Hands Up For A British Indoor Series

One of the posts replying to last week’s column contained the laudable suggestion of a British indoor trials series – and I believe that is by no means out of the question. The suggestion came up as a way of improving the indoor riding style of the British lads following the shoot out between Browny, Ross and Wiggy at Sheffield last week. Their abilities are not in question, I was very impressed with all three but of course there could only be one winner on the night.

Now if there was an indoor series (and who says it has to be indoors?) it would certainly bring along perhaps a dozen riders of whom a number could well make it through to international level.

The Spanish series is big and well established, but why not have a low key series in the UK, utilizing small indoor arenas of which there are a number around the UK, following the Spanish format of the same sections rebuilt time after time in different arenas. There would be no need to have huge great obstacles and perhaps even an arrangement could be made with Avondale Management to borrow some of their hazards. I reckon it would be pretty easy to find a nucleus of riders prepared to ride the series.

In fact, taking the suggestion even further, whose to say it has to be indoors? There is a case for a evening summer series at county shows and the like. All it needs now is an entrepreneur, but don’t look at me!

I was hanging wallpaper on Friday afternoon with the radio blaring away when a news item caught my attention. The Dakar had been cancelled! I could hardly believe my ears but sure enough, when I turned the TV to Eurosport at half eight last Friday evening, it was confirmed, the world famous rally had been cancelled, literally at the very last minute. No doubt such a decision had not been taken in haste, and no doubt the organisers had probably not been left with any other option, but the question that I ask, “is it the end of the Dakar?”

Frankly, who knows, but would YOU as a privateer, now risk spending a fortune preparing and funding for the event in the knowledge that the previous year’s event had been cancelled at the last minute with no recompense. I really feel for the 500+ competitors who have all spent a fortune, and then been denied the race. Not only has the money been spent, much of it will have to be repaid back to sponsors who have received no value from their assistance, which simply doubles the financial pain. Horrendous indeed.

It’s easy to sit here at the laptop and be a bench racer without all the facts in front of me, but the argument has always been “never give in to terrorists” and it seems to me that in this case, the terrorists have won. Obviously risk to life has to be avoided, but surely “two laps” of Morocco would have been better than sending everybody home. However, I acknowledge that I know nothing of the circumstances, but even so, what a horrendous waste of money

On reflection, I suppose the event will carry on in the future with the route plotted to avoid countries like Mauritania, from where the threat arose. But if you look at a map of Africa, the whole of the top left hand chunk looks unsettled to me – but what do I know?

A good number of years ago I interviewed Nick Morgan who was the first British rider ever to reach Dakar, I don’t recall the year but it must have been around the mid 'nineties and his description and commitment to the event was fascinating to understand. Until that point I had little interest in the Dakar – it was so far away from anything I rode at the time, or at least that was what I thought, until Nick described it as like riding 10 British Championship enduros day after day – or words to that effect.

Certainly his enthusiasm for it was infectious and I can understand just how terribly disappointed this year’s competitors must now be feeling. It makes the disappointment in having to cancel a trial in the UK due to waterlogged ground pale into insignificance.