Unable to take part in the 2017 ACU British Trials Championship due to contesting the Spanish Championship, Great Britain’s undisputed number one trials rider on the world trials scene James Dabill made a victorious return to the 2018 championship on the Beta with an emphatic win at the opening round. The display of his riding in the wet, slippery conditions on the second lap at the superb Hookwood Trials Centre facility at West Horsley near Guildford were similar to the championship winning years between 1983–1992 of Steve Saunders when he was the ‘Master of the Mud’. Now the official TRS UK importer, Saunders was on hand to watch Dabill give his younger rivals a lesson in the art of trials.
Committed to the 2018 FIM X-Trial World Championship as Great Britain’s sole fixed rider it was the cancellation of the round in Seville in Spain that opened the door for James to ride at Hookwood. With his factory machines in Europe and the Italian Beta factory snowbound, the UK importer John Lampkin pulled out all the stops to get Dabill’s factory prepared Beta into the country. It arrived on the Thursday prior to the event and James collected it brand new, never ridden, on the way down to the trial on Friday lunch time. After a quick warm-up on the machine before the event started he confirmed he was happy – to a relieved Lampkin! SO CLOSE With damp, overcast conditions for the event the waterlogged ground had no chance to dry out, and the slippery hazards under the trees left the riders with a wide range of different terrain to deal with. The first hazard was very much a test of nerves with the very difficult step at the end but soon the riders were passing though it parting with just the odd mark, before both Andy Chilton and Dec Bullock woke the crowd up with clean rides, which were well applauded. Dan Peace had made a poor start with two fives as both Dabill and Toby Martyn who was making his UK debut on the four-stroke Montesa stopped in section four. Current British Champion Jack Price had started well, but two fives spoilt his score at the close of the opening lap. With James Dabill on 18, Toby Martyn on 19 and Jack Price on 20 it was still all to play for. The two Peace brothers were both in close company with Dan on 23 and the younger Jack on 25. TAKE IT TO THE LINE After checking the opening lap scores the determined look was written across the face of Dabill and he simply went out and destroyed the opposition; it was a case of ‘take it to the line’, and that’s exactly what he did. Looking very confident and at home on the Beta his lap of a mere seven marks included a stop on the very difficult section eight, but riding at his very best he mastered section eleven for a single mark to rescue the best single lap of the trial. Section eleven remained unconquered all day with only Jack Peace matching Dabill’s single mark effort on the first lap. Runner-up on the day, Jack Price was very consistent with his lap scores all around the 20 mark, as was fellow Gas Gas rider Dan Peace to round off the top three finishers. With an eye on the podium all day it was a disappointed Toby Martyn whose last-lap score of 40 destroyed any chance of that happening.
76 TRIAL MAGAZINE