle. Second lap tried to ride over the rock so needed a couple of dabs. Third lap didn’t concentrate for the greasy downhill turn, and didn’t for a five! Cleaned it easily on the last lap.
Section 5) Again, greasy slope down to a root step, then slalom from one side of a wide stream bed to the other. A loose rock and slow reactions gave me a silly three on lap one.
Section 6) Climbing up a short bank, then dropping off the steep face of it back to track level with only a bike length to line up for a cross camber path to the ends. Not as scary as it looked.
Section 7) An old favourite with a new entry. The last climb out over the jumble of rocks took marks off me though.
Section 8) Climb up a grass bank over some slippery roots, then down and back into the stream, crossing it twice, before exiting up the waterfall.
Section 9) A gentle descent into the stream, then ride up allowing the bike to find the rocks you can’t see. Carefully line up the exit in a cleft between two rocks that doesn’t look wide enough for the Twin, but was.
Section 10) Cross the stream, at a bike length point, then immediate right turn and re-cross the stream, a little wider here. Drop back into the stream and ride loose rocks, up two shallow steps before turning to the exit.
Superb trial, as we have come to expect from Aqueduct. Definitely could have done better ( as my school reports used to say) but enjoyed myself immensely ! Thank you to everyone involved, see you next year!
Rob Sloggett – Observer (Section 9)
I was issued with Section 9 which was only a short walk from the start. This was on the stream section just below the car park which normally has 3 or 4 sections over the whole lenght. A quick walk of the section gave me to good positions to observer from so I took the upper bank where I could clearly marshall the riders in and have a good direct view of the main challenge, a waterfall with different two routes for the Inters and Experts and a slightly more moderate route around the tree and up a extra part of the stream for the Clubman.
So what was the section like?
Well the Beginners and Inters shared the same entrance across the stream and up the adjacent back with the Inters having a tighter left hand turn and the Beginners having the option to take the same route or run more verticle up the bank (which was a bit muddy) but having the benefit of a broader sweeping turn. At this point the beginners had a straigh run along the bank to the end cards but the Clubman had to drop back into the stream via an off camber right descent and then following the stream as it forked around a tree. They had a route via the left hand fork which had a relatively challenging right curve. A number of non movable rocks were visible but this did not stop riders catching these, regularly taking dabs. All credit to Peter Cocking (BSA Bantam) who takes my rider of the day award for taking the time to reassess the section after his 2 and 3 on his first two laps. This rewarded him with a single dap on his third lap and it was great to hear his whoops of pleasure as he took the last lap for a clean.
The Inters and Experts once again shared the same entrance but this time is was a forced run straight into the stream gully only to be presented with the main challenenge as they approached the tree where the Clubman forked left. On this occasion the Inters and Exterts took the right hand side of the tree with the Experts keeping closer to the trunk and having what looked like a really crafty double step with flowing water. The first step looked to be a V shaped root quickly followed by a rock step about 18 inches higher. Apart from a single five, the Experts found this OK with regular single dabs being taken. The Inter route was a steeper bank adjacent to the waterfall but with no running water, although the cut out had a number of exposed rocks set to just unsettle the rider enough to take regular marks.
So how has this left the Championship?
The top places were taken as follows:
Kev Ellis. Pre65 Expert
Paul Owen Pre65 intermediate
Graham Miller Pre65 Clubman
Ian Jones Twinshock Expert
Steve Williams Twinshock Intermediate
John Sowden Twinshock Clubman
Gordon Wilson AC Mono intermediate
Ken Williams AC Mono Clubman
Pete Thomas AC Mono Beginer
Paul Hempkins. Mono Intermediate
Steve Walker Mono Clubman
Congratulations to all of those rider aboves as well as those who came close as Runners Up. The season is always well supported with some great class rivalry playing out.
The feedback on Facebook from the riders provided a few sound bites as follows:
Great trials today. Sections were spot on. Company was good. Great to see so many friendly happy faces from riders. Organisers and observers. Big thanks to all involved in this years championship. Roll on 2019 – Paul Owen
Great trial as usual Russ,Thanks to all the gang who make it happen!- Gordon Wilson
Cracking trial, was spot on that! Thanks for all the efforts – Graham White
So that closes out the 2018 season in style. As well as hosting the opening round of the Kia Championship, we have regularly been in the mid 60 enteries for the club events with the mid classes being strong and popular, a regular influx of beginners, the addition of some juniors on Osets and a continued strenght in the Pre-65 and Twinshock classes where the clubs roots lie.
All that is left to say is on behalf of the club can I wish you all a very good Christmas and New Year and we will see you all at the first event of 2019.
Pre 65 Expert: Danny Littlehales, Francis Barnett (16); Kev Ellis, BSA (19)
Pre 65 Intermediate: James Beddoes, Villiers (3); Craig Haworth, Undeclared (5); Paul Owens, BSA (5)
Pre 65 Clubman: Graham Miller, Triumph (7); Peter Cockins, BSA (27); Andrew Lane, BSA (31)
Pre 65 Beginner: David Beddoes, OK Supreme (15); Chris Dean, Ariel (33); Chris Kenny, BSA (65)
Twinshock Expert: Graham White, Honda (8); Ian Jones, Fantic (15); Julian Price, Fantic (17)
Twinshock Intermediate: David Matthews, Bultaco (5); Steve Williams, Aprilia (6); Stephen Knight, Fantic (15)
Twinshock Clubman: Graham Pennington, Ossa (20); John SOwden, Bultaco (29)
AC Mono Expert:
AC Mono Intermediate: Jim Williams, Honda (6); Robin Foulkes, Honda (6); Gordon Wilson, Honda (15)
AC Mono Clubman: Ken Williams, Honda (13)
AC Mono Beginner: Pete Thomas, Fantic (18)
Modern Mono Expert: Declan Marsden, Gas Gas (52)
Modern Mono Intermediate: Kev WIlliams, Gas Gas (15); David Ellis, Beta (19); James Mylett, Beta (20)
Modern Mono Clubman: Paul Trevor, Beta (24); Jim Marsden, Gas Gas (25); Dave Lewis, Ossa (26)
Modern Mono Beginners: Chris Matthews, Beta (16); Ewan Evans, Beta (31); Jim White, Gas Gas (37)
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)
Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Steve Balxall, Kev Williams, Ian Emery and Paul Owen
You know when you are in the right trials club when the following happens.
1) America gets hit by a horrendous hurricane
2) The tail of said Hurricane hits the UK coastline the day before the trial
3) Clerk of the Course and helper’s look out the window, say “well tomorrow we will have 70 riders expecting an event, the weather forecast looks OK tomorrow and we have promised a minutes silence to remember Jim Pickering, we had better put on our wet weather gear and put some flags in the ground”
And that’s just what happened! Sometimes its easy to take for granted what it takes to put on a trial but every month, month in, month out, Aqueduct continue to put on GREAT trials and looking at the sound bites from Facebook, the October event at Pen Y Graig was seen as yet another great event.
