Category Archives: SSDT

SSDT 2020 is officially open

With the planning well underway, entries for the 2020 Scottish Six Days Trial (May 4 – 9) are now open!

The annual Highland event is expected to be oversubscribed once again and no doubt the annual ballot will take place around the festive period with hopeful entrants sitting biting their finger nails until then.

The online entry facility opened on Friday, 25th October on the event’s revamped website which is now powered by SportsmediaGB, a web hosting and online services company based in Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland.

The existing web address is continued as  and all the information required on the SSDT should be sourced from the trials’ official website.

Entry form data can be found HERE

SSDT Ballot:

The Scottish Ballot for entries is not a new phenomenon, it has been on the go since the early 1970s when trials were booming and the leading factories were all Spanish based, lead by Bultaco (first to win the SSDT in 1965), Montesa and Ossa. There were over 500 trials machines sold in the UK alone per year in that period and the SSDT was ‘THE’ event to ride. Remember, the World championships did not take place until 1975, prior to that there were the European Championships. Winning the Scottish meant everything to the factories and also the Manufacturers team prize, as it promoted sales of their products in the UK and overseas.

The first post-war Scottish was held in 1946 amidst petrol rationing and the entry field was limited, but the events popularity increased year on year.

The event hit a depression in the early 1990s and the field was depleted down to around 180 competitors, threatening the viability of the trial. Much of this was down to the Stop Permitted rule being adopted. This changed back to No-Stop in 1995 at the suggestion of Peter Stewart of sponsors, Hamilton Yamaha who convinced the then Clerk of Course, Willie Dalling, that this was the way to go. The following year, the event was back up to its maximum and the ballot used once again.

SSDT gets new website

It has been announced that the Scottish Six Days Trial is to build a new website to promote the annual Highland event for 2020.

In a statement issued on Trials Central today (Saturday 19th October), website owner Andy Grieg issued this statement:

Many will be aware that Trials Central has provided and operated the official website for the Scottish Six Days Trial since 2015. By mutual agreement with the organising Club, that arrangement has now come to an end. The Club were keen to take the site back in-house and, for me it was an awful lot of work with SSDT week itself being a non-stop run of 16-hour minimum days. I don’t even do that kind of hours for the job that pays the mortgage! It had become an obligation more than something I enjoyed doing and when you stop enjoying something, it’s time to move on and do something else.

This is a totally amicable agreement and the Club have full access to everything on the current website to port over to the new one they are having built so none of the extensive historical information that’s been added over the past five years should be lost. I don’t know when this new site will be up and running, but the current one will remain in place till then, it just won’t be updated any more.

The SSDT will take place in the Fort William area from Monday 4th to Saturday 9th May 2020 and with the entry arrangements probably released during November, it is anticipated that the new website will be operational very soon.

The new website is accessed via and the service will continue as normal. The new website will be hosted by SportsmediaGB based in Livingston, Scotland.

SSDT make changes for 2020

Report: Trials Guru
Photos: Trials UK Media

With the announcement by the government that next year’s May bank holiday will be moved back by four days for the whole of the UK to coincide with the 75th anniversary of V.E. Day, the Scottish Six Days Trial will be making some changes to the traditional Monday and Friday routes, given that spectators won’t have a Monday holiday to take in the first day’s action.

‘May Day’ is traditionally held on a Monday, but will be put back to Friday, 8th May 2020.

V.E. Day, or ‘Victory in Europe’ Day, marks the day towards the end of World War 2 when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end in Europe.

The May Day bank holiday has been moved only once before. It was changed from 1 May to 8 May in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of V.E. Day.

The Scottish Six Days will start on Monday 4th and finish on Saturday, 9th May 2020.

No details are available at the moment, as it will require very careful negotiations with land owners and government agencies from where permissions are sought for the trial to pass over private ground.

The routes will appear in the Official SSDT Programme which goes on sale from Monday, 20th April 2020 at local shops and fuel stations throughout Lochaber.

There will also be route details released on the official SSDT website nearer the event, so that those travelling up from the south will know where to catch the action.

The first of a series of monthly SSDT committee meetings to plan for the 2020 event took place in September.

