Michael Brown (JST Gas Gas)

With the introduction of the new and controversial ‘No-Stop’ rule, round one would take us to ‘Bonnie’ Scotland for the ACU promoted Doodson/TRC British Championship run by the Lochaber and District Motor Club. Now condensed into two routes and with the hazard severity less severe, the two classes had new riders in each class with a healthy entry of 66 riders, but the winning names at the top of the pile, Michael Brown and John Crinson, have both been there before, though neither has yet worn the ultimate crown as an adult British Championship series winner.

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Gary MacDonald (Sherco)

The organising club greeted the riders to the new format series with an excellent twelve section, three lap course over a variety of terrain including the rock strewn flowing rivers and steep wooded banks this superb venue at the Nevis Range has on offer. Clerk of the Course, Alister Morrice, had been advised by the vastly experienced UK trials importers after a section inspection on the Saturday before the practice lap to make sure the severity of the hazards was in the spirit of the new no-stop rule. As it turned out they got it a little on the easy side as the top three positions finished so close in this low scoring event.

James Dabill (Beta)

Current British trials champion, James Dabill, was making only his second UK appearance in 2012 on the Beta and looked so tuned in to the new ruling, keeping his riding very smooth over the opening lap until he arrived at section seven on the far side of the course. Dabill rode the section with his usual confidence but was literally flicked off line as he applied the power and a quick five was recorded, his only marks of the day. This immediately put his arch rival, Michael Brown, under pressure to perform and that’s exactly what he did on the remainder of the lap, losing no marks at all. Local ace and new Sherco pilot, Gary Macdonald, always likes to perform on home ground and this opportunity had him riding at his very best. He knew ‘Dibsta’ had taken the five mark penalty and finished his opening lap in a strong second place, parting with a mere two marks. Dabill had it all to do now and did not part with another mark, showing his world class experience, but Brown was also under pressure knowing in the low scoring event a simple slip could take away the lead. He responded well with two safety marks on the second and a single mark on his last lap, giving him the opening round win finishing on three. Gary ‘Mac’ responded well parting with another two marks but showed much maturity in his riding, matching Dabill on the last lap with a clean lap. On the podium in a safe second place he admitted he had ridden at his best in his entire riding career. Behind the leading trio and debuting the new Jotagas, Midlander Ross Danby finished in a very good fourth place after some inspired riding encouraged by the importer and ten times British champion, Steve Saunders. Ross improved with every lap and he should be applauded for the single mark effort on his second lap. This new partnership promises so much and it will be interesting to follow him through the year as the season progresses.

Ian Austermuhle (Beta-UK)
Sam Haslam (JST Gas Gas)

Hot on his heels and losing out on the tie-break decider was Sam Connor who has committed himself to a full season, as has Beta UK team mate, Ian Austermuhle. Two riders still trading places from their schoolboy riding days are Sam Haslam and Alexz Wigg, who finished a mark apart, although ‘Wiggy’ was in mega form on the last lap proving his fitness when it mattered with a single mark score.

Expert Class

John Crinson (Beta-UK)

Trials always throws up some unexpected results but in the new Expert class, two riders topped the score charts who have both had one hand on a British Championship title over the years only to fall at the final hurdle. The winner on the day, John Crinson, has laid down the gauntlet with a well-deserved win in the season opener. His second lap score, where he parted with a single mark, secured the victory from last year’s Expert B runner up, Richard Timperley, who matched Crinson’s final lap score of two. These two were head and shoulders in front of a ‘gaggle’ of Acklams Beta supported riders headed by Thomas Hick, Adam Milner and shop proprietor, Joel Sadler. It might have been fifteenth place but Britain’s hot ladies talent, Emma Bristow, on the factory Ossa scored the last point taking the scalps of some of her more experienced male counterparts.

Richard Timperley (Sherco)

The new rules have certainly opened up the ‘Stop’ or ‘No-stop’ debate and I am sure the argument will continue to roll on well into the season, but from what was observed at this opening round there were happy rather than unhappy riders returning home on the Sunday night having had a good day’s sport.

Macdonald Trial – British Championship Round One

Championship Class: 1: Michael Brown (JST Gas Gas) 3; 2: Gary Macdonald (Sherco) 4; 3: James Dabill (Beta) 5; 4: Ross Danby (Jotagas) 19; 5: Sam Connor (Beta-UK) 19; 6: Ian Austermuhle (Beta-UK) 20; 7: Sam Haslam (JST Gas Gas) 21; 8: Alexz Wigg (Gas Gas UK) 22; 9: Dan Clarke (Appleyard Beta) 27; 10: Dan Thorpe (JST Gas Gas) 32; 11: Ricky Wiggins (RCM Gas Gas) 36; 12: Ben Morphett (Sherco) 40; 13: Andy Chilton (Ossa Moto UK) 47; 14: Bradley Cox (Beta UK) 50; 15: James Fry (Sherco) 52.

Expert Class: 1: John Crinson (Beta-UK) 14: 2: Richard Timperley (Sherco) 21; 3: Thomas Hick (Acklams Beta) 28; 4: Adam Milner (Acklams Beta) 34; 5: Joel Sadler (Acklams Beta) 42; 6: Josh Woods (JST Gas Gas) 43; 7: Andy Blackman (Ossa Moto UK) 44; 8: Buster Regan (Beta UK) 48; 9: Micheal Lee (ERM Sherco) 58; 10: Craig Potter (Road & Trials Beta) 61; 11: Tom Affleck (Cordell Group Gas Gas) 61; 12: Andrew Anderson (HLS Jotagas) 72; 13: Joel Edwards (Beta) 73; 14: Matt Cottingham (Gas Gas) 74; 15: Emma Bristow (Ossa Moto UK) 81.

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