It rained and was muddy the last time at Bowley Court; that was March and this was June, but there was no difference to the going.
Clerk of the Course Andy Pitt had laid out 3 routes, with an additional easy (yellow) route for beginners. Despite early section navigation issues it seemed to work well and it allowed for the inclusion of the usual Bowley Court favourites, including 3 sections by the waterfall to be included.
Heavy rain meant that the second section, in a muddy stream had the usual greasy exit which required an exact line and getting the power on the right place to exit. As per usual as manage to get that wrong once. need some hefty leg work to extricate myself and the Jumbo. Section’s 3 and 4 were observed by Dan Saunder’s and the second sub contained one of the trickier corners of the day; across a muddy slot with a tight turn after a log. Back across the water then up an increasingly slippery climb.
A great section, double sub with rocky and muddy climbs, probably the best in the woods at Bowley.
Sections 5 and 6 were by the waterfall, the second of which included a tricky rocky turn before exiting out. Managed to clean it twice, but dropped a very slack 5 on the last lap. Section 7 steadily declined in rideability on the middle route as the trial progessed as the banks got more slippy. On the harder route, plenty of early “5”‘s made way to a few cleans as new lines developed.
Section 9 should have been straightforward, but I seemed to take a while (and using 1st gear) to clean it. Sections 9 and 10 we good off-camber routes round the trees, which again caught me (and others) out.
Of the Tredegar Twinshock riders, Peter Lewis dropped only 3, with Dale once again opting for a modern bike. Kevin was hampered by the previous night, whilst Mark on the Kawasaki put in another good ride.
Despite threatening all day, the rain came only at the end of trial. Shame that in a way there were as many modern bikes and classic bikes (there were a number of other events), but the easy route attracted a lot of new riders. Other images here
A warm sunny day may a nice change from recent trials (24 C is better 6 C two weeks before) and a nice start at Smithfields in the centre of Rhayader. 76 entries and the prospect of 30 sections and 30-35 miles to cover. Jackets were left in the van and plenty of water taken as it looked like it was going to be hot day.
There is a quick review of bikes with some pictures of the twinshocks on show at the trial
Kevin was away at the head of the pack on his 325 Beamish, followed by Gavin on the 280 SWM. The twinshocks were the first group away. Its really nice to start a trial with a gentle motor through the town and out on the A44 heading for the first group of sections. Mark on the Kawasaki KT250 was just in front of me, as was Dave Woods on his now running Jumbo after a series of [clutch problems->http://www.trialscentral.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=14083
Arrive at the first section to find Kevin looking rather wet and kicking over the Beamish to get the water out of the cylinder, having taken an early bath 10ft in the first sub. An awkward step about a 2ft deep pool was the reason, and everyone else started taking a long hard look. Gavin took a subtle line to the left, avoiding the step but with the risk of knocking out the peg and got through for a dab. Mark and I did the same going up on the right hand side of the step, but both made a mess of the exit and dropped another mark there.
The second double sub was not so bad, with a steep exit out of the stream, which all of us cleaned.
I got it completely wrong in the second group, which was a fairly straight run up a dry stream bed. There was a short step in the second sub, but I’d managed to stall the bike before then. Worst ride so far (and for the day really). Kevin and Mark got through for ‘3’s and Gavin had a dab on the way into the section.
A nice bit of road work took us over the mountain through Abbey-cwm-hir, though had to stand up going up hill, as with the Jumbo engine heating up it made the lower regions get a little over heated. Still carrying the scars from the scald four weeks before, so very concious of the where the exhaust was.
Two double subs in “Skeleton Alley”. The first double sub required some nerve with a couple of serious drops and tight turns. We were at the front of the field at this point, and only 1 or 2 riders had been through. In my case I bottled the second half of the section and failed to get enough drive to get up the slope (in the same place that Gavin failed in the video). Kevin did the same, though Mark did get through the end cards for two ‘3’s
The second double sub was a lot easier. Kevin however went slightly off line and hit a big rock, again one of the penalties of being at the head of the pack. Gavin and Mark cleaned it, and I had a silly dab, after attempting it in 3rd after starting in the wrong gear 🙂
One double sub, in a small stream just off the road. Turn round a tree and then dropped into the stream. The turn out left needed to be precise, basically to avoid the muddy bog, which as one earlier rider proved afforded no grip at all.
