WVAC John Langford Non-Expert Trial

Report By: Bretton King

More Reports By: Steve Venn


The Wye Valley Auto Club's final trial of the year was staged in the shadow of the Black Mountains at the famous Craswall venue that has been synonymous with the Club over the decades.

Sunday's John Langford Non-expert Trial was also run as a charity event for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, a charity selected by landowner Mr. Howells and his family as they have a close link with the work they do.

Langford 09 Will King

Commendably, the select band of 24 riders, 12 observers and various club officials contributed handsomely to a great event, raising a magnificent 321.06 on the day, with the prospect of more funds coming forward from the profits of the event.

Rocky streams and root-strewn banks provided the test for the two adult courses (Clubman and Sportsman), whilst similar fare was served up on the conducted Junior routes too where 6 aspiring Wiggs and Dabills battled well into the afternoon.

The adult's standard clubman route was a stern test for some but was generally regarded as very fair, and the two main contenders for the overall win turned out to be Wye Valley's own Dan Sanders and far-travelled Bretton King.

Starting at sub 7, the initial front runner was Dai Clothier as he was quick to make the most of the soon-to-be-gone grip, as spinning tyres polished grassy banks and carried mud up onto the rocky slabs set in sections 7 & 8.

Steve Venn and Glyn Smith were also clean through here early on but that soon changed as the riders arrived at the double sub observed watchfully by Andy Pitt.

The subs were set in a rock-laden stream that didn't pose too many problems initially, but the last 10 yards had a real sting to it as the line led downhill off a step, across bike and half's length of camber, followed by an angled root exit from the stream to a very slick tree stump. Carnage followed!!

Glyn took a tidy pair of dabs on the root and King needed a solitary prod to get over the stump, but Venn, Clothier and ex-centre champion Sanders all took crashing fives over the root on lap one, dan having to limp back to the start to replace a broken lever blade. The next big test was the devilishly hard camber traverse of section 2's exit where grip was minimal.

Langford 09 Brett King

Venn cleaned this beautifully on his new Evo and was one of only three seen all day, Clothier and Mervyn Powell being the only other "achievers". From here, the field were taken up to trio of sections where mud, rock and roots were thoroughly well mixed up. Section three was the trickiest of them, as the first climb had a series of slippy mini-steps that meant carrying the front wheel at speed was essential if you were to succeed. Each lap gave the riders a chance to "blatt" around the fields and lanes surrounding this fantastic terrain and section provided a long loose gully culminating in a swift S-turn round two trees, before them demanding a gentle throttle hand to get you up and across another long grassy camber.

As lap two started, King led on 5 with Sanders on 11 and Clothier and Venn each on 15 - nicely grouped. As they arrived at section 8 for the second time it was A class schoolboy Will King that stole the limelight briefly as he purred through for the first clean, levelling the rooted exit and sailing over the stump, which was one of only four cleans, as King Snr. (2) and Sanders (1) provided the remainder.

BK and Dan matched each other with identical scores over laps two and three while the others dropped away in the deteriorating conditions, King Snr. leading by six going into the final dozen subs. However, lap four saw his Repsol Montesa really on song and a frugal 5 marks lost compared to Sanders' nineteen saw victory nailed down whilst Dan just managed to keep hold of second place ahead of Dai, who took the Over 50 award. Dave Eeles was seen limbering up for another crack at the Scottish Pre 65 trial, only this time he was out on the trusty Beta as the "Lump" is in a state of rebuild in preparation for May 2010 (entry permitting!!).

Three unfortunate retirements included Sam Wilson (? not sure why), Dave Morris (who was unlucky enough to stretch the banjo mounting on his Gasser's clutch line, leaving him sucking in air) and Mike Clarke who took a tumble and hurt his back.

The Sportsman class saw a far tighter outcome, with Youth B - Mitchell Cullen - having the best performance on 12 marks, just 2 ahead of an equally stunning ride from Rob Halliday aboard his thumping Royal Enfield Bullet. Nothing dangerous confronted this popular class, yet the hazards provided enough of a test to make riders concentrate. Indeed, there was nothing but praise for the section marking skills used across all routes thanks to the hardy WVAC men.

The C & D class Juniors had a cracking day's sport too and the Expert class saw a real nip-and-tuck battle rage all day long between Jake Hoare and Ioan Heycock. As the final lap approached there was nothing in it, but Jake held his nerve and clung on to win by two marks - hard luck Ioan.

In the Novice class, the third member of the Heycock family had no problem at all sealing a victory for the family, as he dropped less than half his nearest rival. Ben was imperious as he dropped 23 marks, 24 better than up-coming star Josh Smith. The ethos on this conducted route is "fun and enjoyment" and whilst the riders would agree, they also want to win, so there is an edge!

Overall, the organisers and the venue provided great variety, with much scope for the future thanks to a generous landowner. There is the potential for a centre trial in drier months (for car parking in the field primarily) although there is one other requirement - ENTRIES!!!!

The whole event was still in some doubt late on Friday as only a dozen entries had signed up by the official closing date. Thankfully a few telephone calls came in and sufficient riders pledges to compete made it feasible - and thank heavens for that. A plea therefore has to be made for 2010 - please support WVAC trials - you don't know what you are missing!!!

Preview By: Dan Sanders

Charity Trial and Junior Awards Presentation.

The John Langford Non-Expert Trial, on December 13th, will be staged at a new venue this year.

‘Rockyfold’ is only a stones throw from the famous Craswall venues which ceased to be used by the Wye Valley club several years ago.

Those who rode in the ‘Trevor Hunt Trophy Trial’ earlier this year will have had a taste of what the venue has to offer, as several sections were set out here in the road based event.

This year the ‘Langford’ will also be in aid of charity, with the Wye Valley club donating the profits from the event to a charity chosen by the landowners family.

The charity which will benefit is the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA-UK). Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) described simply, is a blood vessel disorder of the lung in which the pulmonary artery pressure rises above normal levels and may become life threatening. Early symptoms include breathlessness, dizziness, tiredness, fainting and sometimes, chest pain during physical activity. PH is a serious disease which can affect young children and the elderly but is most common among young women, and although there is no cure, advances in medical treatment mean it can normally be managed effectively. More information can be found at www.phassociation.uk.com

There will be two routes on offer, Clubman and Sportsman, and there will also be a Conducted Course for C and D youths and total beginners.

After the trial there will be a presentation of awards for the WVAC 2009 Junior Trials Championship. This year has seen the club stage four championship rounds, over a conducted course, for Youth C and D class riders and those hard earned awards will be presented at the conclusion of this event.

Regs and entry forms are on the website, so if you fancy trying a new venue and raising money for charity at the same time, get your entry in now!