With the Evo sold and the Bultaco looking like it still has a few more weeks work to finish it, I grabbed a clipboard and got given Section 1 for a great days observing. The 69 bikes were split once again with 10 running Expert, 33 Intermediate, 23 Clubman and 3 Beginners. It was great to see Joe and Jess (pictured above) out on a pair of Osets on the clubman route and enjoying trials at a very early age. We certainly look forward to seeing them again (maybe on a nice petrol powered Whitehawk 80…..).
The event started in a reflected mood and with Aqueduct being firmly a Pre 65 and Twinshock club it was only fitting to start the event by honoring the passing of Jim Pickering with a minutes silence. I have only recently got properly into the Pre 65 scene and had the opportunity to speak to Jim a few months ago, buy some products off him and enjoy the warmth around the sport that both Jim and Jayne radiate. I know many club member knew him much more personally and I probably don’t need to say much more other than he will be greatly missed but leaves such a legacy behind him.
We are lucky to have a number of riders provide the words for this months report and I hope you enjoy their reflections.
Steve Blaxall – Intermediate (AC Mono)
This report details the sections that cost me the most marks. All the sections were a challenge and I really enjoyed riding all of them. But these are the “What If” sections that got me thinking when the scores come out. We all do it – don’t we?
Section 1 – What a start! Walking the section looked fairly straight forward except for the first turn. How the heck am I going to tackle this turn i thought. There seemed to be 2 opinions listening to the riders. Take a longer sweeping line turning right and back on your self before going up the bank. I watched a few try this – nearly all lost traction. Or as I observed, a few riders started off by going up the left bank and turning right swooping down into the dip carrying momentum then turning right up the opposite bank with no grip issues. I am going to try it that way I said to myself. So 1st lap, 1st section I set off up the left hand bank, swooped down right and up the opposite bank not really knowing what to expect. I went a little too high I think, took a dab, got flustered and completely missed the next turn. What a muppet! What a great start with a 5. Lost 8 marks for this section in total my worst/hardest section- but I did manage 1 clean.
Section 2 – This section had a downhill entry to the left with a tricky little turn right at the bottom over some small logs. Then immediately left up a steep bank with a left turn at the top. From there it was a fairly straight forward run to the exit cards. Just taking care over roots etc. I entered the section on my 1st lap too fast and not enough thought, (probably dwelling on the 5 I just got) missed where I wanted to turn right over the log. I now had to make a very tight right off the chosen line then an even tighter left to get up the bank – it cost me 2 dabs. Cleaned this section for all the other laps. All it needed for me was a far slower approach to the downhill start. After this very shaky start, I settled down and started riding better getting cleans until I came to section 8.
Section 8 – This section had a easy start but a tough finish. When I first walked the section it looked easy. Downhill past a couple of trees. Tight right turn around a tree all downhill still, then an interesting drop into a man made gulley/trough, turn left to ride along this, up a bit of a step then to the end cards or so i thought! and so did some other riders walking the section and at least one riding it. What we all hadn’t noticed were the the green markers up the bank after the trough. This now meant turning right coming out the trough, going up the bank, then a tight left round a tree before heading downhill to the end cards. The first 2 laps I could not get the turn correct coming out of the trough and was always in the wrong place to take a gentle line around the tree. This was costing me a couple of dabs each time. On lap 3 I tried altering my line and going for a very tight line round the tree. It worked!.I got a clean and I repeated this for the last lap.
Section 10. This section started off with a good steep climb, at the top was a sharp left U-turn to come back down again. Knowing when to kill the throttle before the top I found was critical, if you were going to make the turn without a dab in the limited room available. Down the hill, then a long right turn before lining up, to attack a rocky bank followed by a steeply cambered left turn .This part of the section really kept me focused. Once down off the camber it was off to the end cards. Very happy, I only dropped 2 marks here, 1 at the top of the hill climb and the other by going to high on the left camber.
I would also like to say a big thank you for persevering with setting out this trial in what must of been horrendous conditions. It is most appreciated.
Kev Williams – Intermediate (Twinshock)
As always an absolutely brilliant trial put on by the Aqueduct team, thank you to all involved. My 3 favorite sections were 1,3 and 8. So what about them?
Section 1 – It consisted of getting up on the left bank early then swinging it around to the right around a tree on a slippery uphill then weaving through a few trees along a off camber bank then dropping down into a left turn then back up the bank and through the out gate.
Section 3 – It started with a tight right turn around a tree then up a slippery bank through a couple of trees then a left turn straight into a right turn around a tree then up a steady climb through the out gate.
Section 8 – This one started with heading off to the left then dropping down a bank into a gully between two concrete walls following it through and then out the other side over some lose rocks turning to the right up a slippery bank with a couple of roots then straight into a tight left around a tree and another right through out gate. I really enjoyed every section and it’s a fantastic venue.
Ian Emery – Intermediate (AC Mono)
The day started with miserable sideways rain as we made our way down into the quarry but things soon warmed up. Here’s a run through of my first lap.
Section 1 – This was a tricky start with a nasty cambered right turn which required a swoop to the left to gain enough turning circle to avoid a tree on the left at the top of the first bank. After that it was a steady camber cross, a drop back to the track and a U-turn back up the hill to the ends. A clean for me, very pleased.
Section 2 – Simple section dropping down between two trees over exposed roots, to then climb the far bank with a cambered left turn on plenty of grip, to a meandering path to the ends. Clean
Section 3 – This was nasty. A drop in to an immediate tight right with a tree just in the wrong place to snag your front wheel. Once past that a series of full lock turns in and out of trees on a gentle climb to the ends. Needed concentration to prevent the front from washing out. Clean.
Section 4 – Started with a drop into a gully with a sweeping right hand turn and climb, then across several undulations before finishing with a left round a tree to the ends. Clean.
Section 5 – A drop in to an immediate cross camber to the right of a tree where the fall of the ground dragged your front towards the tree if you weren’t careful. Once past that point there was a nadgery, twisting climb before a tight right, and down and across to the ends. Clean again, feeling good.
Section 6 – A steep drop of c12ft to then make a tight right over loose rocks and into a narrow gap between two trees. Up and around a mossy, rocky bank, to then thread through a footrest grabbing rock and out. Clean.
Section 7 – Started with a muddy bog crossing which was fine if you stayed in the furrow, but lethal if you strayed into the mud. A right turn over some undulations, roots and rocks, to a swooping U-turn on the far bank, to then shoot up a final climb with a nasty exposed root at the top to the ends. Clean, could I keep this up?
Section 8 – Up the bank and left/right before dropping down a step into a concrete bunker with a nasty exit comprising a jumble of rock steps quickly rolled by a tight right over exposed roots, to a U-turn left around a tree and back down the to track. Care was need not to be too aggressive on the steps out as too much speed meant the front wouldn’t find enough grip on the roots to make the right turn. Clean, pressure building….
