This time last year when we finalised the ACU Trial GB calendar we had no idea of the problems which lay ahead for us all in 2020.
Indeed, when we arrived for the first round at Hookwood in early March, everyone realised there was a new “inconvenient” virus on the scene, but we didn’t realise at the time that it would bring the world to its knees for the rest of the year!
For those of us who believe Saturday and Sunday were invented to ride motorcycles, some difficult decisions had to be made.
Right up until two weeks ahead of the planned round two, the St David’s Trial, we all stayed positive that with certain conditions the event may be able to go ahead.
But then the Government announcement made it clear – everything stops.
I stayed in contact with all of the remaining potential organisers throughout the months of May, June and July and to their credit, they all remained on side.
By the end of July, we looked at the possibility of resuming the championship at the end of the year and three dates were identified that, with Covid restrictions and crucially with no spectators, a four-round series may be possible.
At this point, I must go on record by saying I fully understand the reasons that some clubs then felt that the risk was too high and I fully respect their withdrawals.
However, the Torridge Club had done a lot of work on their PeterTavy venue prior to full lockdown and I knew that running two rounds on one weekend at the same Dartmoor venue would be possible.
A total of 24 different sections were identified, worked on and marked in lovely British Summer weather, but during the week of the event, Storm Alex was on the horizon and then solid rain on Friday, Saturday and Sunday made running the event a logistical nightmare.
The ACU Trials & Enduro Committee had made it clear at mid-point during the lockdown that any championship which ran three rounds would make a valid series.
But with some new sponsors joining our existing ones, I wanted to try and run at least half of the original planned eight rounds. Finding venues in the UK which can accommodate 12, close to world-class sections and reasonable parking is not easy.
To add to this, I wanted to finish off a difficult year with an event roughly in the centre of the country and I am thankful that the Dudwood Farm venue was made available and a massive thanks to Barry and Sally Burton for more or less letting ACU Events take over their land.
Even then, we sailed close to the wind as, on the Thursday of the event, part of Derbyshire became a restricted area. Luckily, we were just outside of that and we were able to complete a shortened series.
I must finish by thanking the ACU Committee for supporting the series and to all teams, riders, officials and sponsors for remaining committed to the championship.
Words: Brian Higgins