To Derbyshire and the first Twinshock Team trial. The Wye Valley club has got a team together and with the best three from four riders scoring, the plan was for me to have an enjoyable day out, whilst the other Needless to say, things didn’t go quite to plan.
Fairly prompt start on a nice sunny Sunday morning for the 2.5 hours up to Winster, Derbyshire, with the two grey VW Transporters taking the team north. Four riders in the team, Dan Sanders, Gavin Spencer, Andy Pitt and myself, Malcolm Herbert [[There is of course the older version of me, but he tends to ride a lot better]]. John Sanders and Brian Watkins (Team Captain) also came along for moral and physical support. Makes a change to do a road trial with a support crew, but it hopefully won’t encourage a break down.
Start was at the Miner’s Standard in Winster, not too far from Matlock. Plenty of riders, of modern bikes, twinshocks (for the team event) and also modern sidecars. They were competing in the Doncaster Cup, part of the British sidecar championships.
Quick mooch around the start to look at what machinery was out for the event. A lo of the usual Honda TLRs, a large number of Fantics (Bernie’s 2nd La: The further north you go, the more Fantic’s you’ll find, all the Bultaco’s are in Surrey). Some pictures attached to the article, including (surprisingly) another Beta TR twinshock. A recent find from a greenhouse in Cornwall, and fitted with a 125 tank-seat unit, but very much a 212cc bike. The value of the bike had just been doubled with the additional of a pair of Rockshocks, complete with price tags attached.
Off with Gavin for a bacon butty and cup of tea, then back to the van for the team photo before the start.
There were 9 centre teams and 7 club teams entered, some of them looking pretty formidable, with some well-known riders. Apart from the South Birmingham club teams, the rest were to some degree unknowns. No illusions for us though, me in particular. Finishing was the aim.
About a 4 mile run down to the first group of the day, including plenty of tracks; missed a marker to add to the fun, but spotted by Andy. Lost the support crew on the way over. After spending the week tinkering the Beta TR240 was still not running right, with more smoke than usual and also a little lumpy.
First sub, fairly straightforward, but the misfiring Beta meant I needed second and therefore dropped a dab. Dropped one on the tight slippery turn in the second sub, but so did plenty of others. Down into the stream at Ible and some slippery banks and roots. The third sub was tricky, with a sharp bank to start and then over some logs in the stream. We all dropped a mark in this sub.
The backup crew made it to watch the final section, which all of us managed to clean exiting with a climb over roots. A good start for me and confidence was up.
Back on the road and over to the open moors and limestone outcrops. However, after walking the first sub, Dan’s Fantic refused to fire; no spark. Change of plug, and a check of the coil (by putting your finger up the HT lead) indicated that it was fried. Team Wye Valley helped with problem solving, but the bike had to go back in the van. That was it for Dan and it therefore meant that the rides of the remaining three (including me) were to count. Oh Dear.
Couple of straight-forward climbs over grass past the limestone pavement and outcrops. However, after watching Andy and Gavin nail a climb, I didn’t get enough drive and recorded my first 5. Cleaned the next 2 subs before heading off to the next group of subs. Dan was now confined to the van which was really disappointing for all of us. There was a spare coil kicking around, but some reluctance from the vendor to pass it our way during the trial. Also, the Midlands Centre team was having problems, with a puncture to a Fantic.
Short section of road work took us to the next group, Longcliff Tops; more grass banks with limestone outcrops. First section was typical, sharp climb through the rocks and over some karst to the end cards.
Second sub had an awkward drop, which I decided to ride down after Gavin’s leap nearly took outside the markers. The next sub, was a long double and was where Andy got distracted and missed a marker for a 5, something which had a big impact on his score on the day. The Wye Valley team were in attendance with lots of comments on the reason; I managed a clean and a dab, on the exit drop, though thats probably because I was concentrating on Paul Cook’s Jumbo parked nearby.
