With photographers banished from the main arena during the final last week of the opening round of the World Indoor Trials Championship at Sheffield (no problem with that incidentally, in fact for TV and ringside viewing purposes it should have been done years ago), it was a case of staying behind the barriers during the final.
However, I had enough pics from the heat (which you’ll recall if you were there or saw the TV transmission had absolutely no contribution to the final) and after a section or two made the decision to watch part of the final from up in the stands. Only once throughout the past 14 years have I been in the stands to watch the action, and then only briefly, so I was able to see it with a totally detached outlook.
You actually see more from the stands than we do down on the floor, particularly if you catch the replay on the big screen, as it’s quite difficult to see what’s happening on the screen from the low angle. Anyway, I was following what was happening and when Dougie got himself lined up to tackle the big white boxes, the atmosphere was electric. At that point he was very much in with a real chance of taking the win; the crowd knew it and were keen to urge him on.
He certainly made a valiant attempt through the first part of the section, but when it came to the point where he had to fire off one box, touch the rear wheel on the intervening middle box and land on one higher, I said to the guy sitting next to me, “he won’t get up there”.
And when Dougie failed, he was amazed that I was right. How did I know? Simple, two things really, unlike the riders who had gone before, he didn’t warm his tyre enough by spinning it on the box, and Dougie is several stone heavier than all the others, and that has always been a disadvantage at times. Strange, I just saw it happening before it actually did so. I know I had a 50% chance of being right (or wrong!), but somehow, I knew.
And when it happened, the boundless enthusiasm that was reverberating around the arena suddenly disappeared. It was if somebody had died, the place went silent, and from that point on, it was all over for Doug.
If any of the Lampkins read this (probably unlikely I think), it’s not a criticism, how can you criticise somebody with the fantastic record that Dougie Lampkin holds, but the show was billed as Dougie’s Last Stand, and as we know, he is not an automatic choice for the upcoming world rounds anymore and if he takes part in any, it will be as a promoter’s choice.
So will any promoter choose him to take part? They’ll be mad if they don’t , because he is still a fantastic draw; he still has fantastic ability and like all GREAT sportsmen, he always gives his all. So watch out for future live transmissions on Eurosport 2 where we can follow the indoor series live.
You may well have picked up on the news that Doug is planning a limited attack on some of the extreme enduros that are held, beginning this weekend with The Tough One near Oswestry. No doubt he will fare well in these events for he has the speed, strength and build, bike control and talent to succeed and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to this very different discipline..
Don’t forget, David Knight, without doubt the supreme exponent of this black art was once the British Expert Trials Champion; Graham Jarvis, another ace on the extreme scene and Taddy Blazusiak have all been top six world round trials riders, so Doug joins good company and promises a significant future for us to follow.