ONE of the most eagerly awaited trials takes place this weekend when the Lakes Motorcycle Trials Association runs it famous Lakes Two Day Trial, an event that traces its roots back to 1976.
Based, as ever, in the market town of Broughton in Furness on the Cumbrian west coast the trial comprises two totally different routes with each day sporting multiple groups of sections set in brilliant trials countryside.
Saturday will follow a similar route to recent years heading from the Auction Mart start to Foxfield and then heading off up the road to Corney Fell and several groups at Thwaite Yeat before continuing over the tops before descending to Buckbarrow Bridge, always a spectator favourite.
It is then on to the Bootle club’s famous Fell Green, for several more groups including the big steps at Cappers where the British Championship was staged and the narrow loose steep gully climb at Avalanche Alley.
Riders then travel along the fell to Kaiser Bridge, on to Black Combe for Hentoe and Grassams before returning base via Corney.
A great day out – even better in good weather!
Sunday will utilise most of the groups familiar to regular visitors but there is a new look to the route – basically between Broughton and Torver – so spectators please follow the route and advise in the programme.
The opening group is at Five Arches before continuing to Wallenrigg and then crossing the road again down to Rosthwaite before hitting the fells and tracks at Hawes Beck.
The route will then pick up the road again several miles on near Torver via the old railway line and lunch.
A big group in Soutersteads follows immediately before taking to the (very) narrow rural lanes past the quarries to take in the loop at Stephenson Ground and then back to Broughton via Broughton Mills.
The Lakes entry was massively oversubscribed with some 220 riders hoping for one of the 180 places up for grabs.
2016 winner Michael Brown (Gas Gas) is back to defend his title as is last year’s runner-up Iwan Roberts, the Beta rider returning as the new Trial2 World Champion.
But both will face recently crowned British Trials Champion Jack Price who will be hoping to add the Hands Trophy to his growing collection.
To try and keep things fair the National course entrants are together in the middle of the entry and there is plenty of quality including Sherco’s British Experts class Champ James Fry, S3 Parts National champ Luke Walker and Chris Pearson plus in-form local ace Will Brockbank.
Stir in Beta’s Richard Sadler and James Stones, Gas Gas duo Dan Thorpe and Tom Minta, Ross Danby on the TRS, Scorpa mounted Andy Chilton and Andrew Anderson and Martin Crosswaite’s Montesa and there’s a lot of competition.
And with the final ACU Women’s Championship trial having been cancelled Emma Bristow has been added to the list following several late entry withdrawals.
Emma was a superb tenth overall on the National course last year.
As ever the mighty Clubman field, around 160 strong, is wide open depending on who hits form but last year’s winner, Darren Wasley, is back.
In 2016 Dazler finished on 31 marks, the same as Ulster Vet Harold Crawford and amazingly bith has the same number of cleans and the Clubman Premier was shaded by Waz, eight ‘ones’ to ‘six’.
Darren will be pleased to know that H hasn’t entered this year.
But anyone could jump out of the pack and there are regular challengers like local Rob Shuttleworth, Phil Houghton from north Wales, Yorkies Stu Blythe, Paul Dennis and Andy Tales, Martin Sandiford, Steve Swanson, Scott Rowland, Steve Swanson, and not forgetting Katy Thorpe, the list of possibles is a very long one!
Watch out also for one John Lampkin, riding a 300 Fantic in preparation for a trip to Spain, getting in some sneaky practise and if his body stands up to the pace could just be right in there!
The start will be 9am each day, it has to be early with such a large entry to get back to the finish before dark.