CRUIS­ING TO VIC­TORY Cap­tain Lampkin

Trial Magazine - - TRADITIONAL - WORDS: TRI­ALS ME­DIA • PIC­TURES: JOHN HULME AND NIGEL PEAR­SON TRI­ALS UK

Any rider who fin­ishes the leg­endary Scott Time and Ob­ser­va­tion Trial – whether in or out of the al­lo­cated time limit – will have a tale to tell. Ev­ery year the con­di­tions can change, and it’s not un­til Race Day that you can ac­tu­ally start to have an idea of just how hard the day is go­ing to be. Fel­dom Range, near Marske above Rich­mond in York­shire, is a very ex­posed piece of land farmed by the Wal­lis fam­ily in­clud­ing sec­re­tary of the meet­ing Ken Wal­lis. Work­ing in the pour­ing rain on Fri­day as he pre­pared the start ramp for the fol­low­ing day I asked the stupid ques­tion: “Will it be wet to­mor­row?”. I could see what he was think­ing as he dried his hand and shook mine in a very warm, wel­com­ing way, with one of them hand­shakes that you know has done some hard graft. He replied: “Ev­ery Scott Trial is a tough one, and the rain will be about to­mor­row, but we are in the hands of a very ded­i­cated team of en­thu­si­asts who will do ev­ery­thing in their power to keep the event run­ning”. I have rid­den in some tough Scott Tri­als, in­clud­ing the one that Dougie Lampkin first won in 1994 and that was a wet one. With rain com­ing down like a con­tin­u­ous wa­ter­fall, 200 rid­ers as­sem­bled them­selves on Sat­ur­day the 13th Oc­to­ber to at­tempt the 76 haz­ards on the close-on 80-mile sin­gle-lap course. The rivers had enough wa­ter in them to float a boat, but it was that man ‘Cap­tain’ Dougie Lampkin who would take the Al­fred A. Scott Me­mo­rial Tro­phy after a day full of fun and frol­ics as he pi­loted his ma­chine to vic­tory once again.

At this year’s Scott, we had six past win­ners in the en­try. The old­est is Philip Alder­son who has won four times: 1987/1988/1989/1991 then Dougie Lampkin: 1994/2006/2007/2013/2017; James Da­bill: 2010/2014/2016; Jonathan Richard­son: 2011 and Ian Auster­muhle 2015. In 2017, young Jack Price led the way only to fall at the fi­nal hur­dle when his ma­chine suc­cumbed to hours of full-throt­tle abuse. On pa­per, and now with some Scott Trial ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt, he was go­ing to be the one to watch.

Cur­rently, the best rider from Great Bri­tain in both the World and Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship, three-times win­ner, James Da­bill, would be at the cut­ting edge for the win, but what about Lampkin’s chances? In 2017 he had done the dou­ble, tak­ing both the Scot­tish Six Days and Scott wins. Hav­ing won the 2018 SSDT could he make it an­other dou­ble-win­ning year? No longer a reg­u­lar com­peti­tor in tri­als, he had to do more work than any­one else to get up to the fit­ness level re­quired for this event and had ap­plied him­self to the job in hand by get­ting as many hours on the ma­chine as pos­si­ble on the run-up to the event.

The last ‘young’ rider to win this event was Jonathan Richard­son in 2011; could one of the new breed of younger rid­ers show his true metal and take a win? With only around 25 per cent of en­tries be­ing first-time rid­ers there was also plenty of ex­pe­ri­enced ones chomp­ing at the bit for the win, but could they do it?

At 09.00 it would be a lady rider Kather­ine Sharp who would lead the 200 rid­ers off at 20-sec­ond in­ter­vals from the start ramp as lo­cal coun­cil­lor, John Blackie from the Rich­mond­shire District Coun­cil, flagged them away for a day to re­mem­ber.

Wet and windy

For the first time in many years, the early wa­ter cross­ing un­der the wa­ter­fall haz­ard at Or­gate had been left out, and the rid­ers ex­pe­ri­enced for the first time on the Hurst Moor that it would be a very wet day as they rode through the high wa­ter lev­els in the rivers. The high winds on the moors added to the prob­lems with the sod­den go­ing, and soon word started to come back of rid­ers ma­rooned with en­gines stopped dead full of wa­ter. The more ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ers soon had them back into life, but for many, it was an early re­tire­ment from the day’s ac­tion.

