Scotland part 9

Scotland part 9

Thursday evening, 11.25pm

The rain could be heard on the caravan roof overnight of Wednesday/Thursday, but it didn’t seem much on Thursday morning in Fort William. It was heavy drizzle with the forecast for the day to dry up by late morning, which proved to be the case.

The plan was to go to the second group of the day at The Muhdie, a long rocky burn just off the main road and great spectator point. But if the rain in Fort Bill over night had been moderate, over in the direction of Moidart it must have been torrential as the burn was chock full of fast flowing white water, more suitable for rafting than trials riding.

The start numbers are rotated through the week and Thursday was Dougie Lampkin’ s early day, which eventually put him out of the running for his 15th win of the trial, for he had a total mare of a day, losing 25 marks which left him down in 9thplace with no chance whatsoever in recovering, in just two days, the 18 mark difference between him and the trial leader, Jack Price.

The Muhdie sections, even when dry are very difficult, but flooded, were virtually impossible. Alfie Lampkin had a decent attempt revving the 125 Vertigo to almost bursting  point to reach the end for a three, with his dad going one better losing two, but it was the start of the rot, primarily due to the early start number. But that’ s the rules in Scotland to make the whole event as fair as possible for every rider.

The later riders obviously had things a bit easier – but not by much, as the levels dropped for the rain had stopped and the natural passage of riders eased the hazards if only slightly.

Two new groups Ranochan and Boat House were by-passed by this journalist in favour of seeing the action at WD’s, a section introduced a few years ago in honour of the late clerk of the course Willie Dalling.

If the water had been deep and fast flowing at The Muhdie, at WD’s it was a massive surnami almost totally covering the slippery rocks. Lampkin carried his bike through the two hazards for what was assumed to be a five and a three, and even after half the entry had been through two threes were considered good even though tolerant observing meant that simply reaching the ends cards was worth a three no matter how many times stops were witnessed in the process. It was a situation where if the observer had observed by the book, the entire entry would likely have been given a failure score.

A problem when spectating the SSDT is that it is simply impossible to see all that happens, even though the Thursday route is particularly spectator friendly, so it’s a case of picking where you go and staying there to see as much as possible and rely on the Live Results from to keep a track of what has happened. So this year, not having been there for maybe 8 years, my final choice was Kilmalieu, which though a tough section, did see many cleans and allowed numerous riders to notch up a decent effort of the granite boulders.

Best performance of the day was by Toby Martin with 6 and the top five were Jack Price 17, Jack Peace 19, Dan Peace 20, Harry Hemingway 20, Toby Martin 24. All very much to play for .

At this stage, after 4 days, it appears that all the Northern Centre riders are still competing, though first timers Jackson Edwards and Ethan King are obviously finding the event hard but putting in great efforts to claim a finish in a couple of days.

The lead picture is of Alfie Lampkin on The Muhdie.