The weather was warm and mild. There had been some rain overnight, so there was no dust, although some sections were slippery in the beginning.
Thanks to Sharon Graham for the photos of the Electric Trial, and to Wayne Sheppard for the drone footage.
As I am still not allowed to ride, I took photos. I have uploaded all the originals to Google+ here, you are welcome to find and download any of them for yourself. Note that only a subset of those photos is in this report.
Junior Electric Trial
When I walked through the sections for the Electric Trial, I was amazed at how the technical level of the youngsters has improved. Some of the obstacles were rather tricky.
Here is a photo of Timmy showing off his wheelie skill:
Timmy and Oliver were the only competitors in the Electric Trials, since Elle was not feeling well.
An early arrival at the Spes Bona venue gave me plenty of time to walk around and set up four sections for the Oset trial. Tim assisted by advising me of what he felt could be done. He immediately pointed out the “volcano” which ended up being section three.
Unfortunately Elle could not join us this time, as she was feeling ill. So it was going to be Tim on his own again as no one else had shown up for the 09h30 start.
Michelle was in contact with Oliver’s parents and said that they were running late but were on their way to the venue. We chose to watch the senior riders until Oliver arrived. It was a long wait and Tim was chomping at the bit to get going. He watched the farmers gate and got excited each time a vehicle arrived.
After two false alarms Oliver eventually arrived, a bit confused, as he had full moto cross gear on and was riding his KTM. We quickly turned him around and got him on to his Oset. We eventually got the two riders to section one.
None of the sections had been tested as we were saving the limited charge in Tim’s bike’s ageing batteries.
Section one was met with enthusiasm and both Oliver and Timothy trotted eagerly behind me as I pointed out the meandering line.
The start had an immediate incline with a square edge that looked worse than it was. The line ran along the raised section and brought them back down on to the road. A sharp left turn was required to bring them back up on to the ledge with a very quick climb. It was off the throttle again as the line forced a right turn and headed the rider back down a technical descent to the end gate.
Section two was a very short section that had the rider heading down the embankment toward the dam with a left turn to the exit.
The slippery surface and the incline had the riders shaken. We excluded this section after two laps as the riders were not enjoying it at all and Oliver’s dad was concerned about the youngsters rolling down the embankment on a very unforgiving surface of hard clay and shale.
If it were a grass embankment the riders would have managed the off camber slope with ease.
Section three, the “volcano” as Timothy described it, was a large clay mound near the water’s edge.
The riders started on the one side of the mound, proceeded through a dry water channel / rut and then spiraled their way up the mound with a dog leg on the top to bring them out near the start. This was easily done by both riders.
Section four started with the riders crossing a natural water channel /rut that had dried out and offered a very nice drop in and then a quick climb out the other side.
The section then ran straight up the hill giving the riders a nice climb before making a right turn followed by a left turn onto a tricky bit of ground before looping around a bush to bring them to the exit on the downhill slope.
Oliver’s battery started to show signs of going flat on these two sections and he was battling with the climbs. He quickly exchanged his Oset for a bicycle and came back to join Timothy as they did a bit of free riding.
- Timothy took first place with a score of 22
- Oliver placed second with a score of 54
A few falls and not completing the last lap on section 3 & 4 cost Oliver a couple of 5’s. He is the youngest rider in the Oset class, but makes up for what he lacks in size with enthusiasm and mucksie.
The lad’s both waited eagerly for the results to be read out by Brian once the seniors had finished their trial. Tim was aware that mum had bought treats and was more enthusiastic about receiving his booty than his score. The essence of youth!
When Michael and I set the sections, it was very hot and the flies had a field day with us. A little rain during the week did nothing to change the sections and we ended up with another hot day and more flies. The expert class was joined by Lee, an ex-Joburg rider now living in Cape Town.
The first donga section. This section catered well for all classes. Generally it was straight up the donga which then has a natural turn to the right. At this point the classes all did different things, but for most there was a very sharp s bend. The experts then had another gate to go through which I unfortunately didn't know about and got the first of several fives for the day.
... was another donga section, but the expert line was certainly more demanding with a tight approach to a severely eroded area with a substantial step in it. This is where I got my second five, so not a very good start, and later on a third one.
... was close by above the first two sections, but here a 180⁰ turn at the start put the riders into an off cambered turn then up a short donga before turning out to the left and down to the end.
... was a short distance away, and again made use of eroded areas. Here the clubmen went pretty much straight up the hillside while masters and experts were forced into turns that put them in a position where they had no momentum to go up the steep exposed rock gully before also exiting out to the left.
... was a bit different, using some jagged rock out crops with some off camber slope in between. There was a choice for experts on the latter half of this section to either follow the experts line with a downhill off camber turn or use the masters line which dropped off the rocks with a straight line to the exit. Lee and I both opted for this route while Zander tried the other way.
... higher up the hillside, started from the path with a climb up the bank, returning to the path and then again up across the hillside to another path, then down over a wet rocky area followed by a sharp right turn to a rock step, the markers clearly defining where the different classes had to attack it.
... was the first of two that we have used almost every time we've been to this venue, and again making use of the exposed rock and shallow donga. The drop at the start into this section with a hard left turn to a rock step has always been a challenge no matter how many times it's been ridden and this time was no exception. The section ended with a sharp left turn out for everybody.
... started just a few metres away and was straight up the gully for experts, an easier route to the left for clubmen, with masters going up a steep section of the bank with a very awkward approach back into the gully.
Thanks to everyone for helping clear up afterwards, and to the farmer for the use of the venue.
Wayne Sheppard had his quad-copter drone there and took some video of the action. This is above sections 1 and 2 during lap 2 of the trial.