As it does ev­ery few years, the course was run back­wards with the first ma­jor spec­tat­ing haz­ards at ‘Reels Head’. Open and ex­posed on Frem­ing­ton Edge high above Reeth, this rock-lit­tered steep haz­ard had the rain lash­ing on the grip-less sur­face. It gen­er­ally gets harder as the day pro­gresses and an early num­ber can be used to the rider’s ad­van­tage. It was the case of the early pace­set­ter from Bar­row, Dan Johnson, as he stayed feet-up to a round of ap­plause from the wet spec­ta­tors on his age­ing ten-year-old Gas Gas at just after 10.00. It was then the turn of the ma­jor­ity of club rid­ers to scram­ble their way through and who were more than happy with a three-mark penalty before the later num­bers, and the faster rid­ers started to ar­rive. This is an early in­di­ca­tion of who is on the pace, and Dec Bullock was hold­ing his own, fol­lowed by num­ber 194 Jack Price (JST Gas UK) and Welsh rider Iwan Roberts (TRS UK).

With the rid­ers and ma­chines show­ing signs of abuse and cov­ered in mud as they tried to pro­ceed to the front, Dougie Lampkin ar­rived in pur­suit of the lead­ers for a per­fectly ex­e­cuted feet-up ride. The ac­tion re­mained thick and fast, as the Scott Trial rule al­lows any num­ber of rid­ers in a haz­ard at any one time. The top rid­ers and po­ten­tial win­ners have to use their judge­ment and have to take the gam­ble of at­tempt­ing the haz­ard as soon as it’s dis­play­ing a clear pas­sage.

At this early stage, the most no­table ab­sen­tee was James Da­bill (Beta). He had filled the Ital­ian ma­chine with wa­ter early on, and although he had got it go­ing again, he had dropped some ten min­utes off the pace.

The wind had now whipped up the rain as the rid­ers headed out onto the aptly named ‘Booze’ moor for more pun­ish­ment.

Bridge End carnage

Ar­riv­ing at the haz­ards at Bridge End early it was soon ev­i­dent that the wa­ter level was ris­ing as the ob­server Stu­art Blythe noted the ar­rival time at 10.35 of the first rider, once again Dan Johnson who was still on a mis­sion. The haz­ard rode very well, and de­spite look­ing dif­fi­cult, many clean rides were recorded.

Now mak­ing a name for him­self in Super En­duro, Billy Bolt was one of the more no­table five-mark penal­ties de­spite a very force­ful at­tempt.

Just across the road at Bridge End Two it was carnage. The haz­ard was made up of a short run up the river and over the huge rocks. What no one re­alised, un­til it was too late, was that the wa­ter had turned to a New­cas­tle Brown Ale colour – yes, that fa­mous drink – and you could not see how deep it was! Look­ing very shal­low, rider after rider tested it at their peril only to find it was han­dle­bar deep!

Some good rides were recorded by the likes of the ex­pe­ri­enced Sam Con­nor (Beta-UK) from down south, who kept a tight line to the right-hand side for a clean. For many though, it was the end of the road, in­clud­ing last year’s third-placed-fin­isher James Stones (Ack­lams Beta). The en­try was rapidly re­duc­ing as rid­ers strug­gled to empty their ma­chines of wa­ter and de­cided to call it a day, but for the po­ten­tial win­ners there was no choice as they headed off over to­wards Shaw Gut­ter with its two haz­ards and its steep rock-strewn gully, and onto the moors across to Fag­gergill Mines and down to Whaw Bridge.

Re­lent­less

The pun­ish­ment was re­lent­less with wa­ter at seat height once again at the two haz­ards at Whaw Bridge. Ladies’ Trial World Champion, Emma Bris­tow, suc­cumbed to the deep wa­ter as her ma­chine stopped, but show­ing pure grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion the ma­chine was dragged out of the river and nur­tured back into life with the help of some en­thu­si­as­tic spec­ta­tors.

