Rockshocks Classic Trials Championship Round 7: Spen Valley MCC 01/07/2023
Report and Photographs by John Dickinson
The 2023 season is slipping past at a pace, with the Rockshocks series being no exception and hot on the heels of the June Devon Double saw yet another double header weekend when Saturday/ Sunday, July 1/2 saw Yorkshire play host to rounds seven and eight.
Spen Valley and Yeadon Guiseley were the clubs in charge with two very different trials in prospect.
The weekend kicked-off with the Spen Valley boys and girls in charge running at a new venue for the series, Cockhill Lead Mines, Greenhow, near Pateley Bridge, courtesy of series regular, Expert Pre-75 Britshock contender Robin Luscombe who actually bought the land earlier this year!
The venue sits on a (sometimes) bleak open hillside, populated by a few sheep, a lot of bracken and containing some great trials sections just suited to Classic trials. The two laps of 20 sections were lapped up by the entry that topped at 60 riders and Robin and Clerk of Course Nigel Scott did a brilliant job with the flags.
After weeks of warm, sunny, weather it was a bit of a shock that the day proved wet (initially) and windy making for a testy day for observers up on the exposed higher slopes but thankfully the early rain eventually blew away.
Sections were a good mix of rock outcrops with slippery grass climbs and good use of the becks which had just enough water to prove slippery and testing for all classes.
Starting with the Exerts there was a new Air-cooled Mono winner in Matt Spink who is loving life on his Honda two-stroke TLM260R, having treated it to a new chain and sprockets. It was a small four-man class but interesting with four marques represented with Paul Edwards' Yamaha TY, Mark Atkinson on the Gas Gas Aire and Liam Atkinson's nice Beta.
Expert Twinshock saw Fantic mounted Will Tolson take the win and he didn't let us down dropping just two marks. This proved to be a clear victory with Richard Webster making it a Fantic one-two with Honda mounted Miles Jones in third on the day, the Welshman not on his usual form as he is usually pressing for maximum points.
There was bad news for Chris Greenwood though who lost his chance of a podium at the second section when a very sudden and unexpected crash on the tight turn at the top of the beck saw the immaculate Honda bust both front brake and clutch levers, the clutch breaking at the perch causing an early retirement.
The final Expert class is Pre-75 Britshock and here we had a close finish with Francis Barnett mounted Pete Ashmore pipping Masham butcher Paul Dennis on his Bantam from similarly mounted Robin Luscombe.
Kevin Ellis battled round on his much admired BSA Gold Star but the Oswestry rider expressed an interest in a change of machinery for next year commenting, "I fancy a Cub!"
In the Clubman classes, Devon challenger (he sure puts the miles in) Martin Gilbert
posted his usual smooth ride in Air-cooled Mono but in second was Cumbrian
character Paul Wobbler Norman who enjoyed a great podium on his Fantic after a
recent cracking outing on Gerry Minshall's Bantam!
Scottish visitor Steven Mycock nailed third waving the Yamaha TY flag.
Clubman Britshock saw Yorkshireman Ian Myers taking maximum points
with an almost faultless ride dropping two marks on the Cub.
The podium places though saw a battle between Cumbrian Chris Myers and Peter Huddleston, the travelling companions both mounted on the 250cc twin-cylinder Triumph Tigress engined 'specials' built, maintained and tuned by Chris's cousin Jonty. Chris's Tigress sports a Bantam frame while Huddy's engine sits in a Cotton chassis.
Championship challenger Nigel Greenwood did not enjoy the best of days having to settle for fourth, eight marks adrift of Huddy.
Which leaves us with the biggest class of the day which was Clubman Twinshock where there was another victory for Derrick Edmondson on the TLR Honda.
But it was a tight one as Derrick was pushed right to the finish by Roy Palmer on his unique Kawasaki KL250 four stroke. Pushrod hasn't ridden much for several years, having been under the surgeon's spanners for heart related issues but he only lost out on a tie-break after equalling Derrick's score of three.
Gavin Houson took his Honda into third having just pipped north eastern regular Ian Cheetham out on his Bultaco, following a typically steady ride by Ian, whatever he is mounted on.
And there was another Bultaco close behind, Darren Mitchell on board and he
only lost out to the Fantic of Chris Tolson on a tie-break after both dropped
just eight marks.
Another great day enjoyed and appreciated by all present.