Yet another Scott Trial has come and gone – this year it was the 82nd running of this classic time and observation trial and having now attended well over a third of the Scott trials that have been held, there’s no doubt that this year’s event was one of the best ever.
Inevitably the fortunes of such a massive event come and go. We’ve seen in the past that entries have declined, the organising club has changed, and general importance of the event has been seen to diminish. But not any more, nowadays the Scott is as important as it has ever been in the years that I’ve been able to attend and its future, at one time in doubt, now seems more assured than ever.
The return last year of Dougie Lampkin to the trial obviously had a major effect. Without decrying the talents of the riders that have supported it over the years, through thick and thin, and in particular Graham Jarvis who has stuck with the Scott, Lampkin’s return last year and this has given it a massive boost. Say what you will, but the presence of a seven time (outdoor) World Trial Champion can only add prestige to this trial and his return this year has maintained, even increased the popularity of the trial.
Since the 2001 event was cancelled due to Foot and Mouth, the entry list has been over subscribed and it looks as if that will continue to be the trend for some years to come. The increasing popularity of the trial can’t be put down to just one man; it seems to me that now there is an ever increasing number of younger riders who view the Scott as a real challenge to be tackled, witnessed by the fact that this year’s trial had nearly 60 first time entrants on the start list.
It’s a trial that requires a level of determination that exceeds all others, yet the younger riders to whom a Sunday trial is four laps of a ten section course round a big (and sometimes small) farm, have taken the Scott to their hearts, and seem happy to set their sights on bigger things – and they don’t come much bigger than 85 miles and 76 sections!
The Scott can only succeed thanks to the acceptance of the event by a huge number of people. The Richmond Club are exceedingly fortunate to have such a diehard group of members who are prepared to spend days and weeks planning and marking out such a massive undertaking. Bruce Storr was this year’s new clerk of the course, but he alone can’t do it and like the c of cs before him, has been grateful for the help and enthusiasm of so many.
Yet no matter how much help there is within the club and its friends, without the acquiescence of the landowners and tenants, it can never happen. So in a year in which there has again been a slight Foot and Mouth threat, it’s absolutely brilliant that all those involved have taken a stand against the doom-mongers and said Yes to the requests for the trial to pass over the land that they farm.
Getting back to the renewed popularity of the trial, thanks to Amos Bilbao who has now ridden the trial five times, he brought another top Spaniard, Jordi Pascuet to the trial after much persuasion, and this likeable Beta star who rides so well was again able to show his magic to the Scott enthusiasts. Few saw it last Saturday, but his recovery at Goat Splash from what was an almost certain five was worth the visit alone.
And who else was that seen at the start and finish, and around the course pre-viewing on Friday and spectating on Saturday? Why, no lesser a man than former World Champion and Repsol Montesa/Honda teamster Takahisa Fujinami.
Fujigas, encouraged by Doug to come over and take a look at the Scott was amazed by the event and it seems pretty likely he will ride next year. And if you are asking why he didn’t ride this year, sorry to have to remind you but guys like him have to seek special permission from the factory to take part, but if there are no clashes with other commitments next year, expect Fuji to be in the line-up.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Scott is going from strength to strength. And not so many years ago I thought that I might even be writing about the loss of the Scott Trial to the sport. Quite simply it’s a magnificent sporting occasion, well supported by riders young and old, experienced and new, with a go-ahead club at the helm supported by a large group of farmers who seek to ensure that this classic tradition continues.
Long may it do so, and long may I be one of the fans that attend year after year.