A Bright Future For Some Classy Girls

You surely can’t have missed Becky Cook’s recent performances in national trials, especially her superb ride to win the Intermediate route in the Cleveland Trial two weeks ago which she followed up a week later with second overall in the same class at the Bemrose Trial.

The Cleveland was definitely a testing trial and Sherco mounted Becky had a fantastic 10 mark win, beating all the lads which included some classy riders, the names of whom I shall spare you and their embarrassment.

And as if to prove it was no fluke, at last week’s Bemrose, with the Experts and Inters all riding the same sections, she finished second in the Inter class, once again claiming some serious scalps in the process.

Perhaps surprisingly, Becky does not hail from a part of the world that is renowned for its trials riders. The Isle of Wight undoubtedly has some enjoyable trials, but it’s hardly the place you would first think of to produce such an outstanding rider. And not only does Becky not have the luxury of coming from a big trialing area, every time she takes part, it involves a considerable amount of travelling which of course includes a ferry crossing. I certainly wouldn’t want to traipse all the way up to North Yorkshire from the Isle of Wight for a trial, so good on the lass for her determination and desire to ride so well.

As far as I can recall, this year’s Scottish will be her first and whilst Scotland is a very different kettle of fish to any other trial in the calendar, under the careful guidance of Malcolm and Rhoda Rathmell and the rest of the Sherco entourage, she will be guided round the trial from a team that has lots of deep seated knowledge about the event.

She should go well as it’s very much a rider’s trial rather than a trick cyclist’s trial, which should suit her well.

In fact the UK has a very classy group of girls riding trials, as we well know from their success in previous Women’s Trial des Nations. Becky, Maria Conway, Donna Fox, Emma Bristow, Katy Sunter and numerous others all have a significant amount of international experience, and were it not for a certain Laia Sanz, I reckon we could have a Women’s World Champion from amongst the ranks of British girls.

One name that also keeps cropping up is that of Joanna Coles. Still only an A class rider, the Derbyshire lass is well up amongst the lads in the National A class Championship At the first two rounds of the Youth A and B Championship she took a fifth and fourth in the Isle of Man and at Bracken Rocks, but didn’t go to the third round down in Devon. However, to hold a joint fifth place after two events is some achievement and with continued progression through the ranks, she is a very bright hope for the future.

With no weekly newspaper at hand as I write this, I phoned the Otter Vale Club secretary Colin Somers to find out Joanne’s position in the third round – which she didn’t contest – and had a chat with Colin who I have known for over 35 years. He rode trials at one stage, and I’m sure he wouldn’t be offended if I told you that he was the most dangerous trials rider I’ve ever known. He also drove his car in a similar manner!

Long before I moved north, he drove me and another long-time friend, Dick Watt from Devon to the Scott Trial in his Fiat 127 (or it may have been 126 – the thing that later became a Lada!) and boy, that was an interesting journey!

Colin has been a long time stalwart of the Otter Vale Club – a club that I was once Treasurer for – as he has been the secretary for over 30 years and he lives over 70 miles away in Bournemouth from the club’s headquarters in Ottery St Mary.

“I’ve got used to the travelling now” he told me when we spoke, but it’s no longer in a Fiat.