Another year, another Scott!

So, yet another Scott Trial has come and gone, and by all accounts it once again proved to be a fantastic event. Like so many folks, this particular Saturday in October is one of the best days of the biking year for me, and despite Saturday’s awful weather, it was a cracker of a day.

I get asked many questions each year, the most frequent being “who has the most Scott Trial finishes?” Why folks think I should know always beats me, as I’m not a record keeper and never have any facts at my finger tips. John Moffatt is the one for facts and figures from trials history. I simply rely on memory (fatal!) or I ask around and hope somebody else knows!

In this case I did just that, and it seems as if the rider likely to have the most finishes under his belt is Graham Tales. He thinks that he has ridden 28 Scott Trials and has 26 finishes to his name. As ever, don’t put this down as gospel, but it seems likely as he has the greatest number of Scott Spoons.

It was Devonian Chris Shorey who posed the question to me on Saturday morning as he thinks that he has now ridden the Scott some 29 times with 22 finishes, perhaps that is now 23 finishes as he again completed the trial on Saturday.

When I lived in Devon (I moved north in 1978) Chris’s dad Peter was one of my regular competitors in trials, and Chris is certainly following in the family footsteps as a keen and enthusiastic trials rider – particularly as he has to travel from Plymouth each year to take part. That alone is a feat worth mentioning as the Scott is usually mostly populated by Northerners and Yorkshiremen in particular.

Not only is the Scott a classic event in every true sense of the word, it is also unique in that the bulk of proceeds from the trial are paid out to local charities. If you were not in attendance (shame on you) and have not seen this year’s programme, I can write that since Richmond MC took over the promotion of the trial from the Darlington Club, they have paid out nearly £100,000 to local good causes, and if all goes to plan, the magic £100k figure could be reached this year.

For many visitors to the trial on Saturday – and there were huge crowds despite the appalling weather, the big attraction was to see Paul Bolton tackle the trial on an enduro bike. You should now know that not only did he complete the course comfortably within the time schedule, in doing so he raised a significant figure for his chosen beneficiary, the North West Air Ambulance Fund.

Now that he has ridden the Scott on an enduro bike and proved that it can be done, the fact is to some extent immaterial, but it has proved to be a useful and interesting exercise and he should be congratulated for his efforts and praise given to the club for allowing it to happen. It would have been very easy for them to simply say no, but they thought it over and his attempt brought a lot of extra interest into the event.

Just for the record, if you haven’t yet seen the results, he was 1hour 47 minutes slower than James Dabill and lost a massive 247 marks in the sections, not that the loss of marks was an issue as he was merely trying to prove the Scott could be done on an enduro bike. And in case you ask, he tried every section bar one which was heavily populated by other riders and in which he thought he would baulk those making a genuine attempt in the trial.

Another aspect of the event surprised me. The Scott Trial prize presentation that evening in the Richmond Cricket Club was amazingly well supported. The place was packed. I’ve been just the once before (last year) and it is a real pleasure to know that so many folks are interested in the results and the charity auction which preceeds the awards presentation.

It goes without saying that prior to the presentation, just about everybody thought that finally, James Dabill had won the trial. He reckoned on around 25 to 30 marks lost in the sections and it was common knowledge that he had been the fastest. A low score and no marks on time should be a good combination.

I spoke with Graham Jarvis that evening and asked him how many he thought he had lost. He said that he felt he had ridden the sections well, but simply didn’t see how, with 14 marks against his name on time following carb problems, he could have ridden the sections with 14 marks fewer than Dibs’s guesstimate of 25-30, which he would have needed to do if he were to win.

And Graham was as surprised as anybody when it was eventually revealed that he had won the trial for a staggering ninth time. I rather suppose that Dibs was gutted at being second again, but you’ve simply got to hand it to Jarvis; when the chips are down he delivers, and that was exactly what he did on Saturday.

All in all, a great day.

And finally. Whilst mentioning special achievements, like who has finished the greatest number of Scotts, let me offer my personal congratulations to Paul Edmondson on becoming the most successful ISDE rider of all time following his 16th Gold medal from last week’s ISDE in Portugal.

I went to his first ISDE in 1986 which was held at San Pellegrino in Italy where he rode a Honda 80. He rode fantastically well that week, but little did anybody then think that some 23 years later he would be setting an all-time record for winning Gold medals.