Section 9 – Had a chat to Christine as I walked the section. Worked out my line carefully. The section comprised an initial climb over some logs before a long left at the top led to a descent over exposed logs set at an angle, a U-turn at the bottom, and a climb out. As I rode the long left I saw the marker flags ahead, aimed for them, and promptly rode down the bit I should have been riding up missing the correct line by about 3 feet. Doh, a big 5.
Section 10 – Still reeling I approached the last section. This was tricky. A steep climb of c15 ft, a U-turn at the top and back down again. A 90 right followed with little run up to a fairly big rocky step, followed immediately by a 90 left whilst still on the climb, to then cross a slippy rock strewn camber and a drop down to the ends. I got my concentration back and stayed clean right the way round until the final camber crossing when disaster struck again – the front just slipped away in a split second leaving me lying on my side, face in the earth. Another 5 !
So that was my lap, 8 cleans and two 5’s. I rode the next three laps for 2 dabs, one on S3 on that nasty turn, and one on S8 coming out of the bunker. Got to say I really enjoyed the day. The sections were again well thought out and congratulations to the riders who kept their nerve and stayed clean all day.
Paul “Moz” Owen – Intermediate (Pre 65)
The morning started off wet and as we all gathered for the riders briefing we also did a minutes silence for the late, great Jim Pickering.
So here are 3 of the sections but all 10 were spot on.
Section 1 – Well it was tricky as you hit a tight right hand uphill turn straight away and there was a slippy off camber between the trees. Then you stopped down a step and a sharp left alone the top of the bank and stopped straight down onto the lower section were there was 180 degrees left back up the steep bank.
Section 8 – An easy drop down into a big walled concrete bunker then a climb out of it to a uphill right turn and over slippy tree routes and then a sharpe 180 left turn behind a tree and over some small fallen trees to the out gate.
Section 10 – A steep uphill climb to a sharp turn left, back down the mound, go ontp a slippy muddy turn tight back up a rocky section then straight to a off camber left hander that could easily catch you out as you ran down to the exit gate.
Section 8 and 10 were my downfall as I had a silly dab on them but was really happy with only dropping 2 from a possible 200. But I still wasn’t enough to win though. (Hehe)
Rob Sloggett – Observer (Section 1)
“Get down to the section and have a look at the green and red route, I think I have left a couple of big boulders on the bottom turn that probably need moving….” said the Clerk of the Course. Well a quick walk of each route had a common entry for all routes with beginners, clubman, and then combined inters and expert having ever tightening right hand 180 switchbacks incorporating an initial bank to the left then a short climb as the second phase of the section developed. The beginners and clubman had a short run to the exit flags with the clubman having an extra tricky left / right combination with a sharp left to the exit gates.
To be honest most of the points were dropped on the first part as riders tried different lines and took in some cases deliberate single dabs to ensure the first turn was executed with the minimal loss. An observation here was the difference between riders who have mastered the art of the long single deliberate dab and those who dropped a single dab but then had a second “tap dab”, losing a silly second point.
The Inters and Experts has the complexity of splitting off after the first grouping and then dropping part down the bank, traversing across with the left hand side on the high side then dropping back down into a gully. Both route’s then had a 180 degree turn with a short blast up a bank towards the end gates. What looked tricky at the start and I am sure when the section was marked out actually offered little resistance to the riders and very few dabs were lost in this element. I think chatting to Russ after, knowing the level of the riders in this grouping, the inters could have benefitted from a tighter turn forcing either a well placed dab or tighter control on the turn and the challenge of getting the throttle roll on timing just right. The Experts probably could have benefitted from a set of offset gates up the bank to force a level of diagonal activity.
I think its testimony to Russ and the team to always want to improve the sections and their openness to get feedback from riders and observers alike as well as trying new aspects at each venue keeps the events fresh, challenging but safe. Its not an easy job creating sections and when you have the bar set high from our experiences of hosting the Kia rounds and more national Experts and Intermediates driving longer distances to attend our events, comments aside they always get a great balance!
It was great to see all of the riders coming through but I have to call out Joe and Jess on the Osets who only finished 1 mark apart and through my section had such different riding styles. It was also brilliant to see Pete Thomas on his Fantic throwing himself at the first cluster and as each lap progressed improving his score at each pass.
Finally, I was gutted to only see 3 Bantams out! I am desperatly trying to get ideas for exhaust routing etc so I will have to have a better look at Nant Ucha next month.
Our next event will be held at Nant Ucha on the 4th November and for those reading this, just a reminder to pay attention to Decembers date. It did move from the 2nd to the 9th but has now moved back to the 2nd again…. Make sufre you take note and update your diaries. These are the last 2 rounds of the 2018 Championship.
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 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 (11)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Garry Shaw, Triumph (0); Paul Owen, BSA (2); Tim Lewis, BSA (3)
Pre 65 Clubman: Roger Smith, BSA (5); Peter Cocking, BSA (7); Terry LLoyd, Triumph (10)
Pre 65 Beginner: Chris Atherton, BSA (7)
Twinshock Expert: Ian Jones, Fantic (2); Steve Shelley, Honda (7); Matt Spink, Fantic (7)
Twinshock Intermediate: Steve Williams, Aprilia (0); Colin Leese, Honda (1); Andrew Williams, Honda (1)
Twinshock Clubman: John Sowden, Bultaco (9); Graham Pennington, Ossa (14); Andy Steele, Yamaha (14)
Twinshock Beginner: Pete Thomas, Fantic (11)
AC Mono Expert: Martin Powell, Honda (32)
AC Mono Intermediate: Paul Young, Gas Gas (6); Jeremy Sutton, JMC (6); Ian Emery, Yamaha (12)
AC Mono Clubman: Ken Williams, Honda (15)
AC Mono Beginner: None
Modern Mono Expert: Sam Atherton, Gas Gas (10); Declan Marshall, Gas Gas (25)
Modern Mono Intermediate: Jason Davies, Gas Gas (2); Andrew Dean, Beta (10); Paul Hempkins, Beta (14)
Modern Mono Clubman: Steve Walker, Sherco (8); Jim Marsden, Gas Gas (13); Steve Kelley, Montesa (15)
Modern Mono Beginners: 1 rider DNF
Electric Clubman: Joe Subbings, Oset (29); Jess Widdowson, Oset (30)
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)
Event Report by Rob Sloggett, Rob Ayres and Mark Gaskell
We were treated to a lovely warm Sunday morning on the 13th May and a repeat visit to Pen y Graig greeted the 82 riders who were split between 21 Pre 65’s, 23 Twinshocks, 13 Air Cooled Monos and 25 Modern Mono’s. The Expert class bucked the recent trend of being lower in numbers and it was great to see 17 riders contest this class (our second highest entry this year) with 6 Pre 65 and 7 Twinshocks running on the day. 38 riders hit the Inters route and once again this provided the most popular class. 17 riders ran in the clubman class and this was heavily weighted in the Modern Monos favor with 9 bikes riding (showing this is great learning ground in an always friendly club). Finally it was great to see a number of new faces in the beginners class with 10 riders tackling a really enjoyable white route. We have an event report later on from Rob Ayres who was out on his Majesty with aqueduct for his first time. Welcome to the club Rob and those others joining Aqueduct for the first time!
