Tie At The Top After 2017 SSDT Opener
The 2017 Scottish Six Days Trial got underway in glorious sunshine as the almost three hundred strong entry departed from Fort William for the first of their six daily excursions over the coming week. The summer like weather brought with it favourable conditions as the front runners made easy work on the initial thirty sections with no less than five riders tied for the lead having all completed day one clean.
Defending SSDT champion Dougie Lampkin - Vertigo is one of these five riders as he confirmed his intent to increase his tally to eleven wins. His faultless performance was matched by local favourite and recent winner of the Pre-65 Scottish Gary Macdonald - Scorpa and 2016 FIM Trial2 World Cup winner Jack Price - Gas Gas. Andy Chilton - Scorpa and Jack Sheppard - Beta are the other two early challengers who never parted with a mark over today's sixty-six-mile course.
Reinforcing the depth and fierce nature of competition for a place in the higher order Spain's Jordi Pascuet - Gas Gas with a single dab was the highest placed foreign rider on day one in sixth position. Jordi's score was equalled by Guy Kendrew - Beta, one of the pre-event favourites Michael Brown - Gas Gas and eighteen-year-old Thomas Minta - Gas Gas leaving Chris Pearson - Sherco to round out the initial top ten on just two marks lost.
With the sun already shinning overhead, two new sections at Coire na Cloiche opened the 2017 SSDT as the first riders rolled through the start cards just before eight o'clock. However, it was the traditional four hazards at Leanachen that provided the first real test of the week. The large gathered crowd were treated to several clean rides in the first two sections here, with the second sub proving the most difficult of the two with the ladies' leader Emma Bristow - Sherco being amongst many who parted with their first marks of the week on the big rounded boulders. The two further sections higher up the hill also gave the riders a tricky initiation as even more spectators packed the bankings to get a glimpse of the early action.
After the opening two groups the route followed a familiar path as the riders then moved on to three sections at Bradilieg before heading over the hill to Kinlochleven, taking in four more groups of hazards at The Lairig, Meannanach, Carn Dearg and Loch Eilde Mhor on route to the lunch check at the bottom of Pipeline. From here the riders followed the road to the next two groups of sections at Garbh Bheinn and Cameron Hill before finishing the day off with six subs at the highly popular Lagnaha, which attracted the largest crowds of a great opening day.
In addition to the battle for the main honours it is no surprise that Dougie Lampkin also heads the over 40's class ahead of Phillip Alderson - Gas Gas. Equally Emma Bristow has already carved out a healthy lead over her main rival Sandra Gomez - Gas Gas in the female category, as is the case with Gary Macdonald in his attempt to be the best Scottish rider once again. The fight to be best newcomer is a much closer affair with Thomas Minta holding a slender advantage over Jack Peace - Gas Gas who rushed back from Belgium overnight where he had been competing in the European championship.
Tomorrow the riders will make the trip across the ferry to get day two underway before following a clockwise loop that will eventually bring them back to finish at Trotters Burn.