Following the heavy rain in Wales on Saturday there was always going to be lots of water and mud in the Builth Wells area. Nobody came away disappointed
The start of the trial was at Cilmery about 3 miles west of Builth Wells, in the heart of some excellent trials country. First time at this trial for me ( a result of a combination of apathy and foot-and-mouth) so looking forward to new sections and a new area to ride around.
I didn’t come away disappointed.
Signed on at the Prince Llewelyn pub in Cilmery with plenty of space for parking just down the road. All nice and informal after the more rigorous process at the Ilkley trial , and after a coffee and a bacon sandwich all ready for the off.
Around 70 entries with a few different bikes in the twinshock class. Dan and Andy from the Wye Valley club joined myself, Gavin and Mark as the usual suspects. Mark and I had our usual discussion on how not to come last and in a good Olympic spirit target the man to beat in an attempt not to pick up the wooden spoon.
1. Neuadd-Isaf Wood
First up, after a couple of miles heading back into Builth was a straightforward double sub. Some turns around trees and a stream before a bank heading out to the end cards. Not so bad and managed to get two cleans.
Short road section up to Bwlch as the sun came out. Lots of bikes parked and people studying the section, giving the indication that it might be an interesting section.
Infact, what should have been a small rocky section, had a bit more water than usual for August and a nasty rock step at the end. Lots of early 5’s (including all the sidecars) had made people a little cautious.
Watched Colin Leese take a couple of dabs and then sat back with the massed throng of contemplative riders and waited for the next attempt. Up steps Phil Wiffen for the clean, followed by a couple of 5’s and a 3.
It wasn’t easy for the rigids, but the line to the right was the one to go for and after Gavin took a spectacular dive for a 5, time for me to step up and give it a go. Concentrated on keeping to the right, following the line taken by Peter Gaunt and it was time to give it a bash. Through for a 2 (i think) but kept it moving, as it was good to see TSR22B was being applied.
The second section here was also tricky, but with not so much water and an easier step in the stream, managed to keep the balance at the top of the climb and get through the mud at the end for a clean.
Infact. the first section is one of those that is worthy of an article about it all of its own. Straight, one route, water a plenty and a nice rock step at the end. Excellent stuff.
Nice off road run and round to the sections at Cwmrhybin/Corryn which consisted of some turns and drops into the stream. Nice long single sub sections and not too bad severity wise.
Just off the road the route to the sections led through a nice bog and down into a stream. The main section here was a long double sub, with some slick banks, tight turns and a turn out left to the end cards.
Chose 2nd gear for the banks in the first sub and managed to get the bike up the tight turn into the main climb, then down into 1st for the stream and tight turns into the second sub. All went well till the final turn, when hit the corner wrong and ended up too high. Lots of effort for a 5, first of the day, but on a fairly tough section.
Third sub at Goitre was a short stream section with a greasy corner to exit. Cleaned it was especially pleased with the corner, shame that it was beyond the end cards. Ah well.
Then spent 10 minutes getting back to the gate by the road; Gavin headed off to the left to follow the fence line, whilst I ploughed through the central part of the bog. Dropped the bike cursing in one particular deep bit, but wasn’t too upset after watching one of the sidecar crews trying to rescue their unit from the morass.
Nice run on the road through Llangammarch Wells and on down to the A483 near Beulah. Through Beulah, spying a couple of riders diving into the shop for some refreshment. Our supporter for the day, Clive was on hand with the petrol so it was a quick top up before heading up to the double-sub at Aberannell.
First half was about 2nd or 3rd gear in the mud, whilst the 2nd sub dropped through a stream, up a bank and then back into the stream for an exit waterfall. Mark managed to find too much grip on the KT and launched out of the first sub, unfortunately missing the end cards by the proverbial mile. Got through with a slack dab on the first sub.
Back on the road through Beulah and then a short off-road section down to the next section at Dolderwen.
Single section here by a peaty colour brook, with the only difficulty (for me) being a turn up a bank to the end cards. First rain of the day caught us here, which managed to avoid by loitering under the trees for 15 minutes.
Over the bridge and up to the road and on to the 7th group of the day at Tyncoed. First up a drop into a stream and then a turn up into a muddy gully. 2nd gear was enough as it only became bottomless after the end cards. This was (surprisingly) the location of Steve Bisby’s only dab of the day, but he could rightly put this down to some a set of rather worn wheel bearings.
The next double sub was excellent and along with Bwlch, was probably the section of the day. First sub into the stream, was a first gear turn and jab up a rock step; second sub involved more stream and then a 3rd gear blast across a mud patch and then up the exit slope. Gavin didn’t get enough and in my haste to get up into 3rd and turn didn’t get a strong enough run at it. Steve made no mistakes here and was through for a double clean.
8. Pen Rhiw Moch
Short section of road and track up to the next two sections up on the top of the hill. The drop into the bottom involved a tight turn bringing the rear around with the brake and then a blast up to the end cards. Lots of spectators here, waiting for the first attempt. Gavin got the TLR moving to find plenty of grip and flew through the end cards, literally as he parted company from the bike, to the delight and applause of the massed crowds.
Managed to clean the section, but noticed that the Beta was missing a bit as I pulled away in second. Got enough from the bike to take a straighter line out and through the end cards, also with a spectacular jump, with the bike.
I looked at the next section and overestimated the grip I’d get and ended up with a three on what should have been a cleanable section for me. Ah well, the great views for the top made up for the marks dropped, but back on the road to the next group.
9.Pentre Llwyn Llwyd
First up a long stream as a double sub. Opted for a higher gear, though bottom would have been fine. Again the bike missing a bit, it seems when coming onto main jet, which was a bit of pain.
The third sub started with a tight turn, which got a dab from me, and then across some snotty looking roots and up a grass/rock slab. Really nice section.
10. Sarn Helen
Again, some relatively short roadwork took us across to the Sarn Helen group, which were two fairly straightforward sections in the stream, followed by a turn-on-banks type of section. Made a mistake on this last one and took a dab on the slope.
The penultimate group was more of the same, mud and streams. Three good sections here, where again dropped a couple of dabs; needlessly.
Mark had spent all day trying to avoid getting his feet wet and watched me go knee deep at a couple of places. Therefore, nice to see him take the shallow route and submerging above his boot.
Last group was just off the main road short of Cilmeri and was two sections involving tight turns among the muddy banks. First gear the order of the day and the 29th section completed it was off back to the start, as the observer for the 30th had given up and gone home waiting for the riders to turn up.
An excellent trial, which had (as usual) had some low scores (Steve 2, Dan 3, Phil Wiffen probably clean) but had the right mix of sections and covered some excellent ground.
Thanks to all at the Builth Wells MC, the observers and my fellow competitors. All good stuff. Next trial will be the Wye Valley AC Trevor Hunt (Memorial) Trial, regs on the ACU Western Centre website , which is set for 28th September