Rob Sloggett – Modern Mono Inters
Another day at Pen Y Graig and after deciding to stick to the Inter route after my early season pushing myself on the Expert class, I was looking forward to a relaxing but enjoyable day. Taking a staggered start, I skipped the usual queues at Sections 1 & 2 and walked Section 3 as my starting point. A flat entrance with a short left turn fed you into a really nice uphill 180 left on a loose surface camber. The rest of the section was straight forward but this bank needed a steady hand and the power applied at the right point. Being one of the first riders through, the rear struggled to find grip and 3 dabs to get it through were needed. A bit annoying as the rest of the laps were clean but that’s the risk of being early through.
Section 2 was a real killer. A long climb with three different contours and gradients with the top section being a right to left camber with a few good roots thrown in. Get it wrong and the roots threw you left, conveniently just before the left hand green flag. It needed commitment but my best was a 2 topped with a 3 and two 5’s. Apart from Paul and Scott the rest of our route/class were all in high double figures so I was not alone. A great eye for a great section by the Clerk of the Course. Every loop has to have one really challenging section and this was the one for the day.
Russ looked after Section 6 and traditionally I always ride his sections badly. Something about the pressure of his beady eye scrutinising my every line but on this occasion the complex section with two good cambered left looping climbs and a mid section bomb hole took a succession of single dabs until the last lap hooked up beautifully for a clean.
Other highlights for me was a great first lap clean on Mark Samuels Section 9 as I tried a high line on the bank and also the regular challenge of the mid section rock fest on Gordon’s Section 7,
I absolutely love the Beta Evo and the 200 is probably the best modern mono I have had but soon it will be going and the Bultaco will be back out after a bit of a diet and an extra 75 cc’s. I just need to readjust my brain a bit as the brake and gears are on the opposite sides!
Keep up the good work guys! You are doing everything right.
Rob Ayres – Twinshock Beginners
I would just like to drop a line or two as how much I enjoyed the Trial at Penycraig farm on Sunday, from the signage en route, the welcome from everyone when I signed on and from the club officials, to the advice given by observers and other club members, everyone was very friendly and helpful throughout the day.
One thing I have noticed in the few trials I have done, is the poor signage between sections, Aqueduct Classic have this covered, as when you are new, slow, tired and running out of time, you need things to be properly laid out, top marks here, sections were also clearly marked . I did not take up trials at my age to get knocked to bits, but at the same time there has to be a challenge .
The sections on the beginner route were just that. Section 2 (I am pretty sure) had an uphill entrance, left around a tree, across a camber, over a small log and exit through a left turn, in the end I think I may have taken a crafty dab on this, but enjoyed getting some parts right.
Thereafter probably Section 1 was my next favourite. In all honesty I felt there was a lot of thought that had gone into making decent sections for all abilities, rather than them being an afterthought for the less able rider as I have found.
I will certainly keep riding with Aqueduct Classic and aim to improve to the next level one day, so thanks again to everyone for making it an enjoyable days riding and see you soon.
Mark Gaskell – Pre 65 Inters
For a change, lets list the sections in order of difficulty. From my point of view, obviously!
Section 10. Started from the only mud puddle there was today, up a bank between the trees,down a bank and out. A couple of small tree stumps to watch out for.
Section 4. Climb around a tree, down then back up over a jumble of roots, then out. Wrong line over the roots could have been awkward.
Section 6. Up a steep bank then turn back through a bomb hole, then tight left and out. If I hadn’t been complacent on the last lap, I wouldn’t have dropped a silly dab.
Section 5. Looked complicated, but wasn’t. As long as you made a decent swing to the left before the exit you could ride straight out over the rocks.
Section 9. A wobble on the first lap when I didn’t turn tight enough put a couple of dabs on the score.
Section 1 looked fairly straightforward. Over a jumble of rocks, tight left turn, up and round a big rock, then an off camber climb to the finish. Great to see Albert back observing, not so great to clip a tree and give him something to write down!
Section 8. A slalom from one bank to another, then a turn over roots that led you alongside a fallen tree. I was convinced that my left hand was going to smack this tree each lap, but it didn’t. It did however cause me to dab.
Section 3. An almost 360 degree turn up a cambered bank, then round the observer and down a short off camber slope. Complacency again cost me two marks on lap 3 when I let the front drift off line.
Section 7. Steep downhill, then a right turn over a fairly big jumble of rocks, round a tree the up a bank to turn right and a short plummet to the end. I didn’t think it looked as difficult as my first attempt proved. Gordon gave me a generous 3, and I promised to try harder next lap. I duly managed single dab next time, messed up for three on my third, and went for clean or bust on the last lap. Bust it was.
Section 2. I spent a lot of time looking at section 2. It didn’t help. A steep, staggered bank, the top part of which was laced with off cambered roots. Turn right at the top to go over a root step between two trees, then left at the top of the bank to the end. There was a root across the gap which looked to slide your front wheel away from you though, and back down the steep bank towards the start. Rooty, and steep. With roots in. My first attempt was a bit too quick, cleared the bank but made the turn difficult, so footed my way out for three. Second attempt was slower, but then I wasn’t going quick enough for the step and ending up in reverse for a five, Ange the observer quickly documenting it with her camera! On the remaining two laps I took the higher line over the roots aiming for, and achieving, safe three’s, but was surprised to realise that the bike wasn’t sliding down as expected. If I had the confidence in the back tyre I could probably have got to the turn without a dab. How much of this game is in your head? Watching your mate bin it big time doesn’t help either, although both he and bike escaped unharmed.
Another thoroughly enjoyable trial, on a glorious sunny day. Thanks again to all involved, you really are doing us proud!
As I have finished writing this report up and doing the metrics it was really interesting so see the new range of bikes that we have not appeared in a while. The AC Mono had a Metatechno (which I think was the first time out at an Aqueduct event) and the Pre-65 saw a Matchless, Greaves and a Saracen which I am sure I had not seen before. Its great to see the diversity of bikes. I am waiting to see an early Ducati (as seen advertised on Ebay recently)!
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.
