After a break since the beginning on July, good to be back doing a classic road trial, though not on an SWM
After a break of 3 months, back on the saddle for the latest Sammy Miller round, the Greensmiths run by the South Birmingham MC. A different bike for me, using the Beta TR240 twinshock I’d bought during the week.
Also, having not ridden much lately, it also showed early on it the trial for me, with a couple of silly 5’s and lots of 3’s. A hit marker and a cock-up on a couple of hill climbs, also did for me in a series of five ‘5’s. However, that said, the Beta is a far lighter bike than the SWMs. It suited the course on offer, but climbs with sharp turns round trees were never my favourite offering.
Early start in the fog from Hereford, but it was cold but clearing on the way to Lydbrook North. Gavin was away early on the Honda, followed 15 minutes later by Alan (now on a TLR250) and then Kevin on the KT 250. I was away near the back and soon had the Beta buzzing (and with slipping clutch) down to the first group of sections.
The first group had a gentle intro, with a hill climb with an off-camber turn, but the next couple of subs involved some tight turns round trees and where most people would have lost one or two marks. Surfaces were dry; would been considerably harder if wet. Plenty of advice from the back of the field on the set-up of the Beta, so moved the bars forward and adjusted the clutch (it was slipping on the road)
Where the big news of the day was the interference of the Air Ambulance on the leading rider at the first sub at Hamperley. I managed to crack my head on a branch before the difficult turn, so that was alright…made the 3 not look so bad.
Long twisty sub further in the group, where I managed to stall the Beta, so re-adjusted the clutch again. Hill climb to finish, but where I still managed to loose a stupid dab on the turn at the top.
First section was a deep stream, with an awkward exit out to the right. Plenty of people getting wet, which attracted a healthy crowd. Worked out it was deep by looking at the chap trying to dry out his damp Honda TL125 on the other side of the field. Two things with the section, the drop in, which caught out Alan, and the exit out, which caught myself and others. Needless to say, others like Woody made it look easy and just applied plenty of throttle with the odd dab. The second sub I managed to screw up and stalled when going over a log, a silly mistake on a cleanable sub. I did manage to clean the last section, which was nice.
The guy had got the TL running, just, when I got back. Running with the choke on and some throttle it would run. I do remember this happening to me on the TL125, and also that it was PITA.
Three subs round the brook and with some muddy slots, where (I think) I only dropped a single dab. All in all not too bad. Followed by a short road section to the next group.
One double sub section here, but with an awkward climb at the start and route-finding problems. The route-finding was becoming a bit of a challenge. Nice section, though would have been completely different had it been wet. Back on the road and a longer run, back across the A49 and a couple of twats on a Harley who put up the v-sign.
Six sections in this group, where by now the trailing sidecar group had caught us up. Watched a few riders through the first sub and it was interesting to note how there is not always one good line and what sometimes looks like the best line isn’t. The tighter line looked ok across the roots, and was cleaned successfully, whilst the wider line needed more care, but could also be done.
The second sub was a marathon, which involved a couple of sharp climbs and drops into the stream, which was tight and slippery on the second part. The climbs were deceptive and involved a rare use of 2nd gear on the day. The next sub involved exits in and out of the stream with a limbo round a tree, which cost me 3 marks. The next double sub was a bit of disaster and as I watched a couple of guys clean the steep climb to exit, knew it wasn’t going to so easy for me. So after hitting a marker in the first sub, and failing the climb it was off with two 5’s to the next group.
A long road section (with more of the A49 flat-out being chased by caravans) led to the last group of the day.
Getting late in the day, but the sun still shining saw the arrival at the last group. First up, a long sub up a valley and yo, once again managed to cock-it up on exit after loosing the front wheel. The next section was also a bit of a struggle with my favourite tight turns around trees.
The final couple of sections went a lot better and it was only on the final section where again I lost the front wheel on a steep descent prior to a stiff exit climb. Managed to capture Mark on camera doing exactly the same thing ! (which made me feel a lot better of course)
All-in-all, felt I rode better on the Beta and the type of sections (no wide streams) meant that tight careful turns with the occasional blast were the order of the day. Finish back at The Powis Arms at 16h45, so a good 6 hour jaunt round the South Shropshire countryside.
And a pint of Wye Valley IPA to finish. Can’t be bad.