It’s rare for the British Championship title to be decided at the final round, and with this year’s crown so close, Skyrakes above Skipton was the only place to be today, Sunday. And what a great day it turned out to be!
Throughout Saturday, it rained as if it had never rained before in the north of England, dropping 50mm of rain through the day, but on Sunday, after a cloudy start, as the first man set off at 10am, the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, with the view over the Yorkshire and Lancashire hills from the top of Skyrakes absolutely breathtaking.
Of course the ground underfoot was pretty wet, and the sections rode very tough, particularly on the Championship course, though not so bad on the Expert route. In fact, for a final round to a close fought series, the day was nigh on perfect. Certainly a lot better than the previous day’s practice lap had been.
No doubt you will have seen the results of the championship elsewhere on this website, so congratulations to Graham Jarvis on securing his fifth – and he claims it will be his final – British Championship title, and of course commiserations to Michael Brown, who fought hard all day and at the end lost by just a frustrating two marks in the trial.
At the start it was a simple case of whoever won between Jarvis and Brown would be British Champion with Shaun Morris in with a remote outside chance. Shaun was unable to ride to the level of which he is capable, so it was down to Graham and Browny.
Talk about close, first one, then the other gained a slim advantage and it was only too obvious that whoever would turn out to be the loser would be bitterly disappointed. Jarvis wanted to finish his career on a high, as he is certain in his own mind he will not make a serious challenge for the crown again, whilst at just 21 years of age, Pune wanted to establish himself as top dog on the British scene and take what he hoped would be the first of many titles.
But in the end it was Graham Jarvis, very much the quiet man of trials and a guy who has been impressive ever since I first saw him in action so many years ago. I doubt if anybody has seen Graham ever lose his cool; inside he may well be in turmoil, but the public side of Graham has never been anything other than perfection. Many top sportsmen – and also the lesser lights – would do well to copy his demeanour which to my mind is without comparison.
So well done Grimbo old mate.
Graham has never ridden for anybody other than Malcolm and Rhoda Rathmell since he moved north to chase glory as a young adult, his integrity and commitment to them has been unwavering. And with his mum and dad present to see him win his fifth crown, there was immense satisfaction all round. Rhoda was even moved to tears.
British Championship trialling is a close knit family. It doesn’t attract massive crowds and whilst there were several hundred folks there, the attendance was pretty low for a national championship finale. So popular are the two riders that both had equal support and whoever won would have been well received.
But of course neither won the trial. That honour went to a very poorly Dougie Lampkin who was feeling – and looking – very off colour. 'Flu and the effects of his massive crash the previous week in Andorra at the Trial des Nations left him looking a shade of his normal, healthy self. But whilst in his own mind it may have affected his riding, it certainly didn’t show for he was at his supreme best.
It’s easy, when Doug is notching up fourth, fifth and sixth places in World Rounds to write him off as past his best. Indeed that may be so at that level, but put him in a Bradford organised British Championship round and the cream comes to the top.
At one stage on Sunday he wanted to retire he was feeling so poorly, but an ear bashing from Harry and the recognition that many of the spectators had turned out to see Dougie perform ensured that he finished the trial and took the winner’s trophy.
Aye; it’s been an entertaining day today.