After my last ride on the Trevor Hunt Trophy Trial I didn’t expect a stunning start to the trial. My riding got better, too late and as the sections got harder.
Gavin, Chris and myself set off in fog from Hereford, but the forecast was good the day, with some unseasonably good weather expected.
A different format had two laps, 5 groups and around 35 miles to complete. Started at the excellent Powis Arms [[The pub’s beer selection is rather good, including Butty Bach and Hobson’s Mild]] in Lydbury North, with the bacon butty and coffee.
The start was sunny, though some mist as we ran over to the first group of sections at Long Lane. General enthusiam and not too much hanging around but for me not my type of section. Too tight to start and not too tolerant of my wayward line. The early subs were made of geniune 3’s, ie where i had exactly 3 dabs, infact 6 in the first 10 were like this.
After the three subs at Long Lane, it was a pretty long run across to Hatton 1 (about 7 miles) and involved an extended traverse of the A49, which on a slow trials bike is not a pleasant experience. This is probably the worst bit about this trial and its best to “hunt in packs” just to make you more visible to the car drivers.
Hatton 1 was made up of a long double sub, with some muddy banks out of a stream and a challenging waterfall exit. Cleaned the first half, including the rather fearsome looking drop, which looked more challenging when Colin Lease went for an early bath at the bottom. Bikes started circling the start cards like vultures waiting for the next victim.
Hatton 2 was muddy, following the previous day’s rain. Made the wrong choice of gear in the first sub, forgetting the difference between Gavin’s TLR250 and the Beta, which likes a little more momentum to get grip.
Back down across the A49 and to the three subs at Marshbrook. The second one contained the limbo move which had taken me out the previous year, as well as a hill-climb which turned out to be easier than in looked, with plenty of grip. Any cleans on the day were most welcome. Quick refuel, wondering about the amount of fuel I’d already used and off on the short run up to the group at Hamperley.
Ah, total chaos. The first sub was tight and theorectically only possible to complete by stopping on a tight turn through the trees. Very slippery exit which I managed to clean. The next, Section 12, was probably impossible to clean [[Best score on the day was infact Peter Salt, with the only 2 of the day]]. Lots of mud and camber turns round trees meant you got your free down and opened up the throttle.
Took the wrong like on Section 13, 5. Section 14 needed grip to turn into speed and jump the gully at the bottom. Gav showed the way and cleaned it, whilst I’ve 5 it with a relatively poor effort in the end.
Single sub in the stream at Ridgeway Farm and not for the first time on a South Birmingham trial, the section crossed back over itself; confusing. A slippery exit took a couple from me. Then back to Long Lane and the start of the second lap.
A slack 5, on the same step I ‘5”d the previous year was probably inevitable as Jack Parker was there with his camera. My only 2 claims to fame in TMX have not actually got me on the bike (infact the bike has hardly been visible in either picture, shame really as its a nice bike).
Back on the A49 and the handling of the bike of the road was a little wierd, with rather strange noises. Arriving at Hatton confirmed that I’d got a front wheel puncture and a quick squirt from the pump showed it as terminal. Gavin rightly pointed out that it was unlikely to effect my riding and final scores and a clean and a 2 on the double sub proved this.
More mud in Hatton 2, the exit of the second sub had attacted a crowd (the observer, 2 guys and a dog) and it was interesting to see on the way into the group,various bits of old British bike exiting the section at speed….sideways. I attempted to select 3rd gear on the final turn, failed, missed the slot in the mud but still got out for a three.
Back to Marshbrook. Its a weird day when your best rides of the day end in a 5 and a 3. Did 90% of the1st sub, including a launch off the stream bank to avoid whacking the completely flat front tyre on the rocks below, before the marker lodged itself between fork tube and spokes.
Back to Hamperley where (luckily) the subs had moved across the road to the stream in a field on the other side of the farm. First sub had an awkward climb out of the stream with a narrow (if not contrived) line; took a 3. Best ride was in the 2nd sub, for a 2. The 3rd sub, was again a make or break trial-deciding type of sub. Very tight turn and a sharp climb over roots took 5s from myself and Gav, and it was going to need a really good ride just to get through it.
Final sub back at Ridgeway Farm saw me take a slack 5, but probably the only one I could blame on the flat front tyre.
Back on the road and a nice pint outside the Powis Arms to finish before heading back towards Hereford. Next trial, the Classic Experts in Rhayader on November 8th (the Saturday of Remembrance Weekend), always good for a thrash round the rocks.
Off the shed to fix the puncture