I recently paid a visit back to my home to take in the Kia Twinshock Championship round at Edmundbyers, in Consett up on the Northumberland moors. Unlike the Scott Trial, this event is catered more for club and novice riders, so the bikes aren’t the hugely modern machinery you see at the Scott and instead are a mix of machinery, predominantly twin shock layouts.
The championship was setup purely for low-cost off roading, and is a great entry to the sport for younger riders. A quick glance through the classifieds and you’ll find a few bikes around £1,500, some even lower.
Also, you’ll find some of the older riders competing on bikes from their youth. The championship is split into 4 classes, and interestingly each section has 2 routes. You may remember from the Scott article how a section works. The rider approaches and begins between 2 start flags. They then have to negotiate a series of flagged “gates” through terrain which can consist of boulders or steep climbs. Two routes are included in this series so that the course can be configured to be challenging at all levels of rider.
The course took place way up on the hills above Edmundbyers and was a clear, sunny day – albeit bitterly cold in the persistent strong wind. The first 4-5 sections were relatively straight forward, involving negotiating some small boulders and tricky inclines. Unlike timed trials, this is just a purely observational trial. That means the rider is free to dismount at the beginning of the section and walk it, choosing the best line to take. Riders will point out tricky boulders and visualise where to put wheels and what to avoid.
The route after the first few sections then makes its way across rolling heather moor, with some of the central sections being difficult to get to as a spectator. We caught back up with the riders at sections 18-20 after a pretty adventurous stroll across the landscape. The lap itself is roughly 8 miles, which is akin to a traditional trial length, and is over 2 laps in this case. The riders were taking around 5 hours to complete the course.
There were some lovely bikes on show, with great examples from Bultaco, Fantic, Triumph and BSA. They are split into 4 classes as mentioned, which are:
Class 1 – air cooled monoshock bikes, and monoshock bikes that have been converted to twinshock.
Class 2 – Spanish manufactured twinshock bikes, ‘pre 78.
Class 3 – All twinshock bikes and high modified Spanish machines.
Class 4 – Britshock (British made) bikes ‘pre 72.
All the classes aim to keep the original silhouettes as much as possible to retain the classic look and it does show – with some of the most attractive machines being period Triumph examples.
As with the Scott, this is a great spectator event, you can get really up close to the riders and the sections – within reason of course – and the variety of both rider and machinery is great to see.
The championship moves around the country and does visit the Nene Valley area so I’ll follow up with some more shots from there.