Fort William 2012 - Day 2

Thursday 28 June 2012
by Ben Swales
popularity : 19%

JPEG - 520.2 kb Once again, the Biketrial Federation was in Fort William this year, braving the weather and the midges to organise a trials competition alongside the UCI Downhill and 4X World Cup. Things were slightly different this year, however, with a new, more dynamic team of organisers and two rounds of the British Trials Cup rather than one round of the Cup and a one-off British Championship, and it was one of the most successful visits to the Northern reaches of Scotland yet! GIF - 19.5 kb The Scottish Biketrial Club’s Kevin duke had been visiting the site regularly over the weeks leading up to the event, working with the Forestry Commission and local quarries to get more rocks and tree trunks delivered to the site and set up in time to allow Kevin and his team to set the sections for Saturday’s competition. With some enormous new logs and trunks added to the log section, and huge new rocks changing the existing rock section and allowing the team to add a whole new one, things were sure to be interesting! The recent floods had shifted things around in the river bed as well, making things a lot more technical than they had been in previous years. Kevin and his team had been hard at work again on Saturday afternoon and into the evening, working on the sections for Sunday’s trial. The sections were to be ridden in reverse on Sunday, with some gates being moved to make certain moves more difficult or technical.

Day 2 - British Trials Cup Round 4 – Sunday 10th June

JPEG - 815.7 kb It was a very different day that greeted the riders as they gathered at the control tent on Sunday morning; gone was the heat and sunshine of the previous day, replaced by cold, fog and pretty persistent rain. The latter had rendered many of the sections incredible slippery, upping the already high difficulty level and forcing the riders to take an extremely cautious approach to each move.

With only Jack Carthy and Dave Kerr competing in UCI World Elite on Sunday, it was a duel for the top spot between the two Tribal Zine riders. Jack was off to a great start, cleaning his first three sections with relative ease. The slippery conditions didn’t seem to bother him at all, even on the slimy Tarty Bikes log section, where riders were faced with two difficult hooks up gable ends and daunting gaps with slick take-offs and landings that weren’t much more reassuring. JPEG - 720.8 kb However, in section 4, the Nevis Cycles rocks, things came unstuck for him and he picked up his first five of the weekend. The difficult rock step with the loose and loamy run-up had been tightened up, with tapes coming straight down in parallel, instead of the wider set-up of the day before, which had allowed the Elites to gap to the top from a rock at the bottom of the step. To his credit, Jack nearly got up, somehow managing to put the power down in the loose mud and hooking his front wheel almost over the top. The slippery surface of the rock offered no grip, however, and he had to put a foot down to prevent himself slipping back. It wasn’t enough though and he was forced to jump back for a five. Visibly annoyed, he picked himself up and set off up the river to attack the sections up there. It was back to his usual form as he worked his way down from section 8, racking up more cleans on the slick riverbed rocks – amazing spectators as he managed to find grip where no one else had, leaping up the huge rocks as if they were bone dry. Things came unstuck again in section five, the Trialtech however, where a tricky climb up the river bank caused some problems. The move was a gap/sidehop/hook type affair, starting on a rock n the river below and going up a near-vertical rock face with loose, sandy soil on top and almost no room to manoeuvre once you were up. Having declared that he was going to try and clean it, Jack set himself up with his front wheel wedged in a cranny on the rock face, paused to focus and then exploded up the bank. We’re not sure if he slipped on the wet rock, lost his grip in the soil on the top, or what, but almost as soon as he launched himself upwards, he was coming back down again, grappling at the top of the face with his hands and catching his chest on the rock. He dusted himself off, acknowledging the concerned spectators and officials before disappearing off to exchange punchcards and start his second lap, finishing his first on just ten. JPEG - 825.5 kb Dave Kerr fared slightly worse on his first lap, despite his love for the rain and conditions that would send lesser riders running for shelter! He was riding strongly as ever, but dropped a five in section one on the very last gate – a difficult hook up a gable end with a metal framework at the bottom obliging riders to come at it from a static start. He looked good as he launched from the take-off, hooking his wheel well over the top and seeming to stay up for a second – but he just couldn’t get his weight far enough forward and slipped back down to earth for a five. His wet weather experience showed through in the majority of the sections however, as he worked his way through smoothly and efficiently, dropping only the occasional dab when grip eluded him, and fives in sections four and five in the same place as Jack did. His determination and smooth competition style were a big hit with the spectators and riders alike and he had a big following around the arena sections. He seemed to fare better in the river sections, dropping just one point in sections six and seven and getting through section eight on a clean after some seriously impressive riding. A five at the cliff face in section five saw him complete his first lap on 22. Jack’s second lap was much the same his first as he worked his way through first three sections with ease, dropping one point on the slippery logs, and came up short on the big step in section four before going on to clean two of the four riverbed sections again, picking up a one on section seven as he slipped on some sodden moss. The only difference was that in section five, the Trialtech section, he managed to get up to the top of the cliff face without even a foot down. He struggled to manoeuvre his bike around in the tight space, however, and as he placed his front wheel against the wall to give himself a bit more room it slipped out, sending him over the bars, catching his face on top of the wall as he went down. He gave the wall a bash back with his front wheel, picked himself up and went to hand his card in, with twelve points recorded this time and a total of 22 overall. Dave did better on his second lap, managing to get up the now infamous rock step in section four on just two dabs, something Jack had not managed again. He picked up fives in sections one and five, but didn’t drop more than two in any other section and cleaned sections six and eight in the riverbed to come in on 17, giving him a total of 39.

