One Title Decided As Another Begins

So Toni Bou is the World Indoor Trials Champion for the third successive time, no surprise about that as if you’ve watched any of the live transmissions on Eurosport 2 over the past few weeks, you’ll have seen that he is just that step ahead of the rest.

The most recent broadcast was from Bolzano in Italy last Thursday and though I only watched the first half hour, it was obvious that barring a disaster, Bou was going to be best – and so it proved. There’s no doubt about it, he has that “extra” that Dougie Lampkin displayed for so many years until the extra edge was lost which leads to the downhill path. Bou will find the same thing will happen to him as it happened to Doug when another young hotshot comes along. Who will that be? No idea, and whilst I don’t keep my ear that close to the ground to see who its likely to be , there is nobody immediately an obvious candidate.

So whilst one championship is decided, another started today over in east Yorkshire where the opening round of the eight event British Championship series took place. I’m writing this Saturday evening so I don’t know the result, but for certain, when you get to read this sometime on Sunday evening, the results from Scarborough are almost certain to be posted at a similar time.

Dougie is riding the trial and whilst he may be out of the reckoning when it comes to World Indoors and possibly World Outdoors, when it comes to the British Championship there’s no better place to put your money than with Lampkin. If I had any money and if I was a betting man, then it would be on Doug to take the first round and should he ride the entire series, then the British crown as well.

I wonder if in 24 hours I’ll be wishing I could eat my words?

I absolutely hate writing about a rider who has been so phenomenally good as if he had suddenly lost all his talent. That is certainly not the case with Lampkin but what can’t be avoided is the fact that no matter how good anybody has been in the past, the rise to the top is progressive, they stay there for a while, then slowly start to go down the other side. It’s not a criticism, merely a fact of life. Anyway, 12 World Championships to your name takes some beating and it will always be on your CV if your name is Lampkin.

Fortunately, I was able to watch, read and indeed write about Martin Lampkin’s rise to the top, and lying on my garage floor is a TMX from July 21, 1978 and on the front cover is a picture of Martin Lampkin and Bernie Schreiber (remember him?) with the headline “Bernie does it again, but Mart stays tops”.

World trials have certainly altered a bit since then. The course was 22 sections per lap over two 40 kilometre laps! Unfortunately the report doesn’t say where the trial was held except that it was in Italy in the foothills of the Alps near the French border. Sammy Miller was the TMX reporter from the event and as well as Lampkin making it into the points (only 10 placings in those days) with second place, Nigel Birkett finished ninth while Mick Andrews, Rob Shepherd, Rob Edwards and John Reynolds were all out of the points as Malcolm Rathmell retired the Suzuki with carburation troubles. Bet if I was to speak with Malc now he would tell me the real reason!

It’s good to look back at some old reports as it’s easy to forget how much has changed in a relatively short time. Lampkin, Rathmell, Birkett and Yrjo Vesterinen are all still heavily involved with the sport, but others have simply disappeared – at least I think they have. Whatever happened to Marland Whaley?

There aren’t many perks being the columnist for this website, but one is that I can sometimes plug one of my own trials. So I’m going to! The Angela Redford, round two of the ACU Traditional Trials Series is on SATURDAY, March 14th at Brookhouse Brickworks. Entries close next Saturday, March 7th, so if you want to ride and have the appropriate machinery or are of a suitable age, then get that entry to me quickly. I already have over 140, which if nothing else, means that 139 think it’s worth riding. (The 140th is me – and I know it’s worth riding!)