Small entry, but good venue, good weather and refreshments….what more could you ask for !
The venue at Rockyfold was used as part of the Trevor Hunt Trophy Trial back in September, but the venue played host to the John Langford non-expert trial, a charity event in aid of Pulmonary Hypertension . Malcolm Howells (who rides regularly with South Shropshire, Wye Valley and around), fiancee is a sufferer and the venue was the family farm, located up in Craswall (aka the middle-of-nowhere).
The areas noted for its rocks and streams, but the ~ 2 mile lap contained a variety of conditions within the 12 sections. Slippery banks (its still wet up in Craswall :-), roots, rocks and some streams.
There was an entry of 24 riders on the main route, plus the separate Youth C&D route (not sure of the entry here), but this was the presentation trial for a very successful inaugral seasons.
I’d decided to ride up with the Pampera after not planning to ride and then getting a late ‘you-might-get-a-ride’ call from Brian (C-of-C), but the Beta still needed some work after the Classic Experts. . However, 0 degrees and no gloves didn’t help as I was riding over and even a quick blast up Hermit’s on the way up didn’t help. Hand agony was intense time I got to Rockyfold and needed to walk around cursing for a bit, before they warmed up.
Observed sections 7 & 8, which were on a slippery bank and the scores on the day proved that is wasn’t straightforward. Cleans were most common on the first sub, with the exit from the second being difficult on the Clubman route as the trial went on.
Gavin was over on section 6, which was a rocky gulley followed by an exit up to the end cards at the top of the slope, which was challenging, as no-one cleaned it on all 4 laps.
One of the main subjects for discussion at Wye Valley trials is the lack of entries, especially for modern trials. When the Classic series was run in 2006/07 see report the numbers would be in the 40-60 area. There are usually a number of things that effect entries [[These are personal opinions by the way]].
– location, whilst the ground WVAC has available for trials is pretty good see Crondall Woods for comparison, the problem is that Herefordshire is really near anywhere. Lots of riders at today’s trial travelled a far way and are based in 4 ACU centres (Western, Midland, East South Wales and Mid Wales). There are local riders, but we were all observing (not that I mind)
– entries : the club has traditionally preferred postal entries prior to the event and whilst we can get a few entries that way, we need to encourage people to turn up and ride on the day if they want. A lot of people don’t know if they have time (or in my case if a bike is running) till the evening before the event. Some want to check the weather and most will want to know if their mates are riding.
– type of events : having classic trials seems to have in the past got a good entry (and I’m referring to the non-national, non-road events), making non-centre championship rounds primarily classic events (with TSR22b) but allowing all to ride may encourage those twinshock and pre-65 riders to come along. Today’s trial saw 1 pre-65 and 1 twinshock.
– ambience : I might be biased, but when I first started riding trials (not too long ago, about 8-9 years), the WVAC club was a little inaccessible, or so it seemed, and for the first couple of years, I mainly rode in East South Wales. With the events now, and the youth trials also, WVAC is a club transformed (in my eyes) and runs some excellent trials. Perhaps we should do more regards accessibility to encourage new members and riders.
Food and drink was laid on by the landowner and it was all very civilised at the end of the trial. Looming darkness put me on my way for the ride back (the lights on the Pampera aren’t stunning), though did manage a descent of Hermits and a conversation with the farmer at Slough Dingle about the days of Tiger Cub’s blasting up the lane in the 60-70’s hey-day of the Traders.
Good day out. Results to come though they’ll appear on the Western Centre website first.