We all used to love ‘Kick­start’ in the eight­ies, which gave us an early view of the man-made ob­sta­cles for the top tri­als rid­ers to demon­strate their two-wheeled mo­tor­cy­cle skills on. In 1996 Martin Lamp­kin and Neil Cross­waite had the vi­sion to bring it t


Sh­effield In­door

The Sh­effield Arena opened its doors to the gen­eral pub­lic on the evening of Satur­day 6th Jan­uary for the 2018 Martin Lamp­kin Trial. They were about to wit­ness the world’s best rid­ers at­tempt the tough sec­tions cre­ated by Dougie and Harry Lamp­kin and the hard-work­ing team who help to make this event such a suc­cess year af­ter year. And tough they cer­tainly proved to be, with the big gaps and slip­pery go­ing on the man-made sec­tions caus­ing even multi World Cham­pion Toni Bou some prob­lems dur­ing the night’s com­pe­ti­tion.


With Martin Cross­waite and Wayne Ker­shaw in charge of the com­men­tary, the eight in­vited rid­ers would con­test the qual­i­fy­ing over six man-made haz­ards made from a se­lec­tion of lo­cal nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing some Sh­effield steel and a mix­ture of rocks, logs and an HGV to ride over. These same haz­ards would be rid­den in the re­verse di­rec­tion in the fi­nal, where a duel-lane race would de­cide the start­ing po­si­tions. The qual­i­fy­ing is very much a lot­tery as to what will hap­pen and, as is usual, it threw out a few sur­prises.

New TRRS Team rider Iwan Roberts would be mak­ing his de­but un­der the Sh­effield spot­lights, join­ing the best rid­ers in the world on his in­door de­but. From the very start the new Gas Gas rider Jaime Busto, who was ex­pected to chal­lenge for the top po­si­tions, was in trou­ble as was Great Bri­tain’s James Dabill and his fel­low coun­try­man Jack Price.

As the rid­ers took it in turns to ride each haz­ard first, it soon be­came ob­vi­ous once again that it would be a bat­tle be­tween the big two of tri­als, Toni Bou and Adam Raga. The dif­fer­ence of just a sin­gle mark, with Bou hold­ing the up­per hand over Raga, showed just how close the rid­ing was at this early stage of the night’s pro­ceed­ings.

Be­hind these three it was once again very close with only a small hand­ful of marks sep­a­rat­ing them as the Span­ish trio of Jorge Casales, Miquel Ge­labert and Jaime Busto man­aged to push Great Bri­tain’s James Dabill out of the fi­nal.

The two big losers were Busto, who missed the fin­ish­ing gates on one of the haz­ards, and then Dabill, who suf­fered a punc­ture while try­ing his hard­est to mas­ter the Sh­effield steel haz­ard.

As is usual in the in­door tri­als held at this arena, in the fi­nal the six haz­ards are rid­den in the re­verse di­rec­tion with the duel-lane race de­cid­ing the start­ing or­der. The crowd wit­nessed a rare mis­take by Bou as he crashed out of the duel-lane race chas­ing down Jeroni Fa­jardo, for­tu­nately with­out in­jury. He was im­me­di­ately back on his feet and, with no dam­age to the fourstroke Cota 4RT, he re­turned to the job of win­ning.

Look­ing very good in the fi­nal was the young Miquel Ge­labert. Many would ar­gue he was the rider of the night, who even­tu­ally edged ahead of Casales. If the qual­i­fi­ca­tion haz­ards did not look dif­fi­cult enough the re­versed ones for the fi­nal added, with some of the un­der­cut huge steps which led onto the slip­pery sur­faces, were now look­ing im­pos­si­ble. As we are aware, im­pos­si­ble doesn’t seem to be a word in Toni Bou’s vo­cab­u­lary and his throt­tle control, and bril­liance on this type of go­ing just has to be seen to be be­lieved.

As is of­ten the way it was left to his arch-ri­val Adam Raga to lead the chal­lenge, and he pushed Toni to his very best, but the Rep­sol Honda man even­tu­ally forged a lead that even al­lowed him the lux­ury of a rel­a­tively easy fail­ure on the Mercedes Mertrux sec­tion. This soft five only en­cour­aged Bou to have an­other ‘off-the-record’ at­tempt, in do­ing the whole sec­tion on the rear wheel only; it was a feat he didn’t man­age, but the crowd cer­tainly got into the spirit. Show­ing his skills to the ap­pre­cia­tive crowd and the full po­ten­tial of his abil­i­ties Bou took a clear vic­tory over Adam Raga and with it re­tained his ‘King of Sh­effield’ tri­als crown.

Toni Bou (Rep­sol Honda-ESP): A true World Cham­pion, he put on a truly mas­ter­ful dis­play at Sh­effield. When he jumped across the huge gap in sec­tion one the crowd loved it, and that’s why he en­joys his an­nual New Year trip to the event and the fact is that he, along with Raga, al­ways keeps the crowd on their toes right to the end of the evening.

James Dabill (Beta-GBR): Al­ways want­ing to put on a good show for his home crowd, ‘Dibsta’ will have been dis­ap­pointed with his re­sult. Miquel Ge­labert (Sherco-ESP): Look­ing very solid and in control of his rid­ing, if there was an award for the ‘Best Rider on the Night’ away from the top two it would have to be the young Spa­niard. Could he be the new man to chal­lenge at the top in 2018? We will have to wait and see.Adam Raga (TRRS-ESP): What a rider! Al­ways on the case of Bou, Adam once again pushed Toni all evening. The level of rid­ing be­tween these two just has to be seen to be be­lieved. With Bou on the four-stroke and Adam on the two-stroke it cer­tainly adds an­other el­e­ment to their rid­ing abil­i­ties. Bou has had all his suc­cess on the Cota 4RT, and Raga has al­ways been a two-stroke man from day one.

Jaime Busto (Gas Gas-ESP): The big­gest dis­ap­point­ment of the evening. What­ever he tried went wrong, and it showed in his fin­ish­ing po­si­tion. The abil­ity is in there, and it will shine through at some point, no doubt.Jorge Casales (Ver­tigo-ESP): Now try­ing to es­tab­lish his ca­reer af­ter a cou­ple of tough years, he cer­tainly looked very good on the night in Sh­effield.

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