Round four of the 2015 FIM Trial World Championship brought the series to the considered motherland of the sport with the compact venue at Nord Vue near Penrith in the north of England hosting a Trial GP for the fifth time. Vertigo factory rider James Dabill placed sixth and seventh over the two days of his home Grand Prix that was played out in mixed weather conditions. Whilst perhaps hoping for a slightly stronger showing at this event Dabill and the prototype Combat machine still showed its great capabilities over yet another different type of course.
In contrast to the two previous rounds in the Czech Republic and Sweden where the hazards had been more traditional and flowing, this weekend saw an array of man made style sections constructed mainly from large sand stone boulders in the confines of the hill top quarry.
Rain was predicted to fall early on Saturday morning, but never actually materialised until after the World Pro riders had complete their first lap of twelve sections. Periods of sunshine and even clouds of dust in some places gave an almost continent feel to initial stages of the British event. Dabill started strongly in the dry conditions and was the first to register a stunning clean in section two where a huge crowd of home fans were on hand to appreciate the moment as James used the smooth power of his prototype factory Vertigo Combat to crest the middle series of steps.
James ended the opening lap in fourth place, a position he was to hold to the close of the second lap despite the hazards now having become increasingly more difficult as the rain fell. However, Dabill was not to start his final tour well with three fives in the first three sections, which was just how Toni Bou had began his second lap. Despite this heavy early loss the factory Vertigo rider fought to remain in contention and produced two exceptional rides in the concluding two sections of the Trial, both where he had failed previously, to clinch sixth place. Dabill was bitterly disappointed to have missed out on a top five placing by a single mark come the end of day one.
Sunday morning started with rain and changes to four sections to allow for the weather. In conditions that should have suited Dabill, the factory Vertigo rider struggled to adjust his approach to the now very slippery hazards. His frustration was reflected in his eighth position come the close of the opening lap. However, thankfully with the rain having stopped and the sections now drying, James responded well to post second and third lap scores which, when combined, were still less than his initial performance. The effect of his improved showing was for Dabill to move up to seventh spot as day two came to a close.
Summing up Vertigo Sports Team Manager Dougie Lampkin stated. “Another weekend and another very different type of trial and again one that we have not yet encountered fully since the project started. That said, we looked to have a good set up during practice on Friday and James felt both confident and comfortable on the bike.”
“The changing weather has played havoc with all the riders with only really Bou totally getting to grips with it over the weekend. James has again produced some really great rides and showed how well the Combat grips when he is on form, but he will be disappointed with some of the mistakes he has made. Although we are not quite at the level we now want to be at in terms of actual results, we are in a good place with the bike and have now found some consistency regards the overall package.”
Post event Dabill said. “Top five was the least I was hoping this weekend on both days so I have not managed to hit that target, which is a bit disappointing. The bike has been great and felt strong all weekend so I have got no complaints there. I was the first to clean section two on Saturday and the first out of section ten on Sunday, both needed plenty of power and grip and the prototype Combat showed what it was capable of when I was on top of it. Both in terms of power and suspension the bike is bang on, I just need to find some more consistency in my riding. Hopefully I can get that sorted ready for the next round in France.”
Dabill remains seventh in the 2015 FIM Trial World Championship, which will resume in Andon, France later this month for round five of nine.