Pre 65 Expert:Kev Ellis, BSA (23); Danny Littlehales, Francis Barnett (34); Tony Dillon, Triumph (47)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Merv Powell, Matchless (5); Paul Cook, Dot (18); Paul Owen, BSA (30)
Pre 65 Clubman: Graham Miller, Triumph (8); Roger Smith, BSA (9); Tim Godsmark, BSA (22)
Pre 65 Beginner: None
Twinshock Expert: Chris Gascoigne, Honda (14); Jim Williams, SWM (27); Tony Gush, Majesty (28)
Twinshock Intermediate: Tim Cuffin, Majesty (7); Dave Pengilley, Kawasaki (12); Adrian Kent, Bultaco (28)
Twinshock Clubman: John Sowden,Bultaco (26); Matt Hopkins, Yamaha (30)
Twinshock Beginner: Peter Higgs, Yamaha (1); Chris Jones, Yamaha (17); Rob Ayres, Majesty (78)
AC Mono Expert: Steve Bird, Yamaha (11); Terry Musgrade, Beta (59)
AC Mono Intermediate: Ian Emery, Yamaha (24); Martin Powell, Honda (26); Paul Cartwright, GasGas (35)
AC Mono Clubman: Ken Williams, Honda (19); Matthew Sinnott, Beta (48)
AC Mono Beginner: Chris Macgillivray, Fantic (3); Pete Thomas, Fantic (18)
Modern Mono Expert: Daniel Charles, Beta (58)
Modern Mono Intermediate: Paul Hempkins, Beta (25); Luke Rosecroft, Beta (34); Rob Sloggett, Beta (36)
Modern Mono Clubman: Steve Walker, Sherco (6); Gareth Steadman, Beta (17 FC); Kevin Hillidge, Sherco (17)
Modern Mono Beginners: Neil Parker, Sherco (7); Pete Raisford, Yamaha (32); John Roberts, Beta (36)
Following March’s event being cancelled and the risk of more snow, it being April Fools Day and the Sunday of Easter Bank Holiday the expected turnout was anticipated being lower than normal. No chance! why would it be? Its Aqueduct Classics and its Pen Y Graig quarry. The 80 riders managed to get shoe-horned into every parking spot available (and those of us with 4×4’s had the fun part of getting into the higher field as well) but it was worth it for what turned out to be a great days sport. The riders had the usual distribution across the bike classes (with modern monos have a high turn out again) but weighted almost 50% in the Intermediate class (green route).
BSA’s continue to dominate the Pre 65 class as the most popular marque but the twin shock class has seen a shift with Honda taking over from Bultaco. We continue to see a diverse entry in the Air Cooled Mono class (our smallest class with 12 riders at this outing) and Beta continues to dominate with the Modern Mono riders.
This months reports is kindly contributed to by Paul Owen.
Paul Owen – Intermediate (Pre 65)
Another great venue and club that keeps growing from strength to strength and great people involved. The sun was shining over the welsh hills that morning as 80 riders turned out for the trials. It had been a few weeks since my last trial so I tried to focus and ride well to compete with some good riders in the pre65 green route class.
I was amazed that I’d cleaned lap 1 of 4 but on lap 2 I had my first dab on section 2. It looked a simple section on a bank with a small rocky section just on top of the first hump then into a steep short climb on a slippy off camber to the out gate and that’s were I picked up my first penalty mark.
The sections were very enjoyable and ridable with nothing dangerous.
On section 8 of the 3rd lap I dropped my 2nd mark. The section was changing every lap. As you entered the start gate you dropped down a bank you had to turn left as you rode down it. You then turned right around a tree and up a rooted bank to the next level then you rode between 2 big rocks and a slippy root to another rocky section which caught me out as a previous rider moved some rocks. I caught them wrong and was almost off but a big dab saved the day as I made it to the end gate.
II was very happy with my result as it could have been a lot more and I know Aqueduct classic team put a lot of effort into making the day very enjoyable for us riders.
Rob Sloggett – Intermediate (Modern Mono)
A few years ago I had a 1-2-1 skiing lesson on holiday. The tutor took my technique apart, rebuilt it then told me to spend a few days on the easier slope. His logic was sound, pointing at someone on a hard slope making a total hash of it. “Look at that idiot, they are learning nothing there apart from how to get from the top to the bottom by surviving. Now I have shown you some new techniques, get on the easier slopes and practice them”. For the last few events I have had a go at the Expert route. I have learnt loads but this Sunday my head was not in the right place. I walked the first 2 sections and nothing clicked. I could not see a line, I saw danger was there was not any and I knew I was not going to enjoy myself. Most importantly, I did not feel that I was going to learn anything or improve. Luckily I have a reversible colour board so before I entered the first section I turned it round to inters and deceided today was a day to ride that route and practice some of the things I had been developing including experimenting with 2nd gear where normally I would use first.
I have to say I had an absolute blast! I was not putting myself under any pressure, I was walking the section and starting to think how I would approach these when I was back on the Bultaco (or even the BSA when it is built) and apart from section 10 which had a really tasty Expert aspect I was very content with what the green route had to offer.
How did my day go? Well I can honestly say I think riding up a class has helped me improve my riding and if it was not for the two fives I picked up from knocking the magnetic lanyard kill switch off (yes exactly! one on Russ’s section first lap and one on the very last section of the day) I would have finished on a respectable 6 points (a 3 and the rest as single dabs).
Highlights? Section 6 for me was my favorite. Gordon’s section has a simple entry and mid section but then the last third had a tight 180 left hander than a right biased uphill camber. A great opportunity to try out 2nd and 1st and get a feel for the difference in pick up and torque.
Section 10 was a good learning section as well. First lap, the mid section appeared to have one obvious line. As you dropped down the bank and then transferred to an uphill element, the transition point had a cluster of logs and roots with most rider choosing to do a right, left snake around then as opposed to riding straight over them. Watching a few riders take dabs this way, the next rider just fired straight across them, showed that grip was present and hey presto, the common line was shown.
The Evo as always was brilliant and a joy to ride but I am now getting twitchy and after getting back on the green route, I can’t wait to get back on the old stuff again.
Looking at the observer list we have the regular group who always give up their time as well as a few new people. A big thanks go out to everyone who stands around, waves us in, picks us up and marks our scores. Likewise the team who mark out the sections, the signing on and result team and Chris for his catering always are appreciated. Finally a big thanks to the land owners for giving us access to such a great venue.
We are still waiting for formal confirmation of the venue for the 13th May so keep an eye on the facebook page for more details. Currently it is planned to be a revisit back to the quarry.