After the section, a long section of road work to the A483 and then to the junction with the A44. Foot down round the roundabout and back towards Rhayader. When Gavin attempted to overtake Kevin he noticed a sudden reduction in power.
A pleasant 15 minutes was then spent sucking petrol and completely stripping down the petrol tap, which had become stuck in the closed position. At least not too serious, but the record continues of having at least one SWM breakdown per trial, at least not too serious in this case Woody appeared later, after having a puncture on his Jumbo.
This group was used on the Classic Experts the previous November and with no water in the sections you could see why the innocous looking stream caused so many problems. Cleaned the first sub, but had a couple of getting out onto the bank after missing the line to the left. Up a gear and blast out through the mud to the end cards.
Also on the Classic Experts, the first double sub at Cross Keys proved to be the key section of the trial with an awkward rock step, which meant that Gavin, Mark and Kevin all took a “3”.
Jack Parker was loitering with camera in hand at the top of the step, as did we to watch some of the main guys at the back of the field have a go at the section. Martin Beech on his Ossa was the first clean of the day and he made a tidy job of it with plenty of pace to take him across the rock step.
After a couple of the others went through for a dab, Neil Gaunt on his Ariel just rode across it, like it wasn’t there. Pretty impressive. The second double sub had an awkward turn and a small rock gap to negiotiate but managed a clean.
Had left some fuel by the gate, but the Jumbo had hardly used any and wasn’t below the level of the tank badges. Good news for longer trials and means that I shouldn’t to drop fuel for most of the Sammy Miller rounds.
Across the A470, and round towards Elan Village. Ashley’s contained three double subs all in the woods by the river. First section contained a couple of tight turns, as did the second, both of which were cleaned by most, but I made a navigational error in the last section for a “3”
Final double sub had a nice rock step and a log to negiotiate, but again managed to dab when I didn’t need to. Mark did the same, but cleaned by Gavin and Kevin.
By now the storm clouds were gathering to the north and it looked like that we’d get rain. So we upped the pace and shot round though Elan Village and across the bailey bridge onto the Elan road. The Jumbo can up the pace and sounds a lot better when you do as it tends to pink and rattle when overrunning on the engine.
Just one double sub, starting under the pipes that carry water to Birmingham. Fairly straightforward with one tricky turn at the top of a short climb.
Back into Rhayader and then a short run to the north to the final group. The rain clouds were now to the west, so still dry, but pushed on to make sure we finished the trial in a dry state.
Four sections in the final group to finish the day. First in a stream with a deep pool, followed by a rock step. Managed to clean that, as well as the final double sub, which was a blast across some boggy ground, followed by a turn round a tree then out across another muddy patch.
Then back to Smithfields and the finish of the trial . Superb day out, the longish road sections made very enjoyable by some excellent scenery and good sections in between. As per normal dropped too many still marks and should have made a better job of some of the easier sections (especially at the Ashley’s group).
Part 1 of the review of the Arthur Bates trial, with a quick look at the twinshock bikes, which now form the bulk of the entries at Sammy Miller rounds this year. A review of the trial can be found here.
Once again for this years Sammy Miller series, the Twinshock and British Specials was the largest class entered, with 22 riding the standard route. With 5 rigids and only 4 pre-unit entries, it poses an interesting conundrum for the ACU and what to do the Sammy Miller series.
There is no doubt, that many see the Sammy Miller series as a way of competing in classic road based trials on their twinshocks, without the section severity of the ACU classic series. If Neil Gaunt goes clean, I drop around 20-30, so if he and Dave Thorpe drop over 60 on an ACU Classic round, its no point really turning up and expecting rider and bike to complete the trial.
