The 2019 KIA National Twinshock Champs got away to a flying start with the enthusiastic Aqueduct club in north east Wales, near Llangollen, playing host to a mighty entry of 170 eager hopefuls last Sunday.
The remote Plas Onn farm, Selattyn, was once again the venue and unlike last year, which featured a bitterly cold day as the Beast from the East struck, last Sunday saw a welcome balmy, sunny day which made for perfect trials.
Russ Jones and co had laid out an all off-road course in the valley with 20 mixed sections to be lapped twice with slippery, twisty bankings, tree roots and rocky streams and with different classes heading to different sections, queueing for the 170 entries was kept to a minimum.
Ride of the day was surely the winning score of just eight marks which was the lowest score on the Expert sections and set by Dean Devereaux on his Bultaco in the Historic Spanish class.
Dean rode his Honda TLM260 in the Air-cooled Mono class last season but his first ride on the nicely turned-out blue Bultaco was arguably his best ever.
It was the usual suspects, Dave Wood on his No.1 Bultaco and Ossa enthusiast Steve Bisby who filled the podium behind the dominant Devereux.
Top Air-cooled Monoshock Expert was Dean’s travelling partner and reigning class Champ Steve Bird, who dropped just one mark more, nine, to take the class win.
In second, just one mark back on 10, was Ben Butterworth who actually rode a Twinshock Fantic, but the bike is fitted with an engine from a Mono – so for the purposes of the KIA series makes it a Mono.
Dan Sanders only just sneaked the final podium place on a tie-break from Andy Paxton as the Yamaha TY pilots fought out a draw on 18 apiece.
Honda RTL pilot Nigel Scott was a disappointed non-finisher after suffering a handlebar clamp malfunction.
Around 20 Britshocks tackled the Expert route and it was no surprise to see defending champ Ian Peberdy take maximum points for a clear victory on his immaculate Bantam.
It was the beefy 350 BSA of Nick Paxton in the runner-up place and, just like his brother Andy in the Mono class, he came out top of a tie-break.
And it was quite a memorable scalp Nick took in the shape of three-times World Champ Yrjo Vesterinen who was riding his self-tuned, well-sorted Bantam.
Vesty enjoyed the trial, as did daughter Hanna who rode Britshock Clubman but reckoned that it was quite physical and he wished he was younger and fitter.
Donna Fox gamely entered the Expert route but her Bantam was refusing to rev cleanly and the Foxy lady did well to drop just 51 for 12th place. A spot of tuning would see Donna threatening the podium.
Which just leaves the Twinshock Expert class and it was London all-rounder Chris Koch, who contests all kinds of series on all kinds of machinery, who wheeled out a 300 Fantic to take an emphatic win.
In second was reigning class champ Richard Allen who selected a rare 200cc Gori from his stock for a change.
Richard reckoned that the original ‘slippery’ footpegs cost him some marks and the bike went off-song as the trial progressed.
But he was sufficiently impressed to say: “It was fun to ride so I’ll go right through the bike and see what we can make of it.”
Regular Fantic contender Matt Spink was in the points claiming the final podium placing.
On to the Clubmen and the standout ride was the stunning Twinshock win of Martin Gilbert who dropped just 13 marks on his tiny Honda TLM50 – fitted with a mighty 65cc big bore kit.
Bottom gear, lots of revs and a huge amount of confidence (faith!) saw Martin pilot his baby in awesome style.
Martin held off the full-size SWM Jumbo 350 of Jim Williams in a genuine giant-killing act with Dave Pengilly’s 330 Kawasaki Yellow Peril third.
Hats off to that man Gilbert though. It tops the feats of Paul Wobbler Norman and Leeroy Granby on their Fantic 80s last year – and they were pretty impressive.
Wobbler made a shaky start on his new steed, the awesome RTX, that is only at the start of the development phase.
Robin Luscombe, now riding again after a serious back injury, was on good form to nail Clubman Britshock on his Tiger Cub in a close-fought and popular class of around 40 hopefuls.
There was plenty of machine variety with John Chatto second on his James, Bantam-mounted Pete Edwards third and the rasping Triumph twin of Gary Shaw fourth.
Mick Grant took his Bantam to fifth, just ahead of pal Duncan MacDonald on his 500 Ariel.
Clubman Air-cooled Mono also saw a good mix of bikes, although Jerry Hawker took a convincing win and maximum championship points on his Honda RTL.
