Bouncing Ben Bags Bassenthwaite

Bouncing Ben Bags Bassenthwaite

Bassenthwaite’s Robin Hood trial on February 12 brought to an end a run of 4 consecutive Centre Championship rounds, with another excellent entry of points chasers, but which had to be limited to 75 competitors at the request of the landowners of the Gilside holiday park which is one of the very best off road trials venues in Cumbria.

The Glenridding venue offered 4 laps of 11 sections, predominately rocky streams which became progressively more slippery as the trial wore on. Unlike the previous year’s event which was held in torrential rain and gale force winds which led to flooded sections, this year’s trial was very dry with barely any water flowing down the feeder gullies into the main river flow, and whilst they were initially very grippy, the passage of just a few machines with soil on the tyres soon led to the sections becoming very slick.

Darren Brice topped the hard course riders with a comfortable win, losing just 16 marks with Stephen Dixon his nearest rival some 11 marks adrift whilst Tom Swindlehurst was a further two marks behind for third place. The final two sections of the trial was a double sub and for the Hard course riders, the first section of the pair was very difficult as it featured a treacherously slimy rock face that took a huge number of marks except from Brice and Swindlehurst who both managed the step for 3 marks over the four laps.Most of the remaining hard course riders lost into double figures on this sub except for Dixon and Dan Gaskell who managed to hold their loss into single figures.

Jack Dixon

Jack Dixon, Steve’s ever-improving A class son won the Green course from Roger Williams who travelled over from the North East. The scores were very close 25 to 26 with Stuart Gaskell in third on 32. The Green course men had to ride the hard version of the second sub of the final pair and nobody even came close to managing four cleans, the best being Gaskell’s 7 through the four laps with only Williams managing a single figure result of 9 marks.

Way more than half the entry rode the clubman course and just as he had two weeks earlier, it was Ben Butterworth who proved to be the best rider, and once again he claimed the win on his 500 Ariel. Nine marks was his loss over the four laps – one more than he needed to win the Lonsdale trial two weeks earlier – but this time, his nearest rider was much closer. Just four months after having had a total knee replacement, Nick Shield was back in action and must surely have been pleased to find that not only did his knee stand up to the strain of the event, he also rode well enough to secure second place, four marks behind Butterworth and two marks ahead of Simon Brice who was the Clubman class winner a week earlier at the Frank Jackson trial.

The final section of the trial proved to be very difficult indeed for the Clubman riders, and became even more difficult when Tom Swindlehurst dislodged a rock which rolled into the section just at the point the Clubmen riders were supposed to turn out. Few riders had cleaned the sub to that point, but from then on nobody even looked like making a clean ride until Butterworth was verbally challenged to show how it was done and with an astonishing ride that almost defied belief he bounced the Ariel over the largest of the rocks and with an incredible pivot turn exited the section feet up which certainly made the day for those who were able to watch a talented young man at his very best.

The Bassenthwaite organisers are indeed fortunate to be able to use such a great venue deep in the Lake District for their trials and once again, the Robin Hood proved to be a tough challenge as a Centre Championship round but well enjoyable for the entry of which could have been many more had the places been available.

Full results are on the Results page and Eric Kitchen’s pictures will be available Tuesday.