2016 champion, James Dabill, returned to claim victory at the first round of the 2018 series this weekend. Having missed out on competing last year, Dabill returned to make his mark at the first event held at Hook Wood Trials Centre at the weekend.
Forty riders were entered across Championship, Expert, Masters and Elite Youth classes. With a saturated course, thanks to heavy rain preceding the action and light showers on the day, the riders battled the 12 hazards, ridden over three laps with challenging and variable muddy banks, rocks and man-made elements.
A closely-contested opening lap left Dabill holding a single mark advantage over Toby Martyn and the current champion Jack Price, who were also separated by just a single mark.
The hazards were tough to begin with, but proved more difficult with the passage of every rider and Dabill was forced to move his riding to another level to pull clear of the pack, parting with only seven marks in his impressive second lap.
By the last lap the course required the utmost skill and technical riding, and all the competitors were struggling. Dabill clung on, though, losing the least marks of everyone and giving him his first taste of victory in the 2018 championship.
Jack Price came in second overall followed closely by Dan Peace, who was just a single mark behind him.
James Dabill: “I’m very happy to have taken my first outdoor victory of 2018 with this win at the opening round of the British Championship, on what turned out to be a very difficult event. After the heavy rain the previous day, the hazards were at their very worst and they did not improve as the event progressed. In these conditions tyre choice is essential and the feedback and feel from the Michelin X-Light tyres gave me the confidence to fight for the victory after I parted with too many marks on my opening lap. My second lap score of seven was by far the best of the day. Michelin trials tyres have been my first choice in my trials career and once again the X-Light proved invaluable in my win.”
1: James Dabill (Beta) 43; 2: Jack Price (JST Gas Gas UK) 62; 3: Dan Peace (JST Gas Gas UK) 64; 4: Toby Martyn (RG Montesa/Honda UK) 79; 5: Jack Peace (JST Gas Gas UK) 89; 6: Jack Sheppard (MRS Sherco) 98; 7: Andy Chilton (BMS Scorpa Andy Metcalfe) 106; 8: Dec Bullock (Gas Gas) 113; 9: Alexz Wigg (JST Gas Gas UK) 132; 10: Tom Minta (BMS Scorpa) 139; 11: Billy Green (Beta-UK) 145; 12: Oliver Smith (Gas Gas) 169.