Warm and sunny like the previous year and 72 entries for the 2008 version of the Arthur Bates trial.
The trial takes a circular route around Rhayader and this year it was run in an anti-clockwise direction and uses a couple of sections from the Classic Experts.
The start at Smithfields saw a healthy number of Honda TLR’s (as usual) and Fantic’s in the twinshock class, with 2 Ossa’s, 1 Beta and 1 TL125. (the gallery of bikes is attached to the end of the article).
A fairly confusing start, which involved getting people away as quickly as possible though never was clearly stated that it was 1 minute intervals. Always like the start from Smithfield as you get to ride off from the middle of town. The Rhayader trials, this and the Classic Experts, are based on double subs; long sections but really on 15 sections to walk.
First double sub at Aberceithon and I’d noticed on the run down that the bike wasn’t running smoothly. Could be timing though I’ve changed two-stroke oil from Castrol TTS to Motorex. We’ll see. Straight forward first part, then a turn and exit over a rock step, where a dropped a wasteful dab getting the bike lined up.
The Beta’s not picking up well, but spluttered round on the road to Ashley’s. First section had an awkward off-camber slope after a tight turn. Gavin, first up, in sunglasses picked up a surprising 5, whilst I managed a not very slick 3. The second half of the section was straightforward. The next double sub was interesting with some awkward gullies and then a murky pool with some loose boulders in the bottom. Choice. Picked up my first 5 of the day, but avoided flooding the bike in the pool, just. Gav picked up a good 2 on the first half and like myself managed to clean the second half.
Round to Cross Keys and three double subs. First things first, changed the plug as no doubt when the old one was taken out it was oiled up. First section was a familiar one. Managed to get over the crux rock step by taking a line to the left, but then screwed it up on the top set of rocks; as always on the bit you weren’t originally looking at. The other two double subs were tricky and with both second halves having some nice muddy sections.
Back on the road and round to Cefnllyn, a nice stream section thats usually included. . The first half was in the stream but involved a loop round a tree with a step off back into the stream. The second half came out of the stream and across a the boggy section; more a case of finding a suitable line and giving it a blast. Got another 5 here, but only I ended trying to exit on the right, when the left hand line was the better option.
Really long road section then, including along the A44 and A483 round to the Bryn double sub. Don’t mind road work on lanes and a short section of main road, but this was fairly painful and had to get my numb bum and fingers into life. Also check to see if any bits haven’t vibrated off the bike. Nice collection of E-Type Jags coming the other way, though the actual number was heavily debated with estimates ranging from 5 to 40…..
The section at Bryn again had an easy half and a hard half; the latter being the exit round a muddy corner then up a steep slope. No grip here for me, though with a solid attempt in 3rd.
A shorter run then down to Skeleton Alley, three double subs up the road from the lane. The first on the side of the hill was as hard as last year, though managed to clean the first half. Made a mistake on the last section and selected 1st gear and didn’t carry enough speed through the cow muck into the slope. Whoops. Bike smelt nice though.
Nice run over to the hill to the last two groups, including going past 5 (or so) E-type Jags outside a hotel.
Brynscolfa was a double sub in the stream and remember launching the Jumbo up here at speed in the past. Some good riders here and its a good feeling to get it right.
The second section at Bwlch had a nice muddy exit slot; excellent. I dropped 3 on the exit, but this is where Phil Wiffen dropped one of his two marks.
The last section was the scene of Kev’s famous first section drowning on the Beamish (and Andy Pitts in the last Classic Experts). The left hand marker was far enough left to avoid the main step in the stream. Gav took this line for a clean; I went for the purist route and took at 5; at least I felt happy about the ethical decision 🙂
Short run back into Rhayader and the start and made it back for an astonishing 14h45, probably our earliest finish and not at the back,.