1980 British Championship Mitchell Trial
Attracting entries of well-over one hundred riders at each of the five opening rounds of the 1980 ACU British Trials Championship, three Yorkshire riders were fighting for the championship lead before the break for the all-important Scottish Six Days Trial in May. With four different winners from the opening five-round series, we take a brief look at the opening rounds before moving on to the main focus of this article, round five: the Mitchell Trial. SHEPHERD LEADS
After the opening four rounds, it was three riders, Rob Shepherd, Martin Lampkin and Malcolm Rathmell, who had broken away at the top of the Championship table. Of these three the only rider not to have won a round was Rathmell. John Reynolds had dropped just off the pace to hold fourth position in the championship, having won round two.
ROUND 1: ST DAVID’S TRIAL
With the opening round of the FIM World Trials Championship just around the corner, the ACU British Trials Championship welcomed American riders Bernie Schreiber and Marland Whaley who, along with Japan’s Kiyoteru Hattori, added an international ‘feel’ to the series.
On a wet day in the Welsh Valleys eventual winner, Martin Lampkin and his fellow ‘Yorkie’ Malcolm Rathmell came under attack from one of the new breed of younger riders, Mike Skinner. He eventually lost out on a tie decider with Rathmell as Rob Shepherd came home in fourth position followed by an on-form Tony Calvert who, along with Norman Shepherd, had made the move from Bultaco. On a day with the time element playing a part in the final results, it was left to Schreiber to uphold international honours as he took the final championship point in tenth position.
RESULTS: 1: Martin Lampkin (Bultaco) 20; 2: Malcolm Rathmell (Montesa) 24; 3: Mike Skinner (Montesa) 24; 4: Rob Shepherd (Honda) 31; 5: Tony Calvert (Ossa) 33; 6: Chris Myers (Bultaco) 34; 7: Nigel Birkett (Montesa) 34; 8: Norman Shepherd (Ossa) 36; 9: Chris Clarke (Montesa) 37; 10: Bernie Schreiber (Bultaco-USA) 37.
ROUND 2: COLMORE TRIAL
On a very cold, wet day it was John Reynolds who used all the power and torque from the 325cc Beamish Suzuki to take his second ACU British Championship, having scored his first in 1979 at the Victory Trial. It was a Japanese ‘One-Two’ as Rob Shepherd pushed him all the way on the four-stroke Honda. These two were head and shoulders above the rest of the entry as Malcolm Rathmell came home a distant third in front of a very happy Alan Wright as the first Bultaco rider home. He headed home Dave Thorpe as Steve Wilson scored his first British Championship points on the SWM. Schreiber scored points once again, as did Montesa mounted Chris Clarke, but it was a disaster for Martin Lampkin as he scored just two points from a ninth position in front of Chris Sutton.
RESULTS: 1: John Reynolds (Beamish Suzuki) 54; 2: Rob Shepherd (Honda) 57; 3: Malcolm Rathmell (Montesa) 68; 4; Alan Wright (Bultaco) 95; 5: Dave Thorpe (Bultaco) 97; 6: Steve Wilson (SWM) 100; 7: Bernie Schreiber (Bultaco-USA) 102; 8: Chris Clarke (Montesa) 106; 9: Martin Lampkin (Bultaco) 107; 10: Chris Sutton (Montesa) 108.
ROUND 3: CLEVELAND TRIAL
Take a good trials rider on form, and they will be unbeatable, and that’s exactly what Rob Shepherd was at the Cleveland Trial. Riding the Honda in a very confident mood the 12-mark winning advantage over Malcolm Rathmell told its own story. No one had an answer to ‘Shep’ when he was in this mood, and he pulled himself right back into contention in the Championship table.
Martin Lampkin came bouncing back from a poor result, by his high standards, in the previous round as Mick Andrews came home fourth on the Majesty Yamaha in front of John Reynolds.
With three different winners from the first three rounds, the championship was still wide open as the fight continued with riders looking for more consistent results. Still riding in the championship events, Jim Sandiford won the ‘Best Over-40’ rider award.
RESULTS: 1: Rob Shepherd (Honda) 29; 2: Malcolm Rathmell (Montesa) 41; 3: Martin Lampkin (Bultaco) 43; 4: Mick Andrews (Majesty Yamaha) 44; 5: John Reynolds (Beamish Suzuki) 48; 6: Chris Sutton (Montesa) 54; 7: Peter Cartwright (Bultaco) 55; 8: Chris Clarke (Montesa) 59; 9: Nigel Birkett (Montesa) 63; 10: Mike Skinner (Montesa) 63.
ROUND 4: LOMAX TRIAL
Once again it was a strong entry of 150 riders entered in the event, and as usual, the time allowance of six hours kept the riders on the move all day.
On a warm Bank Holiday Easter Monday, the fight for the British Championship was thrown wide open in North Wales. The top three positions went down to a tie decider as Martin Lampkin, Rob Shepherd and Malcolm Rathmell all parted with 26 marks. Just missing out on 27 marks lost in fourth position was John Reynolds, the winner of round two. In fifth position and continuing with his improved results was Peter Cartwright, followed closely by Mike Skinner. After his win at the Cleveland, Shepherd retained the overall championship lead on 47 points, with Lampkin and Rathmell remaining in close company on 44 and 42 points respectively.
RESULTS: 1: Martin Lampkin (Bultaco) 26 (36 Cleans); 2: Rob Shepherd (Honda) 26 (35 Cleans); 3: Malcolm Rathmell (Montesa) 26 (32 Cleans); 4: John Reynolds (Beamish Suzuki) 27; 5: Peter Cartwright (Bultaco) 35; 6: Mike Skinner (Montesa) 39; 7: Nigel Birkett (Montesa) 44; 8: Mick Andrews (Majesty Yamaha) 44; 9: Chris Sutton (Montesa) 45; 10: Nick Jefferies (Montesa) 49.