Newcomers of all ages are looking forward to making their debut in the Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) that will take place in and around Fort William from 7th to 12th May. Amongst them will be father and son, Patrick (46) and Gareth (18) Palmer from Aberfeldy (Perthshire in Scotland), which is a mere 90-minute drive away from the event’s base in the Scottish Highlands.
As well as sharing a passion for motorcycle trials, Gareth and Patrick work together in the family’s holiday lodge business, and with only a few short weeks to go have been spending most of their spare time training together for the 2012 SSDT.
For Gareth, taking part in this year’s SSDT is part of his coming of age celebrations. The teenager passed his bike test in January and his entry to ‘The Scottish’ was an 18th birthday present from his family.
“I first got into trials in five years ago when I was 13, but it wasn’t until two years after that I started to take it seriously and compete in local events. I watched the Scottish Six Days Trial for the first time back in 2008. From then I’ve been to watch every year and I’ve always fancied having a go at it myself,” says Gareth.
Gareth, his father Patrick and his sister Bronwyn (16) are regulars on the Scottish trials circuit, having competed in a number of national and club trials. The famous Scottish Six Days Trial will be by far the largest event of Gareth and Patrick’s riding careers to date and Bronwyn also hopes to compete in the female class of the competition in the future.
“It’s such a big thing for us,” Gareth continues. “It’s a great event for everyone involved, but I think if you are from Scotland it feels that bit more special. I’m really looking forward it and it will be fantastic to be able to say afterwards that I have ridden in the same event as my favourite riders such as Dougie Lampkin.”
Father and son train together, but will ultimately compete against each other at the SSDT. It will not be the first time this father and son duo have been rivals as Gareth and Patrick have competed in a number of the same events since Gareth moved up from youth class two years ago.
The pair are potential contenders for two of the special awards in this year’s SSDT. Firstly, the Davie Hogg Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the best performing Scottish rider who has never previously ridden in the SSDT. Secondly, the Ian Pollock Memorial Trophy, which is similarly awarded to the best newcomer and is open to riders of all nationalities. So, there is a chance that the Palmers could even bag a trophy a-piece this year.
Commenting on his hopes for his debut performance, Gareth concludes: “As this is my first time, it’s hard to say how I’ll do. My main focus will be on having fun and as long as I finish, I will be happy. Anything else that happens will be a bonus. It would be fantastic to win the best Scottish newcomer award.”
The SSDT is organised by the Edinburgh & District Motor Club. EventScotland is continuing to support the event this year as part of its national funding programme. There will be 275 competitors taking part in this year’s event between 7th and 12th May, with a host of pre event activities also being held in Fort William from 4th May. On each day of the main trial, riders will be tasked with completing a different course and will be judged on their skill as they ride over a series of natural obstacles along the route.
The official event programme, containing routes and spectating opportunities along with a range of interesting articles and additional information, will be available to purchase in and around Fort William from mid-April. It will also be available to buy online and further details can be found on the website.
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Notes to editors
Motorcycle trials – the sport
Motorcycle trials is a competitive sport that tests riding skill over a course of observed sections (or hazards/obstacles). Competitors must negotiate steep gullies, slippery rock steps, rocky streams or boulder-strewn gorges, and are penalised if they put their feet down to help them to ride the section or if they fail to complete the section in its entirety.
Motorcycle trials are unique in the world of motorsport, with it being the only discipline where the winner is decided on skill alone and not speed.
The Scottish Six Days Trial
The annual Scottish Six Days Trial is managed by the Edinburgh and District Motor Club. It is a particularly challenging motorcycle trials event as it tests competitors’ stamina, endurance, strength and consistency over long distances, with 275 riders completing more than 100 miles and 30 sections on some days of the six-day event. The routes cover a combination of rough moorland, rocky tracks and public roads.
The SSDT started in 1909 and, with breaks during the two World Wars, celebrated its 100th anniversary in May 2011, making it the oldest and also one of the most prestigious motorcycle trials events in the world.
The SSDT is based in the Lochaber region of the Scottish Highlands and is traditionally held in May every year. Each day of the trial starts and finishes in Fort William, providing a major tourist attraction for the town.
Admission to watch the SSDT is free on all days. Full event details, including the best spectating points throughout the week, can be found in the official event programme, which will be available to purchase in April 2012.
An independent economic impact survey commissioned by the event organiser and funded by Event Scotland in 2011 showed that the Scottish Six Days Trial provided a direct economic impact of around £1,100,000 to Fort William last year.
Event overview and history: http://www.g2fgroup.com/html/ssdt/html/SSDT12-addinfo.html
The Scottish Six Days Trial is supported by EventScotland.
EventScotland is the national events agency.
EventScotland is working to make Scotland one of the world’s leading event destinations. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit www.EventScotland.org.
The Year of Creative Scotland 2012 will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage and is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL.
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