Last year’s Scott trial would see Graham Jarvis take a record breaking eighth win in this unique super-tough time and observation event. Since that win he has stayed away from the trials game, announcing his retirement from mainstream trials and championships at the end of 2008. He has kept involved in off-road motorcycle sport, reinventing himself as an extreme enduro specialist with much success. The Scott bug would not go away though, and he decided to give it one more go. James Dabill on the other hand has just taken his first adult British Championship as he continues on his successful trials career. Spanish manufacturer Gas Gas have never won this event and with Dabill on a high it would have been a brave man who would bet against him winning – then again it is the Scott, where anything can happen.
Words: John Hulme
Picture: Trial Magazine – Mike Rapley
A damp dark misty morning would greet the hardy riders willing to give it their all to complete the 76 sections and 80 miles on offer in this year’s event. The weather and forecast for the day was not good; light rain would be accompanied by mist with the low hanging fog not helping at the start, and more rain coming in later in the day. With preparations complete for man and machine it would be local rider Nickolas Hunt who would start the event as the starter’s flag was dropped at exactly nine o’clock. For one young man it would be a day when a dream would come true. Gerald Richardson was a hard rider in his day and had won the event in 1983 and 1985; long since retired from trials he now had his son Jonathan on the starting ramp. As a local rider he had dreamed of this day and now it was about to come true. Starting number 151 he headed into the distance as he lived the dream. He knew the sound of the chasing pack would soon be on him. The trial is a steep learning curve and to take a win at your first attempt is almost unheard of, although Irishman Robert Crawford broke this mould with a dramatic win in 1990. Could Richardson repeat this? Of the 191 riders entered the fancied winners all started in the last quarter of the entry but would soon be pushing on to get to the front and dictate the pace. Ian Robinson was the first to hit the front riding number 57, and was setting a quick pace as he entered the first fuel check. Potential winners Graham Jarvis and James Dabill were riding numbers 185 and 186 and literally arrived within a few seconds of one another. Dabill was quick in and out but Jarvis had already broken sweat and decided to unload some clothing, and in Jarvis style he was as calm as ever. Nineteen year old Alexz Wigg has now served his Scott apprenticeship and in his third attempt was already holding his own on the Beta. As the riders headed towards the sections at Underbanks we were about to witness our first drama of the day. Pushing hard on the moors Dabill had hit a rock on the Gas Gas and suffered a front tyre puncture. In a picture of true calm he quickly fixed the problem though, losing just less than five minutes, and was away.
The sections at Surrender wind up the rock-strewn gulley and it’s a good chance to gauge who is going well and who’s not. The first rider to arrive was Tom Affleck who was quickly followed by local debutant Thomas Tennant. The next rider to appear was another local rider and also first timer Will Reynolds; riding number 78 he was charging. Where was Jarvis? Richardson arrived still smiling, next was Michael Brown who had started the event not feeling well at all having picked up a virus, but nonetheless he was the first of the fancied winners to arrive. Alexz Wigg was riding well within his limits and was looking good; Dabill came and executed an excellent clean. The word was that Jarvis had the Sherco stripped down with the carburettor and air-box off out on the moors. Riding on the limit he had misjudged a deep river crossing and submerged the machine. He arrived approximately twenty minutes after his rivals looking a little flustered to say the least! After these sections the heart rate is raised to its highest level as the riders set off onto the famous “Grouse Moor” which is notorious for sorting the men out from the boys. Coming off the moor it’s a quick fuel check and then up the energy-sapping sections at By-Pass before heading over to Yorkshire’s version of the Grand Canyon. At this point Jarvis was still well down on the leading pack before tackling the hazards at the aptly named Tan Trap and Black Hills. This is real Scott Trial territory, where the top riders can really pull back time. The run down to Whaw Bridge is quick to say the least as the machines jump the rocks and water-filled ditches, miss-time one and you will crash – fact; ask young Craig Robinson. Pushing on and well up on time he had an almighty crash as he lost control of the Gas Gas which threw him over the handlebars. Both man and machine were stricken for a few minutes, but to finish the Scott you have to be made of something special – he was soon up and away though a little shaken. By the time the riders had ridden the sections at Whaw Bridge it was Richardson who was leading the way. Jack Challoner was holding his own as Dabill had him in his sights. Behind them it was Scott specialist Ian Austermuhle, then Alexz Wigg, Michael Brown and Sam Haslam. Not far behind was that man Jarvis and the “steady away” Dan Thorpe on the Gas Gas who was concentrating on recording a good observation score.
The run home would see Dabill eventually catch the young Richardson as Brown retired feeling very sick, and Jarvis was on a mission. He knew he was down on time but would put every ounce of effort in to pull back his chances of victory. The first rider back to the finish was Dabill on the Gas Gas, one minute in front of Richardson. The weather was now brilliant sunshine. It was then Austermuhle, local rider Will Reynolds who was followed by Jarvis who was fourteen minutes down on Dabill. Jarvis commented that he had enjoyed the day but the chance of another win was out of the window. As the battered riders and machines arrived every one had a tale to tell. The younger riders had all gone well this year including Alexz Wigg, Sam Haslam, Ross Danby and the likeable George Morton. Lady rider Emma Bristow had finished her first Scott, and spare a thought for 1984 winner Nigel Birkett. Now a spritely 55 years old he still finished well in time on the Scorpa. By the time the awards presentation started in the local Richmond Cricket club “Scott” stories were been told to all and sundry. The awards are read out in reverse finishing order. When the master of ceremonies arrives at the top five you can hear a pin drop in the room, such is the atmosphere. Young “Wiggy” had finished third losing many on time having split his rear tyre but when the words “and in second place, James Dabill” was read out the room was electric. Had Jarvis missed some sections again? And then we heard the words “losing a total of 36 marks the winner of the 2009 is Graham Jarvis” the room went wild!. What a result, nine times a winner; once again Jarvis had “Rocked the Scott”.
SCOTT SPOON WINNERS 2009
Time Obs Total
1: Graham Jarvis (Sherco) 14 22 36
2: James Dabill (Gas Gas) 0 38 38
3: Alexz Wigg (Beta) 32 29 61
4: Sam Haslam (Gas Gas) 26 40 66
5: Dan Thorpe (Gas Gas) 37 31 68
6: Ross Danby (Gas Gas) 22 51 73
7: Ian Austermuhle (Beta) 13 63 76
8: Sam Ludgate (Scorpa) 48 37 85
9: Jonathan Richardson (Sherco) 13 72 85
10: George Morton (Beta) 42 46 88
11: Jonny Walker (Gas Gas) 39 55 94
12: Ben Hemingway (Beta) 27 71 98
13: Barry Kinley (Gas Gas) 26 77 103
14: Guy Kendrew (Sherco) 37 67 104
15: Jack Challoner (Beta) 37 75 112
16: James Lampkin (Beta) 59 67 126
17: Philip Alderson (Gas Gas) 42 86 128
18: Craig Robinson (Gas Gas) 35 94 129
19: Harold Crawford (Beta) 42 89 131
20: Aran Drachenberg (Beta) 59 74 133
21: James Fry (Sherco) 46 87 133
22: Lee Sampson (Sherco) 64 70 134
23: Dan Farrer (Gas Gas) 43 92 135
24: Richard Gaskell (Scorpa) 58 84 142
25: Nathan Wrigglesworth (Scorpa) 78 75 153
26: Zac Sherwin (Beta) 40 113 153
All text is the copyright of John Hulme – All rights reserved.