West Glos & Dean Forest
Motor Cycle Club

Celebrating 66 Years of Motor Cycling 1953 - 2019

Wyegate Trial 2014

Words: Ian Vessey, Huw Watkins, Ben Falconer. Pics: Huw and Jack.

Wyegate Index: C of C says..., Ben's Press Report, Snippets, Gallery, Video, Riders say.


Update from secretary: Provisional results up to the right.

Sections are in the correct order now. Observers sheets have been double-checked.

Let me know if you have any further queries. Thanks, Vess.

Clerk of Course says...

Wyegate 2014 – View from the Bridge….

Despite a few other commitments, (Welsh 2 Day – University studies – family – work) I was daft enough to be talked into having another crack at the Wyegate. I did so on the proviso that I couldn’t do the PR work for the 80 mile route, so instead carved it up between Guy Calderwood, Rod Jones, Will Roberts, Keith Caldicott and Chairman Vess (who was also event's sec!). Their work took a huge amount of pressure off. I will say though, that personal PR work for the Wyegate is quite pleasant. We get one or two who have a moan, but generally this is directed at the gangs of trail riders that use the lanes in groups of up to 15-20! The residents have a point…..

The route varied from last year – we pretty much turned it round into an anti-clockwise 80 miler, with fuel at 40. Ivor at the garage loves to see a full entry and certainly made the effort this year with chocolates and drinks! As a former bike racer himself he loves to see the Wyegate. We had some dramas in the preparation, with course openers and closers needing to get familiar with the route. I had done a lot of clearing work, as many lanes were affected by the evil winter weather, my chain saw was very busy! On one of the familiarisation days, we lost 2 of the 5 riding within 5 miles of the start! Mike Wells to a cracked rib, and Rod Jones to a nasty thigh injury, both are recovering well and made the start (even if Rod was on sticks).

With a cold, sunny start, the riders headed off to Pingry where a short special test warmed up a few. Former championship class enduro rider Chris Koch set the pace with a blistering 12.34 seconds that was the only time under 13 seconds. A few of the top 20 places were settled by the ST. A hillclimb was the first observed section before a run down to Lord’s Grove, just outside Monmouth. Two sections there, four at Mitchel Troy and one at the Craig (He could mean Lydart. ed.) set riders up nicely for Llwyna and the first big name section, Pant-Glas Steps. This section has been affected by weather erosion so badly that the lower step that could be driven over in a 4WD about 20 yrs ago is now almost 4 feet of vertical rock. I felt that this took the ‘sense of humour test’ a step too far, so the section started after the big step, where competitors were assited up by members of 1 Rifles, based at nearby Chepstow. The soldiers and the West Glos club are getting together to promote motorcycle competition within the regiment, and this was a great insight for the lads.

The 24 ‘cleans’ on PG 1 is the most for many years, and a far better sight than a list of 5’s and 3’s. Setting the early pace, Henry and Jason Bendall were still clean at the top of Pant Glas. Pushing them hard were Nibbs Adams, Ben Bowkett and Michael Hughes on 1 apiece, with Glyn Smith on 2 and Chris Koch on 3. All to fight for.

A run along some lovely lanes at Nannies, and Allt-y-Bela brought our riders to fuel at Ivor’s. After that, sections at Ysguborwen, Craig y Master, and Golden Hill led the riders to the next big one, Ty Fry. This section saw a few changes, as only Henry Bendall and Hughes managed to clean a slick shale gully. With Koch managing a dab, Adams and Jason Bendall two prods and Smith a fighting three. The cleans were also fighting affairs as both riders launched up the steps – with Bendall (H) crashing a split second after his front spindle got through the ends cards.

Heading the field at #1, Jack Gore of Alvington had more than a few crashes on his new XT 125. He had a great day out though. Other battles within the event were equally enjoyable, none closer than the father/son battle of Shaun and Ben Skinner on their enduro bikes. At the end, just a couple of marks split them… Ben’s going to come back at you next time Shaun!

As the event moved over to Tintern, Limekiln downhill is never the challenge that it is going up (especially in the wet) but the second section saw Adams and Hughes dab, and Smith take 2. This was to set this battle up for a grandstand finish. Out of Tintern, some work with the Monmouthshire rights of way staff and Natural Resources Wales meant a new route up the Wye Valley. This was a huge success, and thanks go to both organisations, who have been very supportive. The more off road going, the better for all, and the views from the Forestry are extra special. The next stinger was Sunnyside, where a long double subber saw most clean the first, then have a diagonal rock step to contend with in the second. Most of the top 10 cleaned both, but Hughes spoiled his card with a 3.

A fallen tree on the run up the Glos side of the Wye meant a wriggle under, and a few sections at the end caught out a few, especially the final hillclimb that was a ‘clean or 5’ section. Back at the Orepool, riders eased weary bodies out of muddy kit, sharing their escapades over a quick beer or simply heading for home for that hot bath. Their feedback was typified by the e-mail of LDT debutante Guy Powell.

