Gary, Ben and Richard emerge Minthorpe masters

Gary, Ben and Richard emerge Minthorpe masters

Rider A is planning his entry for forthcoming events. “What” he thinks, “should I ride in the Milnthorpe?” Will it be the Ariel, or perhaps my RTL or maybe the old Bully, but perhaps the best bet is the Beta, modern bike, modern trial, likely to be fairly hard, so it’s the obvious choice. But no, he enters on his ancient, but still very tidy twin-shock Fantic. Definitely NOT the obvious choice, nor arguably the best choice, but does it matter when your name is Ben Butterworth and past results have shown he can ride ANYTHING.

And he certainly went out  as if to prove the point, and won the Clubman under 40 class of the S3 Parts/ACU Championship Milnthorpe Trial, round four of the series, losing just 12 marks when equally competent riders were losing double and at times triple the score that Butty finished on. And if one analyses the results (available on this site from the Results link), a five mark score can be seen on section 19 – that’s when the Fantic stalled about 6 feet from the ends card when young Ben was certain to claim another section zero.

A truly class ride from a multi-talented rider.

Ben Butterworth

But to be fair to the rest of the 137 strong starters, Butterworth was not the only rider to have a great ride on an old bike. The over 40 class top three was dominated by Northern Centre experts, which may well have proven to be a surprise to many of the riders from away, who perhaps fancied their chances. Richard Gaskell, over 50 now, matched Butterworth’s score of 12 marks lost which was exactly 12 marks more than he lost when he won the same trial in 2022, whilst runner up was Stephen Dixon on his old TY250 Yam Mono with  brother Chris Dixon wrapping up the Northern domination with third in the Over 40s. Richard Gaskell

Closest to Butterworth in the Under 40 class was Tom Fraser from over Richmond way with Jamie Jackson, recent winner of the Clubman class in the Lonsdale Trial some five weeks ago in third -and he could have been runner up if the observer sheets matched the total he reckoned up through the day – but that’s trialing for you – sometimes the results benefit a rider, at other times they don’t!

The S3 Parts series is a four class championship, Clubman Under 40 and Over 40, Expert and Expert 125. There have been no 125s in the series to date – at least none to score a point – and why would an Expert choose a 125 when so many of the sections demand a 300s power.

After three rounds, it was Dan Thorpe leading the series which he has won numerous times and though he slipped to fourth on the day having lost an unexpected five on section 19 (that section again!) where the bulk of his Expert rivals went clean, he retained his lead in the series.

Winner of the Expert class was Fort William resident Gary Macdonald who reckoned that he was concerned before the trial that it would muddy and slippery and probably not the type of sections he prefers, yet put on a great show of style to show his young challengers, Duncan McColl, Sam Yeomans and Jamie Galloway how an older rider can still mix it with riders half his age.

Gary Mac is in serious training for the forthcoming SSDT and his win of the Milnthorpe will have boosted his confidence as he aims to beat his previous third place finish in the Scottish in just a few weeks time.

The organising Westmorland Club, despite fears that the trial might not go ahead due to problems finding a suitable start area, coped well in difficult conditions with an excellent turnout of riders, observers and even a few spectators on the driest day for some months.

The up-to-date S3 results are also available from the Results link. Eric Kitchen’s pictures are now in the Gallery.