The long trek over the moors to the rocks at Black­hills, Tank Trap and the long ride up Grand Canyon were taken in before ar­riv­ing at By Pass. The fuel stop and re­fresh­ments for man and ma­chine was most wel­come. The three haz­ards at By Pass wit­nessed some good strong team­work from the Clerk of the Course Paul Robin­son and his fel­low club mem­bers. With all the haz­ards wa­ter­logged they quickly rerouted the first one before plot­ting out two new ones in rapid suc­ces­sion, high on the hill­side away from the deep river. The ul­ti­mate test was now in front of the rid­ers as they headed out onto Grouse Moor. No doubt tears and tantrums played a ma­jor part of the cross­ing for many rid­ers before the next fuel stop just above the bridge at Sur­ren­der. This haz­ard has been in the event for many years and is very much a part of the trial’s his­tory.

Are you ready to sur­ren­der?

Many were ready to sur­ren­der, as the en­try con­tin­ued to fall by the way­side with wa­ter in­duced prob­lems. It was still Dan Johnson lead­ing the way as he ar­rived at 13.43 for Sur­ren­der and its sin­gle sec­tion climb up the rocky stream.

With ma­chines look­ing very clean due to the river cross­ings Price was next at 13.46 fol­lowed by Lampkin at 13.49. Hot on his tail was John Sunter (Inch Per­fect Mon­tesa) at 13.50 and fel­low four-stroke rider Ben Hem­ing­way (Beta-UK) at 13.58. Still in the hunt was the 2012 win­ner Michael Brown (JST Gas Gas UK) at bang on 14:00. Iwan Roberts was next on the same minute along with Barry Kin­ley (Gas Gas) from the Isle of Man, Cal­lum Mur­phy (TRS) from Scot­land and then Michael Bur­ton (Beta) from Ire­land. At 14.01 young Jack Peace (JST Gas Gas UK) ar­rived at the haz­ard look­ing fresh and ready for the fi­nal race home. The fight to be the first back and set stan­dard time was now very in­tense as both Price and Lampkin even­tu­ally reeled in Johnson in the clos­ing stages. Price had a fright with a front wheel punc­ture on Frem­ing­ton Edge, but this was all sorted before Lampkin ar­rived. It was over the road to Un­der­banks and then the trawl back to pick up the route to re­turn home from the way out in the morn­ing.

Who won?

The long view down the fin­ish­ing field Jack Price was the first to be spot­ted. He crossed the fin­ish line first, some five hours, seven min­utes and nine sec­onds after he started. Next up was Lampkin seven min­utes later, but with the cor­rected time taken into ac­count, Price was the fastest.

As they con­grat­u­lated one an­other on the day’s ac­tion, they both ap­plauded Dan Johnson across the line as the third-placed man home, still look­ing fresh. Next was lo­cal rider John Sunter fol­lowed by Ben Hem­ing­way, Jonathan Richard­son and James Da­bill who was stuck in third gear, hav­ing lost his gear change lever in Rot­ten Wood’s steep dark gully.

‘Tri­als Guru’ John Moffatt lis­tened care­fully to rider after rider as they fin­ished with very sim­i­lar sto­ries, which all in­cluded en­gines full of wa­ter and punc­tures — the bind of any Scott rider.

As the weather calmed down after the storm, there was one ques­tion left unan­swered: who had won? A warm wel­come came from the crowd as the 1984 win­ner, and the first on a Ja­panese ma­chine (Yamaha), Nigel Bir­kett was in­tro­duced to present the awards.

As is usual at the awards pre­sen­ta­tion later in the evening the re­sults are read in re­verse or­der. Michael Brown was happy with fifth po­si­tion for his ef­forts, and then Jack Peace was an­nounced as fourth, a su­perb ef­fort for such a younger rider. With James Da­bill an­nounced as the third-placed fin­isher it was si­lence from the crowd. Jack Price was then an­nounced as the rider set­ting stan­dard time fin­ish­ing on a to­tal of 66 marks lost, and a clearly moved Dougie Lampkin was the 2018 Scott Trial win­ner – he had done the dou­ble again! Cap­tain Dougie Lampkin we all ap­plaud you – Well done!

