When the news broke in 2014 that another new trials brand from Spain was to be presented to the competitive marketplace, for many people it was a case of ‘Oh no, not another’. In the volatile economy of the present day that the world lives in would it be a case of ‘All show and no go’? The man behind the Spanish brand, Manel Jane, is a hugely well-respected successful business man in his own right but, most importantly, he has a passion for the sport of trials. The truth is that he is, quite rightly, very proud of his new Vertigo brand. His front man for the new project needs no introduction: Dougie Lampkin! He mirrors the same passion as Manel Jane, a passion which has seen him dominate trials over a decade when he was the one to beat – and still is in certain events such as the Scottish Six Days and the Scott Trial. Around the world Lampkin still carries huge respect and has thrown himself into the Vertigo project with the belief that we are sure to witness it turning into a winner. Their new rider would be Great Britain’s James Dabill and he would debut the new machine on the biggest possible stage available, at round one of the 2015 FIM X-Trial World Championship on home ground in the UK at Sheffield in front of over 6,000 patriotic fans. For the brand Vertigo ‘It’s Go’!
The new machine had been shrouded in secrecy, with very little information and no images available until the covers were taken off at the Milan show in Italy in late 2014. This created so much excitement in the trials community, and the fact that Lampkin would be involved carried so much credibility as he would have never committed his time and his name to a project unless he considered it viable.
A SNEAK PREVIEW
A Vertigo team photo session was organised before the debut at Sheffield, where the 2015 team was presented in its new Jitsie team riding kit. I am sure you can appreciate the team is very professional and to get everything organised and in place in such a tight time-frame does not ‘just happen’. Jan ‘Jitsie’ Cardinals had the team clothing made in the correct team colours and in all honesty it would be fantastic to see the two-man team of Dougie Lampkin and James Dabill riding together in the WTC. The look of determination in Lampkin’s eye gives you the ‘We mean business’ vibe, but I am sure you are all aware that Lampkin has long since retired from the tough world of the WTC, having won twelve world titles and ninety-nine individual world round wins. His motivation as a winner is still there for all to see as we witnessed with his win at the 2014 SSDT.
James ‘Dibsta’ Dabill finished fourth in the X-Trial World Championship and in sixth position in the world championship rankings in 2014. He carries a strong belief that he can move further up both the X-Trial and world championship with the support of the Vertigo team and Dougie Lampkin. He is on a two-year deal and, as with any development machine, it will be a case of testing and more testing for them both as they travel on this new adventure.
A NEW MACHINE
The machine that Dabill would debut was the Ice Hell version, which had only been in his possession for three weeks, and on closer inspection it is still very much a prototype – which is evident if you take a close look at the plastics.
The motor is very conventional and basically a 300cc two-stroke single cylinder liquid-cooled type with the ECU system managing and controlling the performance of the engine in all situations. The gearbox is a six-speed unit. The water pump is unique in the fact that it is electric powered as opposed to the conventional mechanical ones usually found on the other trials motorcycles on the market. The diaphragm clutch assembly is large diameter and is claimed to provide a smooth and progressive action. The air intake has a high position in the steel tubular lattice frame, with the aluminium fuel tank situated as low as possible at the rear around the rear shock.
Weighing in at a claimed 63/64kg the machine utilises many cycle components that are readily available to other manufacturers which, no doubt, will be fine-tuned for the Vertigo.
Finished off in a white colour scheme for the frame, the aesthetics do make it stand out on its own and no doubt the final production machines will look and be much better finished off.
ENTER THE ARENA
In the warm-up area the Vertigo looked and sounded impressive. The exhaust note from the twin outlets came out very sharp and crisp with each throttle opening.
It was funny in a strange way but it all appeared to work very well, but in reality when you think about why shouldn’t it, as it has obviously seen many hours of development already. The moment Dabill rode into the arena he was under scrutiny and when he took the machine through the first hazard parting with no marks you could see the look of relief on the team Vertigo personnel’s faces – it works! The power output from the machine is certainly up to the rigours of the big indoor hazards and the pairing of Dabill and the machine looks very comfortable in action.
In the event Dabill parted with too many marks in the six hazards to make a challenge to the top four positions but you must give credit where it’s due and the performance of this new machine passed with flying colours. Nothing broke and the motor sounded very strong. It’s obviously not going to be developed overnight, but we are sure that now they know that it all works well they can continue the development of the machine in the heat of competition and see what problems, if any, it will throw at the Spanish team.
The Vertigo even looks competitive stood still!
No pressure! Dabill enters the Vertigo into the Lion’s Den at Sheffield Arena as 6,000 fans wait. 41
38 TRIAL MAGAZINE
Power from the 300cc motor was never an issue.
James Dabill modelling the Jitsie kit before the crowds entered the arena.