How to make a hard trial harder

The annual outing to Rhayader saw only 7 people in the Clubman twinshock class. Surely we’d have a chance, especially with one non-starter, 4 from Tredegar (Alan, Mark, Kevin and Terry), myself and Paul Cook on his very nice looking Montesa.

The talk of the Smithfields car park was Kevin’s recently acquired Ossa 350 Gripper, complete with lighting kit, pristine tank and a very little use engine. The main question was whether the bike was going to hold its value after been thrown up some mid-Wales streams.

Bright start at Smithfields

I’d decided to take the TY175 I’d bought the previous weekend, determining that the Beta fuel tank was properly screwed. It was a little difficult in starting and after going for a 25ml : 1L mix (ie 40:1) it smoked, a lot. As we set off for the 20 mile lap, Rhayader disappeared in a haze of blue smoke, with Tredegar contigent hanging well back having become used to the fresh air of a post-Thatcher, non-industrialised South Wales.

Wernewydd

New group for the Classic Experts was first up. Managed to take a 5 about 5m into the first section of the day. Excellent start also for Kevin as the usual problems for the early starters kicked in…slippery and no grip.

The second double was also brand new section \(a nice stream) and it wasn’t easy (well when we where there it wasn’t) and it set the standard for the day. Good fun was going to be had in the streams. Decided to plunge straight in and get the feet wet early on.

A nice Saturday was emerging and a lovely run down to Llanwrthwl and then up the lane to Doliago.

Doliago

Always a tough group, usually the penultimate one of the trial, it lived up to expectations. First sub was fine, but the rest were tough, with 5’s and 3’s all the way up. In the last double sub, the bike was difficult to start and then ran like a dog on the way up. Whatever bike I’d ridden up here it was going to be difficult.

The exit from the 2nd double sub was especially interesting as a new steeper exit out to the left was in place. The TY (and me) got about 5 ft in before it looped.

I’d left some fuel over at the Ashfield group and the rough running TY needed topping up before the long run down to Newbridge. Ended up being the first rider over at Crynfryn, with everyone else still looking at the Doliago sections.

Crynfryn

Ah, no streams, but the mossy rocks in the trees and Crynfryn. One to forget for me, as I took out a marker in the last sub, nice one. Couple of 3’s here also.

However, melancholy was short lived after watching Mark’s attempt on the second double sub and the difficult first corner. After 15 minutes of pacing up and down, he ended up taking a dive off the bike. Excellent value and the laughter from the ‘supportive’ onlookers brought back memories of Dale and Alan’s mishap from a couple of years ago .

Still problems starting the bike and it became a real pain every time I stopped at gates on the off-road section across to Tycwtta. The idea of entering a bike you’d not really looked at before, let along ridden or put the spanners to wasn’t making a lot of sense.

Tycwtta

After giving the bike a good thrashing on the road up to the Tycwtta group as it seemed to be a carb blockage, then spent 15 minutes stripping and cleaning the carb. Mark also notice the plug cap and HT lead weren’t perfect and afterwards it seemed to run a little better. Maybe it was the good kicking, but thanks to everyone who helped me….

Three double subs here, back in the streams, and with the bike performing a little better, confidence was back and there was a bit more gusto. The TY is a small bike and maybe some mods needed to get some more stability on climbs.

Ashfield

An excellent set of sections, with 8 subs here for 2010. The first section through the stream was good fun and managed to clean the first one (amazed myself), before struggling to get onto the alternate clubman route for the second sub.

Ashfield

More in the stream for the next double, before exiting up a stiff slope. Malcolm Bates had kept a good section for himself, and I fived the exit from stream with not enough pace. The final double looped around through the rocks on the top and saw a couple of guys have some nasty falls here. Managed to clean the last sub, which was nice.

Short piece of road work up the A470 to the final group at Hillgate.

Hillgate

Out of battery in both cameras by now, so just to worry about the sections. Clean and a 3 in the first double sub, the famous one with the step at the bottom.

The second section, and final one of the day beckoned as the day was drawing to its end. The same as last year, a really tricky, slippery and steep. After 30 minutes of looking at a series of 5’s (only spotted one 3 in the bottom sub), it was time to give it a go. Managed to get 2 feet from the end cards, but of course, it was still a 5. Then went on to 5 the last sub also, Ah well.

Short ride in the gloaming back to Rhayader and caught the last 5 minutes of the Wales game in the TV shop in town.

Finished the day sitting near the fire in the Griffin Inn in Llyswen enjoying a pint and saying how hard the trial was. No doubt the results will show otherwise. A good day out (as always) though more preparation would have been a good thing.

Note, I’ll be uploading the helmet camera footage shortly…..

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