Moto Trial NI Anniversary Trial

On Saturday 20th April Moto Trial NI kicked off their 2024 trials series with their 10th anniversary trial at Whitespots Trial Park in Newtownards.

Adam Reid

The event commemorated the 10 years the club has been hosting events and practice having been formed to fight to keep the historic venue, the Leadmines , open for riders of all ages to ride in a safe, lawful and insured environment.

The park is the only fully planned and council approved trails area on the island of Ireland and is used every Sunday year round and on Wednesday eveings during the summer.  Regularly hosting between 20 and 60 riders on Sundays the club now has a very large membership of all ages, from 4 to 87 and all abilities from Novice through to riders who compete at National and International level.

Mayor in a Bear

The park was also the venue used in 1941 by the combined British Forces to train dispatch riders before deloyment to the European theatre.  At the end of the training a trial was held to see who the best rider was.

This event was also to honour and remember these riders, and the Irish Guards and 591 AA Squadron were in attendance with stalls showcasing their history.

The Club were delighted to have the support of the Mayor, Jennifer Gilmour, and Chief Executive Stephen Reid, both taking time to visit the sections on the course to see the riders tackling the sections set out by the club.

Local MLA Stephen Dunne was also in attendance to show his continuing support for the club and see the riders in action.

Ken Stewart

A beautiful day ensured that the riders, almost 100 in total, had no excuses for rain affecting their efforts!

This year club Chairman, Andrew Perry had decided to spice things up and over the preceeding weeks and months, along with a team of dedicated volunteers he had located areas of the park that had never been used and developed these to give us ten brand new sections that the riders would test themselves on over four laps

As with previous years this series was again very kindly sponsored by Jonny Annett of OHA Motorsport, who had a stall at the sign on with new bikes displayed and a spares set up in case any rider suffered any issues, and the club thank Jonny for continuing this relationship.  Joining OHA in sponsoring prizes was Colin Patterson from Signature Windows NI who put up a voucher for OHA as a spot price at each round and the winner seleceted at random was David Meeke, well done David and Colin

Also new this year was a new grade for Semi Expert level and above, 

The trial started at 11am with grades set off in time intervals to ease the queues, each grade had groups of riders on modern machinery, air cooled mono, twinshocks and pre 65 bikes too.

A sign of how good a level the course set out by Andy is that no rider was fault free throughout the day, some like Gary Johnston did come close though, but no cigar

In the semi expert grade we had a ding dong battle throughout the day with many riders leading at avrious points but the clear winner was 14 year old Mason Crawford who along with Sophie Ferguson and Alex Andrews stepped up into the adult ranks to test their skills against the “big boys”

Robert Crawford

In the semi expert air cooled mono class Ross Allen, Robert Crawford and current top Elite + rider Stuart McClurg did battle.  Robert showed he has lost none of the guile and skill that saw him get to the heights of World number 7 in his prime.  Stuart though, given he is out most weeks on some form of two wheel weapon took the win from Robert.

In the Clubman Elite grade Terry McKee, Desy Leckey and Alex Dugan fought their way through the sections for honours with Terry running out winner from Desy, with Alex 3rd, and also posting the only clean lap.

In Clubman Pre 65 Stephen Murphy finished on 7 marks lost to take the win, a score that would have been enogh to take the Elite grade win.

Amy O’Neill

In the Clubman grade Micah Jones had a very steady ride, posting single digit scores on each lap to take the win from Josh Wilson, with Daniel Annett taking 3rd.

In the Clubman twinshock grade Jamie Chambers took the win from Adam Reid with Kyle Hewitt in 3rd

In the Clubman air cooled grade Che McStay was the winner on his lovely Beta TR34

Noah and Jack

On then into the Sportsman group.  This is by far the most competitive and best supported grade, and in the Sportsman Elite grade seven riders fought hard throughout the day with some low scores, especially from winner Robbie Jennings, who posted three clear laps and a lap of 3 to push Ian Page into 2nd, followed by Nigel Mowbray.

In the main Sportsman grade twenty four riders finished with ten marks coverng the first eight riders.  Gary Johnston almost had the perfect day, he just had one dab all day to take the win from Johnny Russell with Brian Rogers in 3rd.