With Jerry out on his own it was close for the minor placings which saw Yamaha-mounted Andy Perry hold off a trio of Fantics courtesy of Darren Morgan, Paul Whittaker and Lee Sagar.
Finally, it was good to see a turnout of around a dozen Historic Spanish in the Clubman ranks with Ossa enthusiast Martin Beech bagging the win on his immaculate and sweet-running green 250 model.
Dave Wardell, last year’s Clubman Mono champ, enjoyed a change and rode a Montesa 175, which he said he has revived after 20-odd years lying dormant.
And there was another Mont, a 247 this time, in the hands of Butch Robson who reckoned he was having a bad day but third place wasn’t too shabby.
2019 Twinshock Championship round one results
Historic Spanish: Dean Devereux (Bultaco) 8, Dave Wood (Bultaco) 45, Stephen Bisby (Ossa) 54, Ian Tracey (Ossa) 159.
Twinshock: Chris Koch (Fantic) 12, Richard Allen (Gori) 33, Matt Spink (Fantic) 37, Roy Palmer (Kawasaki) 48, Chris Garlick (Fantic) 48, Rob Faulkner (Yamaha) 57, Mark Cameron (Fantic) 62, Phil Daley (Fantic) 65, Stephen Shelley (Honda) 75, Steve Clift (Fantic) 76.
Britshock: Ian Peberdy (Bantam) 17, Nick Paxton (BSA) 23, Yrjo Vesterinen (Bantam) 23, James Francis (BSA) 26, Mark Reynolds (Cub) 27, Paul Bennett (Francis Barnett) 34, John Maxfield (Bantam) 35, Tim Blackmore (Bantam) 37, Jim Hough (Ariel) 37, Chris Chell (BSA) 43, Richard Plant (BSA) 44, Donna Fox (Bantam) 51, Scott Faulkner (Dot) 53, Nathan Jones (BSA) 54, Simon Chell (Triumph) 58.
Air-cooled Mono: Steve Bird (Yamaha) 9, Dan Sanders (Yamaha) 18, Andy Paxton (Yamaha) 18, Pete Ruscoe (Fantic) 51, Martin Jackson (Yamaha) 58, Kev Ellis (Yamaha) 87.
Historic Spanish: Martin Beech (Ossa) 14, Dave Wardell (Montesa) 2 3, Butch Robson (Montesa) 28, Paul Cook (Montesa) 37, Ossy Byers (Bultaco) 40, Adrian Kent (Bultaco) 41, Dave Matthews (Bultaco) 46, James Beech (Ossa) 67, Phillup Higgins (Ossa) 70, A Towries (Suzuki) 122.
Twinshock: Martin Gilbert (Honda 65) 13, Jim Williams (SWM) 14, Dave Pengilly (Kawasaki) 17, Colin Stubbs (Honda) 18, Andrew Williams (Honda) 21, Owen Hardisty (Honda) 81, Gary Hawkins (Fantic) 25, Rene Stubbs (Fantic) 26, Tim Cuffin (Majesty) 27, Dave Fowler (Yamaha) 27, Simon Anderson (Armstrong) 27, Dave Brooker (Yamaha) 27, Anthony Charles (Fantic) 28, Russ Walker (Seeley) 29, Julian Price (Fantic) 32.
Britshock: Robin Luscombe (Cub) 8, John Chatto (James) 10, Peter Edwards (Bantam) 15, Gary Shaw (Triumph twin) 16, Mick Grant (Bantam) 16, Duncan MacDonald (Ariel) 17, Peter Hallam (BSA) 22, Keith Wells (Bantam) 27, Gerry Minshall (James) 29, Ludvig Granby (Ariel) 29, David Wilkinson (Bantam) 30, Paul Howells (Bantam) 32, Steve Gollins 35, Graham Greaves (Triumph twin) 38, Paul Owen (Bantam) 40.
Air-cooled Mono: Jerry Hawker (Honda) 1, Andy Perry (Yamaha) 26, Darren Morgan (Fantic) 27, Paul Whittaker (Fantic) 28, Lee Sagar (Fantic) 30, Paul Hobson (Fantic) 34, Ian Emery (Yamaha) 34, Michael Dorricott (Honda) 35, Gary Fleckney (Honda) 38, Robin Foulkes (Yamaha) 40, Glenn Howard (Yamaha) 42, Thomas Austin (Montesa) 43, Seb Clarke (Yamaha) 47, Graham Dukes (Fantic) 47, Colin Slater (Yamaha) 50.