COSTA BRAVA TRIAL
I love anything motorcycle related; it’s like an addiction, a drug that needs feeding to me, but the trials side of the sport is where my main interests lie, and that’s why we have both the Trial
Magazine and Classic Trial Magazine titles — publications I am very passionate about. These are two titles that can cater for the sport in many different areas. If you are wondering where this story is going, I am about to race to the conclusion — and that’s the well-established two-day trial on the Costa Brava in Spain, as it’s a trial for everyone. It’s a classic competition held at the end of November in S’Agaro at Platja de Sant Pol, Sant Feliu, where the trials world comes together; young and old in both riders and machines, who embrace this opportunity to enjoy our beloved sport. Old friends reunite, and new ones are made, year after year — it does not matter where you are from, what language you speak or the colour of your skin as we all embrace these meetings to enjoy the sport we love. Around Europe, and in Great Britain, the two- and three-day classic trials formats are going through a period of great times, with the calendar becoming increasingly busy year after year. Four years ago the name Joan Comas and his family was not one I was familiar with but as we left the S’Agaro hotel and said our goodbyes the parting words were: “Please book me the same room again for 2019!” Article: John Hulme
The word soon got around after the event in 2017 that it had been, in my own words, a ‘Belter’. It was made even better by the support of some of the TrialGP class riders, with Takahisa Fujinami and Matteo Grattarola adding to the fun. I had encouraged my good friends Steve Saunders and John Lampkin to ride, and they came along with some of their friends, and soon the whole event had gained massive momentum!
Three-time FIM World Trials Champion Yrjo Vesterinen, his fellow Bultaco team rider from France, Charles Coutard, and Spain’s Jaime Subira were riding. What was interesting is just how competitive they all were. They would all return in 2018 and the entry list read very much like a ‘Legends of Trials’ meeting.
The great Dougie Lampkin was entered on his late father Martin’s 370 Bultaco. His cousin James was on his father Alan’s Bultaco. Nigel Birkett was bringing his factorysupplied Suzuki RL 325 to ride. Throw in around another 100 riders from Great Britain and you soon get the picture. Gilles Burgat, Jaime Subira and John Lampkin, all Fantic team riders together in the ’80s were reunited and, yes, all on their Italian machinery.
Every level of rider
Both days covered the same area for the hazards but you have a choice of nine routes to cater for riders of all abilities.
The red route is the most demanding and provides the very best riders with a challenging day. The blue route is still very testing, however the green and yellow routes are the most popular due to the less severe hazards. Unfortunately, this year, some of the hazards on the top two routes were quite difficult to manoeuvre the machines around. Such was the severity of the turns, the organisers were only made aware of it after the event as riders constructively voiced their opinions.
One of the main problems this year was the weather as the sunshine deserted the area on both days. The Moto Club 2d Trial Costa Brava coped very well with the difficult conditions, especially with rain on the Sunday, making the difficult decision to remove some of the hazards close to the angry seas as the wind lashed the water at the rocks. There were quite a few retirements, mainly due to the harsh weather, but on the whole, everyone enjoyed themselves.
Yes, it’s not really that far off. Many new two-day events have emerged over the last few years (and Classic Trial Magazine intend to attend them) but we will print here a rough guide just in case you fancy your first trip to a foreign trial to be the Costa Brava Two Day in 2019.
Barcelona airport is around a 90-minute drive with Girona around 35 minutes by car. The trial is based at the Hotel S’Agaró, which is a Spa centre, and just a stone’s throw from the beach and the local town where cafés and restaurants can be found. The majority are open but it is out of season. The restaurant at the hotel is quite good.
The entries open for 2019 on the 1st September online: www. trialcostabrava.com. The entries will fill up quickly, so if you want to ride, take note of the date. Once you have had your entry confirmed you can also book your hotel, with contact details once again on the club’s website. There are two main hotels. The one I use is at the trials headquarters, it contains the paddock and the race office, which is located at the Hotel S’Agaró, Platja de Sant Pol, Sant Feliu: www.hotelsagaro. com. Reservations: 0034 972 325 200. Email: [email protected]telsagaro.com. Just around the corner, 200 metres from the paddocks, is the Hotel Barcarola: www.hotelbarcarola.es. Reservations: 0034 972 32 69 32. Both hotels are very good, and are ideally located and very accommodating for the riders and their families.
Machine transportation from Great Britain can be made very easy by contacting Classic Trial Magazine by email for the details of the carriers and the price for each machine next year. Email eng[email protected]mag.com and we will pass on your enquiry.
As we gather more information on two- and three-day events, we will print them in the magazines in 2019. Pack your bag and enjoy!
To say that French rider Mederic Delannoy on the Fantic was a happy winner of the red route was an understatement. This is the first time that the Elite course was run at the event, and the hazards were very testing for the twin-shock machinery to say the least.
Showing the same determination that his late father Martin always did, Dougie ‘bullied’ the Bultaco around the hazards with a smile on his face such was the enjoyment of participating in the event and winning the blue route. It was so good to see him in the cool ‘retro’ clothing provided by his sponsor Jitsie, which even carried the Hammond Sauce name as a reminder of one of his father’s sponsors!
