A GRAND NATIONAL
11 April 2016 - The Yorkshire round of the ACU OSET British Youth Trials Championship was hosted by Bradford DMC and located high up in Howden Woods, overlooking the picturesque Aire valley. Often a tense affair as nerves are high (and that’s just the parents), it made a refreshing change for the whole event to feel remarkably relaxed. Perhaps in part because the scoreboard was some distance from the score card exchange point – allowing riders and minders to get on with the job in hand.
Devon’s Billy Green continued where he left off last season to take a clear win in the B Class. Business-like, calm, self-assured and apart from an uncharacteristic five and surprising three, his score card read like a binary code, finishing the event on 21. It was just one dab that separated MRS Sherco’s Daniel Slack in second place from Oliver Smith on the prototype OSET PR1. With only had three public outings, Smith has ridden the petrol-powered machine to two podium finishes.
Keeping the top three on their toes was local lad Jacob Snowden. If he turns his threes to ones he should mix it on the podium this year. The course, which looped round the steep banking woodland, proved a big ask for most of the field as just six out of 25 finished on less than a 100 dabs – not helped by the torrential rain in the days prior to the event. And only Billy and Oliver managed to secure single figure laps.
With two courses set out the C-Class Standard wheeled riders followed the same route through the rocky woodland course as the 125s. Simply put, is there any stopping Beta-mounted Jack Dance? An incredible talent and amiable young man who faces down every obstacle put in front of him and rides through them, over them and round them with ease. The top spot is a familiar place for Jack who finished on just five marks lost. He was joined by the Kirkcaldy kid, Jamie Galloway who completed the trial having dropped 10. Jamie joins his brother Ross in the class for the first time this year. It was section 12 “what done it for him” where Jamie had a 3-0-3.
The final trophy also enjoyed the long trip back to Devon, with Ollie Smith. With just 10 dabs between third and Finlay Rule from Cornwall in eighth place – we can expect to see a variety of faces on the podium this year.
In the C-Class medium wheels paddock mutterings suggest the course was a little on the easy side. An April event with rain, sleet and wintry showers forecast to blow in at intervals across the day the course was rightly set for the expected slippier conditions. As it turned out the top of the wood where the bigger wheels course was set, dried well. It was low down the slope where the small wheels course tackled wetter ground conditions underfoot.
The see-saw battle continues between Harry Turner and Harry Hemingway in the C-Class medium wheels. Harry Hemo rode away with the top spot on the 50/50 course to finish on an impressive 26, with Harry Turner in second on 38. The two boys have traded British Championships for the last two years as they moved from the D-Class to C-Class together. Dominic Horne rode the OSET 24.0 to a podium finish in his first year in class. With a third British Champion, Henry Stephenson in the mix, it’s going to be exciting to see how the Championship plays out.
In the D-Class Medium wheels Myles Hutchinson rode to his first national victory. He was the clear winner of what proved to be a challenging course on the OSET 24.0. His nearest competitor, Charlie Crossland was 45 marks behind, suggesting the title may be Myles’ to lose.
Many of the front runners from the OSET Cups hosted by local clubs around the UK have stepped up to the nationals this year – helping deliver a bumper entry for the D-Class small wheels. 23 kids from the four corners of the UK including, Isle of Man, Northern Island, Scotland, Cornwall and Kent were among the places represented – a big effort for families and for many, this was their first national!
Toby Shaw, marked as one to watch before a switch had been flicked, took his first podium finish at a national and did it in style – taking the top spot! The Newark youngster set down his marker after the first lap, finishing with just seven marks lost. His nearest competitor, an out of sorts George Hemingway, dropped double that, on 14.
By comparison, Toby had a disastrous second lap, dropping 21, giving George an opportunity to pull it back. A consistent ride saw another 14 dabs for George – neck and neck going in to the last lap! It finished with Toby clear on 44 and George on 48. Joining them on the podium was the ever consistent Jasper Fox. First timer Stanley Cubbon from the Isle of Man was just four marks back from the podium – a great first time out!
While there were some big scores for some of the national newcomers – all of whom finished - the inevitable steep learning curve will see them steadily improve throughout the year as they get to grips with the standard needed to compete in the top half of the table.
Big thanks go to Colin Appleyard for their generosity in supplying trophies that now take pride of place on mantelpieces from Cornwall to Kirkcaldy. An unfortunate software malfunction meant a lengthy delay in the results getting out at the end of the trial, where those podium kids got the biggest shock of the day when the organisers turned and sprayed them all with bubbly. A fitting end to a well organised trial. The event was also live-streamed in part with live updates on OSET Bikes twitter feed @OSETBikes. They plan to do the same again from the double header in Cornwall at the end of May.
In attendance were many of the Lampkin family, including Dougie as younger members rode the event. The venue overlooked their hometown and a fitting one-minute round of applause was held prior to the start as a respectful gesture to acknowledge the passing of Martin Lampkin.