54 The first South­ern based rider home was Sam Haslam (JST Gas Gas UK), look­ing good here at Bridge End 1. Hav­ing now re­tired from main­stream tri­als com­pe­ti­tions, the 2012 Scott win­ner Michael Brown (JST Gas Gas UK) was charg­ing all day. In fan­tas­tic form and ob­vi­ously up for the chal­lenge, will we have a new chal­lenger in 2019 for the Al­fred A. Scott Me­mo­rial Tro­phy in Jack Price (JST Gas Gas UK)? We cer­tainly think so. Us­ing all his ex­pe­ri­ence Ross Danby (TRS UK) takes a dab in the deep wa­ter at Whaw Bridge, with this ex­cel­lent Nige Pear­son picture cap­tur­ing just how tough the day was.

55 This was a well-de­served ride for Guy Ken­drew (Beta-UK). Along with many oth­ers our thoughts are the same; on a good day he could take a win at the Scott. Tak­ing the ac­co­lade of the first four-stroke ma­chine home Ben Hem­ing­way (Beta-UK) as al­ways gave his very best to take him to his 13th Sil­ver Spoon. Us­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence passed on by his spon­sor Nigel Bir­kett, Andy Chilton (BMS Andy Met­calfe Scorpa) aimed for the top ten and he was un­lucky to lose out on a three-way tie for 9th and end up 11th, over­all col­lect­ing his sec­ond sil­ver spoon. With strong de­ter­mi­na­tion writ­ten all over his face Richard Sadler (Ack­lams Beta) walks on wa­ter at Whaw Bridge. No doubt Billy Bolt (Har­ro­gate Van Cen­tre Beta) will be back in 2019 as he pur­sues the dream of set­ting stan­dard time. Check out YouTube to see Sam Con­nor (Beta-UK) as he ex­e­cutes an­other ex­cel­lent clean ride a few min­utes after this picture was taken at Bridge End 2.

He will be dis­ap­pointed with his re­sult but the 2011 win­ner Jonathan Richard­son (Beta) still has the years in front of him to chal­lenge for an­other Scott vic­tory. Next time you see John Sunter (Inch Per­fect Mon­tesa) ask him about the ban­ter dur­ing the trial be­tween him­self and even­tual win­ner Dougie Lampkin. Ap­par­ently no one wanted to lead the way! I don’t know why it is but we al­ways seem to catch Jack Stones (Beta) on full throt­tle. An­other rider learn­ing ev­ery year is young Tom Minta (BMS Scorpa) who took a Scott Spoon for his ef­forts. De­spite a year spoilt with ill­ness Iwan Roberts (TRS UK) tried hard all day.

Hav­ing, ac­cord­ing to our records, be­come the only fe­male win­ner of a Scott Spoon a few years ago Emma Bris­tow (Sherco) has noth­ing to prove. With World and Bri­tish cham­pi­onship titles by the buck­et­ful she showed just how de­ter­mined she is after drop­ping the ma­chine into the rag­ing tor­rent at Whaw Bridge. Be­hind on time she clawed her way back up the or­der to fin­ish in 34th po­si­tion – Re­spect! Gwynedd Jones (Beta) went back home to Wales a very happy man with the Best Per­for­mance on time and ob­ser­va­tion for a first-time Scott rider – well done. This was the worst per­for­mance for the 2015 win­ner Ian Auster­muhle (Beta-UK) since his first Scott Trial way back in 1997 when he fin­ished 14th on the Scorpa. Talk about a wakeup call for Aaron Holmes (Craigs Mo­tor­cy­cles Mon­tesa) who ar­rived back from his hon­ey­moon in Bali to fin­ish just ten min­utes out of time! Fin­ish­ing at the bot­tom of the tri­als re­sults was no dis­grace in a very hard event for Pa­trick Palmer (Sherco). After en­joy­ing last year’s event James Da­bill’s min­der, Jiri Svo­boda (Beta-UK-CZE), came back for an­other at­tempt at the event and fin­ished 56th.

The leader at the front of the event for most of the time was Dan Johnson (Gas Gas) and won the Best En­deav­our award for his ef­forts. As tough as they come, Chloe Richard­son (Beta) put an­other fin­ish un­der her belt in 77th po­si­tion. With a record 19 Scott Sil­ver Spoons to his name Gra­ham Tales (Mon­tesa) still comes back for more pun­ish­ment, year after year. How many? Is the ques­tion from John Mof­fat to Dougie Lampkin and Jack Price.

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