ATTENTION has shifted to the loch-side town of Fort William, which will be the base for the famous Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) that will celebrate its centenary when the actual competition gets underway early tomorrow morning.
For 100 years, motorcyclists have made the pilgrimage to the Highlands to take part in what remains a unique event and one that still duly tests man and machine to the limit.
Glorious sunshine created the fitting backdrop for the competitors to make their last minute preparations in order to be ready to be part of this historic occasion.
The Parc Ferme located in the West End car park was a hive of activity with riders and spectators mingling in a festive type atmosphere, as the formalities of the bike inspection and marking saw the lucky 276 competitors finally make it to the start line after months of preparation.
Whilst much has changed over the last century, the fundamental idea and ethos of the SSDT remains very much intact, with the riders only permitted to change certain parts of their bike during the gruelling six day adventure and are still forced to maintain and repair their machines without any outside assistance.
It is this lure of bike and rider being pitted against the elements that continues to attract competitors from all over the world, this year’s entry includes representatives from as far a field as Australia and Canada, and many others from across Europe.
The SSDT remains the single most important event in the trials calendar, and offers amateur riders the unique opportunity to compete over the same course and alongside their professional counterparts.
This is perfectly illustrated as the clubman ranks prepare to share their week with 12 times FIM Trial world champion, Dougie Lampkin – Gas Gas, who has been a winner of the SSDT on no less than five previous occasions and will look to secure a record-breaking sixth victory this year.
Dougie confirmed his liking for the SSDT.
He said; “The Scottish Six Days Trial is an important event for me and has been an important event for my family over the years.
“I first came to Fort William when I was just six weeks old and have been coming back pretty much ever since. I have come here to win, but also to ride with my family and friends as it is the only time that we can ride together.
“I really enjoy this week and hopefully after last year when my bike broke down, I will have more luck on my side.
“To win a sixth Scottish would be incredible especially with it being the centenary.”
Although the competitive action does not get underway until tomorrow morning, with the first rider leaving the Parc Ferme at 7.30am, today saw the start of the festivities as the now usual parade of riders through the town centre was led by a series of previous SSDT winners.
These included Sammy Miller, Gordon Jackson, Alan Lampkin, Malcolm Rathmell, Martin Lampkin,Yrjo Vesterinen, Steve Saunders, Graham Jarvis, Amos Bilbao, Sam Connor, James Dabill, Dougie Lampkin and last year’s victor Alexz Wigg.The day’s festivities were brought to a close as the vintage bikes and their riders, who had taken part in the nostalgic run over Mamore, brought up the rear of the parade.
2011 promises to be a special year in the SSDT’s long and illustrious history, as not only is it 100 years since the trial was conceived in its current format, but also the competition to win has never been fiercer.
With hot favourites such as James Dabill – Beta, Michael Brown – Gas Gas, Dougie Lampkin – Gas Gas, Graham Jarvis – Montesa and Alexz Wigg – Sherco all mounted on new machinery this season, the battle to take top honours in this important year looks set to live up to the occasion.
Marking its centenary, the 2011 Scottish Six Days Trial will take place in and and around Fort William between Monday 2nd and Saturday 7th May – for more details please visit www.ssdt.org.
SSDT Image Service
High Resolution Images and results from each day of the event can be found on our ftp server – details as listed below – these will be uploaded on a daily basis.
Password: (not required)
Paddy Cuthbert – Podge Publicity – M: 07968 699636 / E: Paddy@podge.co.uk
Notes to Editors:
Funders, sponsors and supporters
Event Scotland – www.eventscotland.org
Highland Council – www.highland.gov.uk
Putoline Oil – www.putoline.com
Lift Control – www.liftcontrol.co.uk
Birkett MotoSport Ltd – www.birkettmotosportukltd.co.uk
John Lee Motorcycles – www.lee-motorcycles.co.uk
Off Road Moto – www.offroadmoto.co.uk
Thistle Access – www.thistleaccess.co.uk
Highland Leisure Sport – www.highlandleisuresport.co.uk
Talon Engineering – www.talon-eng.co.uk
Oximoto – www.oximoto.com
The sport of motorcycle trials is a test of riding skill over observed sections where the winner is determined by skill alone. When competitors ride each of the 30 testing sections every day their feet must remain on the footrests of the bike. They must negotiate steep gullies, slippery rock steps, rocky streams and boulder-strewn gorges. Sections vary in length and severity, and riders are penalised if they put their feet down to help them ride the section, and more so if they fail to negotiate the section in its entirety.
The Scottish Six Days Trial has the additional test of reliability over long distances, with riders completing up to 100 miles each day over a combination of rough moorland, rocky tracks and public roads; designed to challenge the ability, experience, strength and stamina of each rider and the reliability of the bike. There is also a set time within which each day’s route must be completed.
100 years of the Scottish Six Days Trial
The event actually originated as a five-day reliability trial back in July 1909, before being extended to a six-day competition a year later.
However, the start of the Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) proper as organised by the then newly formed Edinburgh and District Motor Club began in 1911.
In those early years, the trial started and finished in Edinburgh with the route taking the riders to John O’Groats and back over the course of the week. Fort William was introduced as the hub for the event in 1938, although the start and finish remained in Edinburgh, which continued to be the case until all links with the Scottish city were cut in 1977. Today, the SSDT consists of six different daily routes that total approximately 500 miles, which begin and end in Fort William each day.
The Edinburgh and District Motor Club will once again be at the helm of this fantastic competition and will be responsible for upholding an event where club riders and the world’s best compete together over the same course that will include 30 boulder-strewn sections on each of the six days.
For more information on The Scottish Six Days Trial go to: http://www.g2fgroup.com/html/ssdt/docs/SSDT100.pdf
Previous winners of the Scottish Six Days – 1972-2010
2010 – Alexz Wigg – Beta 2009 – Dougie Lampkin – Beta 2008 – Dougie Lampkin – Beta 2007 – James Dabill – Montesa 2006 – Graham Jarvis – Sherco 2005 – Sam Connor – Sherco 2004 – Graham Jarvis – Sherco 2003 – Joan Pons – Sherco 2002 – Amos Bilbao- Montesa 2001- Cancelled – Foot + Mouth 2000 – Steve Colley – Gas Gas 1999 – Graham Jarvis – Bultaco 1998 – Graham Jarvis – Scorpa 1997 – Steve Colley – Gas Gas 1996 – Dougie Lampkin – Beta 1995 – Dougie Lampkin – Beta 1994 – Dougie Lampkin – Beta 1993 – Steve Colley – Beta 1992 – Steve Colley – Beta 1991 – Steve Saunders – Beta 1990 – Steve Saunders – Beta 1989 – Steve Saunders – Fantic 1988 – Steve Saunders – Fantic 1987 – Jordi Tarres – Beta 1986 – Thierry Michaud – Fantic 1985 – Thierry Michaud – Fantic 1984 – Thierry Michaud – Fantic 1983 – Toni Gorgot – Montesa 1982 – Bernie Schreiber – SWM 1981 – Gilles Burgat – SWM 1980 – Yrjo Vesterinen – Montesa 1979 – Malcolm Rathmell – Montesa 1978 – Martin Lampkin – Bultaco 1977 – Martin Lampkin – Bultac 1976 – Martin Lampkin – Bultac 1975 – Mick Andrews – Yamaha 1974 – Mick Andrews – Yamah 1973 – Malcolm Rathmell – Bultac 1972 – Mick Andrews – Ossa
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