With a long and illustrious Trial tradition, Great Britain is widely regarded as the birth place of the sport and this coming weekend’s fifth round of the 2017 FIM Trial World Championship at the Parkwood Off Road Centre at Tong, near Bradford, will add yet another chapter to the history books.
We all know the legacy left by the late, great Martin Lampkin who claimed the very first FIM Trial World Championship back in 1975 but even he was following in the footsteps of some legendary British riders.
The European Trial Championship, the forerunner of today’s FIM Trial World Championship, did not visit these shores until four years after the inaugural series in 1964, though by then British riders had come to the fore. Indeed, such was their dominance that by the time Lampkin took that landmark first FIM World title in 1975 British riders had won the European crown nine times with Don Smith, Sammy Miller, Mick Andrews, Malcolm Rathmell and Lampkin himself all victorious.
The origins of the sport in Great Britain can be traced back over one hundred years. In 1909 the Edinburgh MC ran a five-day event which we now know as the Scottish Six Days Trial and 1914 saw the first Scott Trial. Incidentally, this was the inspiration for the Southern Scott Scramble in 1924 which is widely regarded as the first ever motocross race.
TrialGP Great Britain has been more or less a permanent fixture on the FIM Trial World Championship calendar and has only been omitted on five occasions since the 1975 round at Congresbury in the South West of England.
In the intervening years it has travelled around the country before settling at its current venue at Tong in West Yorkshire in 2016.
While Martin Lampkin never won a TrialGP Great Britain his son Dougie has graced the top step of the podium on eleven occasions although even his incredible achievements have been eclipsed by none other than Spanish superstar Toni Bou – Repsol Honda who has won here an amazing fourteen times.
Under the previous two-day format, Bou has amassed ten wins in the last five years and has not been beaten on British soil since 2011 when his compatriot Adam Raga – TRRS took his one and so far only TrialGP Great Britain victory.
Factoring in those early European Trial Championship rounds, British riders have traditionally excelled on home soil and next on the list of winners, tied on four victories apiece, are Rathmell and Steve Saunders who are just ahead of Miller who’s won his home round three times.
Two other British riders – Mick Andrews and Dave Thorpe – have each tasted victory here twice along with Italy’s Diego Bosis, America’s only FIM Trial World Champion Bernie Schreiber, Spain’s Jordi Tarres and all-action Japanese star Takahisa Fujinami who will be aiming to add to his total this weekend.
Only six other riders have ever won a TrialGP Great Britain and all are former FIM Trial World Champions with Finnish iceman Yrjo Vesterinen, Sweden’s Ulf Karlson, Belgian Eddy Lejeune and current FIM Trial Director Thierry Michaud from France sharing this accolade with 2017 FIM TrialE Cup winner Marc Colomer from Spain and, of course, Raga.
Britain will be represented in the top category – TrialGP – this weekend by James Dabill – Gas Gas and Jack Price – Gas Gas, both of whom will be bidding for hometown glory.
Keep up to date with all the latest TrialGP Great Britain news at www.trialgp.com.