Next sub I dropped a bit of a clanger and got the wrong line at the bottom of the climb, stupid 5. Cleaned the next sub, which was a fairly straightforward traverse round the limestone; if it had been raining it would have been a completely different proposition. Next sub had sharp climb entry, with a turn over more limestone and then a nice jump to exit; good fun and my best ride of the morning. Nearly missed the last sub here, but need not have bothered as the throttle didn’t shut off over the first rock and then just get going, so missed a marker, right pain.
By this time, Andy and Gavin had settled into a good rhythm, with only the one 5 as a blemish between them. Road work back to the start at the Miner’s Standard and change the card for the afternoon groups. Quick turnaround as we’d spent 3.5 hours on the first 22 of 40 sections.
Speculation at the stop that things would toughen up for the afternoon and indeed they did. Andy’s cleans through the Dudwood sections were spot on, as both Gavin and I recorded consecutive 5’s on the big boulders in the woods. The large rock step had lots of slime carried up it, but Andy used his usual “its about to stall” tactic with the Majesty to clean it with style.
This step had claimed plenty of 5’s during the day and it then resulted in a trip to casualty for Paul Cook as his bike landed back on top of him. Its not called a Jumbo for nothing [[ Not heard how Paul is, but speaking to Woody and Chris later it sounded painful]]. Only 1 clean in 6 subs here for me, as well as 2 5’s. Not good, but you could see that the Clerk of the Course was looking to extract some marks from the top riders.
We also had the disadvantage of riding round behind the Peterborough lads, who were riding a blinder, one of whom had ‘borrowed’ a TY175 which was going back in the shop the following day. An excellent buy for 850 quid as it seemed to have plenty of go in it. They were making it look easy.
Last section here was enjoyable and it took some smooth fluid riding to get round a rock wall. The Beta was still not running that smoothly or pulling sharply from tick-over, and although not a major impedence to performance, it was on my mind when riding. Time for tune-up and a think through of what’s going on (and usual what change that I’d made that may have caused it).
Another road section, with an off-road section to follow (which the Wye Valley supporters drove my van along as well) which brought us to the next group. Most of the sections were laid out along a wooded bank with more limestone and grass banks.
All 3 of us contrived different methods of cleaning the first sub, but the next couple included some steps which caused me some problems. Both Gavin and Andy had hit some good form and cleaned all the sections here, which involved some tight turns and rock steps. Some great sections, and this group, like the others would be an excellent spot for some practice or infact a multi-lap club trial. Excellent location and will be back to Derbyshire for more trails hopefully.
Last group of the day in some woodland with old quarries and steep climbs and drop-offs. Andy continued to clean some difficult subs, the second in the group included a big descent and then a climb out over a rock. Filling myself with confidence managed to get through but without too much style.
Gavin tacked one of the steps in a subsequent sub on his TLR250, removing a nice big rock in the process. I won’t say this is the reason I failed the sub, but it must have been a deciding factor 🙂
Just to sum up this last group, managed to 5 the last sub; I need to work on my turns and climbs as sure its a matter of confidence. Lining it up and getting the power on correctly would help too. Andy cleaned and Gavin dropped a single dab, and we checked our time, 23 minutes from 6.5 hours to spare. Last bit of roadwork brought us back to the start, after some great sections and good weather, time to reflect and think about how I screwed all those sections up.
Quick drink before we left and the results; Andy 8, Gavin 19, Malcolm 73, giving us a total of 100. my second half ride not being too clever. The Wye Valley team were 5th from 7 teams, with the 4th placed team, South Birmingham I, loosing 34 marks. So made me feel slightly happier as we were no where near them. Dan would have had to drop less than 7 for us to get 4th. The Peterborough team won, dropping around 4, with one of their riders going clean.
Not an easy trial for the clubmen, but though people went clean and the likes of Colin Leese, Dave Thorpe, Nigel Birkett and others dropped < 5, it shouldn't be made too much harder, especially if you want to encourage the club teams and a strong entry. But, hey, I would say that.
Great trial, good fun and though (as normal) I could have ridden better towards the end, had a really good day.