British Championship Controversy
- Malcolm Rathmell Sport
Firstly, many congratulations to Jimmy Dabill and his team, on winning the 2012 British Championship. Yes it has been controversial in places but in general the Championship has run very smoothly with everyone involved learning as it went on, with some of the controversy being self inflicted.
James especially has ridden the championship in the spirit intended and I personally feel he has become a better rider and a better person because of it. Gone is the cursing and swearing, the revving and the shouting. Now we have the ‘man’ and we will see this in next years’ world championship results, I am sure of this.
Condolences to Michael. Yes he has ridden well in the British Championship all year and I think with a little less moaning and a little more positivity the result could have been better. Hope you claim the win bonus!!
In reply to John Shirt’s account of what happened I saw it from a slightly different point of view and certainly a more truthful point of view. They say if you play with fire long enough you get burnt. This is exactly what happened, against the ACU rules and against the gentlemans’ agreement between all the importers team GG have flaunted all the rules all year, with no regard or respect for anyone.
It must be remembered that at the British Championship meeting it was agreed there would be one ‘assistant’ and that ‘assistant’ was not allowed in the section without the prior agreement of the observer. That assistant was the person who had signed on at the start of the trial. Any rider or person associated with that rider/team would be excluded if they contravened the rules. John Collins pointed this out at the riders briefings.
As John Shirt rightly pointed out in his Press Release ‘a person having an interest in a riders performance, who in any way alters the section without the authority of an official’ is not playing by the rules, full stop.
What actually happened on section 10 at the Mitchell Trial was that Brown and Dabill were the last two riders at the section. Michael prepped the section, as riders do, for him to ride and then he returned to his bike. The observer was now watching and waiting for Michael Brown to prepare to enter the section. At this time John Shirt entered the difficult part of the section, not as a spectator but as part of the GG cheat team, and started kicking, moving and levelling the section again.
I was sat next to the Clerk of the Course who told John Shirt to leave the section. Instead of stepping over the tape and getting out of the section he turned round and returned down the section, still kicking and levelling the stones. This was all directly in front of the Clerk of the Course, the Steward of the Meeting, James Dabill and myself, plus other spectators.
Does John Shirt think everyone is stupid or does he have a God given right to do just what he wants – cheat?
How he can call himself a ‘spectator’ and say ‘I did not alter the section’ are both blatant lies. James Dabill did not complain about another rider’s performance, he complained about John Shirt being in the section, altering it for his rider Michael Brown. If all John Shirt has said is true why was he in the section, what did he think, ‘Oh I’ll just stroll up the section a little way to get a better view of the Welsh Valleys!!!
In conclusion I would like to thank, on behalf of the importers (well some of them) all the lads and lasses at the Mitchell for doing such a great job and running a first class event. We would also like to thank the ACU for taking the risk of trying to improve the championship and all the other organisers (except one) for running the British Championship under the new rules with such short notice.
For us, and about 30 riders in the British Championship, the series has been a great success. Yes we have to learn some lessons and there are a few things to change but in general we have moved forward with a main championship series which took the entry from 6 to over 30 at most events. Rome wasn’t built in a day but as a country we have shown that we were brave enough to try. We know for a fact the other countries want to change but, as yet, they haven’t made the move.