Arthur Bates Trial : Report

Report on the events of the day, as seen by one twinshock contigent, loitering around at the back of field. I also did a quick report on twinshock bikes at the trial

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

Rhayader: On the Start Line

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->


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.



Brynscolfa: Kevin on the rock step

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.


Skeleton Alley
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.

Bryn: one double sub

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.

Fuel Starvation

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.


Cross Keys

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”.

Cross Keys : Kevin making an attempt
Cross Keys : Mark on the section of the day

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.

Cross Keys: Dave Woods making an attempt

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”

Ashley's: Second Sub

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.

Ashleys: Mark on the KT250

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.

Serw: last group of the day

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).

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