The riding marshals, observers and helpers, led by Matt Neale did a great job, and a huge thanks goes out to them. Vess has the sec of meeting off to a ‘T’ (no, not that ‘T’ – Mrs V!) so unless clerking the ‘Welsh’ breaks my spirit, here’s to next year.

Great ride by those who did the winning, especially the perfect ride from Henry Bendall. For those who turned up hoping for that ‘Grand Day Out’ – the return to the old fashioned sections and hills seems to have worked. Introducing inspection of sections (if you want to) did slow parts of the entry, but each section ‘ends’ could be seen from the ‘starts’ so many chose the energy efficient way of just going for it !

A huge thanks goes to the landowners, as even though we used rights of way, many were old byways that we can only ride on an organised event with the permission of the local authority and the owners. Because of concerns over safety, we changed the route two or three times in the last few weeks, so thanks again to David Powell at the MSA, Shaun Pritchard at Monmouthshire and Michele Johnston at NRW for being so helpful. We cannot miss our thanks to our hosts, Becky Chilton and all at the Orepool who somehow manage to host Celebrity Master Chef (and the celebrity winner) and a minging bunch of bikers the same weekend and be happy about it!

The Wyegate next year will be the 30th, the club come out in force to make it happen every year, we should make it a special one...

Riders Say...

Guy Powell says: I was lucky enough to take part in yesterday’s Wyegate trial, (first LDT event for me) and would like to pass on my many thanks to all involved in the organising and enabling the event to happen ~ to name just a few ~ the wgdfmcc, marshals, land owners, army, the pub (along with refreshments), the petrol station (along with the selection of chocolate and energy drinks), forestry folk, spectators (the much needed spur at the foot of Pant Glas) and the rest of the field who encouraged me along and helped out when things had gone to pot!
Thanks again for all your hard work and efforts. I had a fantastic day and hope to participate in your future events.

Steve Grinter says: Please can you convey my thanks to the team who put on such a fantastic event, especially the observers. The event ran smoothly and I had a wonderful time. This was my first time and all being well "I'll be back" next year.

Ben's Press Report

THREE punctures couldn't stop Henry Bendall from winning the annual Wyegate trial for the second time, with a perfect ride.

While between sections the Lydney rider and his team battled with holed inner tubes, when it counted in the sections, Henry put in a flawless performance in the Wye Valley and Usk Vale.

With the fearsome Pant Glas eased this year, the result of the trial hinged on Ty-Fry, which had developed a layer of slick mud over the winter, which was given a good polish by the course openers.

Only Henry, Mike Hughes and Mike Husband squeaked out of the awkward gulley without penalty. Hughes' risky high line to try and escape the slippery stuff paid dividends for him but not everyone.

Jason Bendall's two mark loss there was his only mistake and put him in second place. Chris Koch just incurred a one mark loss at Ty-Fry but a three at the dreaded Wixon's Rocks nudged him in to third place.

With the first round of the ACU/AJP Ultrapassar Trailbike Trials Championship being staged by Cheltenham Home Guard MCC on April 27, AJP-sponsored rider Koch will be keen to turn the tables.

Also on four was three times past Wyegate winner Nibbs Adams, whose aggressive approach through the three sections at Wixon's Rocks saw him lose just one mark. With a two at Ty-Fry, third place was assured for him until a dab on the downhill section Limekiln 2 pushed him off the podium.

Top pre-65 rider was Cinderford's Ben Bowkett, who frustratingly for him added a maximum five mark loss just two sections from the end and so almost doubled his score.

The event has been running since 1983 and over the years has built up a reputation as a traditional trial which isn't just about the sections. Young Jack Gore probably wasn't even born when Jim Delahay lifted the Wyegate Cup for the first time but he quickly grasped the spirit of the event. Riding a standard Yamaha XT 125, he finished as the last rider on a two digit score, despite a run of four 10 mark penalties for missing sections.

The spirit of the event was also in evidence at the legendary Pant Glas steps, which clerk of the course Huw Watkins had wisely invited members of the 1 Rifles Army Battalion to, in order to help stricken riders. That invaluable assistance and some admirable repair work including Stan Howitt's ramp of rocks at the dreaded first step ensured a better day for most at that hazard.

The club would wish to thank all observers, landowners and local authorities for their help in making the event a success.


Hiding the body...Previously: from an update from CoC (12th March): ... A few moments later, a run down a steep hill through Lord's Grove and a tumble under his bike had Rod Jones in agony. In true man style, we all showed sympathy and understanding.... (OK - we may not have..) After 35 minutes of bum shuffling, the Forest of Dean's answer to Burke and Hare grabbed hold of him by his rucksack and dragged him down the hill to safety..... A torn quad in his thigh means he wasn't kidding about the pain.... Get well soon both.... (Good to see Rod hopping around at the start - hope he will be back running and riding soon.)



The Video.

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Wyegate Trial 2014 from Colin Jones on Vimeo.