Ystradfellte memories, if you can pronounce it.

Recently spoken to Matt, a local builder, after he’d been out practicing on his trials bike and I’d mentioned that as well as the motocross bikes, I did have a Yamaha TY250 kicking around in the garage as well.

Anyway, after shifting the dinghy across the wall on Saturday morning, Matt came by to give us a hand and mentioned he was planning to go to the Dulais Valley trial at Ystradfellte that afternoon. It’s one of West South Wales centre’s B grade (ie easy) trails which they run on a Saturday afternoon. Anyway decided to stop trimming the hedge and go along as well as it was a nice afternoon.

Going to Ystradfellte brings back memories, both of digging in caves on the common and also attending I think what was probably my first motorcycle trial there circa 2002-03, on the Gas Gas I’d recently acquired. I headed over there on my own, with the bike on the back of the car and bumped my way up the rough track to the common. What I remember was a fairly interesting trail, with some easy bits and some hard bits and a long lap over the limestone escarpment. I do remember getting stuck in the muddy bottom of a shakehole at one point. However, it was a good trial and it got me into the sport.

As for caving on Ystradfellte common, this goes back even further, back to the 80’s and 90’s, including some dowsing and digging walks and trips with the late Clive Jones and entourage, looking down so interesting rifts and shafts. I do remember a 30ft climb down (with ladder) into a fairly large passage, but it was a spot that Jace Tyler (along with Ieuan) failed to find a couple of years ago, after another walk round during SWCC’s digging week.

Anyway, back to the trial and 3 routes on offer; dead easy, easy and relatively easy. Matt and I went for the middle route and was about right for Matt, who only dropped 23 with only one 5, which is a good way to get into trials. Nothing too hard. Sections 2 and 6 were the mark takers on the day, with the former having a difficult couple of turns near the exit over rocks. Section 6 degraded through the day and taking a line out to the right avoided an ever deepening groove.

I dropped 12, with 5 of those coming on the 3rd lap in Section 6, which I’d continued to use the middle line through the section, oh well. Should potentially have ridden the harder route, but no complaints and was a good introduction for Matt who hopefully will now do some more trials.

Back in Bwlch I noticed the bolt from the brake arm to brake plate was missing, hence no rear brake, which to be honest I didn’t need. The Tredegar boys went over to Rhondda on Sunday (another infamous venue in my early trials career, with an interesting hill climb), but decided to get some jobs done around the house. Nice to be back on the trials bike though.

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