1999 Eu­ro­pean Cham­pi­onship


The ‘Feeder’ route to the FIM Trial World Cham­pi­onship re­mains the same now as it was in this ‘Flashback’ look at the FIM Eu­ro­pean Trial Cham­pi­onship in 1999. When the late Peter Beardmore opened up his col­lec­tion of pic­tures from his time spent at­tend­ing the world and Eu­ro­pean rounds it brought back to me so many fond mem­o­ries of watch­ing young lads I know grow up in the tri­als world. Many have be­come good friends: Joe Baker sup­ports the mag­a­zine with ad­vert gen­er­a­tion, the Cross­waite fam­ily re­mains good friends and I con­stantly see Ben Hem­ing­way the world rounds in his ca­pac­ity with the FIM. The Con­nor fam­ily are strong sup­port­ers of what we do, and I for one was very pleased when Jonny Starmer re­turned to tri­als. The Scott Trial wins from Michael Philip­son and Ian Auster­muhle were spe­cial mo­ments and Dan Thorpe con­tin­ues to win, all good peo­ple from the tri­als fam­ily. On the in­ter­na­tional front I have been friends with Adam Raga and his fam­ily for more than 20 years. My only re­gret – and I do not have many — is the fact that we were not pro­duc­ing Trial Mag­a­zine when these lot were all young kids; I know how much ex­po­sure and sup­port we could have given them on the tri­als ad­ven­tures in Europe.

The 1999 Eu­ro­pean Tri­als Cham­pi­onship con­sisted of six rounds, start­ing in Spain in July and fin­ish­ing in Poland at the end of Au­gust. When you look at the re­sults and cham­pi­onship po­si­tions you will see one name that still very much plays a part of the 2019 FIM Trial World Cham­pi­onship: Adam Raga. He com­mit­ted a life­time to chal­leng­ing for world hon­ours, which was re­warded with two FIM Trial World Cham­pi­onship ti­tles in 2005 & 2006, and four FIM X-Trial World Cham­pi­onship ti­tles in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007, a true tes­ta­ment to his ded­i­ca­tion to the sport.

Both Sam Con­nor and Mar­tin Cross­waite had suc­cess­ful ca­reers and are still rid­ing in the UK, as are the other points scor­ers from Great Bri­tain Ben Hem­ing­way and Jonny Starmer. It’s also in­ter­est­ing to note that the Span­ish rider San­ti­ago Navar­ros went on to spend some time as the tri­als com­pe­ti­tion man­ager at Gas Gas, and you will also have seen the name An­dreas Let­ten­bich­ler from Ger­many ap­pear in Ex­treme En­duro.

Round 1: 11/07/1999 – Spain Alto Campo – 2 Laps x 18 Sec­tions – En­try: 65

In a low-scor­ing round it was very much a test of nerves so Mar­tin Cross­waite was de­lighted to take the top step of the podium and in do­ing so pushed the much-fan­cied home rider Manuel Al­caraz into se­cond po­si­tion after a tie break, with Adam Raga one mark be­hind in third. This was a very tra­di­tional event played out in the usual bak­ing heat of Spain in the Cantabrian Moun­tains of north­ern Spain.

A win­ter ski re­sort, it at­tracted 65 riders and the two laps of the 18 haz­ards were well laid out in this moun­tain­ous area. With four British riders in the top this was a very good start to the sea­son. The ‘new’ Bul­taco ma­chines were now avail­able and were be­ing rid­den suc­cess­fully by both Sam Con­nor and Joe Baker. Re­sults: 1: Mar­tin Cross­waite (Gas Gas-GBR) 2; 2: Manuel Al­caraz (Mon­tesa-ESP) 2; 3: Adam Raga (Gas Gas-ESP) 3; 4: Ser­gio Leon (Mon­tesa-ESP) 5; 5: Gre­gory Eyries (Gas Gas-FRA) 7; 6: Ben Hem­ing­way (Beta-GBR) 7; 7: Fred­eric Cros­set (Gas Gas-BEL) 8; 8: Ste­fano Del­lio (Mon­tesa-ITA) 9; An­dreas Let­ten­bich­ler (Mon­tesa-GER) 11; 10: Sam Con­nor (Bul­taco-GBR) 16. GREAT BRI­TAIN: 11: Jonny Starmer (Mon­tesa) 16; 17: Joe Baker (Bul­taco) 26; 19: Michael Philip­son (Beta) 30; 21: Ian Auster­muhle (Beta) 31; 25: Dan Thorpe (Gas Gas) 36;

