I had no intentions whatsoever of writing about Scotland again, but having attracted over 3,700 hits to last week’s column, and at the time of writing 67 actual postings, (a record for the 15 weeks Centrally Speaking has been running), I feel that a further column about Scotland is warranted.
I’ve read all the postings carefully and there are any number of valid points made. Inevitably some have wandered far away from the actual subject, i.e. my comment that the Scottish was too hard, - many of those comments referred to the way they mark out their own trial amongst other subjects. That’s human nature, so we’ll go along with it, but of all the comments, two of the most recent from Timp (which I presume is Mark Timperley) and Boydw ( which must be Boyd Webster) are very relevant and very sensible.
To attract a reply from Mark Whitham, the clerk of the course was also very satisfying, and whilst the whole object of the column was to generate some reaction as well as post my personal views, it does go to show that in many cases those views are shared by a significant number of folks, equally others were happy with the whole trial severity.
Just to make further comment about the trial, for those that actually place the sections cards it is obviously very difficult to judge just what is about right, what may be too easy and what may be too hard. They have a job I would hate to undertake – heck, no I wouldn’t, I would love to have a go – but I suspect I would underestimate it all far too easily. Suffice to say that I rather suspect this past week’s comments will have paled into insignificance in 51 weeks time, and the section plotters will make their own decisions with no further thought as to what has been written this year.
The only factor that will change anything (and does anything need to be changed??) is a lack of entries. If they should drop to below 250 starters, then will be the time to consider any options. I still believe that next year will be over-subscribed, but I also think that the entries will come from a generally younger crop of riders, who seem far better equipped with the sections as they are currently plotted.
I shall make no further comment this year about the trial – to some extent I feel satisfied that the subject has been brought out into the open in a way that was never before possible, so for that reason alone it was worth stirring up the hornets nest.
Whilst on about the Scottish, let me make a request on behalf of the sport as a whole.We know that both the Scottish Six Days and the Scottish Pre 65 Two Day Trial are both run by the Edinburgh and District Motor Club. Both trials are run by very two distinct groups of people, however, they are both of the same organisation and we would love to have all the Pre 65 information on the SSDT website. There may well be practical reasons why this is not possible, but bringing everything together, under one roof as it were, would be beneficial to all those that have an interest.
Having looked at the full and final results, one thing I like to do each year is to pick out”good” rides – I don’t infer that everybody else had bad rides, for I know only too well that simply getting in a finish is good enough for most folk.
I think that 17th placed Tom Sagar in particular did exceedingly well when you consider that on Saturday and Sunday he was in Portugal racing in a World Championship enduro, flew back to Gatwick and was then driven from Gatwick to Fort William in time for his mid-morning start.
Young or old that’s a tiring eight days of riding and requires a huge amount of personal demand and financial commitment from the Sagar household, for despite what you may have thought, the bulk of Tom’s effort is family funded.
And whilst Nigel Birkett gets a fair amount of publicity, you have to say that 62nd place in the Over 40 category when Nigel is well over 50 is a great achievement, particularly as he was very ill earlier in the year, though now fully recovered (or at least he was until he had to do six days in Scotland!!)
Now this really is the last piece about Scotland for the moment, as next week’s column is already part written and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Scottish.