Gwent STC: Aylburton Common, 04 Feb 2007

First trial for the Jumbo…a good place to try it out and find any gremlins in the bike. The Gwent trial just happened to be the first round on the East South Wales centre championship, though the trial was in England ???

It was -3 C when I left the house, but a sunny morning. Gavin and George followed me down in the van, through the forest to Lydney. Not having been there before, it was surprise to find sections on a wooded hillside with lots of sandstone rocks and that it was very dry.

Looked around for the usual centre twinshock suspects but no-one in sight. There was a tidy Fantic 200 but didn’t see it on the ride round.

First couple sections went clean, with the Jumbo performing ok, pulling like a tractor. There seemed to be some clutch slip on the slopes, mirroring the slip I had felt when carving it around the field at home. Also there is a trick to starting the Jumbo in gear (ie holding the decompressor and the clutch) which I didn’t really manage to master, so need some practice on that.

Aylburton Common

As with all good starts, I hit a rock on Section 7; more of large boulder really and though I got up it, stalled it on the descent. Sections 8 and 9 were fiddly, around some large rocks, whilst double-sub 10-11 was pretty straightforward, with just a tricky turn at the bottom. 12 and 13 were also turns followed by hillclimbs.

A long ride back round to Sections 1-3, all one the side of the hill and though I dropped a couple on Section 2, there weren’t too bad. However had noticed that the clutch was slipping all the time now and making a bit of a rattle so something wasn’t right. With the engine warmed up nicely, it was easy to see how you could set your trousers alight on the mid box.

Section 5

Second lap was still ok, and did better in some sections (and worse elsewhere). Tried doing all the sections in 1st, including the climbs and although the clutch was making this difficult, the Jumbo just pulled like a train with loads of grip. Always seem to loose marks when Graham turns up (and thanks for the photo’s), its the pressure of an audience.

I think is was somewhere on the 3rd lap when I noticed that the rear brake pedal had fallen off and that indeed I had a rear tyre puncture :-). There was also a knocking from the front forks as the load came off them (over a rise etc), but given their current build I half expected that

Section 9, around the rocks

Anyway, though the last 6 sections were a bit of nightmare, with a 5 on section 4 as I stalled the bike on the top of the climb. Finished the trial in about 2.5 hours, with no hanging around and although a cool sunny day, was sweating a lot. The bike had made it, but there were a number of things to sort out, mainly the clutch, which was the whole point of the trial

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