Picking World Round Winners

THE World Trials Championship kicked off today (Sunday), and there’s no doubt that when the results filter their way through to this website, there will be many hundreds logging on to find out what has happened and who done what!

So writing my column some 24 hours before those results are posted would appear pointless, but deadlines never change, so this has to be written now, Saturday evening, and can’t take account what will happen at the trial.

Therefore, making predictions is an easy way to get shot down, but that’s not stopped me before and certainly won’t stop me now! I personally don’t think the status quo will change, and that means I think Toni Bou will win and I also think, much as I hate saying it, Dougie Lampkin will not make it his 100th win, though there is just a chance that if all goes well, he might scrape onto the podium.

Potential winners of world rounds are few and far between. Bou, Fujinami, Raga, Cabestany and Lampkin are the most likely candidates, but on current form, the safest bet just has to be Toni Bou. As far as I can make out from last year’s results and the short indoor series, nobody else is in the same league, and he seems pretty certain to continue in Luxembourg from where he left off in 2007.

The FIM World Junior Championship is much more difficult to call, but perhaps that’s not what you want to read. Michael Brown, last year’s winner, has moved up to the main series, which leaves several very able contenders who could post wins, and therefore the title at the end of the season. Alexz Wigg has been most successful so far in his world series results, but I feel that at the moment he’s just a bit off the pace, and whilst he may well start as favourite, there are others, Brits, as well as foregn riders who could prove a serious threat. I quite fancy Loris Gubian as the rider most likely to be consistent with Sam Haslam another main challenger.

In the youths Patrick Smage from America has been touted as one of the most likely victors, but he didn’t shine to my way of thinking when I watched him in the Isle of Man last year. I could well be wrong, but even if he does ride well, I don’t think he will get it all his own way.

I wonder whether these words, which will be read for the first time in just over 24 hours from me writing them, will prove to be biggest load of rubbish ever to have come out of my Acer, or whether they will prove to be spot on?

I’ve only ever been to Luxembourg for a world round once, that was back in 1995 when Barry Robinson and myself drove from Barry’s Ilkley home to Ramsgate in his Peugeot 306D, before taking the ferry to Dunkerque then travelling at some speed through Belgium to Ettelbruck. Barry was crafty, he drove to Ramsgate, then handed the keys over and said you can drive in Europe, and left me too it, not that it was a problem.

Quite whether the trial is held at the same venue and over the same style of sections I don’t know, but back then, it was very much an artificial trial with a rockless hillside converted into a world round venue by the addition of many thousands of tons of quarry rocks, brought in for the purpose. I remember then that I was disappointed to see it was not going to be a natural trial (at a time when many world rounds were still natural), yet even so, it proved to be a fascinating event and well worth the journey.

Following on from Luxembourg, the series travels to Northern Ireland for this coming weekend when the town of Bangor once again hosts the second round of the series. Much to my regret, I shall not be able to attend due to other commitments that were arranged long ago, however, I am planning to get myself up to Kinlochleven for the first British Championship round which takes place the week following Ireland. Those British riders that will have done the two world rounds should be in big section mode, and that certainly is what they will get in Scotland at the hands of Arthur Macdonald and his team. It was a cracking trial last year, and whilst I know it’s a long way to travel for most fans, it is certainly worth it.