JPEG - 791 kb In Elite 26”, Alec Wray (3SIXTY took the win after a solid ride, cleaning three of he red sections and dropping just one on section 6, but picking up fives on three of the yellow sections, including the towering hook in section 4, the Highland Bikes grandstand section, to finish lap one on 17. He improved on that score on his second lap, however, dropping just one five, in section 6, a two and two ones, to finish on 9 points, making his total 26. Second place went to Stan Shaw , who finished his first lap on 20, but couldn’t improve on that on his second lap, coming in on 23 to give him a total of 43. Tom Rigg finished on 77 to take third place. In Elite 20” Dave Kerr, fresh from his second place finish in the top Elite class, took the win after an incredible performance. Literally bounding though the sections, he finished his first lap on 19. It was on his second lap, however, that he really came into his own – taking full advantage of his wet weather fetish and competition experience to improve on his first lap, dropping just one five in the Hope section and managing to get up the rock face in the Trialtech section on a two, something no one else had managed! Way to go Dave! Oliver Battye gave a good account of himself, dropping just 24 on his first lap, and 28 on his second to take the silver medal. Despite the slightly higher score on his second lap, Oliver actually improved his score on the yellow sections on his second lap. Third place went to Dan Wheeler, who had a pretty consistent ride, dropping 34 on his first lap and 32 on his second to finish on 66.

JPEG - 772.4 kb Things were very tight indeed in Expert 26”, but Matt Arkwright took the win, using his power and precision effectively to finish on 32 points. (Almost) local boy Ross McArthur took second place on 35 after an impressive ride which saw him clean the Nevis Cycles section despite having a puncture in his front tube. James Bancroft finished in third place on 40 points. Owen Gawthorpe took the win in Expert 20”, dropping 14 points on his first lap with two fives on his card, before steeling himself and cleaning all but two of the sections on his second lap to finish on 20 points overall. Keep your eye on this lad! Second place went to Chris Bland on 50 points and Felix Huber finished in third place on 73.

Charlie Rolls was the only rider who seemed completely unfazed by the conditions and actually finished on a lower score than the previous day, dropping four dabs on his first lap and just one on his second to finish on five points and take the win. Incredible! Second place went to TJ Reynoldson, some way behind on 30, while Chris Walford finished third on 52. JPEG - 552.3 kb

Neil Robinson took the win in Senior class once again, scoring 33 on his first lap before finding his rhythm and dropping just 25 on his second to finish on 58. Dave Barratt took second, riding a bike that he had built up the night before with brakes that didn’t seem to want to work! Third place went to Ben Swales, who had a miserable time of it in the rain.

In Intermediate, Toby Smith just pinched the victory from Sam Rolls, beating him by three points after they both put in excellent performances, coping well with the wet conditions to finish on 26 and 29 respectively. Jordan Seymour completed the podium in third on 57.

The Novice victory went to Reece Seymour, who finished on just 27, ahead of Andrew Eley and Scott Thompson on 34 and 35.

Jamie Smith finished on 15 to take the win in Primary class, beating Adam Biggins who finished in second on 18 and Sam Shepherd in third on 23.

For full results and podiums from both days, see our article Fort William 2012 – podiums and results.

The next round of the British Trials Cup will take place this weekend on Sunday 01 July as a part of RadFest Biketrials Festival. Entries can be made online or by downloading and sending the entry form on the Biketrial Federation events page.

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