A couple of weeks ago Alan Wright told me that he was hoping to book Yrjo Vesterinen as his guest speaker in Scotland on Sunday evening prior to the start of the Scottish Six Days, and sure enough, he has been able to confirm this and Vesty will have the distinction of speaking to what is sure to be a huge throng of fans.
It’s now ten years ago that Wrighty first decided to have a trials discussion evening in the trial headquarters hotel – still known as the Milton to most regular SSDT supporters - though these days I think it’s called the Ben Nevis Hotel, and these have become one of the highlights of the week.
It’s not always very convenient to get there on a Sunday evening due to hotel meal times etc, but even so, Wrighty manages to fill the room to bursting point, and the many speakers he has encouraged have come up with lots of good tales.
I shall do my very best to be there and listen to Vesty tell of his career from Finnish Trials Champion, through to three World Championships and now of course as owner of one of the biggest and best off-road accessory suppliers in the UK.
And just in case I don’t get a chance to ask him the question, or he forgets to relate the tale, let me mention it now. A good many years ago, probably back in the mid 'nineties, Vesty and I went to the Milan Bike Show together. We flew Heathrow to Milan, and spent four days (as I recall) at the show which is not only a motorbike fair, but also attracts the world’s cycle and accessory manufacturers. In fact the cycle side is far bigger than the motor cycle side, and Vesty was considering getting into cycle accessory supply at the time.
One morning we left the hotel to travel by the Milan underground to the show and as we left the hotel entrance which was on a side street, I was a few paces ahead of Vesty, and as we turned the corner into the main street, Vesty was suddenly surrounded by five or six girls who approached him all together, in what can be best described as an over-friendly, suggestive way. Now I’m a bit naïve, and would not have known how to handle it, but quick as a flash, Vesty knew what was about to happen and shouted out loud. He hadn’t been approached for his looks, he was about to be mugged, but Vesty, definitely a quick thinker in the situation, had his hand on his wallet and the forsight to make a noise which frightened the girls off and they disappeared as quickly as they had come.
It was certainly an unsettling moment and we were both fairly ruffled for much of the day, but fortunately no harm had been done and Vesty’s wallet remained intact. So, if this is not part of his evening discussion, it’s on record here, now.
I wrote the first half of this column on Saturday afternoon/evening and deliberately left the final part to be written on Sunday evening, after the Bangor world round. That was for obvious reasons as there was just the possibility that Dougie Lampkin could have the ride that he really wanted and nab that 100th world round win.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen as everybody will well know having looked at the results from Bangor long before they logged onto this column. Obviously, IF the 100th win is to ever come – and to be fair, we’ve been waiting for it a long time now – then it will probably come at an unexpected moment, just when all hope has gone.
But, whilst I wasn’t in Ireland, the results from the trial show only too well that Doug might just have to settle for 99 wins, which in itself is a fantastic achievement. Plenty of riders would be happy with a tenth of that total, and past results can never be taken away.
Doug’s mum Isobel, a lovely lady, was at the Jack Leslie Ellis run by the Ripon Club on Sunday, and whilst in our brief chat Doug’s chances were not mentioned, I never expected to see Izzy at a local trial doing her grandma duties rather than be in Ireland. Sometimes domestic bliss comes before chasing world round wins.
Talking of the Jack Leslie Ellis trial, which was another cracking affair, by heck it was cold, with snow blizzards truly making it a miserable day for everyone, especially for the observers out on the moors and the riders on the road. Rarely have I been so cold!