LOYAL FOLLOWER RECALLS FIVE DECADES OF THE SPORTING HOLIDAY
For over 100 years, fans of motorcycle trials have flocked to the Scottish Highlands to enjoy the annual sporting holiday, the Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT), or ‘The Scottish’ as it is also known. As the longest running event on the international trials calendar, the SSDT attracts a loyal following from near and far, including the likes of 60 year-old David Cordle who first made the 500-mile trip from his hometown of Ipswich in Suffolk to the event’s Fort William base in the mid-1970s. David is looking forward to returning to the region again this May.
Although a trials rider himself and an active member of his local Ipswich Motorcycle Club, David has only ever visited Fort William as a spectator: “I’ve done motorcycle trials as a hobby since I was a teenager. I’ve ridden in other events, but I have never competed in the Scottish Six Days Trial. I often wish I had done it when I was younger, and I would always back anyone who wanted to do it because it is such a great experience.”
David shares his passion for trials and the SSDT with his family. David first went to watch the SSDT with his wife, following excellent reports from his brother who competed in the event in 1970 and 1971. Since then, David and his wife, who is secretary of Ipswich Motorcycle Club, have returned to watch the event over 20 times.
“It’s always been one of our regular holidays. At first my wife and I would go alone, then when our son and daughter were born we started taking them. Last year we took our grandchildren, and they loved it too. Children enjoy it because they can walk along and play in the open countryside, while the grown ups can easily keep an eye on them when watching the bikes.”
This year, however, David will be making the trip with a small group of his biking friends: “Unfortunately my wife was unable to take the time off work this year. So I’m going up with three friends who all follow trials, but have never been to The Scottish before.”
David’s friends could not have chosen a better spectating partner. Having watched the SSDT so many times, David knows all the best spots to watch the action: “My favourite sections are ‘Lagnaha’ and ‘Fersit’. I tend to spend afternoons at Lagnaha whereas you really need a whole day at Fersit as there is some walking to do to get there.”
The SSDT is a must-see for all involved in the sport of motorcycle trials. However you do not necessarily need to know a lot about the sport in order to enjoy the event, as David explains: “The whole spectacle of the Scottish Six Days Trial – seeing 250+ riders completing a 100 mile course every day – is awesome. I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s a fantastic spectator event and each day there are lots of landmarks to see along the way, for example you can tie in a trip to Loch Ness or go down to Glen Nevis to see the waterfalls. It is a beautiful part of the world; the scenery is breathtaking and the people of Fort William are always so welcoming.”
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.
In addition to the main trial action, visitors to this year’s SSDT can also take advantage of free evening entertainment and various après-trial events, including live music, which will all be held in the licensed ‘Event-Tent’ in Fort William.
The SSDT is free for spectators to watch on all days. The official event programme, containing routes and spectating opportunities, along with a range of interesting articles and additional information, is available to purchase in the Fort William area and also via the event’s website at www.ssdt.org.
In the picture: Three generations – David arriving in Scotland with daughter Lisa and grandsons Travis and Ashton for last year's Scottish Six Days Trial. Further, high resolution images are available on request from G2F Media.
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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.
More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at www.visitscotland.org/yearofcreativescotland-toolkit
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