Category Archives: On the Championship Trail

British Trials Champs Report – Rounds 3 & 4 from Roger Brain

Many Thanks to Roger for this excellent Report. Pleased his bout of flu has abated. It’s a pity Kurt had trouble in Round 4. , but ‘local’ riders stood out on both days in the support Classes.

British Trials Championship Rounds 3 and 4 – Kelly Farm, Devon

This weekend saw the British Trials Championship descend onto the grounds of Kelly farm Devon for Rounds 3 and 4 held over Saturday and Sunday April 18th/19th. After a week of true man flu that saw me bedridden for 4 days it was with great relief that the bug subsided enough for me to be able attend the double header. With an early start Saturday morning at 5.45am it was a dash down the M5 to hook up with the Hassall family along the way and into the parking field for 8.

This venue never ceases to amaze me, in that, from the road and the grassy parking field the wooded hillside gives absolutely no indication of what is to be found once inside. The whole of the wooded hillside is strewn with boulders of varying sizes from the size of a football to the size of a small car. With the soil consistency totally dry and like talcum powder it was quite obvious that grip was going to be an issue with the ground breaking up and dust transferred onto the boulders as the trial progressed.

The Anthony Rew Trial lived up to all expectations with Anthony and his team of helpers marking out 12 superb sections at this spectacular venue which has played host to many motorcycle and cycle trials events over the years. In contrast to the previous championship round the degree of section difficulty had been pitched perfectly for both experts and championship classes alike. Although some grumbles were heard among the riders that the sections were not quite hard enough on Sunday’s layout.

With first rider got away at 9.30am Saturday the trial was soon in full swing. The Championship riders were quickly to realise that Jorge Caslases had turned up at this round with his game face on, and was out to prove that on the huge boulders he was a force to be reckoned with. His first lap score of a meagre 2 compared to James Dabill on 9 and Michael Brown 15 showed his distinct liking for this type of terrain. Over the next two laps Dabill and Brown battled had to reel in the Spaniard but with no success. The finishing order being Casales, Dabill,Brown,Fry ,Wigg with Ross Danby down in an uncharacteristic 10th place.

In the Expert class out own Kurt Brain was riding on top form and completed the first lap for just 7 which had placed him nicely in the top 5 going into the remaining laps. Lee Hassell was struggling to find his composure and had been rattled by a rather ugly fall from a couple of metres up and the top of an angled boulder on section 3. The Gas Gas had crashed down with him but fortunately did not pile drive him into the ground. Once again Dan Thorpe and Tom Hooper were on a mission and completed their first lap for 4 and 8 respectively. With concerns over time Kurt was rushing to get through the Championship riders queue. This coupled with a dip in form saw some unforced errors creep in which dropped him down the leader board.

The finishing order being Dan Thorpe (No surprises there then) Tom Hooper, James Stones, Tom Minta and Ben Bullock. Kurt finished 13th and back in the points again.

The new Youth A class saw Toby Martyn totally dominate, with Jack Peace his only real contender for just the first lap. His total score for the trial of just 14 marks lost would have placed him in 3rd overall in the Experts. It was great to see George Marshman jumping on the bottom step of the podium for 3rd place overall and our own Tom Culliford finishing in 7th out of the field of 10 young riders in this class.

After a thorough bike and equipment check, preparations were made for the next day before retiring to the local pub for much needed food and refreshments. After a stunning meal at the pub in Lustleigh courtesy of our good friend Adam it was time to retire for a good night kip.

Sunday morning soon came around and greeted riders and supporters alike with glorious sunshine once again. Anthony Rew and his men were up and about early to change some of the sections and open up other unused sections from the previous day’s event. This was a day full of surprises with Michael Brown digging deep to ride at his very best. James Dabill was this time on the back foot and having to come behind. After the first of the three laps of twelve sections it was Michael Brown on 3, Jorge Casales on 5 and James on 7.

With the remaining two laps clean on each occasion James Dabill could not quite get back at Browner but had overtaken Casales for second overall. Finishing order come the end, Michael Brown 6, James Dabill 7, Jorge Casalases13 Billy Bolt 4th and young Dan Peace 5th.

The Experts were finding some of the sections difficult to predict and struggling to read the grip levels in the now, rutted and talcum powder ground consistency. Kurt Brain had picked up an early 5, after a rushed rear disc change (bent) and his panic to get back on time. This was not a good start and the marks lost here pushed him down the overall standings at the end of the trial. Lee Hassell was riding with much more confidence and composure and enjoying his day. Also Ben Lovelace was riding on a one day only entry and having some good encouraging rides.

Young Tom Minta turned in a very impressive score of just 3 for the first lap with Nick Baker on a mission together with young Tom Hooper and Dan Thorpe not far off their marks.

