Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship


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.


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