Where's The Difference?

If you saw the picture in TMX last week of Dougie Lampkin in a hospital bed, surrounded by British supporters, you will have seen that he looked pretty rough. You’ll have read of course that it all happened at the Red Bull Erzberg Enduro when he crashed out with heat exhaustion and then was hit on the head by a flying rock from another rider’s wheel. Talk about a bit of bad luck!

Looking at that picture there seemed no way he would be fit enough to compete in Sunday’s World Championship trial in Italy, but he hasn’t won the distinction of being a tough Yorkie by being a wimp and not only did he make the start in Italy, he took fourth place which these days is just about the best he can expect with Raga, Bou and Fujinami in such tremendous form.

Bou’s result has come as a bit of a shock though as we were beginning to think he was to all intents and purposes invincible, but fifth at the end of lap one showed that he is human after all.

Anyway, moving on, Alexz Wigg looks pretty good for the series win in the Junior Championship and Jonathan Richardson has a healthy advantage in the Youth series – which is looking great for the British riders.

Going back to the Erzberg, the question I pose is this. Taddy Blazusiak was a good World Championship trials rider, good, but not a winner, and if you were going to put money on who would win between Taddy, Lampkin and Graham Jarvis, Taddy would probably be the third choice.

So what is it that turns a good trials rider at world level into a regular outright winner when it comes to extreme enduros, one who seems to have the edge over Lampkin and Jarvis, both of whom, as we’ve said, you would put money on first if it were a trial.

At their level (indeed at any level if I’m anything to go by) extreme competitiveness is the driving force and I bet that it really niggles Dougie and Graham that Taddy seems to have the edge. I’m supposing, from the safety of my laptop in the office, that they want to be able to beat him in extreme enduros just as they did in world trials, but it’s just not happening yet. And that’s a question I don’t think anyone can answer except to wait and see how it all fares out.

Talking of competitiveness, sometimes you have to give yourself a good talking to, especially when everything is going wrong. I’ve always said to others who want to pack up when the going gets challenging that however tough it seems at the time, come next Wednesday it will have all faded into distant memory and you’ll be able to tell your mates how good you were last weekend.

Which brings me to the point of having to give myself a good talking to last weekend. I rode the Cumberland County Club’s Centenary Trial, a two day twin-shock, pre 65, British bike and veterans on modern bikes club trial. Thanks to Lancs County club member Dave Taylor I was offered a 349 Montesa Honda to ride, and I was very appreciative of the offer. Sorry to have to say it, but I was an accident looking for somewhere to happen on lap one, day one, so followed sensible advice and moved down from the sporting course to the easy course. (Bike big, bike heavy, me short, me weak) And for the remainder of the weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I have to say that I feel a bit of a fraud, but sometimes, when all those years of experience tell you to make a sensible decision, to not make that decision is simply stupid. So wimp or not, that’s what I did and went home Sunday afternoon content in the knowledge that I was in one piece, the 349 Mont was in one piece, and I had threatened nobody with my weekend’s riding abilities. (Dave had said to me, don’t worry about breaking anything, there’s plenty more at home – and he was not kidding!)

Which is all a long way of getting round to saying I needed to be in one piece as I’m off on my VFR with five pals to Corsica for a well-earned break from the daily grind. And that means there will not be a column on Sunday, July 4, and possibly not one on Sunday June 28, (though I shall try to find time to write one for next weekend before I go on Thursday).