Given the number of decent trials riders hailing from Scotland, it is perhaps surprising it’s taken so long for there to be a Scottish winner of the Scottish Pre-65 Two Day Trial. It almost happened last year when three riders finished the trial on the same number of marks, unfortunately for the Scottish lads ACU ruling on such ties went against them. However, there was no such decision to be made this year, as Gary Macdonald came out the clear winner – and he’s a local lad too, living in Kinlochleven.
As we took pics of his winning bike, in the cold wind of the Ice Factor car park in Kinlochleven, I quizzed Gary about his background in trials riding. The 33-year-old joiner was still in that euphoric state where he knew he’d won the trial but still couldn’t quite believe it, but was trying to focus on the forthcoming six day trial where he hoped to repeat the performance and carve his name on the Alexander Trophy.
Gary has been riding trials for 24 years, since his parents provided him, and his brother, with a Yamaha TY80 to share. The little Yam became solely Gary’s when his brother showed no real interest in riding it. Gary on the other hand thoroughly enjoyed the Yam and it spurred him on to bigger and better things. Influenced by his father and uncle who, he says ‘messed about in trials a bit and did the SSDT a few times’, Gary’s trials career soon improved and he can now claim to have ridden the SSDT himself since 2002 with the yellow leaderboard denoting ‘trial leader’ on his bike four times, including in 2017.
As for trials riders who have inspired him, Gary was a big fan of Japanese rider Takomi Narita: “when I was a young lad, Takomi was a bit of a hero of mine and it was great to ride with him in the SSDT once I started.”
On the Bantam, I asked if he’d ridden it a lot before the trial. “No, not really, probably about five hours’ worth of practice on it, made a few tweaks and just winged it really.” Some ‘wing’ we say. He went on to say he must thank Martin and Tyler Murphy – the bike is actually Tyler’s and was on loan for the trial – for allowing him to ride it. I think by winning the trial on it Gary you’ve repaid their generosity.