Pre 65 Expert: Paul Smart, Triumph (10); Dave Wood, BSA (17); Kev Ellis, BSA (21)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Paul Owen, BSA (2); David Beddoes, Villiers (4 FC); Phil Alderman, Triumph (4)
Pre 65 Clubman: Graham Miller, Triumph (1 FC); Roger Smith, BSA (1); Peter Cockings, BSA (6)
Pre 65 Beginner: No enteries
Twinshock Expert: Chris Gascoigne, Honda (12); Jim Williams, SWM (22)
Twinshock Intermediate: Chris Kent, Bultaco (1 FFC); Adrian Kent, Bultaco (1 FC); Daniel White, Yamaha (1)
Twinshock Clubman: Phil Jones, Yamaha (3); Kev Williams, Honda (23); Phil Roberts, Yamaha (24)
Twinshock Beginner:Steve Williams, Bultaco (2)
AC Mono Expert: No enteries
AC Mono Intermediate: Paul Young, Gas Gas (0); Martin Powell, Honda (4); Jeremy Sutton, JMC (6)
AC Mono Clubman: Ken Williams, Honda (17); Andy Steele, Yamaha (30)
AC Mono Beginner: Pete Thomas, Fantic (1)
Modern Mono Expert: Graham White, Vertigo (4); Jake Jones, Beta (30); Matt Murton, Beta (54 FC)
Modern Mono Intermediate: Paul Hempkins, Beta (6); Mark Bill, Beyta (8); Andrew Dean, Beta (11)
Modern Mono Clubman: Phil Clarkson, Beta (3); Steve Walker, Sherco (10); Jason Davies, unlisted (13)
Modern Mono Beginners: Neil Parker, Sherco (2); Jim White, Gas Gas (7); Pete Rainsford, Montesa (12)
Event report by Rob Sloggett, Mark Gaskell, Mark Newman and Richard Beddoes
One Hundred and One! Not my final points tally (although it could have quite easily have been that). Nope, 4th Feb 2018 was the landmark date when Aqueduct broke to 100 rider number for a standard club championship round. And what a venue to do it at.
Dave and the Kynaston family have invested a signficiant amount of time over the last 12 months to continually develop Nant Ucha Farm into one of the favourite practice and event venues in North Wales and the working party over the New Year break opened up a new section of the stream which really got the riders excited (but more on that later on).
The 101 riders saw 31 Pre 65s enter (with 15 BSA’s and 6 Triumphs topping the marque list) and at the other end of the spectrum, 33 modern monos (with 21 Betas making up the pack). A healthy 24 twinshocks and 13 Air Cooled Monos made up the rest of the entry list and the swelling in numbers (from the normal average of 75-80 riders) seemed to have been split evenly across the classes.
The intermediate route continues to be hugely popular with 41 riders contesting this class. As always it great to see new riders coming through the ranks and some new names appeared in the 10 beginners, so welcome to those riders enjoying their early taste of motorcycle trials, we wish you well on your journey.
Mark Newman – James 250 (Intermediate Route)
Firstly let me say this was one of the best trials I have ever been too, loved every bit of it and a massive thanks to the obsevers who stood out in the cold.
Section 1. This looks worse than it rode, very muddy slippy slope dropped down to the left side. You touched the brakes early here and you were defo lying in the mud. You just had to turn in, point it down the muddy bank and let it roll in the stream. Over the water across the rocks, give it some gas up the banking and over the tree roots, keep the momentum up across the mud and out the end cards. Simples!
Section 2 was on the new bit of land as well. The same bit of steam just along abit. A drop back into the stream, sharp left turn, follow the water, right turn out the stream, plenty of gas up the bank and around a tree. Then over the fallen tree, back across the steam, up the bank, over the root and out again. Sounds so easy …
Section 3, most of us have been up this climb before. It is very steep and loose and will always catch you out. A third of the way up, off to the right around a tree, back onto the climb trying hard to stay to the left because you need to go out to the right, it levels out then a short steep bank to exit. This caught me out on the second lap for a 2.
Section 4 was into the stream following it along and over all the rocks to then head over to the right for a couple of big rocks to get over. Mind the tree hanging in the section, you need to be just right but too far right and you hit the tree. Too far left and your wedged on the rocks. Be committed and your out but got me 3 times for a dab.
Section 5 starting in the stream, then a tight right turn out of the stream with a cluster of rocks to get over. Then an immediate left turn run your front wheel onto the base of the tree or you hit the rocks on the left. It got me for a dab here ! A wobble on the cambered slope, right up the greasy snarly rocky slope working hard over the rocks and out .
Section 6 was a short blast up the track then drop down back to the stream where the start cards presented you with rocks and small waterfalls. Into the stream, a wink at the good looking observer, up and over the rocks where you can be thrown around and lose it here. Momentums was your friend here, aim for the V between the rocks , get it right as I did on all but the first time through, and it seems easy. A few larger rocks to contend with, go round or over it works both ways and a short blast to the end.
Section 7 and no pressure on this as Russ is observing. Similar to 6 into the steam, keep going over the slippy rocks, up between a large “pair” and it levels out over the fallen tree stump. Back over the stream and out. I think the pressure got to me a couple of dabs on the first lap.
Secton 8, on no the bloody godfathers on this section! Its always a 5 ….. A couple of tight turns in the mud then an off camber bank that need a good blast to get high up to avoid slipping down to the right and a nice stump sticking up about 6 inchs that you have to navigate around. Up sharp and tight to the left, over the crest and point at the end cards, jobs a good one. I needed a single dab on the first lap.
Section 9 and over to the other field and into the very tight, twisty, rocky, rooty, muddy, slippy stream. Up the stream, into a muddy hollow, out over the tree roots ,leaning right to avoid slipping back in. A few metres along a drop back into the stream following it round, back out to the right, a blast up the slippy bank and back into the field.
Finally Secton 10 was just along from 9 and the same stuff but starting in the slippy field. No drive at all, sliding about to get to the section although once through the start it dropped into the stream with various rocks and debris. Then up onto a plato, along it, drop back in, turn to the right and a good drive out keeping the momentum going over the slippy slimy grassy mud.
The bike ran faultless, more rider errors than needed, all good challenging sections but cleanable. Silly dabs dropped me to 4th in class and the same old storey “can do better”.
Mark Gaskell – Triumph Twin (Intermediate Route)
Nant Ucha Farm was packed to bursting, glad I got there early! I had a novice rider with me, riding in her first trial. I had my doubts as to whether she was ready, but as usual, teenagers know better! I was riding the green, or intermediate route, on a 350 Triumph Twin,
Section 1 was the first of the sections in the recently cleared area. A greasy off camber bank, down into the stream, over a jumble of rocks and out again. This proved to be easier than it looked, if you got the camber right.
Section 2 had a tricky entry to the stream, then a short sharp climb round a tree, over a log and out across the stream.
Section 3 combined some previous routes with a slalom up a steep bank, with a 270 degree turn on the bank before the exit. I couldn’t quite manage this without a foot or two.
Section 4 was a ride up the stream, and up the “waterfall”. It was a case of taking the right line, and I managed it once!
Section 5 started in the stream, then wound its way out over the rocks. I used a combination of delicate clutch control, and indelicate throttle application.
Section 6, back into the stream, over a jumble of rocks. The exit of this turned out to be trickier than it looked, and had me making some interesting shapes to stay within the gates!
Getting to section 7 gave me wet feet, as the girth of the Twin put me deeper into the stream than most, and therefore over boot tops. The section itself would have been easy enough, if I hadn’t been put off by my wet feet.