The second and third laps really sorted out the riders with some unsual dropped marks and position changes in the leader board. Finishing order Nick Baker 14, Tom Hooper 16, James Stones 18, early leader Tom Minta now 4th, Dan Thorpe 6th? Our Kurt Brain got pushed out the championship points in equal 17th due to the early panic previously mentioned.

In the Youth A category Toby Martyn dominated again but his winning margin over Jack Peace was not so great this time around with only 6 marks between them. George Marshman could not repeat his performance of the previous day and was pipped by 3 marks and Sam Johnson for 3rd place on the podium. Our Tom Culliford was once again 7th overall and consistently gathering points.

The overall Championship Standings make for some interesting reading with Dabill Brown and Casales locked in a three way scrap for the top honours, Haslam, Wigg, Connor. Price, Bolt and young Dan Peace in 9th in his first Adult Championship being the major surprise.

The Experts are battling out at the top of the leader board with Tom Hooper and Dan Thorpe trading top honours. To be honest, I feel for poor Tom in that he has to contest against a rider in Dan Thorpe who has spent a lifetime riding in the Championship Class. Surely you have to question if he should be allowed to accrue points in his first season of relegation. One can only question the ACU ruling on this matter, and how best they can encourage and motivate new talent.

Jonny Starmer is 3rd, James Stone in 4th and Tom Minta 5th young Joel Edwards is now in an unfamiliar 11th and our Kurt Brain 14th overall.


The Youth A Class is now seeing Toby Martyn taking a clear lead, with a maximum win rate to date. It is difficult to see how anyone is going to challenge this rising talent. Jack Peace is second and our own George Marshman has now consolidated a point’s buffer in third overall. Tom Culliford is now locked in a battle with Sam Johnson for 4th and 5th Places respectively.

With the sun still blazing down and a cool breeze still blowing to remind everyone it was still early in the year it was time to pack up and make tracks for home. After an exhausting weekend and struggling with any energy levels after the previous week’s flu it was good to be home and rest up again.

The next British Championship round rolls into Aberdulais on the 17th May and is run by the Neath club on the steep wooded welsh hillside. This venue should throw up a whole different set of challenges for the competing riders.

Yours in Sport

Roger (old Silverback). “

Sums in my head

Taken to task by a “chattering” reader today re my post yesterday – I’ll tell you why in a minute – but We’re really pleased – someone ‘out there’ wants to know what we’re chattering about! And another thing – I asked about former Centre Trials Champions – well we have at least  2 more readers! They have suggested that these four guys have been our Solo Trials Champs. Any-one agree?

Jon Tuck, Dave Jeffries, Gary Marshman & Rob Wrigley are the names in the frame.

Right then, my thinking aloud about Becky Cooke Ladies Champ chances, I got it wrong. Now I’ve read the Championship Rules I’ll correct myself If Becky wins the last Round she WILL be Champion again. If she wins Joanne cannot be better than second, both Ladies will discard one score, so bothe will have 4 wins & 3 seconds, the tie break is then best performance in the last Round, so in my scenario Becky would be Champ again.

We can’t go to the IoW to support Becky – because of [our] West Wilts Centre Trials Championship Errington Cup – but our appointed Centre Steward has pulled out to be part of Becky’s on site Back up!

Good day out at Easter Compton today it was really dry there with plenty of grip = lots of happy faces at the finish. Results to follow when available.

Lets also hope the West Wilts team have had a good day at the Natterjack final BEC Round, I think our guys for this Round are Dan Beavan, Ben Shuttleworth & Tyson Maytom-Jones. Not sure if Freddie Broadway has a functional bike or not at the moment. I’ll let you know when I have a Report

Keep your feet up or have quick special tests: Frank

Chasing Women again

As Frank has already pointed out in his “Franks Ramblings” we haven’t had the best of starts in the Woman’s British championship trials having finished second behind Joanne Coles in all three. The Basingstoke trial was located not far from Greenham Common and was like a larger piggeries which was not suitable for a British Championship as it was far too easy! The organisers also ran an open to centre at the same time which didn’t help the sections. I got a lift back with the Payne’s as both their girls are riding the full series and didn’t both Maisie and Victoria do well, they deserve much praise for their achievements and both have the potential to become British Champions in their classes but could do with some help from our Centre.

Cheadle is Joanne’s home club and run just outside of Stoke with a mixture of rock outcrops and mud, again this was a low scoring trial and with a poor opening lap we couldn’t catch Joanne although Becky’s last lap was the best of the trial which no one else could match. Unfortunately Victoria Payne had to retire from this one with a bruised foot but Maisie took the second consecutive win in her class.

