Britain’s James Dabill – Beta will head into the opening round of the 2018 FIM Trial World Championship at Camprodon in Spain on 19/20 May on his third different make of machine in as many years. At thirty two years of age the proud Yorkshireman is one of the most experienced riders in the field having made his debut in the premier TrialGP class all the way back in 2005, the same year he won the FIM Junior World Cup.
Now, after riding a Gas Gas in 2017 following two years with the Vertigo factory, he is back with Beta and looking to improve on his sixth-placed World ranking. So far all the signs are looking positive and he has won the first two rounds of this year’s ACU British Trial Championship.
“I’m on form,” says James, who finished a career-best-equalling second on the opening day of TrialGP Japan last season. “At the last British Championship round on the first two laps I rode as well as I have for a long while. I made a few mistakes on the last lap, but I probably relaxed a little bit too much.”
“I’m absolutely loving the Beta. We’ve worked together before and I can’t tell you how chilled out they are. There’s no stress. We’ve got our goals and they trust me to get on and do my job. That’s cool because there’s no added pressure.”
“The Spanish guys are so strong it’s always going to be hard to beat them, but I know I can fight for podiums and on a good day I can fight for a win.”
His form in the 2018 FIM X-Trial World Championship has been inconsistent with a third at round two in Montpellier contrasting with eighth-placed finishes in Barcelona and Paris, but he shrugs this off.
“Indoors is always a strange one. You don’t have to do a lot wrong to have some average results and you don’t have to do a lot right to have a mega result like I had in Montpellier.”
To remain competitive against the wave of hungry young riders coming through, James has added a new weapon to his already powerful armoury.
“Over the winter I’ve tried to ride as much as I can and I’ve been working with my trainer. He’s a nutritionist as well which is new for me – he’s got me on the straight and narrow with what to eat. I’ve never been a bad eater, but it’s about knowing what to eat at the right times and I think that’s playing a big part in what I do at the moment.”
“It never really used to be such a big thing in Trial, but especially with the older guys like myself and Adam, Jeroni, Toni and Fuji – we probably do more than the younger guys physically because when you get older you’ve got to try and keep on top of things to stay away from injuries more than anything.”