Motorcycle trials: Dan’s the man

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UK riders lifted all the awards, apart from Paul Mollet , the best -placed Jerseyman, and youngster Tom Scott, the best-placed Guernsey rider.It was, perhaps, inevitable that Thorpe would retain his crown although there were a lot of new and really great riders competing.

Out of action for the past eight months and riding with a well-strapped knee, Scott’s intention to ride non-competitively was short- lived as he sensed the chance to be the first Guernseyman to outride Jersey’s finest.

With rain forecast for the Sunday it was important to make the most of Saturday’s sections and very low scores were indeed returned, on land that was remarkably dry for this event (so dry that dust was seen to rise in the sunshine).The rock-strewn stream at Le Mourier valley was virtually dry and apart from a few dry dirt bank sections in the woods, the remaining sections were on the rocky hillsides of Jubilee Hill and A’Courts.The Gas Gas-mounted Thorpe was in a class of his own as he picked up a mere four penalty points over the day’s 60 sections.

Teenagers Chris Curtis (17) from the Yeo Vale club and Mathew McDonald (18), Ottervale, both newcomers to this event, were snapping at his heels on 15 and 17 points respectively.

Though Mollet rode steadily for 62 points and tenth spot, it left him trailing Guernseyman Scott.As for the 70-strong Clubman class, Roger Johns was emulating Thorpe junior with four points.

Guernsey’s Steve de Carteret held 18th place on 44, just one point adrift of Jersey’s Paul Gibaut.On Sunday, with the forecast rain holding off, the stages were held at Le Saie and La Ferme valleys.

But these areas are always likely to see riders accumulate points, even when relatively dry, and this day was to be no different, especially for the 19-strong expert group.

From the start it looked like the time limit might be a problem as the exit from the start was obstructed by a group of horses.

Quick-thinking clerk of the course Christine Wright was seen bounding along, chased by 80 bikers, in an effort to persuade them to leave.

However, with riders failing to pay attention to her final briefing, three-quarters of what should have been a 50-50 split arrived together at the same section, causing a bottleneck, then panic as riders found themselves at risk of falling foul of the time limit.The expert group had La Ferme valley virtually to themselves, not that it made the sections any easier.Any hopes of an easy passage were soon dashed on a large fallen tree on section four.

A heavy dabbing section on loose dirt saw Mollet clean it on his first attempt and eventually Thorpe was pleased to report the only other clean.

Regular visitor Shane Lovett had his moment of glory on the meandering uphill on section seven.

He and Thorpe were the only pair to consistently clean this section.

Then along came the innocuous-looking and shortest section of the entire trial, number eight.

Only two riders, including Thorpe, got through before the stream became a deep black bog.

It was eventually closed to the B group.

Just how Thorpe returned for two single-dab (one point) runs and Curtis a clean, three, and one is a mystery, as the score card was obliterated with maximums.Mollet, meanwhile, was quietly working the sections on his own following a 15-minute pit stop to replace a collapsing rear wheel.

The lone ride paid off as he finished third on the day, even beating Thorpe on one section (two cleans to one), and avoided – importantly for local pride – finishing behind Guernseyman Scott.There were three easy sections into Le Saie valley before a real challenge presented itself, with riders failing to clear a very large, smooth rock slab.

Thorpe was the only person to clean it – three times – before recording his only maximum on the next section.Impossible to ‘clean’, due to the rock at the top of this steep dirt-covered climb, Thorpe was footing his way over the rocky crevasse and went over the bars just before the end.Finally, the only open section of the day came complete with its own observer Fred Boxall, as much a landmark as some of the regular visitors like Mike Hann (30 years) and Simon Benford (25 years).

Spectators were seen shaking their heads in disbelief as Thorpe consistently cleared the near-vertical rock face.Curtis came close with two and Nick Life, Mark Rive and Scott returned the only single cleans.Roger Johns, one time winner of the Two Day some 20 years ago, held onto a reduced lead to take the well-supported Clubman class.

J Sands had a great ride to finish fourth on his ageing twin-shock Bultaco.

Dave Thorpe had an off weekend and was unable to repeat making it a double with his son.It was a much-enjoyed trial and, it is hoped, will remain so, with the continued subsidy offered by the Education, Sport and Culture committee.

The Jersey Motor Cycle and Light Car officials extended their thanks to landowners and helpers.

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