My Goodness, Our McGuinness!

AS I start the 22nd column for Trials Central, I’ll recall some of my very early words way back in the winter when I indicated that it was not my policy to make much in the way of comments about columns past.

Rightly or wrongly I felt that it is my job to write the stuff and your job to pen a reply or comment if you see fit. That seems to have worked very well so far. The problem, should I decide to reply to comments you good folks have made, is that there is a very good chance that for several weeks we never move away from one particular subject.

However, there comes a time when my, “unwritten rule” if you like, has to be broken – but not by much. I’ve been vary gratified to read all the comment in recent weeks that you folks have made with regard to three subjects in particular, the Scottish piece (Too Tough To Tackle), my column about the Classic series (A Case For A Classic Cock-Up) and last week’s Where Now For Britain about the world trial at Hawkstone.

It never ceases to amaze me that these columns attract so many hits. Too Tough is over 6000 now whilst Classic is about half that and last week’s is well on the way to similar numbers. It proves that there is a fantastic amount of interest out there about these subjects and you folks truly care about our sport. That is really great news and it’s very satisfying to know that.

I’ve read the postings made about all these subjects, and indeed all the other postings, and they are very thought provoking indeed. There is some real sense written and I think it’s really good that within this very tight knit community of ours, we are able to communicate in such a manner. It has not been possible in the past, certainly not via normal publications, and the existence of this website has provided an excellent opportunity for the postings to be preserved for posterity.

However, on to other items now. One of the real stars of bike sport is John McGuinness, who, should you not know it, has just become the third most successful rider in the history of the Isle of Man TT races with his 13th TT win three weeks ago. And he also holds the absolute, outright lap record for the Isle of Man 37 3/4mile lap of a shade over 130mph. That is a fantastic achievement (and a mind boggling speed) and he has just been honoured by Lancaster City Council who have awarded him the Freedom of the City, one of only ten persons to have received the honour.

John lives not so far from my home town, in an area of Morecambe not far from the sea, where he is very highly thought of by the local people and the local press. Such superb publicity should rub off on us all, for John is well known locally as very much one of the lads and though he is not a trials rider, we are all on the same side and I think we, as a sport, should recognise his achievements here and now.

This column is always written from my home office where I spend hours writing for various publications and carrying out club paperwork. Just occasionally I have a clear out of rubbish and did so last week when I came across the programme for the 2000 Inter Centre Team Trial which was jointly run by the North West Centre and Lancs County MCC, my local club.

What caught my eye in particular was the youth entry list and how many of the youth riders have progressed in leaps and bounds from representing their local centre to the big time. If you accept that seven years ago they were all schoolboys and being realistic had very little idea of quite what would happen, let me just pick a few names at random and show what I mean.

Jack Lee, Sam Haslam and Alexz Wigg all represented the South Midland Centre. Jack is now minding James Dabill (who rode for Yorkshire) in world trials, Sam is doing British Championship rounds and Alexz was European Champion.

Manx C class rider Nigel Crellin is now one of the very best riders from Mona’s Isle, whilst in the Northern Centre, which is where I ride much of the time, the two Johnson boys Dan and James are classy Centre Experts as is David Myers who has recently taken up enduros and show signs of real promise.

Then of course there is Tom Sagar from the Midland Centre who mixes trials and enduros very effectively whilst lads like Richard Timperley, Stephen Suddes, Tom Hick and Ben Naylor are all good national runners. Add in Michael Brown, Ross Danby and Lee Sampson and you can see just how strong the youth scene was seven years ago.

I suggest that it is no less strong now with some real ace lads battling out the current youth championships, particularly the two A and B class Jacks, Challoner and Sheppard who have yet to be beaten in any of the four youth rounds held so far.

They certainly bode well for the future.