Scotland part 10

Scotland part 10

Friday Evening, May 10, 9.15pm

The song title says “the sun will come out tomorrow” and it did for the fifth day of this year’s SSDT – and a good job too, for the riders had suffered a mighty hammering on Thursday in what was described by old hands as the toughest day of the Scottish in recent memory.

I’ve been coming here every year since 1978 and two before that, and whilst I can remember some rough days, in fact some rough weeks, Thursday will certainly take some beating for toughness in the memory stakes.

Anyway, Friday dawned bright, clear and sunny and remained that way all day, a day that was the longest of the week travelling as far east as Achallader for the sections at Gorton culminating at Fersit before the 45 minute run back to Fort William.

You may well have concluded by now from the previous nine parts that this is very much a personal diatribe rather than a comprehensive report of the trial – I’ve written enough of those in the past to last anyone a lifetime – so I shall continue the theme. The plan was to watch just the one group, Gorton which has featured as a tough place to visit as a SSDT rider for a good few years now, but to get there is either a long hot walk along a boney track, (it’s 3.5 miles and I don’t do walking) or get the e- bike out, and that’s what I did.

Despite our best efforts about 20 riders reached the sections before we did, but we did get to see the day’s first clean of the middle sub by Duncan McColl. The section has always been mega hard but had been routed slightly differently this time but was still very difficult. Cleans were a long time coming though Tom Minta rode through for a dab as did Laia Sanz, but more cleans were eventually witnessed from Billy Green, Toby Martyn, Jack Price, Dougie Lampkin and a very few others but by then we had set off for home in Fort William having managed to get an early meal booking organised.

Back at the parking area we found Richard Fraser fettling his Sherco which had apparently decided the rider didn’t need a back brake and had a sticking throttle. He was right at the tail end of the entry with the back marking team chasing him to decide to either continue or make his own way back to base. Thirty miles on a Sherco with a sticking throttle and no rear brake would not have been a wise decision so we rearranged the contents of my van, loaded the defunct Sherco on board with Richard squeezed in and took bike and rider back to the parc ferme.

It’s the right thing to do if one can, happy to help so the saying goes.

One day to go now and it’s Jack Price 17, Jack Peace 20, Harry Hemingway 21, Dan Peace 25, Toby Martyn 25, Richard Sadler 28, Dougie Lampkin and Michael Brown both 32 – so still very much all to play for.

I’ m off home in the morning, so this may be the final part of my personal coverage of 9 days in Scotland. Having covered the trial and the pre 65 event, either both or one, for various newspapers, magazines, periodicals, websites or verbally for somebody else to write up, for the past 44 trials, only now have I been able to do a personal view rather than a professional one, so I hope it has filled a gap in the coverage of Scotland.

I expect there will be a part 11 but it may be in a few days time rather than straight away.

The lead picture: Dan and Richard Gaskell receive wise words from Tony Wild.