The dust has now settled in Fort William following the 2019 Scottish Six Days Trial and it's time to reflect on what is still, without fear of contradiction, the biggest, best and most famous Motorcycle Trial. As Montesa factory ambassador Amos Bilbao, SSDT winner in 2002, stated as he signed-off on Saturday in the parc ferme after enjoying another superb week's sport, "This is an amazing trial. I will go back to Spain and try and convince the top riders that this is an event that they should ride. That is what I am going to do."
The Scottish is indeed a unique event. There is no other International Trial where, for six days, a humble club rider can compete as an absolute equal with World class stars like James Dabill and Dougie Lampkin, riding exactly the same course and exactly the same sections. This is just the icing on the Scottish cake though, as the fantastic filling is of course the chance to ride competitively in the Highlands, traversing open moors, dirt tracks and bleak hills and mountains, riding alongside remote lochs and virtually deserted single-track roads for six whole days.
With all this on offer, it is little wonder that over 500 hopefuls from all over the world including New Zealand, Australia, America, Costa Rica and numerous European countries entered, desperate to gain one of the 280 places up for offer. Among them, no fewer than nine Ladies as the girls continue to grow in numbers and in strength. All nine finished after giving it their all throughout the week with the best being Ladies FIM World Champion, Britain's Emma Bristow on the factory Sherco, who finished in a superb 29th overall.
The success of the event, which is basically making the trial challenging enough to sort out a winner but keeping the observed sections possible for mere mortals, is down to the Clerk of the Course and his Assistants, who once again did a superb job. A huge thank you goes to the army of stoic volunteer observers and back room staff who make the event happen year after year and huge thanks go to Sandy Mack and his crew for the slick and efficient refuelling service, without which there would be no SSDT. There is appreciation too for the local authorities, Police Scotland, event sponsors, landowners, tenants and all the officials and helpers who make this event possible.
Congratulations go to the 2019 winner James Dabill after his epic ride to stay ahead of a charging Dougie Lampkin who saw his record-breaking run of seven consecutive winning rides finally come to a close, but not without a fight to the bitter end.
Finally, looking forward, entries for the next Scottish Six Days Trial, which will take place from Monday to Saturday, May 4th to 9th 2020, will open later this year, eagerly awaited once again by trials enthusiasts from all over the World.