Trial Magazine - - SSDT -

Email­ing my en­try for the SSDT from the com­fort of my warm of­fice seemed such a great idea at the time, af­ter all it is only like six one-day tri­als! Clearly my mem­ory was play­ing tricks on me and I had for­got­ten the pre­vi­ous seven times, es­pe­cially now be­ing the wrong side of 55!

With the ma­chine fully fet­tled, a Gas Gas 300cc as I had al­ways strug­gled on time dur­ing pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions, and the van packed it was off to Fort Wil­liam. Mon­day morn­ing dawned and I was feel­ing good as I had a late start – num­ber 266. I was rid­ing with my friend, Mar­cus Faulkner, num­ber 281.

It started off well and I felt rather chuffed as I didn’t five the open­ing sec­tions as Nigel Bir­kett had when I was watch­ing in 2013. I was glad to fin­ish on Mon­day, al­beit very tired.

Tues­day was twice the mileage of Mon­day at 95 miles. I rode half of the day with no back brake as I man­aged to smash it on a rock. The ‘new’ Witches Burn proved to be dif­fi­cult.

Lit­tle did I know that Wed­nes­day was go­ing to be the day from hell! It rained per­sis­tently. The sec­tions were too hard for me and I was way out of my com­fort zone. To top it all the ‘stream’ cross­ing had turned into a tor­rent and the only way to get across was to carry the ma­chines by team­ing up and then af­ter all that, the sec­tion af­ter that was an­other nightmare! At this point I would have hap­pily had root canal treat­ment with no in­jec­tions – and asked for more!

Rid­ing down the road to Lag­naha it hailed, sting­ing both hands and face. Wa­ter lev­els had risen sig­nif­i­cantly there and you could no longer see the rocks.

Thurs­day was a wel­come re­lief as it didn’t rain, but the moors did seem re­lent­less.

The rain re­turned Fri­day first thing for ‘Road Race Day’. It ham­mered down all the 21 miles to the first group. The sec­tions were big­ger and longer re­sult­ing in 3.6 marks per sec­tion – some­thing I would only as­so­ciate with rid­ing sec­tions at the Scott.

Satur­day at last ar­rived. The sec­tions were eas­ier com­pared with Fri­day and I chalked up a few good cleans, al­though to my dis­may I had a five at Town Hall Brae, the last sec­tion – I would have liked to fin­ish on a high. Al­though glad it was all over I had com­pleted eight Scot­tish tri­als with­out a punc­ture.

The Scot­tish Six Day is an easy trial to un­der­es­ti­mate and not give the re­spect it is due. It is the best trial in the world when the weather is nice but, as in 1986, it is like hav­ing painful cold show­ers for six days when the weather is bad. I will be back to the SSDT again, but it surely will only be as a spec­ta­tor! Thank you to ev­ery­one; or­gan­is­ers, ob­servers and sup­port crews alike.

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