Round 2: 18/07/1999 – Italy Cam­podol­cino – 3 Laps x 14 Sec­tions – En­try: 64

One week later, after the long 15-hour drive clock­ing up close-on 750 kilo­me­tres from Spain to get to the Ital­ian round just north of Mi­lan and close to the bor­der with Switzer­land, it was the turn of Adam Raga to take re­venge from his de­feat in Spain with a clear vic­tory. Con­tin­u­ing his quest for the cham­pi­onship ti­tle Manuel Al­caraz came se­cond as Bel­gium’s Fred­eric Cros­set rounded off the podium.

At this high-al­ti­tude event the big­gest loser was Mar­tin Cross­waite who came home 11th, mak­ing it just three British riders in the top 15. Raga was ob­vi­ously the man on form, but what’s in­ter­est­ing if you look at the re­sults is how quickly the scores creep up into the early 20s in the top ten; yes, the fight for cham­pi­onship points was very close.

RE­SULTS: 1: Adam Raga (Gas Gas-ESP) 2; 2: Manuel Al­caraz (Mon­tesa-ESP) 8; 3: Fred­eric Cros­set (Gas Gas-BEL) 8; 4: Ste­fano Del­lio (Mon­tesa-ITA) 12; 5: Dario Re Delle Gan­dine (Mon­tesa-ITA) 13; 6: San­ti­ago Navar­ros (Mon­tesa-ESP) 16; 7: Ser­gio Leon (Mon­tesa-ESP) 19; 8: An­ders Nils­son (Gas Gas-SWE) 20; 9: Sam Con­nor (Bul­taco-GBR) 21; 10: Fabio Lenzi (Beta-ITA) 22.

GREAT BRI­TAIN: 11: Mar­tin Cross­waite (Gas Gas-GBR) 22; 17: Ben Hem­ing­way (Beta) 37; 19: Michael Philip­son (Beta) 39; 28: Jonny Starmer (Mon­tesa) 51; 34: Ian Auster­muhle (Beta) 58; 35: Joe Baker (Bul­taco) 58; 39: Dan Thorpe (Gas Gas) 66.

Round 3: 01/08/1999 – France Valde­blore – 3 Laps x 14 Sec­tions – En­try: 58

At this very rocky venue found in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur re­gion in south-east­ern France it was that man Mar­tin Cross­waite who would be­come en­gaged in a bat­tle for supremacy once again with Adam Raga. This time it was the Span­ish rider who had the up­per hand by a mere two marks to take the vic­tory.

On a very com­pet­i­tive day, with the top six sep­a­rated by just six marks, Manuel Al­caraz kept his cham­pi­onship hopes alive with an­other con­sis­tent fin­ish in third po­si­tion. Sam Con­nor was well in the mix with a very strong sixth po­si­tion where ev­ery mark counted with the marks be­ing so close. Ben Hem­ing­way took ninth and it was good news for Jonny Starmer as he once again scored cham­pi­onship points in 14th po­si­tion. As Dan Thorpe re­turned home Ian Auster­muhle, Michael Philip­son and Joe Baker all re­mained fo­cussed on that top-15 fin­ish.

RE­SULTS: 1: Adam Raga (Gas Gas-ESP) 29; 2: Mar­tin Cross­waite (Gas Gas-GBR) 31; 3: Manuel Al­caraz (Mon­tesa-ESP) 32; 4: Fred­eric Cros­set (Gas Gas-BEL) 34; 5: Dario Re Delle Gan­dine (Mon­tesa-ITA) 35; 6: Sam Con­nor (Bul­taco-GBR) 35; 7: Ste­fano Del­lio (Mon­tesa-ITA) 41; 8: Gre­gory Eyries (Gas Gas-FRA) 48; 9: Ben Hem­ing­way (Beta-GBR) 48; 10: Fabio Lenzi (Beta-ITA) 50.

