A CITY Banker, an ex world champion and a rider from Oz tell us why.
The Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) is special in so many ways, and one such part of the event that makes it unique is the diversity of the competitors who take part each year.
Indeed, the SSDT is famous for being that one trial of the year that enables amateur riders from around the globe to compete alongside, and to complete the same challenging course, as their professional heroes.
276 riders (male and female) of all ages and backgrounds are competing in the 2012 Scottish Six Days Trial this week, and together represent more than 20 nations.
Fifty years separate the oldest and youngest competitors – Austria’s Walthur Luft, 67 (number 98) and Great Britain’s Josh Atkinson, 17 (number 152) – and some riders have even travelled from as far afield as Australia to take part in the Scottish Highlands’ century-old trial.
Among the professional riders competing this year are 12-times FIM world champion Dougie Lampkin (Gas Gas), seven-times British Ladies Trial champion and 2012 FIM Women’s World Trial Championship contender Becky Cook (Beta), and reigning British Trials and SSDT champion James Dabill (Beta).
This year has also seen the welcome return of 50-year-old Giles Burgat (number 193) from France. Burgat won the SSDT back in 1981, and then went on to win both the French and World Championship in that same year. It is more than 20 years since Burgat last rode in the SSDT.
Speaking during the trial earlier this week, he said: “I have always wanted to come back here. I almost came last year for the centenary, but I was unable to take the time off work.
“So, I decided to practise a little more and to enter this year instead.
“The event is quite the same as it was 20 years ago, although I’m older now so it seems harder. It’s different as now I am able to enjoy the views and the people more, instead of just looking at my front wheel as I did before. My objective this time is to just finish and enjoy it.”
At the other end of the spectrum is 37 year-old James Connor (number 71), a London investment banker who is riding in the SSDT for the first time this year. James’ younger brother, Sam Connor (number 70) is an SSDT regular and won the event back in 2005.
“I run my own finance company in London, so this is a completely different environment from what I’m used to Monday to Friday,” said James.
“It’s an amazing event, I’m really happy to be here. Right now I’m not thinking any further than the next section, I learned very quickly that’s all you can do at this event – hope you get round. But I’m really enjoying it, I’m making lots of friends and there is a lot of comradeship among the riders which is really nice.”
The SSDT also has a very special place in the heart of 49 year-old Steve Lloyd-Cox (number 119).
Steve is originally from the Midlands, but emigrated with his family to Australia ten years ago. Steve had ridden in the SSDT twice before leaving the UK, in 1991 and 1998, and made it his ambition to return to compete alongside his son, Sam Lloyd-Cox (number 118).
Father and son rode in 2010, but were unfortunately unable to finish the event, and so they are both back again this year.
Steve and Sam’s travel and entry expenses totaled over £12,000 this year, which highlights just how much this event means to them.
“Nothing else in the world compares to it, where you can get on your bikes, see all this beautiful scenery, and ride for miles across the moors and tracks.
“Now we travel 10,000 miles around the World to do it,” explained Steve. “I said to my mates when I left the UK in 2002 that I’d be back in 2010 for Sam to ride.
“We did, but we didn’t finish, so I said we’d definitely come back again, and here we are. We’re loving it and the bikes are doing really well.”
The SSDT is organised by the Edinburgh & District Motor Club. EventScotland is continuing to support the event this year as part of its national funding programme.
There are 276 competitors taking part in this year’s event between 7th and 12th May. The SSDT is free for spectators to watch on all days.
The official event programme, containing routes and spectating opportunities along with a range of interesting articles and additional information, is available to purchase in and around Fort William.
It is available to buy online and further details can be found on the event’s website at www.ssdt.org.
High Resolution copyright free images for media / editorial use are available on request.
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Notes to editors:
Motorcycle trials – the sport
Motorcycle trials is a competitive sport that tests riding skill over a course of observed sections (or hazards/obstacles). Competitors must negotiate steep gullies, slippery rock steps, rocky streams or boulder-strewn gorges, and are penalised if they put their feet down to help them to ride the section or if they fail to complete the section in its entirety.
Motorcycle trials are unique in the world of motorsport, with it being the only discipline where the winner is decided on skill alone and not speed.
The Scottish Six Days Trial
The annual Scottish Six Days Trial is managed by the Edinburgh and District Motor Club. It is a particularly challenging motorcycle trials event as it tests competitors’ stamina, endurance, strength and consistency over long distances, with 276 riders completing more than 100 miles and 30 sections on some days of the six-day event. The routes cover a combination of rough moorland, rocky tracks and public roads.
The SSDT started in 1909 and, with breaks during the two World Wars, celebrated its 100th anniversary in May 2011, making it the oldest and also one of the most prestigious motorcycle trials events in the world.
The SSDT is based in the Lochaber region of the Scottish Highlands and is traditionally held in May every year. Each day of the trial starts and finishes in Fort William, providing a major tourist attraction for the town.
Admission to watch the SSDT is free on all days. Full event details, including the best spectating points throughout the week, can be found in the official event programme, which will be available to purchase in April 2012.
An independent economic impact survey commissioned by the event organiser and funded by Event Scotland in 2011 showed that the Scottish Six Days Trial provided a direct economic impact of around £1,100,000 to Fort William last year.
Event overview and history: http://www.g2fgroup.com/html/ssdt/html/SSDT12-addinfo.html
The Scottish Six Days Trial is supported by EventScotland.
EventScotland is the national events agency.
EventScotland is working to make Scotland one of the world’s leading event destinations. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit www.EventScotland.org.
The Year of Creative Scotland 2012 will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage and is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.
More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at www.visitscotland.org/yearofcreativescotland-toolkit
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