Off to Italy, We set off for Dover on the Wednesday morning before Easter and were delayed at Dover due to the poor conditions in the channel and again at the Frejus Tunnel where we had to wait again until about 3am for the roads to be cleared of snow on the Italian side. We spent most of Friday practising, making sure the bike was running well and walking the following days sections, the organisers have to provide a practice area which lets you get a feel for the terrain and on this occasion was just about a mile down the mountain from the paddock with some huge rock faces and steps. Becky finished second behind Laia Sanz in the Woman’s European round on the Saturday beating Joanne Coles by some way on the far more difficult sections than the ones in the British Championship. Easter Sunday she won the International class outright beating some very handy Italian, French and German men. We didn’t have as much time to spare and chill out as I was expecting what with the driving, riding, cleaning and maintaining the bike and doing it all over again for three days in a row before driving home again but we did have time to get to know some of the other British riders and supports there including Gerald and Jonathan Richardson, Jack Shepard, Joanne Coles and her Dad.

Back home and we were off to the Woman’s round just north of Lincoln where Joanne got the better of us again after the bike stalled on the first lap on an easy section that lost us the trial so we weren’t in the best of moods after that one!

The week before Scotland we rode the Victory National Novogar Trial at Knighton, Mid Wales. Dad started this one but didn’t make the finish after pulling a hamstring doing the splits on top of a water fall that five minutes before he was telling us he’d cleaned on a 240 Fantic years ago…….. or so he says

Off to Fort William for the best week of the year at the SSDT. Jerry Cross was out of luck having to retire on Friday with his main bearings failing, the long run out past The Glen Finnan Monument and Viaduct of Harry Potter fame finally put paid to it, you could smell the burning gear oil for miles. Gas Gas changed the bearings on Friday night and he rode again on Saturday but for no award.  I’d geared up my bike to give it an easier time on the roads but changed it back to standard Monday night because I couldn’t get it to work in the sections up there although it seemed fine down here. Becky took a few days to start riding well and had to play catch up before taking the best lady’s award. Riding around near, name dropping here, James Lampkin, the Hemingway’s, Alex Wigg, Harold Crawford and Dougie was good fun, Dougie making fun of Becky and me when she wrapped the chain around the front sprocket on the first few yards of moor Friday morning, it took me and Harold Crawford  about 10 minutes to get it sorted with the rest all watching taking the mickey out of us. Dad had warned that my ride this year would suffer with minding and riding, which is my excuse for a poor result this year, although I enjoyed myself, it was stressful with the scores being so tight between the girls!.  Jerry wasn’t the only one to have bad luck, Dad had been kindly offered a press pass for few days by Colin Bullock of CJB Photography. He took his bike up with him and was looking forward to riding a couple of the days routes across the mountains and moors, anyway he gets all kitted up, fills a rucksack with spares, fuel, food, water proofs, camera, puts his helmet and gloves on, gets the bike out the van and spends the next hour trying to start the thing but it would not start so ends up putting it away, I expect Ba will add more detail in View from BA House but Mum and Gareth didn’t dare speak to him for at least an hour !  Some of you will remember Roger Millard formerly of the Bath club who now lives at Fersit, this year he had the job of transporting the press and Southern Royalty ( Trevor and Irene Samuels ) up the mile or so to the Fersit sections in his 6 wheeled Argo. Didn’t get to see much of Chris and Janet this year due to the Norovirus at the SSDT HQ hotel, hope you’ve  both fully recovered now.

Off to Andorra in June, I’ll let you know how we get on.


Chasing Women!


As many of you will already know I will be minding for Becky Cook this year in all the World, European and British championship trials and asked Frank if he would like me to tell you about the behind the scenes goings on.

As a BVM sponsored rider I’d met Becky there a few times when she visited while en route to Nationals. She first asked me if I would be interested in minding for her after the last British Championship trial in Kent last autumn after I had helped her on her last lap after I’d finished the trial. Her usual minder Peter Archer couldn’t make it that weekend and had already told her that he was unable to commit to 2010. She originally asked if I could help at World and European trials. After talking with Mark Kemp, everyone at work, Mum and Dad I decided to take the job on and Mind for her at the British Woman’s, British Championship Trials as well as the European and World rounds.

I started preparing by getting some tips from my dad after he minded for me in last year’s British championship trials but soon gave up that idea after remembering things like “TYRE LEFT, GOOD NOW TWO TYRES RIGHT”, and another time while lined up for a big step Dad tried to climb on to the top to catch me but he couldn’t manage it and slid back down and left  me to it !!!  At the time it wasn’t funny but thinking back now I can’t help but laugh at the old man.

I’ve been out practising with Becky every weekend this year training hard to try and help her achieve her goal of becoming World Champion; we have been trying out Cardo blue tooth headsets, as used by many of the top riders at World events. At World Championship level this year the rider will not be able to walk the sections on the day of the trial so we think it will help us with any last minute changes of line etc.

The National trials season has started with the Wallace and Colmore but my first proper minding job will be the first two Woman’s British Championship trials at Basingstoke, this Sunday 21st March and Cheadle then its off to a slightly more exotic Italian Euro round over Easter, I’ll bring you up to date again when I can.

Craig Talbot

March 2010