GREAT BRI­TAIN: 14: Jonny Starmer (Mon­tesa) 61; 19: Ian Auster­muhle (Beta) 71; 20: Michael Philip­son (Beta) 74; 24: Joe Baker (Bul­taco) 85.

Round 4: 08/08/1999 – Ger­many Thal­heim – 3 Laps x 14 Sec­tions – En­try: 55

This typ­i­cally Ger­man in­dus­trial town stands close to the Ore Moun­tains and wel­comed the 55 riders to round four of the cham­pi­onship. Once again the bat­tle for supremacy would be between Spain’s Manuel Al­caraz and Adam Raga. After three close-scor­ing laps it was Al­caraz who held the up­per hand as these two fin­ished clear of third-placed Gre­gory Eyries. The bat­tle for the fi­nal step on the podium had in­cluded seven riders, with the big­gest loser Mar­tin Cross­waite who fin­ished sev­enth.

Raga still headed the cham­pi­onship but Al­caraz was clos­ing in on him. Ben Hem­ing­way took a sin­gle point in 15th as Jonny Starmer just missed out. As you can see, the bat­tle for the points in the top 15 po­si­tions was very in­tense; marks lost wise, ev­ery sin­gle one counts. With six British riders in the top 20 round five could not come quick enough.

RE­SULTS: 1: Manuel Al­caraz (Mon­tesa-ESP) 9; 2: Adam Raga (Gas Gas-ESP) 12; 3: Gre­gory Eyries (Gas Gas-FRA) 20; 4: Fabio Lenzi (Beta-ITA) 20; 5: Dario Re Delle Gan­dine (Mon­tesa-ITA) 22; 6: Sam Con­nor (Bul­taco-GBR) 22; 7: Mar­tin Cross­waite (Gas Gas-GBR) 24; 8: Ser­gio Leon (Mon­tesa-ESP) 24; 9: An­dreas Let­ten­bich­ler (Mon­tesa-GER) 25; 10: Ste­fano Del­lio (Mon­tesa-ITA) 29.

GREAT BRI­TAIN: 15: Ben Hem­ing­way (Beta) 48; 16: Jonny Starmer (Mon­tesa) 55; 18: Joe Baker (Bul­taco) 57; 19: Ian Auster­muhle (Beta) 58; 22: Michael Philip­son (Beta) 65.

Round 5: 22/08/1999 – Czech Rep Kramolin – 3 Laps x 14 Sec­tions – En­try: 39

It was now time for the gloves to come off as the fight for the cham­pi­onship headed into the home stretch; Raga knew he needed to win. As it hap­pened it was it arch ri­val Manuel Al­caraz who once again took a very hard-fought vic­tory, push­ing Raga into se­cond po­si­tion.

For Sam Con­nor it was a fan­tas­tic day as he gave the ‘new’ Bul­taco its maiden trip to the podium with a strong third po­si­tion; he was a very happy man. On the other side of the fence it was a dis­as­ter for Mar­tin Cross­waite, who saw any chance of the cham­pi­onship dis­ap­pear with a slump in form drop­ping him to 18th. Jonny Starmer once again showed the form that had taken him to the Youth A Class cham­pi­onship ear­lier in his young ca­reer with a su­perb 11th po­si­tion, just one mark in front of Ben Hem­ing­way.

RE­SULTS: 1: Manuel Al­caraz (Mon­tesa-ESP) 24; 2: Adam Raga (Gas Gas-ESP) 27; 3: Sam Con­nor (Bul­taco-GBR) 29; 4: Dario Re Delle Gan­dine (Mon­tesa-ITA) 33; 5: Fred­eric Cros­set (Gas Gas-BEL) 39; 6: Ser­gio Leon (Mon­tesa-ESP) 41; 7: Paval Be­las (Gas Gas-CZE) 47; 8: Ste­fano Del­lio (Mon­tesa-ITA) 55; 9: Gre­gory Eyries (Gas Gas-FRA) 56; 10: Alex Van Den Broek (Mon­tesa-NED) 58.

GREAT BRI­TAIN: 11: Jonny Starmer (Mon­tesa) 63; 13: Ben Hem­ing­way (Beta) 64; 16: Michael Philip­son (Beta) 68; 18: Mar­tin Cross­waite (Gas Gas) 75; 21: Joe Baker (Bul­taco) 89; 22: Ian Auster­muhle (Beta) 95.