At the start at Smithfields in Rhayader, there were plenty of examples of twinshock bikes arounf to admire. Entered on the day were 8 Honda’s (mainly TLR250’s), 7 Fantics (200, 240’s and 300’s), 4 Yamaha’s (1 Whitehawk, 2 Majesty’s and a Mini Majesty), 3 SWM’s (2 Jumbo’s and an ’82 280), 2 Ossa’s (a MAR and a Gripper), 2 Suzuki’s (both Beamish’s), with one Bultaco and the Kawazaki KT250.
That the Fantic entry nearly matched the Honda horde was surprising, as was the fact that for the second time this year, there were two SWM Jumbo’s running round.
Ok, given my personal level of riding skill (low-moderate) its absolutely great to have this trials open to me riding an affordable (well according to me rather the wife) bike. That you can ride a twinshock on a Sammy Miller round thats cost you around £500 and you’ll need to spend £150-200 a year to run in the 8 round series seems like cheap motor sport to me. For around £15 quid you get a days motorsport, a great day out with your mates and if you come last (you won’t, thats my usual position) then who really cares. I don’t.
Ebay is you friend, well sometimes. Just for a change the bike turned out to better than than the listing (well before the engine strip). The bike was complete and the unique paintwork wasn’t too bad. Its a Gori as there is some green paint underneath the tank
The bad bits:
– I don’t know if it runs (yet)
– can’t select all of the gears, but know what that feels like after an engine build.
– the kickstart shaft spline is knackered, no change there then. There is a new kickstart bottom knuckle, which is a plus
– paint job, a little non-original
The good bits:
– its complete (good for spares or repairs)
– its been kept in the dry and been maintained, so overall the
Just need to work out what I’m going to do with it, but I think a restoration is the best option. Getting it back to its geniune Gori status (in terms of colour etc) would be good, but maybe easier to make it a red-yellow or yellow SWM
After raining all day, the skies cleared as we headed over to Crondall Woods, near Farnham for the North Hants Clubs evening series. At a very reasonable £6 to ride and by being an AMCA club no license required.
It was the first trial for Rog and Ian, both on Honda TL125’s, Rog on his recently finished project , with Ian on mine, now back to full running health . The main challenge on the day was route-finding, with three routes in the trees on each section making it difficult for those new to trials (and those who should no better). With lots of heavy rain all day, the going was slippy mud on top and having ridden there a couple of years ago, I knew what to expect. Lots of tight turns around trees, slippy gullies and banks and getting lost in sections.
Rog and Ian rode the (yellow) beginners route, whilst I went for the Red 50/50 route, riding the harder Blue route on half of the sections, riding the Jumbo. Roger was up and running quickly and manage to clean his second section, with a good riding position on the bike. Ian took longer to settle, but by the 3rd and 4th laps was looking good and although the route finding caused the biggest problem (hard as anyway I’ve ridden) and were the cause of the high number of 5’s.
Rog’s TL125 looked good (despite my attempts to destroy it in the back of the van on the way over there) and he’d done an excellent job on the restoration. The clutch lever perch broke just after the 3rd section as it wasn’t the strongest and there was also a constant fuel problem. There was a lot of crud in the tank which then blocked the fuel tap (which can’t be removed from the tank), so lots of sucking and blowing on the fuel line to keep it running. Took a litre of San Miguel later on to remove the petrol taste. He’d set the forks and shocks nicelyand the overall quality of the build was excellent.
My TL with Ian on board went well all evening, and I did a couple of sections to remind me how bad it was to ride. To be far, the TL is ideally suited to the lower two routes at Crondall Woods; its flat, you can do every section (even in the mud) in 1st and provides a nice soft ride for people new to trials. No long or steep hills, stream beds or rock steps suits the bike well. If all Classic Trials were like this, then no problem, but the Wye Valley trials require a bit of a full on blast in places, oh and the front forks to work.
Both Ian and Rog had a go on the Jumbo, but quickly returned it. Think they’d got used to the stability, engine braking and the lack of power in the TL.