A Route For Spectators

Now that the eagerly awaited Scottish Six Days Trial routes have been published, first weekend visitors can breathe a sigh of relief now that they can see they have been taken into account.

The return of Leanachan as Monday morning’s first group of sections is undoubtedly a good move following last year’s mini-disaster when the trial’s first group was Trotters Burn where parking is non-existent and if you did get manage to get parked within a half hour walk, visibility at the section itself is poor.

So going to Leanachan – which if you don’t know is at the Aonach Mor chairlift site – where parking can take thousands of cars is certainly good news. A significant number of folks make the first weekend their SSDT trip as they can watch all or part of the Pre 65 trial, Sunday’s weigh-in and Monday’s action (which is on a Bank Holiday of course) before travelling home later in the day.

In fact Monday has a good route as now not only is there Leanachan, there’s also Blackwater which many folks like to walk out to, plus Garbh Bheinn at the side of the road and finally Lagnaha, another excellent group where there is good parking and plenty to reach with ease.

Advance ticket sales for the World Trial at Fort William in June are good and I would expect sales to pick up once again when the SSDT takes place. Certainly being at Aonach Mor will give some folks a buzz as they realise that just over seven weeks later the world’s best will be there for the UK two day round.

As I type this early on Monday morning (held back waiting for the British Championship results), as they have not yet appeared I’ll be sending this column to Andy without much to make comment on. However, from the very brief postings that are available, it looks to have been a cracker of a trial with scores that have allowed spectators to see some really good riding, rather than guys taking fives all over the place. Dibs alleged winning score of 18 will have certainly allowed folks to see some superb efforts and in my opinion, it’s important to have sections that allow riders to score cleans as well as take marks from the guys who will not be winning. That applies all down the line from World Championship to Wednesday night series and whilst I know that I was very critical of the Scarborough round when I wasn’t there, experience tells you that scores can nearly always reflect the nature of the trial.

I did plan to ride up to Kinlochleven early on Sunday morning, but with the best will in the world, it’s a long way there and back in a day and there were other things to do. I did start my day off at a local club trial but when I realised that there were close on 100 riders in attendance, on a closed circuit course, with punch cards in use instead of observers sheets, I knew it was a recipe for big queues at every section, so rather than spend the day sitting in two stroke fug, I made the decision to abandon my trials riding plans, went home and swopped van and Beta for VFR and buzzed up the M6 to see a Northern Phoenix car trial.

I’ve spectated at a car trial just once before, several years ago, in fact on the same piece of land at which Sunday’s bike trial took place, and it was fascinating to watch. Sunday’s car trial was a couple of miles above Melmerby on land familiar to Alan Trial riders and spectators from a few years back and was great. Everything was in place for a good day’s sport, the weather was warm and sunny, the views over Edendale were magnificent and with a decent entry of about 20 cars, there was the opportunity to see to skilful driving.

It’s not a sport that attracts many competitors, but there’s no doubt it has a definite fascination and trials riders can certainly relate to what they do. They can get cars up hills that at first sight seem daunting if not impossible with various techniques to achieve success. Do watch at one if you ever get the chance.

I’ve said before that seeing top class sportsmen in action is always a pleasure, no matter what the sport, and hopefully, that will happen again next weekend. All being well I’ll be down at Langrish for the sidecarcross GP and they really are a spectacle to see. I’ve only been twice before, once some 20+ plus years ago at Streatley Hills when the infamous Terry Good was at his best and once two years ago in France. Both occasions are firmly locked into my memory bank and I’m looking forward to a third visit. It will mean another late column, but hey, what’s a day or so between friends.