Caught up with Malcolm and Rhoda Rathmell, the Sherco importers on Sunday at Croft where the British Superbike Championship was being held. The Rathmells were enjoying lunch courtesy of one of their Sherco team sponsors, Doodson Insurance, who are also involved in road race sponsorship.
Inevitably, after just a few seconds, Malcolm was quick to say that for once he agrees with me, and trials will indeed be Dynamic, if and when the World Championship goes no-stop/maintaining forward motion/dynamic – call it what you will. He said that they had been to Spain last week for the world round and he was bored – and that from a guy who has probably been to more world rounds than most, and is an importer and has been a long time minder for Graham Jarvis of course.
The concern they have is that with some riders, notably Adam Raga, voicing an opinion against no-stop, it could persuade the FIM to back down and decide not to introduce the new rule for 2010. Malcolm reckons that would be a disaster, for whilst the top riders will remain the same no matter what format is used, he thinks it’s imperative to revitalise interest in the series, and long term to improve new bike sales. The Rathmells definitely see the connection with an improved spectacle improving the sport all the way down the line.
Before writing this piece, I watched the TC YouTube video from France which is of Toni Bou. Initially, it looked as if he would be riding the whole section no-stop, but then he stopped several times before going through to the end of the hazard. However, if you watch it carefully, it is almost possible for a rider of his standard to ride it no-stop, with perhaps just a few amendments, so perhaps the section severity may not change significantly if Dynamic Trials happens.
Not unexpectedly, Bou is world champion once again, with Dougie Lampkin finishing sixth overall, still the best of the British riders, but it is still of some concern that the top six are still the same top six of several years ago – the younger riders still don’t seem able to break into the top spots and upset the dominance that Bou, Raga, Fujinami, Cabestany and Fajardo have over the rest.
As a secretary of a club that holds a national trial, I received the application form this week from the ACU to apply for whatever rounds outside of the British Championship and Youth Championship that my club so desires. As I recall, I wrote something along these lines last year and ended up remarking that the national trials scene will total in excess of 100 events by the time the final calendar is published. I rather suspect that the same will happen again this year.
Is there a need for such a large number of championship events, or is it simply a case of there being so many diverse aspects of trials riding that this number of nationals is needed? It would be interesting to learn your thoughts, because I’m not at all certain that every national trial gets the entry the organisers probably wish for. So often it’s down to dates and the current level of enthusiasm for any particular championship.
Some nationals will always stand on their own, simply because of the land they use and the tradition they enjoy. More often than not they are northern based, but that was not always the case for a good number of years ago events like the Mitcham Vase, Hoad Trophies, Perce Simon, Knut, Kickham and numerous others were equally well supported. Sadly, these events, when held, are but a shadow of their former selves, presumably, the loss of land being one of the main reasons.