Round 6: 29/08/1999 – Poland Krakow – 2 Laps x 18 Sec­tions – En­try: 38

Who would have be­lieved that after six hard-fought rounds Manuel Al­caraz and Adam Raga would fin­ish los­ing the same amount of marks in Poland. On the tie-break de­cider Al­caraz was the win­ner of the trial and with it took the 1999 Eu­ro­pean Tri­als Cham­pi­onship ti­tle with it. After very much look­ing like a cham­pi­onship ti­tle con­tender, Mar­tin Cross­waite even­tu­ally fin­ished sixth over­all as Sam Con­nor, in fourth po­si­tion over­all, took the award for the best rider from Great Bri­tain.

Ben Hem­ing­way would fin­ish 13th with Jonny Starmer in 15th. The other Brits had gained in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence, which would no doubt make them bet­ter riders. This six-round cham­pi­onship worked very well and as you can see from the scores some of the rounds saw quite high-scor­ing win­ning rides. Many of these riders re­main the best of friends, hav­ing spent the time ‘rough­ing’ it liv­ing in the backs of vans — it’s what we call ‘The Tri­als Fam­ily’.

RE­SULTS: 1: Manuel Al­caraz (Mon­tesa-ESP) 37; 2: Adam Raga (Gas Gas-ESP) 37; 3: Fabio Lenzi (Beta-ITA) 40; 4: Fred­eric Cros­set (Gas Gas-BEL) 45; 5: Sam Con­nor (Bul­taco-GBR) 50; 6: Dario Re Delle Gan­dine (Mon­tesa-ITA) 51; 7: San­ti­ago Navar­ros (Mon­tesa-ESP) 54; 8: An­dreas Let­ten­bich­ler (Mon­tesa-GER) 55; 9: Gre­gory Eyries (Gas Gas-FRA) 55; 10: Ser­gio Leon (Mon­te­saESP) 57;

GREAT BRI­TAIN: 12: Jonny Starmer (Mon­tesa) 60; 14: Mar­tin Cross­waite (Gas Gas) 65; 17: Ben Hem­ing­way (Beta) 71; 18: Michael Philip­son (Beta) 71; 21: Joe Baker (Bul­taco) 80; 23: Ian Auster­muhle (Beta) 103.

1999 Eu­ro­pean Tri­als Cham­pi­onship

RE­SULTS: 1: Manuel Al­caraz (Mon­tesa-ESP) 109; 2: Adam Raga (Gas Gas-ESP) 106; 3: Fred­eric Cros­set (Gas Gas-BEL) 64; 4: Sam Con­nor (Bul­taco-GBR) 59; 5: Dario Re Delle Gan­dine (Mon­tesa-ITA) 59; 6: Mar­tin Cross­waite (Gas Gas-GBR) 53; 7: Gre­gory Eyries (Gas Gas-FRA) 52; 8: Ser­gio Leon (Mon­te­saESP) 50; 9: Ste­fano Del­lio (Mon­tesa-ITA) 47; 10: Fabio Lenzi (Beta-ITA) 41; 11: An­dreas Let­ten­bich­ler (Mon­tesa-GER) 30; 12: San­ti­ago Navar­ros (Mon­te­saESP) 28; 13: Ben Hem­ing­way (Beta-GBR) 21; 14: Alex Van Den Broek (Mon­tesa-NED) 18; 15: Jonny Starmer (Mon­tesa-GBR) 16; 16: An­ders Nils­son (Gas Gas-SWE) 12; 17: Paval Be­las (Gas Gas-CZE) 11; 18: Marco Reit (Beta-NED) 5; 19: Xavier Vi­laseca (Mon­tesa-ESP) 2; 20: Mar­tin Kroustek (Gas Gas-CZE) 2; 21: Jerome De­lair (Beta-FRA) 1.


