On Saturday 11 May, during the 2019 Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT), Factory Beta rider James Dabill put in a spectacular performance to take the prestigious top spot and lift the North British Rubber Company Trophy.
Why was this such a significant result, you ask? Because it marked the end of Dougie Lampkin’s incredible and historic run of seven SSDT victories in a row.
For those of you who are new to the Six Day Trials, here’s a bit of its background and an overview of what went down during this year’s historic trial.
The History of SSDT
Covering around 100 miles a day, riders tackle rough moorland, rocky tracks and public roads around Lochaber on each of the trial’s six days. The event is built to test the skill, consistency and endurance of the riders, as well as putting the specialist motorcycles to the test.
As one of the largest and oldest motorcycle event in the world, it is firmly rooted alongside the history of motorcycles, with the original SSDT acting as a test of reliability for primitive versions of bikes by Triumph, Matchless, Ariel and Douglas.
Ever since its beginnings in the early 1900s, it has attracted involvement from major manufacturers and riders of the highest calibre from around the world enter each year. Winning the SSDT is an incredibly prestigious achievement, accomplished only by a small number of riders in their careers.
Let’s find out a bit more about the two main competitors for the 2019 trials: Dougie Lampkin and James Dabill.
Who Were The Key Players?
As a twelve-time winner of the SSDT, Dougie Lampkin was of course the man to watch going into the trials this year, having achieved an incredible run of victories over the past seven years.
Lampkin’s achievements put him amongst motorcycle greats, such as his friend 85-year-old Sammy Miller, who was known for wearing iconic Belstaff leathers and becoming a five-time winner of the Six Days Trial throughout the 1960s. Consecutive SSDT wins and a fondness for Belstaff leathers are two things the legends have in common, as well as their fiercely competitive spirit. True to form, Lampkin certainly didn’t give James Dabill an easy ride during the 2019 trials.
Prior to Lampkin’s winning streak, Dabill was actually the most recent rider to win the SSDT. Incredibly, these two men have dominated the top spot since 2007, with just one exception in 2011 when Alexz Wigg was victorious.
It’s undeniable that Lampkin and Dabill are two men at the height of their riding careers and it’s easy to see why 2019’s event was much-anticipated within riding circles.
2019’s Race for the Trophy
This year’s trial featured a total of 238 riders, with Dabill leading the way for the entirety of the six days.
There was six Irish participants in the race and it was Northern Irish rider Andy Perry from East Lothian MCC that finished highest out of the Irish competitors. Riding his TRRS UK motorcycle he finished 38th out of the 238 riders and was followed closely behind by Gareth Andrews in 49th.
Previous winner Lampkin got off to a slow start and fell behind his opponent on days one and two, falling foul to a particularly slippery section during the latter. Day three saw him close the gap, whilst both riders remained clean on day four- the section often regarded as the toughest day of the week.
Coming into Friday, the competition was a tense and following a spectacular finale, Dabill secured the top place against his rival, with a margin of just two marks.
With Dabill leading the trial from start to finish, his victory was incredibly well-deserved and upon finishing, Lampkin congratulated his competitor with a bottle of champagne and a glass each. He was incredibly gracious in his defeat and light-heartedly commented: “I have already started to think about how I am going to take the trophy back off James next year.” I don’t know about you, but I already cannot wait to see next year’s battle for the top spot.