Riding with so much passion and commitment, Oscar Mill and the Bultaco were at the front pushing for the win all the way.
Machine problems cost Takahisa Fujinami dearly on the first day as he stopped in the very first hazard. Never one to concede defeat ‘Fujigas’ was back to form on the Honda on Sunday to post the lowest score of just two marks lost to move back onto the final step of the podium.
Next time you see Kieran Hankin just ask him about his fastest lap at the TT! A very keen motorcycle enthusiast in many disciplines, his riding on the BSA Bantam was a pleasure to watch.
Very much a new rider to the popular twin-shock scene, Dan Hemingway looked completely at home on his 240 Fantic. Outpointing his cousin Dougie on day two will no doubt be subject to some jovial banter for the next few weeks.
After the end of the competition on the Sunday afternoon I was sat relaxing with Rob Bowyer, having a beer, when we heard his Triumph roar into life. The Spanish loved the sound so much that they had started it up just to hear the exhaust note for one last time before he loaded it into the truck for the journey home!
I had a smile on my face when I saw James Lampkin’s riding kit on the opening day. The last time I saw it was, I think, 1975 when his father Alan ‘Sid’ Lampkin had it on as a works Bultaco rider. Riding one of his father’s factoryprovided Bultacos here, we see the roles reversed as cousin Dougie ‘minds’ for James. During his world-championship winning years Dougie had James as his minder.
The Costa Brava experience was one that Nigel Birkett very much enjoyed. Competing on his very rare Suzuki RL 325 it was so nice to see him reunited with so many old riders, friends and officials who remembered him from his world championship days in the 70s and early 80s.
Proving last year’s victory was no fluke, Michel Ranc once again took the BSA to victory on the green Pre-65 expert route.
Stretching to the very limit, Paul Dixon forces the Majesty over this rock step on day one; the picture does not do justice to the size of the step on the blue route for the twinshock machines.
Missing the victory by a single mark on the green Pre-65 expert route was John Maxfield on his immaculate BSA Bantam.
Just check out the tongue and concentration of Graham Wignall on his Fantic! He was just one of a huge contingent of riders who crossed the water from Great Britain to enjoy his ‘Costa’ weekend.
Full of enthusiasm for the sport of trials, the S3 aftermarket parts and clothing supplier Michel Kaufmann was in action testing his new clothing range to the limit on this borrowed Triumph Tiger Cub.
This Bultaco owned by Jose Dasi was prepared to a very high standard and really shows just how competitive the machines and riders are in classic trials.
Dodging the sea waves on the beach section is the green route Pre-80 winner Jean Vallet (Honda) on his Honda. As the weather deteriorated the waves started to crash onto the rocky hazard.
Classic trials are not just for the older rider and men. World number five in the FIM TrialGP Women’s class was the seventeenyear-old Neus Mercia from Spain, who rode this Honda TLR with a certain style that took her to the win in the green route masters’ class. Very impressive at all times, she was best in her class on both days.
Showing the style that took him to so many French national championships is Charles Coutard on the Bultaco.
Keeping the Union Jack flag flying on the green Pre-80 route was Mark Watmore on the Yamaha, who took the final step on the podium.
Looking very much the ‘Pro’ rider, Andrew Brown not only enjoys riding his twin-shock machinery he also prepares it at his AG Bikes workshops. Very much a Bultaco and Fantic specialist, he is fast becoming the man to visit for all your twin-shock preparation.
Another very competitive female motorcycle trials rider from the UK on the classic scene is Harriet Shore, seen here in total control of her Montesa Cota 330 model.
Enjoying the spirit of the event was the Italian trials journalist Mario Candellone having one of his rare trials outings on the Fantic. Mario and his wife Agnes are very much a part of the success of our two publications, having supported us with pictures and article content from day one.
A man of many machines, Ossy Byers took his DOT to ninth position on the yellow route Pre-65 class.
Taking some time off from organising the successful Kia Twin-Shock Championship, Gerry Minshall on the Francis Barnett will be very happy with his eighth-place finish on the yellow route Pre-65 class.
Just to hear this exworks Eddy Lejuene fourstroke Honda in action in the hands of French rider Patrick Pissis was well worth the visit to Spain. Despite the passing of time it still sounds like a clockwork masterpiece.
This very standardlooking Ossa 310 model took Laurent Baatz to victory on the yellow Pre75 route.
This picture of father and son encapsulates the true spirt of the classic trials scene. Scott Jackson on the right rode his Grandfather’s Bultaco, supported by his proud father Tim on the right. At the end of the event they were separated by a single mark lost, with Tim just having the upper hand.
Classic Trial Magazine, proud to be a part of such an enjoyable event, thank you and see you in 2019.
Joan Valls would like to thank Gas Gas for the loan of this brand-new electric-start model to allow him to travel around the event and be able to access so much of the event.
Two of the main people who supply Trial Magazine and Classic Trial Magazine with some superb pictures are my two very good friends Joan Valls, on the left, and on the right Jean-Claude Commeat or Claudio to all his friends.
With support from the Montesa factory with Cota 4Ride models it allows people such as the son of Joan Comas, Nils, to keep his eye on the event and keep it running like clockwork.