The ti­tle was well de­served for Manuel Al­caraz as he took the most round wins; as we have al­ready stated Adam Raga still com­petes, now in the 2019 Trial World Cham­pi­onship, Mar­tin Cross­waite re­mains a very pop­u­lar and suc­cess­ful rider in York­shire Cen­tre tri­als, and, as for Manuel Al­caraz, we have no idea where he is? MANUEL AL­CARAZ (MON­TESA-ESP): 3 Ger­many, Cze­choslo­vakia and Poland ADAM RAGA (GAS GAS-ESP): 2 Italy and France MAR­TIN CROSS­WAITE (GAS GAS-GBR): 1 Spain


MON­TESA: 9; Gas Gas: 7; Beta: 4; Bul­taco: 1 The event was very well sup­ported by the man­u­fac­tur­ers. Of the points-scor­ing riders the Mon­tesa was the most pop­u­lar ma­chine, with the Cota 315R next fol­lowed by the Gas Gas. Dougie Lamp­kin was the FIM World Tri­als Cham­pion on Beta. With one Bul­taco in the points in the Eu­ro­pean cham­pi­onship the name would move to Sherco for 2000 and the start of a new era for mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als.

Thank You

Trial Mag­a­zine would like to thank the ‘Guardian’ of tri­als Charly De­math­ieu and his web­site: www. tri­alon­line.org for his help in the gen­er­a­tion of this ar­ti­cle, and the late Peter J Beardmore for the su­perb pic­tures.

Mar­tin Cross­waite (Gas Gas-GBR) on his way to win­ning the open­ing round in Spain.

The Span­ish Podium: 2: Manuel Al­caraz (Mon­tesa-ESP), 1: Mar­tin Cross­waite (Gas Gas-GBR), 3: Adam Raga (Gas Gas-ESP)

The paddock at the French round at Valde­blore on 1st Au­gust 1999.

The open­ing round in Spain was in the Cantabrian Moun­tains of north­ern Spain.

One very happy Mar­tin Cross­waite with the win­ner’s spoils.

One man and a van: Joe Baker in Spain.

To­tal con­trol and feet-up from Jonny Starmer on the Mon­tesa. He col­lected two points in France, fin­ish­ing in 14th.

It’s ‘Tongue Out’ time for Dan Thorpe on the Gas Gas in Spain. Dan con­tested the first few rounds of the Eu­ro­pean Cham­pi­onship.

It’s full con­cen­tra­tion for Ian Auster­muhle as he holds the Beta on-line in Spain.

En­thu­si­asm from friends and spon­sors helps so much for the riders who have trav­elled abroad over the years. In 1998 Joe Baker was rid­ing a Mon­tesa with sup­port from a small tri­als deal­er­ship, Tri­al­sport South West, owned and run by An­thony ‘Ant’ Ten­net and his wife Tracy. In 1999, at their own ex­pense, they flew out to all the Eu­ro­pean rounds to help and sup­port Joe. They con­tin­ued the sup­port for many years after. Joe is ex­ter­nally grate­ful for this sup­port and re­mem­bers these years as very good times in his life.

Friends be­come ‘min­ders’: Mark Har­ri­son is the man in Spain on the spare Beta look­ing after Ian Auster­muhle.

After a good start to the sea­son in Spain Ben Hem­ing­way (Beta) was back in the points in France.

The win from Manuel Al­caraz over Adam Raga in the Czech Re­pub­lic set the scene for the ti­tle de­cider in Poland one week later which went in Al­caraz’s favour. Third place in the Czech Re­pub­lic went to Sam Con­nor.

Sam Con­nor (Bul­taco) started to show good form in France hav­ing scored points in the open­ing two rounds with a strong sixth po­si­tion.

Look­ing very con­fi­dent – and with good rea­son; Mar­tin Cross­waite fin­ished se­cond in France after a poor re­sult in Italy a few weeks ear­lier.

Stand­ing proud in front of the score­board in the Czech Re­pub­lic, Sam Con­nor’s form had come too late in the six-round cham­pi­onship.

Michael Philip­son (Beta) waits to start in France.

Ian Auster­muhle us­ing an­other friend as a min­der: Ben Ludgate in the Czech Re­pub­lic.

Sam Con­nor (Bul­taco) did not need the am­bu­lance, he was show­ing good con­sis­tent rid­ing which was re­warded with a third in the Czech Re­pub­lic and fifth in Poland one week later.

Michael Philip­son (Beta) came so close to his first point in the Czech Re­pub­lic fin­ish­ing in 16th po­si­tion.

Joe Baker (Sherco) – the smile says it all as he waits to start in the Czech Re­pub­lic.

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