The Manx National Two-Day Trial gets underway this Saturday with around 270 competitors from all parts of the UK ready to take on two great days of Trials action on Solo and Sidecar machines.
Trial HQ is at Douglas Rugby Club where the event gets underway at 8am on Saturday morning, with riders setting out on the separate routes for solo and sidecar competitors. The solos covering nearly 80 miles and 78 observed sections across the weekend with the sidecars also covering around 80 miles and 72 sections.
The Solo’s head west and south on the first day with early groups including Glen Lough (08.10), Old Stoney Mountain Quarry (09.10), South Barrule Quarry (10.10) and Glen Rushen Gulley (12.23). Competitors will then head onto the South coast with groups at Pooil Vaaish (14.03) near Gansey, Scarlett Point (14.58) and finishing the day with an arena type section in Castletown Square (15.35).
Meanwhile the Sidecars will be heading north on the first day with early locations including Larkhill (09.05), Ballacarooin (10.03) and Axenfell Plantation (10.58), with Dhoon Quarry (11.55), Bims Field (15.25) and Douglas Rugby Club (16.05) amongst the groups on the menu for the afternoon run.
The solos head north on Sunday and the Sidecars south making sure the riders truly get to see all aspects of the Islands scenery and rockery. Heading towards Ballacreetch (08.13), Brandywell Gulley (09.30) and Axenfell Plantation (10.10), the Solo riders will then travel further north towards Snubbies Glen (12.20) and the lunch stop at Ramsey Rugby Club (13.00) before they head towards Tholt y Will Plantation (14.45), Injebreck Gulley (15.23) and back towards Douglas via West Baldwin Bridge (15.50), finishing the day alongside the sidecars at Knock Froy (16.05)
The sidecars will be covering groups including Glen Lough (08.40), Cornelly Mines (10.10) and South Barrule Quarry (11.20) and Carnagrie (12.10) before lunch, they will then after continue into Peel with sections on Peel Hill (13.28) and at Corletts Sand Quarry (13.40) after which they will head back towards Douglas via various venues including Bernie’s Glen (15.00) to the final sections at Knock Froy (16.05).
A healthy entry of 30 Expert riders will provide spectators with a good competition this year with several riders gunning for the coveted winners Sword of State. Local hopes rest on reigning champion Josh Brain who is confident and looking good on his new Gas Gas. He will face a stern challenge from TRRS mounted Hugo Jervis, currently sitting inside the top ten of the main British Championship. The Welshman will be joined by similarly mounted Iwan Roberts, another rider who contests one of the support classes at British Championship level and another TRS rider in Ben Sprigg, also looking for his first win on the Island. An interesting rider to watch who could be in the mix will be trials rider turned Extreme Enduro rider Billy Bolt. Very talented on a trials bike, formerly competing at World Junior Championship level before converting to Enduro, it will be interesting to see just what he can do on his first visit to the Manx. He has previously ridden on the Island when riding the Youth British Trials Championships several years ago.
The Clubman Solo class remains wide open as usual with a number of riders in position to take a win including previous winner Nigel Crowther. Challenging him all the way could be Jake Hanlon from Northern Ireland, James McCanna from Bolton and a number of local riders eager to perform well on home ground.
In the revamped sidecar class which now features a Clubman class there is just one former winner on the entry list with a returning Jamie Teare making a rare appearance on an outfit, passengered by Anthony Smith. The crew on form and who currently sit third in the British Championship is Nigel Scott/Gracie Mae Scott, but they will surely be challenged by Olly Lace/Gareth Temple, William Caine/Sam Baxter and Jack Corlett/Beth Thomas throughout the weekend. On the Clubman route it’s a similar story with any number of crews possessing the ability to take the top spot over the weekend.
There are a number of other solo entries worth watching out for who trials might not be their first discipline. There are a number of current and ex-road racers through the entry list including Ian Duffus (21), Brian Morrison (22), Donny McLeod (25) who are with a larger group of fellow Scottish riders. Another former TT winner Ryan Farquhar (165) rides alongside his brother Dale, with current TT star Dean Harrison starting at number 178, and another fast man around the TT course Kiaran Hankin at 192. As mentioned, we see Billy Bolt riding at 219, so watch out for an all action style there, local Enduro ace Jamie McCanney (220) and Red Bull KTM rider and winner of the famous Le Touquet Beach Race Nathan Watson starting at 221.