First go at the clubman route at the Classic Experts trial in November 2006, a 30 mile, 30 section trial around Rhayader
I”d looked at doing the Rhayader Classic Experts trial before, but decided that the twinshock bike I had wasn’t really up to the job. But, the SWM helped to compensate for my lack of skill so time to enter. With next-door neighbour Gavin and both the Honda TL125 and the SWM in the van we set off for the hour or so drive to Rhayader.
Gavin was planning to ride round on the Honda to support the rest of the South Wales twinshock contigent, but found himself with an entry, so it was off to the local cafe for a fortifying bacon butty and a cup of tea. Wheeling the Honda out of the van revealed its less than prepared status, including non-functional forks. However, the gear oil on the van floor was from the SWM, with the hole in the clutch cover leaking again, despite the mag welding to fix it.
The 12 Clubman twinshock riders were away first, followed by the Clubman pre-65s and then the Expert twinshock and pre-65 riders. The first section at Llywncwtta saw me do a classic 5 on a muddy step at the end, not a good start to the day and one that got captured by Jack Parker for TMX; glad to note that others also struggled on this first sub. The next group at Cefnllyn was in a stream with lots of slippery rocks, a couple of threes and some dabs in these. Gavin was wrestling the Honda round and was beginning to understand the Honda’s limitations …but managed to blast it though the mud in the top sub to impress the onlooking crowd.
A bit of road work then to the third group at Cross Keys, in some trees near the A470. The first double sub was fairly straightforward, but the next double was probably the trickest of the day, up a steep slope, a tight turn and down over some very mossy rocks…two 3’s on this.
The other lads from the “Tredegar Twinshocks” were also going well, in particular Alan Gould on his TL250 and Kevin Pettit on his newly acquired TLR250. Mark Evans and Mark Taylor were also in the group and they to were enjoying the challenging sections.
More road work down to Newbridge on Wye and then up to the group at Tycwtta, which were in a wooded gully. The first section had a nice awkward move round a tree, which Alan and Kevin cleaned. The second-double sub was straight up the stream, with a couple awkward turns; I managed to get through with only a dab, but Kevin cleaned it.
An enjoyable off-road ride took us down to the next group at Horid were through some difficult rocks in a wood. The second sub was ridden well by Gavin and Alan, as it involved missing a large tree branch at neck height and going over a 3 foot boulder. I chose the wrong gear here and didn’t have the bottle to leap the boulder.
The two sections at Doliago were straight up a steep and rocky stream and a lack of forward motion meant I had a five in the second sub. The top two sections were slightly easier, but I dropped a couple of silly dabs here too.
Back down to the main road and after a trip to the petrol station, it was across the road to Ashfield, with two double subs in a stream. Managed to clean to bottom set, but had to take a 3 on the top section as I didn’t enough get enough drive out of the stream onto the steep slope out left.
The last group at Hillgate is only a mile or so from the finish and there was a large group of spectators to watch the Experts tackle the large rock step. The clubman went to the side of this, but it still a case of going for it up the narrow rocky stream bed. The last section had a tight uphill turn to finish, which meant a thrutching 3 through the last set of end cards. A great finish.
The first three groups were captured on video by Graham (includng the bloke trying to have a quick wee at section 2).
From the Clubman twinshock point of view, Alan on the TL250 took the honours, with Kevin in second. Myself and Gavin took 5th and 7th from 12 respectively. Not too bad, but an excellent trial which I’ll be back to do next year !