Section 8 contained a nasty looking, root infested climb, that you approached on a full lock turn. My first attempt surprised me, when I flew up with ease. So surprised that I put a foot down. Next time I was less surprised, and did it properly.
Section 9 was an old favourite, in and out of a narrow stream, up and down the banks.
Section 10 an old favourite in reverse. I had a spectacular 5 here last time, so was pleased to clean it first lap. Second lap and back to normal, as I slipped off the step and fell into the bank for my first 5 of the day.
Sadly for me, my novice rider was worn out by now, and with time pressing we had to retire early. She know understands why I thought more practice was necessary, but is keen to try again. Thanks again to all concerned, a super trial.
Richard Beddoes – BSA C15 (Intermediate Route)
The Trial at Nant Ucha was the first time I have rode my 61’ BSA C15 so expectations were mixed between spending the day with the bike in bits or having no mechanical issues.
Section 1: Starting on new land right at the bottom of the stream was fantastic, although the previous weekend I was there on my 4RT so apologies the mud was probably my fault 😉 The drop into the stream was eventful involving composure and calm but determined to ensure a clean on the C15s’ maiden voyage I stuck with it, the stream was deep in places but I find the trick is to lean back with legs apart and keep relaxed. Straight cleans on this one.
Section 2: The drop into the stream and tight left hand turn meant good positioning was key; again weight back to reduce the risk. Its surprising how bad body position can lead many into a tricky situation. A gentle climb up the hill with the C15 wound right up, I was told on several occasions how good she sounded! The jump over the log at the end meant full commitment, one to divide the experienced from the not so confident! Front wheel up and weight back, ignore the rear end Straight cleans all round again!
Section 3: It would appear my luck ran out here, spending the previous day working on the bike (Trying to sort the useless AMAL carb) I forgot to adjust the chain. The steep climb up to the top and sharp left step before the short turn meant the chain came off leaving me stranded with egg on my face. The turn at the top was the trickiest part, timing it right and keeping the C15 going, I dropped too many marks here with some schoolboy errors. I looked back and saw my Dad, probably thinking ‘What a fruitcake, get out the way’ Move on…..
Section 4: This is a section that’s hard even on a modern bike, (I know all too well) straight up the stream on slippy rocks, with a rather difficult exit up an angled rock with a double step in the stream, its really east to get caught out here. A repeat of section 3 on attempt one meant a trip back to the car to sort the chain, somehow my Dad and I (It was mostly my Dad but I’m going to pretend I did all the work) took a link out by tapping it out with a hammer through a ring spanner. This section took a figure of marks from me I would rather not state.
Section 5: Returning after the chain adjustment and some swearing, myself and my Dad proceeded to walk section 5, though to the observers amusement (I do not know the ladies name) we walked straight past the inters flags trying to face the fact we had to ride the expert route. Once we ‘readjusted’ our priorities and pretending we knew all along the weave through the rocks out the stream and up the hill was very tricky but I managed to clean this every time even with how tight it was and conditions worsening.
Section 6: I always find this part of the venue difficult but also one of my favourites. Dropping in towards the observer, and up a series of natural steps in the stream it can really knock the bike about, especially the turn at the end towards the exit of the stream with roots and slippy cambers. A few marks lost here but nothing major.
Section 7: Russ and Co. watch in anticipation, a bumpy and short start with no run up, especially when your blowing out your ‘a##e’ from the last one. A diagonal path across the stream with some jagged rocks to catch you out, keep the power on and sort the line. Straight cleans here
Section 8: Right at the top of the hill, this was pure greasy banks, no streams or grippy areas. First gear and plonk along, with a tight turn up the hill and an awkward camber to, weight back and weight on the outside leg, straight cleans here.
Section 9: Only a foolish ‘works’ dab lost here, with a gentle ride up the stream, nice and consistent.
Section 10: This took a few more marks than I was expecting A drop into the stream on the far side throwing your balance off, heading up the stream then towards an awkward and at times hard to judge line between a rock and a bank. You had to stay on the camber and getting the step up onto this was key, I had some slack dabs here and really I should have had a clean sweep!
Overall a brilliant event well set out as ever. Thanks to the organisers and observers being out in the cold to set out and keep an eye on us all I hope we get more events like that.
Rob Sloggett – Beta Evo (Expert Route)
I missed out on Januarys event due to a shoulder injury so I was a bit worried tackling only my 3rd attempt at the Red route and not riding for a few months. Nothing to worry about though, Aqueducts sections at this level are challenging but not dangerous. Everything is rideable and within the capability of the bikes (lets be honest they are marked out for Experts on big Pre65’s so a super light Evo 200 should not be phased by it)! My personal target of getting down to an average of 80 marks at this level seems miles off and during the event it felt like I was closer to 130 than the 89 I ended up with. I have learnt that to ride at this level I am not fit enough and my arms are taking a battering so as well as develping my riding technique it looks like a regular visit to the gym might be needed! But what of the sections?
Well the two new sections from the opened up area were incredible. The stream is quite open at this part and the banks offer soft inclines, steeper rutted steps and some great fallen logs. Section 1 was my first nemesis and whilst the early parts of turns and banks I was able to master, the exit which was a left turn 180 degrees arch across the stream face finished with something really different. The end point was a steep stepped bank (about 2 foot) but as you approached it a heavy log about 10 foot long ran parallel to the bank through the mid point of the stream and about 3 foot away from the bank. A really tricky combination as you struggled to approach it straight on. This took 16 marks from me and only 3 Experts managed single figures.
On the flip side, Section 3 was an area we practiced regularly but the clerk of the course and his team had found a really good twist of the established contours and a banked climb was staggered in an S profile with tree stumps and rooted cambers giving you something to think about. When I hooked into this I was clean or a single dab in that part of the section but as my energy levels depleted my last 2 runs resulted in a 2 and a 3.
Section 7 was my final hurdle. This frustrated me as on paper it was no different to the other stream sections. Enter in the section, 2 or 3 small waterfall steps, a turn across the stream and a non complex exit. For some reason I just could not get the flow and this section took 16 marks off of me and well out of the norm of the rest of the Experts across the bike classes. The common link is that Russ was observing this and at Plas Onn I had a similar issue with his section. I put it down to stage fright in front of my riding role model……
A great event and all credit to the organisers for managing the 100+ rider turnout, The observers as always were fantastic and kept the sections flowing as best as possible.
Our next event is the opening Kia round on the 24th February at Plan Onn then we return to the club championship in March on Sunday 18th. As always we have to close by passing on a big thank you to the Club Team, the observers, Chris for his catering and the Kynaston family for the use of such a splendid venue.
