Eight-time ACU British Trials championship winner and Britain’s undisputed number one trials rider, James Dabill (Beta) opened the 2020 season with a clear win at round one.
Heavy rain in the early part of the week made way for a cold, dry day at the Hookwood trials venue near Guildford. Riders took on 12 hazards, ridden over three laps with challenging and variable muddy banks, rocks and man-made elements. A strong entry of over seventy riders were entered across four classes: Trial GB, Trial 2, Trial 125 and Expert.
The first round of the 2020 championship ran under the new ACU Trial GB marking system, which includes one minute time allowance for each section to be traversed. Other changes introduced for 2020 are competitors may stop, go sideways or reverse without penalty. However, going backwards whilst footing will incur a five-mark penalty. An additional championship point will be awarded to the best performance on observation on each lap of the trial to all four classes.
Despite a heart stopping moment when he careered over the handlebars in the opening hazard on the first lap, Dabill remained calm and climbed back up the leaderboard to claim the lead from Toby Martyn.
Heavy rain had left the hazards severely challenging for riders and this could be seen in the opening lap scores. The top three positions were close with Dabill, Martyn and Dan Peace all under thirty marks lost, white Jack Peace (MRS Sherco) and Jack Price (Vertigo) were close behind both on thirty-three marks lost.
In the second lap, Dabill rode decisively and controlled his commanding Italian Beta over the rocks to record a superb eleven marks lost total. With no answer from his rivals to this dominant performance, Dabill only improved even as the hazards became harder.
Below Dabill, a determined Dan Peace actually matched second placed Martyn’s score in his final lap, but the damage had been done on the second lap when he suffered a heavy fall and Martyn took the runner up position by four marks.
James Dabill: “In 2019 I made the difficult decision to not contest the full ACU British Trials championship, but I am very happy to have returned with a winning result in 2020 at round one. The event (as expected with the recent very wet weather conditions) turned out to be a very challenging course. Mud was carried onto the rocks and the hazards became very polished and slippery. In these conditions tyre choice is essential and the feedback and feel from the Michelin tyres gave me the confidence to fight for the victory after the very closely contested opening lap. With my second lap score of eleven marks lost I knew a solid last lap ride would secure me the victory.
The Michelin trials tyres have once again proved vital to my success showing how they can adapt to the changing conditions we have encountered at round one.”
Results Round One – Hookwood Trials Centre – 07/03/2020
Trial GB Championship Class
1: James Dabill (Beta) 59; 2: Toby Martyn (TRRS) 81; 3: Dan Peace (MRS Sherco) 85; 4: Jack Peace (MRS Sherco) 95; 5: Jack Price (Vertigo) 95; 6: Billy Green (RG Montesa/Honda UK) 127.
Trial GB Championship Positions
1: James Dabill (Beta) 22; 2: Toby Martyn (TRRS) 17; 3: Dan Peace (MRS Sherco) 16; 4: Jack Peace (MRS Sherco) 11; 5: Jack Price (Vertigo) 10; 6: Billy Green (RG Montesa/Honda UK) 9.