In the Sportsman Twinshock grade the competition was super tight and at the end Michael Adams took the win by the furthest clean countback from David Hamill with Andy Owens in 3rd.

George Robinson took the win in the Sportsman air cooled mono grade.

In the Sportsman pre 65 grade David Lemon edged out Ross McCullough to take the win.

Ella Stevenson

Our last adult grade then, the Novice was another tight affair. seven riders including three ladies did battle over the four lap ten section course and the scores were as tight as could be with Ivan Chambers dropping one mark to take the win from MerveJones on two marks, and Daiel Rogers in 3rd on three marks lost.

Ken Stewart on his absolutely beautiful Matchless took the win in the Novice pre 65 grade

No Youth A as Mason, Sophie and Alex moved to the semi expert gradeso we start the Youth section with Youth B.  In this grade we had Tom Stevenson taking the win, in Youth C Harry Marshall took the win from Charlie Cooke with Toby Jones in 3rd.

What a day for the Jones family, Toby on the podium, with his Father Micah winning his grade and Granda Merve finishing runner up in his grade! For us as a club that is what makes hosting these events so enjoyable, families out together enjoying a shared love for trials.

Stephen Murphy

In Youth D we had two mini grades, one for the older riders on petrol bikes and one for the younger riders on electric bikes.

In Youth D big course  Ben Reid took the win and in the small course our farthest rravelled rider, Jack Cregg from Kildare took the win from Noah Barr by just three marks

This event was the first of a five round series and we have to thank the landowners, Colin GFarrett and the Counvcil for access to the area.  Thanks also to the officers from the Irish Guards and 591 AA Squadron for taking the time to showcase their activities, I know one wee 8 year old lady who had a ball with the Engineers stall,and dressed up like her uncle with the Irish Guards uniform!

Special thanks must go to Claire McWhirter of the Somme Heritage Centre for permiision to use their frontage to host the sign on and access to the cafe area and toilets. If you have not yet visited the Centre you should do so.  It has a wonderful series of exhibits and a wlak through reconstruction of the trenches from the Somme in WWi

Thanks to the medics from Pro Paramedics for being on site, but thankfully not required.  Thank you too to all the observers for giving their time to allow the event to take place. Thank you to those who sent us pictures of the event including Gary Hamilton and Martyn Boyd pf and Bob from the Chronicle 

Big special thanks to our very own Mrs Moto Trial, Nicola Coulter. We all do our bit to make the club run as smooth as possible, but Nicola has a drive that has to be admired. Not only does she do our memberships, back office work, she also makes the most wonderful soup that every rider gets after the event along with tea, coffee etc,  But for this event she put together a wonderful pictorial pin board spread cataloguing the history of the Mines themselves, the trial in 1941 (with pictures by kind permission of Andy Glenfield from WW2 NI) and a history of the club from inception to fight to keep the park open through to our events and right up to date 

And last and most importantly, thank you to each and every rider for coming along in such numbers and supporting the club

The full results are on the club Facebook page, below are the top three in each grade

Stuart McClurg


  1. Mason Crawford 
  2. John McAndrew
  3. Aaron Wright


  1. Stuart McClurg
  2. Robert Crawford
  3. Ross Allen


  1. Terry McKee
  2. Desy Leckey
  3. Alex Dugan


  1. Micah Jones
  2. Josh Wilson
  3. Daniel Annett


  1. Stephen Murphy


  1. Che McStay


  1. Jamie Chambers 
  2. Adam Reid
  3. Kyle Hewitt


  1. Robbie Jennings
  2. Ian Pagfe
  3. Nigel Mowbray


  1. Gary Johnston
  2. Johnny Russell
  3. Brian Rogers


  1. David Lemon
  2. Ross McCullough


  1. George Robinson


  1. Michael Adams
  2. David Hamill
  3. Andy Owens


  1. Tom Stevenson


  1. Harry Marshall
  2. Charlie Cooke
  3. Toby Jones


  1. Ben Reid


  1. Jack Cregg
  2. Noah Barr


Warren Mckee, Moto Trial NI 


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