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Bradford & District Allan Jefferies Trial

bradford and districtYes folks, again it’s that time of year, strange rumblings have be heard in the deepest depths of Wharfedale. It can only mean one thing – preparations are being made for the 2017 running of the Allan Jefferies Trophy Trial. My spies have reported back as usual and I can now give you a sneak preview as to what is being planned for the event.


This year marks the 70th anniversary running of the trial and as such, a departure from normal format is on offer. The car park and start area will be the field opposite the garage in Kettlewell, courtesy of Robert Close. This new start venue has all the facilities requires for the rider, superb refreshments being available from the café opposite the garage, ice creams and petrol will be available form the garage as usual and toilet facilities are 80 metres along the road from the garage. An added bonus this year is that weekend camping is available in the start field before the trail on the Sunday morning – no need to book – just turn up. £3/4 per night donated to Air Ambulance/ Fell Rescue.


As you no doubt have come to expect the two old course planners, General Disdain (GD) and Major Injury (MI), have had their usual “devious” hats on when planning and plotting this year’s course. Do not assume the course will follow the “usual” routes to the section groups – take nothing for granted and keep close to the route flags at all times. Overall, the course is situated entirely within Wharfedale this year, with a new additional section introduced at Redmire Farm along with some significant changes to individual sections in other groups.


Competitors will depart the start field in pairs at one minute intervals, with the first pair away at 10:01 sharp. So, it’s carefully and quietly off through the village and away up Park Rash to the first group of the day in the upper reaches of Diamond Pastures. Here riders will ease themselves into the rigours of the day with 4 “very easy sections” – not my assessment but as stated by GD and MI. Riders follow the course flags and exit Diamond Pastures via the gate at the very top of the field. It’s left on to the path - as the path is popular with walkers, care required along here and it is essential competitors keep their speed down. Follow the path along the foot of the moor, which will eventually turn into a rough farm track, which emerges onto the public road in Starbotton.


The route then follows the road up through Buckden with a left turn on towards Hubberholme. A quick pit stop at the refuelling point located at the entrance to Redmire Farm and then back on the road to the first serious test of the day at the group at Raisgill.


Seven sections here, the first four being in the beck behind the B&B with the final 3 of the group using the old “favourites” (albeit with a devious twist), just up from the wooden summer house. The riders leave the group and climb the zigzag path up and out onto the moor heading for the next group at Bouther Gill. The usual reminder applies here - there are “Shake Holes” littering the moor. The “Shake Holes” are numerous, deep and well camouflaged – take the safe option and follow the route flags closely.


Only two sections in Bouther Gill this time around, then away up on to he top of the moor and on to the next group at Hagg Gill. The usual four sections here, but be alert the “cunning” placement of the section markers, the new deviation for the clubmen, as well as a new exit on the top section for both groups of competitors. Competitors then have short run down the moor back to the road and then on to Yockenthwaite.


Yockenthwaite has five sections to be attempted with the first two on the lower slopes of the hill close to the farm house and should pose no problems for the majority of the entry, although the very slippery limestone bedrock will catch out the unwary. The final three are higher up beyond the wire fence and are a different proposition altogether. The first of these (#3 in the group) is usually straight forward enough, although I have heard rumours of it potentially being run as a “downhill beck section” this time around – good luck with that then. According to GD and MI, the 4th section should prove to be very interesting as here there are separate Start and End cards for the different groups of riders. The upper part of the Experts section has not been used for decades and with nastily angled boulders within the steeply climbing beck and any rider exiting with a clean here should be in with a shout of the overall prize. The final section of this group is essentially a rerun of last year and any clubman getting though without penalty will have a distinct sense of achievement. The top part of the expert route has only yielded a couple of cleans over the years (no challenge there then) and provides another honest test of rider ability. The large step followed by the array of boulders in the steeply rising beck demands aggression, balance and throttle control of the highest quality. Competitors then have a short off-road run along the side of the moor down into the group at Hubberholme, taking great care when passing through the farm yard as kids, dogs and walkers abound. Remember, not all walkers will appreciate your wheelie skills . . . . !


The two sections within the Hubberholme group are much along the lines of last year but with the usual devious twists to catch the unwary and inattentive rider. The sections over the fairly benign looking limestone beck can be very deceiving with, depending on conditions, grip under the back wheel almost non existent. Riders then follow the track back down to the road and then it’s on to next group at Redmire Farm.


A quick refuel before tackling the seven sections that are on offer here. The first six are immediately behind the farm house and much as they were last year. The early sections start off gentle enough and gradually increase in severity inline with the increasing steepness of the beck. The top section in the beck is usually a good test of rider ability and especially clubmen, who clean this one, will have a great sense of achievement and satisfaction. The final section in the group is entirely new and is off to the left of the first six. The dismissive opinion of GD and MI is that it is a “steady away” type of section that definitely looks more daunting that in really is. The rock bed of the steeply angled climb has an unusual composition for this part of the world and as grip is not an issue. All that is required is confidence and conviction in your riding skills - others would surmise that “big kahoonis” would also be a useful asset here. From here the route takes in a new piece of land along the bottom of the fell following a track along to the wood. Then it’s down through the wood with care being required on a couple of sharp corners on the steep path back onto a track and along to the road. From here, riders take a leisurely ride back down the road to the start field in Kettlewell. On the way the can take in the scenery and reflect on the 31 sections that they have already been completed.


A quick refuel of man and machine in Kettlewell and then it’s off again through the village and back up the Park Rash road. The two sections in Listers, at the bottom of the climb up the Rash, should present few problems to the bulk of the entry. Riders are then back on to the road, up the Rash and into Diamond Pastures (again) to take the final group of five sections in the lower part of the beck below the wood. The first three sections are considered to be of “medium” severity with the fourth one, especially for the experts, being a little on the “harder” side – just what you want/need towards the end of a long day on the bike. The last section of the day ends just before the wood and should provide no real terror for the bulk of the entry. It is then a short ride back to the tarmac and on down the road to the finish.


Riders will be timed off before they enter into the village of Kettlewell and all riders need to remember to sign off at in the Start Field and it’s job done. Grab a cup of tea and a bun - you will have earned it.


So that is it, a 7 hour time limit, a total of 38 sections and nearly 29 miles of glorious Dales scenery, especially if the sun shines. As is usual with GI/MD the sections will tend to be long, have turns on rocks with careful (some would say cunning) flag placement. I have been assured (by MI/GD) that all sections will be set out sensibly, “no initiative tests” with plenty of opportunity for clubmen to get their tired feet down.

This route is what is proposed at the time of going to press and could well be altered nearer the time.

As always, there is the thorny problem of getting sufficient “Observers with Bikes”. Some of the more remote sections are only accessible by bikes and therefore; “Observers with Bikes” would be particularly welcome and will be guaranteed a good run round on the day, as well as a food voucher for the excellent fare available at the cafe.

Just one final point on the administrative side. Fuel transport will be provided to a suitable refuel point along the course. The fuel transport will be leaving the Start Field before the start of the trail at no later than 09:45. Any rider wishing to avail themselves of this service should deposit a can of fuel in the appropriately signed area before this time.

Competitors should note, parts of the course cross PUBLIC footpaths and uses PUBLIC roads. Please reduce your speed and ride with consideration at all times.

Have an enjoyable and SAFE day.

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