Status Quo In The WC

It’s April, the weather has brightened up considerably and with the first two days of the opening World Championship event now having taken place, the 2009 season is well and truly under way.

And what’s changed? Very little as far as I can see. Though I didn’t go to Ireland for the opening round, with Raga and Bou sharing the top spot each day and the usual pecking order after them being a mix of Fajardo, Fujinami and Cabestany – pick third place from any one of three – once again the best Brit was Dougie closely followed by Dabble.

But it’s not in the main class that us Brits need to be looking for seeing both Alexz Wigg and Jonathan Richardson take their respective Junior and Youth Championship wins on both days, it’s a brilliant performance from these two riders, as well as the other British riders that filled the lower placings.

What is it about Wiggy? With rare exceptions, in the UK at a national or British Championship rounds he is up there, but not apparently winning material. Put the World Championship tag on the event and he blows them all away. Brilliant stuff, but does that mean every trial in which he rides now has to be prefixed WC?

I priced up the cost of going to Ireland and with the ferry from Stranraer to Belfast for me and road bike, plus a minimum two nights accommodation, the price quickly reached £200 plus, so I instead took the easy route and travelled south to the Welsh Trophy Trial on Sunday, back in my old enduro hunting ground of Mid Wales around Rhayader.

I haven’t been to the area for five years for a trial but mixing with the ACU Normandale Traditional Championship boys and the sidecar men, made a very welcome change from riding myself. It was good to get the road bike out for the first decent trip of the year and on a beautiful day, it was good to simply spectate and take a few pics.

I have to be honest and say there was an ulterior motive. Perhaps foolishly, I’ve entered the Manx Two Day on a sidecar with Andrew Scott as passenger, who used to ride very successfully with his brother Phil. We’ve got the entry, booked the hotel and ferry via Hughie’s Tours, now all we need is to blag, borrow or steal a sidecar outfit!

So I was sowing the seeds with the sidecar boys for the loan of a reasonable, modern sidecar for us to use next August. I thought that if the word was put out, then come July when I need to make a real effort to borrow one, it won’t come as a shock.

Is it a cheek trying to borrow a bike for a big trial like the Manx?: Well of course it is, but in this tightly knit world of trials riding in which we inhabit, I’m sure somebody will help us out to fulfil such a request. I feel I can still ride a chair reasonably capably and with the years passing, now is as good a time as any.

So, offers will be greatly appreciated!

It’s years since I was even remotely involved with the sidecars, and with few exceptions, I don’t even know most of the guys that ride them. But after just one day it’s obvious they remain a great bunch of blokes, though yesterday’s short experience brings home the fact that the styles have changed dramatically. Back in my days of sidecar trials, they were generally genuine no-stop trials, but on Sunday’s offerings, stopping seems to accepted now and marks are lost by footing or abandoning the plot. I remember in the good old Richmond Club trial days with their fierce observers, you only had to look like stopping and they would have you for a five!

I think I also need to grow a beard again, or that’s what Mrs Rapley thinks, for now, as then, many of the sidecar boys are bearded. I had a beard throughout my sidecar days and in any picture of me on a chair, I’ve always had a beard.