THE 76th Sunbeam Southern Experts Trial will take place this Sunday, December 3, at Hookwood Trials Centre, West Horsley, Surrey (KT24 6EA), which will be signed off the A246. The venue is a relatively late change after Butser Quarry became unavailable but Jim Connor has kept this long-standing event alive.
There will be three laps of 12 sections with a bright and early start at 9.30am. And there will be catering so you can get a bacon buttie and a brew to keep the cold at bay.
On the Hard Solo Expert route three-times Southern Experts winner, Gas Gas rider Sam Haslam will be the man to set the pace but can Sam Connor, runner-up three times in recent years, get a win riding his new John Lampkin Beta?
These two will surely be pushed by ever-cheerful Gas Gas pilot Tom Minta after a brilliant ride in this year’s SSDT and Scott Trials. Sherco’s smooth-riding veteran Joe Baker always goes well in the Southern Experts and with a recent runner-up place will no doubt be pushing hard all the way. And making a comeback after the best part of 12 months away is Alexz Wigg. Great to see Wiggy back on the scene.
TRS rider and former Youth A class Champ Chris Stay from the Isle of Wight will add a bit more spice to the proceedings. Into the big time for the first time from the Youth ranks comes young Oliver Smith riding a 250 Gas Gas and Youth A Champion Billy Green has elected to ride the top route on his 125 Beta on a non-award basis.
Youth award goes to best Youth on Clubman/Expert route, which is route 2. There’s a gaggle of good clubmen riding in a class where it’s always hard to pick a winner, with James Connor – older Brother to Sam – Gary Brown, Tom McCabe, Aidan Bowker, Billy Alymore,Tom Sawyer – and with an Over 50 route award this year Barry Roads will sure to be challenging.
An impressive 10 National riders will contest the Youth class with Gus Oblein a clear favourite. Sidecars are thin on the ground this year but Rupert and Chris Kimber, the popular Beta pairing, will start firm favourites to to try and get their name on the trophy for the fifth time.