Let me put to you a hypothetical question.
You own a big shed, in fact one big enough to hold 10,000 people and you want to stage an indoor trial. You know that to fill your shed, and therefore make you some money, you need good riders. Who are you going to invite?
Right, let’s start with Toni Bou; he’s the current world champion both indoors and out and is definitely the man in form at the moment. Next up has to be Adam Raga, he’s an ex-champion both indoors and out and he speaks good English, so when you come to interview him, you at least get an answer.
Third rider for your show has to be Takahisa Fujinami – he’s exciting, another former outdoor world champion, speaks reasonable English and can be relied upon to put on a good show.
Heck, we need a Brit! Dougie Lampkin is the obvious choice, multiple champ and still in with enough of a chance to surprise a few folks and with a fantastic record of always puttting in 110% effort, he’s a must.
So who comes next? Albert Cabestany – nice guy, good indoors, but boring or what?. How about Jeroni Fajardo? Who? What’s he ever done indoors, precious little, nah we’ll drop him, not enough pulling power.
So we have three definites and a compulsory Brit. So where do we go now?
And those questions folks, must be the ones every indoor trials organiser in the world is asking. Not least the Spanish organisers who have numerous indoor trials every year. At the most recent indoor they had Bou, Raga, Fajardo, Cabestany, Marc Freixa, Dani Oliveras and Dani Gilbert. No disresepect to the two Danis, but they were eliminated very early on which just left the “old school” of Bou, Raga, Freixa, Cabestany and Fajardo to contest the final.
Now how many times can you run an indoor with just five riders who are capable of making an effort? Full marks to the organisers for giving the two younger lads a run, but as I read it, the whole indoor scene is crying out for riders.
So going back to our hypothetical indoor that we are going to run, you simply HAVE to give the likes of Alexz Wigg, James Dabill and Michael Brown a whiz. You would do that if you were the British promoter, and I rather fancy that in the long term (if not the short term) other promoters around Europe will have to do the same.
Next question to ask, is how they would fare? I think you all know that by now I tend to be realistic, and I say that at the moment they would not be able to compete for the podium, but give them a year’s experience and they should be making a name for themselves.
So I’m rather hoping that in the near future, our top three youngsters will soon be battling it out for points and prizes in the big indoors. The World Championship indoor trials are a bit of a closed shop, but even then, you need riders, closed shop or not, and who better to bring forward than our three lads, together with a very small selection of the best continental youngsters.
As much as I like going to Sheffield, and I haven’t missed one yet, the indoor scene doesn’t hold a great deal of interest. At least it didn’t, but if my thoughts turn out to be along the right lines, then I’m sure the indoor trials will soon be of much greater interest to the British fan.
Went to the Northern Experts yesterday which attracted a cracking entry. At a time when some national trials struggle to attract a decent turn out, it’s good to see the Northern Experts really thriving.
I feel they have the format spot on. Due to the shortness of the days at this time of year, it has to be two laps of 20 sections, taking in Clough House/Plantation/Cumberland Corner which is in effect all along one gully, followed by a short run out to Danebower then back via the road to the new for last year final group Eardleys. A hard course and a clubman course of just the right severity attracted an entry of 136, so what can be better than a decent trial on the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday.
However, I did get my ear bent by – no, won’t say who – who was bemoaning the fact that you no longer have to qualify for the Northern Experts. In the old days you could only ride if you had finished sufficiently high up the results list in Centre Championship, regional restricted or national trials. The ruling applied to all the Experts events, Northern, Southern and British, with the eventual result that the entry began to drop off until it reached the point where it was not viable to run the trial.
Thankfully Manchester 17 (and Sunbeam down south) opened up the trial to everybody, which has made them the success they currently enjoy.