Pre 65 Expert: Paul Smart, Triumph (14); James Francis, BSA (18); Danny Littlehales, Francis Barnett (19)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Stephen Smith, Triumph (3); Carl Winstanley, James (4); Dave Beddoes, Villiers (6)
Pre 65 Clubman: Roger Smith, BSA (11); Rob Goodwin, Francis Barnett (41); Tim Godsmark, BSA (46)FC
Pre 65 Beginner: no enteries
Twinshock Expert: Dave Wood, Bultaco (25); Antony Charles, Fantic (42); Terry Musgrave, SWM (45)
Twinshock Intermediate: Paul Cook, SWM (7); Stephen Knight, Fantic (12); Rob Jones, Honda (14)
Twinshock Clubman: Phil Jones, Yamaha (18); P Groth, Montesa (22); John Sowden, Bultaco (39)
Event report by Rob Sloggett, Ian Emery and Paul Owen
When 82 bikes turn up to the first event of the season with some riders travelling a couple of hours to get to the start you know you are onto a good thing as a club. Maybe it was partly down to the return to Nant Mawr after a four year period or the tightness of the 2017 Championship setting people up for an early battle. It could even be the fact that it had been 35 days since most people had been able to get their hands on one of Chris De Burgers breakfast rolls, either way it was a great start to the year.
Unfortunately due to a shoulder injury, I was unable to ride and waking up Sunday morning I could not even move my arm enough to drive to observe so this months report is kindly provided by Paul Owen and Ian Emery. The usual thanks go out to all of the organisers, helpers, observers and the land owner for making such a great event and start to 2018 possible. I am sure it will not be another 4 years until we are back!
Paul Owen – Intermediate (Pre 65)
It was a cold chilly day with over 80 riders turning up for round 1 of the Championship. Set inside the dished shaped quarry, there were 10 sections running around from left to right, 5 sections in the cold damp tree lined slippy greasy clay and mud and 5 sections in the open sun soaked rocky sections. Normally I do a report on my 2 best sections but this time I will do my 2 worse sections. I was riding my new twinshock bantam (as I normally ride a rigid) so the excuse book was already out for the challenging green route.
Section 2 was a slight incline up a muddy and clay start gate. Between the bank and tree and onto some slippy roots that caught me out on lap 1. Then we dropped down into a bomb hole and some more slippy roots to some moss covered rocks and a tight right turn to a steep slippy bank to the exit gate.
Section 3 was the downfall of many riders, as you came out of section 2 and your tyres were still deep in mud. The start gate was 2 metres before an off camber wet slippy bank with a immediate right turn down a slope. If you touched the brakes you would be down and into a very large dirty brown deep puddle and with a slight right turn you then droped out to the exit gate. To be honest, it was rather comical watching almost every rider just trying to stay on . Even the observer took a big 5 as he tried to put the flags back on place!
With plenty of laughter and lits of banta it made for a great start to the season
Ian Emery – Intermediate (Air Cooled Mono)
Section 1: Always nice to get the first section out of the way and this one looked a lot more tricky than it actually proved to be. A slippy start dropping into a watery ditch with a right turn and root covered 18ins step to deal with. This was followed by a drop back into the ditch, crossing to the far side for a 180 turn back across and then a 12ft climb up the far bank to make a 180 swooping turn around a tree and back down to the ditch where a tight 90 left led to the ends. Needed full concentration but cleanable.
Section 2: Another slippery lead-in to the in cards to then thread your way between two pairs of trees with mossy rocks and exposed roots catching a few, followed by a gentle sump with a wide exposed root which caught me for a dab twice as the back kicked out. Next was a 90 right over some awkwardly placed rocks to a 5ft climb with no real run-up. Exposed roots on this climb caused many to lose marks as grip disappeared and momentum was lost.
Section 3: This was a tricky one! A slippy climb again with no real run-up with a slight L to R camber drawing you towards a tree on your right which you had to pass left before a 90 right steeply down a gripless embankment towards a very uninviting muddy pond which had to be crossed before climbing the far bank and down the the ends. The descent had little grip and both wheels were sliding sideways with the camber as I battled in vain to stay feet up. I did escape a cold bath though but I saw others that didn’t.
Section 4: Began with a slippy climb and right turn, to a rock step on the turn, to then pass top-side of two trees with the camber and the exposed roots (again!) making it hard to stay on line down to the end cards.
Section 5: This began with a climb which threaded its way up the hill, in and out of trees and over rocks, over a fallen branch, and even more slippy roots! A 180 turn at the top led to a snaking descent around various footrest snagging rocks before a left to the ends.
Section 6: Slippy roots replaced by dry rocks from now on. This section dropped from the edge of the quarry wall down to a 180 left through water to then meander in between various jumbo rocks climbing back to the quarry wall, gently to the right and down and to the end cards.
Section 7: This began with a twisty climb over several rock steps to the edge of the next quarry wall and was followed by a twisty descent back down. Fairly straight forward unless you caught some of the rock steps on the wrong line which proved costly for some.
Section 8: A short section with a sting in the tail. A traverse across loose rocks to then make a 90 right across a nasty jumble of bigger rocks with several choices of line. Keeping to the left gave a flatter route but rocks either side threatened to grab a footrest, whereas a foot to the right meant lifting the front wheel to ride over a bigger rock which also gave a better line to the next pair of flags leading to a gentle left and out. What made the section even more interesting was in this tricky middle bit there was a rock about 10ins cubic which seemed to be in a different place every lap and needed a quick decision each time whether to avoid it or just ride over it.
Section 9: Began with a gentle climb with a rock step with another right turn over several bigger rocks which were tricky to get over without the odd dab. Again picking the right line was crucial here to escaping clean or needing a steadying dab to get through.
Section 10: Back to wet and slippy. An immediate short climb followed by a right led to a sweeping right turn which was a little like riding around a rocky basin with the mossy rocks all randomly placed to prevent any easy line from being chosen. My only clean was by taking a wide line and riding up and over all the rocks in my path whilst trying not to let the fear of the front nose-diving in the gaps in between put me off. Once round this basin the final rocks led you to the left but the flags were placed so you had to steer out of this natural line, over another rock, then left to the out cards. A great section taking marks of most.
All in all, some really good varied sections making full use of the terrain and a credit to the clerk of the course and organisers.
Dont forget that Round two of Aqueduct Classics Championship will take place on Feb4 th at Nant Ucha Farm Garth ( aka Kynastons ) LL20 7YH Start 1100 hrs.
It will be signed from A483 Ruabon roundabout onto the A539 Llangollen Rd.
As usual, we will have four routes, Expert, Intermediate, Clubman, Sportsman/Novice/Beginer and all classes accommodated (ie Pre 65, Twinshock, Air Cooled Mono, Modern Mono). Whatever you’ve got if it rides, bring it along and have a go !!!! Hot food available all day and non members are welcome to join us.
Pre 65 Expert:James Francis, BSA (11); Kev Ellis, BSA (57); Vernon Roberts, BSA (61)
Pre 65 Intermediate: Phil Alderman, BSA (11); Phil Clarkson, BSA (12); Paul Owen, BSA (17)
Pre 65 Clubman: Stephen Smith, Triumph (11); Roger Smith, BSA (23); Graham Miller, Triumph (37)