Hot Action From Europe And For Scotland

Things are certainly hotting up on the international scene even though the World Championship proper doesn’t start for another couple of weeks.

Glancing through the results from the European Championship, to see Jack Challoner right on the heels of Wiggy bodes well for the series and Jack Shepherd taking the first win in the Junior Cup simply has to be good for the future.

Wiggy as we know is hot stuff and long term he can only get better, his determination is bang on but it was Jack Shepard’s ride that merits special mention. I spoke with him at Sheffield back in January and his determination to develop himself as a top grade trials rider was all too evident, and whilst his home location shouldn’t have a bearing on his ability and future, the mere fact that he comes from the flat lands of East Anglia adds extra approval to his results.

Becky Cook and Jonathan Richardson are well in the mix too, so it’s certainly looking good for the Brits as this very early stage of the year.

Kinlochleven beckons for the British Championship chasers this coming weekend and as I said in last week’s column, the area is very wet indeed. The trial on the Mound beside the Kinlochleven to North Ballachulish road is a venue that can be very difficult and intimidating, but good selection of sections can make it a fascinating trial to watch and the organising Lochaber Club do a cracking job. It’s a long way north but only if you live in the south, however, there will be a number of folks making the journey to watch so have a good day up there.

The news posted on here that Nigel Birkett has been visited by thieves is really a bad business. Birks had what he thought was excellent security but it’s almost impossible to deter determined thieves and judging by what I’ve heard, they went there fully equipped with knowledge, equipment and personnel to carry out the raid.

I may be naïve but how do you dispose of nine bikes, several of which are readily identifiable simply because of their scarcity value? Do they get broken up for spares? Do they get taken abroad or are they simply thrashed around fields somewhere before being dumped in the canal. The theft was obviously pre-planned, so it does seem as if there was a financial motive and all that can be added here is for everybody to be very aware of the nine bikes as listed, together with a significant pile of clothing, helmets and boots that were taken as well.

Onto a more pleasant subject now. Do you realise that the World round at Aonach Mor near Fort William is only three months away? It seems like only yesterday that it was being announced on here, and those three months will pass very quickly. As far as I can gather, advance ticket bookings are selling well, and chatting with a number of the regulars with whom I ride, many of them will be travelling north for the trial as from the Northern Centre you can actually make it up and back in a day and whilst that means you only get to see one day of action, for many, that’s good enough.

Whatever your plan, I think it’s fair to point out without being critical of other country’s rounds, Fort William is likely to feature some of the most natural section in the series. Sure they will be plotted to be difficult, but they’ll be natural hazards in fantastic scenery.

If I’m teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, then so be it, but if you’ve never been up the Aonach Mor chair lift on a fabulous sunny day to view the scenery at that time of year, then this is a great opportunity to mix trials with a bit of holiday making.