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). “

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