A Mix & Match Weekend

Travel arrangements were thrown into chaos over the weekend by the cancellation of all flights from and to the UK and indeed much of Europe, but as you’ll read elsewhere on this website, just about all the Brits made it to Spain for the opening round of the World Trials Championship which was convincingly won by Toni Bou – no surprise there.

I know it’s something that I keep banging on about, but why do the scores have to be so high in these events? I won’t air all the criticisms again, but I simply can’t see where the WTC is heading, but if YOU can, then please feel free to let me know/put me in my place. Just analyse the results and I hope you see what I mean. When Michael Brown fails to exit a single section through the trial, surely something is wrong somewhere.

I’ll put it into contention, I could have gone to Spain as a rider, fived every single section and got a WTC point or two. I wonder how they would split me and Browny on ties, does the oldest get the advantage?

However, do not despair as I feel absolutely certain that no matter what happens elsewhere in the world with good or bad WTC rounds, when it comes to the UK in June at Aonach Mor, Fort William, the trial will be absolutely spot on with everything right down to the very last detail. And if you wish to ask why, it’s because Martin Lampkin and Jake Miller are at the helm.

But before the WTC round in June, we have the upcoming Scottish Six Days Trial in less than two weeks, in fact it starts two weeks today as I write this. And of course before the main six days, there is the Pre 65 Scottish Two Day Trial at Kinlochleven and at this point it is only right that we reflect and mourn the passing of the 1985 Pre 65 Trial winner Brian Cotterell.

I well remember the headline in TMX those 25 years ago, it read “The Unknown Cotterell”, which was perhaps a little unfair on the Derbyshire builder as he was a regular trial rider in his own area. However, there is no doubt that he was a surprise winner of the trial and he was able to reflect in the glory of winning the prestigious Pre 65 Scottish for many a year. He passed away last week after a long illness and will be sadly missed by all those who knew him.

Trialing is certainly a great sport for all the reasons we know so well. Events take place all over the country and I suppose that most riders can find an event within 50 miles or so of their home most weekends, then when they get there officialdom is relatively laid back and the riding time itself - or at least the competition time – is at least three to four hours in length, maybe more. All for £15 or thereabouts.

The benefits of trials certainly became noticeable to me this weekend having taken the opportunity to encompass two totally different bike events over the course of one weekend. The VFR has recently come out of winter hibernation so early on Saturday morning we set off for a long trip from home in north west Lancashire to deepest Hampshire for the qualification day at the British Superbike round at Thruxton.

I was with Scott Rowland and Andy Jones, a fellow road biking pal, and after a leisurely ride down we stayed for nearly four hours of hectic qualifying action from the various classes. It was a good day as Thruxton is a good visibility track and the lap length is short so you don’t have to wait long for the lads to reappear. Last qualifying action was for the sidecars after 6pm, so having been there since Friday for scrutineering etc, and for racing on Sunday, three full days in attendance results in less than an hour’s track time.

Following on from Thruxton, we went just 30 miles east to Langrish for the first British Sidecarcross Grand Prix in the UK for nine years, and once again, track time for three day attendance is pretty short. I recognise that riders know the format long before they take part and obviously they accept it, but I can’t help but think how fortunate we trials riders are in that we get so much action for so little outlay.

Funny how that no matter where you go in the world, if you have been around bike sport for a while then there is a good chance you’ll stumble across somebody you know. Very first people we met having parked our bikes at Langrish were Colin Dommett and his wife and Dick Ramplee and his wife and Dave Freemantle, all of whom were keen to support the Langrish Club in their venture to host a sidecar GP.

The Langrish club certainly did a good job with what looked like a good attendance and superb weather which simply made the day. Well done folks.