For some time now the Ladies’ British Trials Championship has remained a series that has sat in the backwaters of offroad sport, very used to seeing low-scoring rounds that didn’t really show the true differences in abilities between those at the sharp end and the rest of the entry. Without a doubt, this year has put to an end to that as the Chelmsford, and District Auto Club staged the last round for the 2018 season at the superb venue: The Trials Park, Corton, Suffolk. A small but regular and dedicated entry from all over the UK tackled 12 sections of varied and very challenging terrain; add in an extra ingredient – the weather – and you’ve got the perfect season finale. With the overnight rainstorms easing by the start time, the ground was looking very greasy as the entry made nervous attempts at the rocky and tree-root climbs in front of the large crowd.
From the start the current world champion Emma Bristow started to show her pure brilliance by laying down some truly dominant rides, however, she joined the majority of the entry on section two, Banbury Banks, when she slid off the tricky cambered crossing covered in thick tree roots.
Jess Bown is looking very much like the contender that will be able to make sure Emma doesn’t have things all her own way next year. She executed some great rides with pin-point accuracy, which enabled her and Emma to slowly pull out an early lead on the chasing pack of Donna Fox and Hannah Styles. Both these girls have been neck and neck all year and ended up only 12 marks apart after a day-long battle with each other, neither rider realising just how close they were all day yet again. It is what championships are about!
Alice Minta, this year’s B class winner, and Alecia Robinson were very close to Donna Fox and rounded off the Championship class with some truly gritty riding. On the Championship 50/50 course, it was Bethanie Dunning who took top place after another closely fought day with her adversary Chloe Baker.
On route two, which catered for the intermediate A and B riders, the focus has to be on the B class group. It is not to take anything away from the A winners of Sarah Bell, Libby Martinez and Molly Mayhew who all rode their socks off, but just look at those scores; Kaytlyn Adshead, Daisy Parsons and Elizabeth Tett all finishing under the 100-mark barrier, showing how strong this class is right now.
Big favourites with the crowds of supporters were without a doubt the C class contenders of Florence Baldrick and Gemma Kerruish, as these girls showed no signs of nerves or fear as they both demonstrated how much skill they already have, both ready to give it everything they had for those elusive cleans. The enthusiasm of their team supporters was to be admired, giving the girls hi-fives at the end of each tough section.
It can’t be emphasised enough just how much passion and commitment were given by all the riders; coupled with the encouragement from team members and keen spectators this really did demonstrate that the UK women’s trials scene is producing some extremely worthy young contenders all keen to take that top spot in the future.
Emma Bristow (Sherco)
Jess Bown, Emma Bristow and Hannah Styles
Jess Bown (BMS BVM Scorpa)
TRIAL MAGAZINE Everyone’s a winner
Hannah Styles (Vertigo)
Alice Minta (Beta)
Alicia Robinson (Beta)