SSDT History: HERE





Devil’s Staircase feature

Fans and followers of the annual Scottish Six Days Trial will know of the old section called ‘Devil’s Staircase’ at Kinlochmoidart on the shores of Loch Moidart in the Scottish Highlands. It was for many years a spectator heavy section and regarded as a terror section by many competitors.

Devils Staircase - Dennis Bellefield photo
A Devil’s Staircase shot of former AJS factory riders Gordon Jackson, Geoff Ward and Gordon McLaughlan taken by Dennis Belleville of Peebles.

Tern Television has continued their series for BBC ONE Scotland entitled ‘Grand Tours of Scotland’s Lochs – series 3’ with their presenter Paul Murton and they have filmed at the Devil’s Staircase this year. We will learn a bit about the sections history and the local history of what is known as the ‘Coffin Road’.

Paul Murton - BBC image
Paul Murton is the front man of the series on Scotland’s Lochs – Photo: BBC Scotland

Programme 3 covers from Loch Moidart to Loch Ailort, it is the third in the new series of programmes, which goes out on Monday 16th September, 2019 at 19.30 GMT on the new BBC ONE Scotland channel. It will also be available on BBC iPlayer after the initial transmission.

J N Clarkson 1953 - Matchless  - Devils Staircase - Ray Biddle
 John N. Clarkson from Skirling, Biggar, seen here on his Matchless on Devil’s Staircase in 1953 – Photo: Ray Biddle, Birmingham

The section was first used in 1936 and wasn’t cleaned until three years later. It was used up until the late 1980s and then again once in 2011 for the Centenary SSDT.

Keep an eye out for Trials Guru’s John Moffat in this edition!

Link to BBC website: HERE

BBC iplayer: HERE

Tern TV - September 2019


Donald’s Run In

Donald Buchan - 2019 SSDT Windows
Donald Buchan pictured with the 1959 BSA he helped ‘run-in’ pre-trial for Ron Thomson – Photo: Graeme Buchan.

Trials Guru in association with the Scottish Six Days Trial committee was instrumental in arranging all the bikes for the shop windows at SSDT time. This included the machine on display in Marshall & Pearson’s window, the 1959 BSA C15T which was first owned by local man Ron Thomson.

The story of Ron’s 1959 SSDT was in the official programme and caused great interest in the town because it was a local story.

Donald Buchan, who had a motorcycle shop in Perth was up for the Sunday SSDT parade and took time to go and look at the SSDT windows.

The first one he came to was Marshall & Pearson, the bike on display he recognised straight away as the very machine he helped to ‘run-in’ for his then foreman, none other than Ron Thomson.

Donald told Trials Guru: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the BSA, it brought back so many happy memories of sixty years ago when I was apprenticed to Ron Thomson and I was charged to run the bike between Perth and Dundee daily, to get some miles on it before the Scottish that year”.

Ron’s BSA was the only one out of eight similar models to complete the course as the factory bikes all dropped out with mechanical trouble, leaving Ron as the sole finisher, much to the annoyance of BSA bosses who were looking for some results to promote sales of the then, new model.


SSDT 2019 Nevis Radio coverage

For some years now, Trials Guru’s John Moffat has been involved with the Nevis Radio local media coverage of the Scottish Six Days Trial.

Year on year this coverage gets better with improvements and new features introduced.

Here is the 2019 coverage, Day 1-6, which was streamed out on youtube:

1Day  – SSDT 2019 Day One

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Day 2 – SSDT 2019 Day Two

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Day 3 – SSDT 2019 Day Three

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Day 4 – SSDT 2019 Day Four

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Day 5 – SSDT 2019 Day Five

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Day 6 – SSDT 2019 – Day Six


Dabill’s Highland Fling

SSDT 2019 sticker

Report: SSDT Media

Photos: Matt Betts

Factory Beta rider, James Dabill has won the 2019 Scottish Six Days Trial and finally brought Dougie Lampkin’s run of seven straight victories to an end and thwarted the Vertigo factory ambassador’s aim of a thirteenth victory in the Edinburgh & District Motor Club’s famous event. James was actually the last rider to win the Scottish before Lampkin’s incredible run and that was back in 2011 when he was also Beta mounted. It was his third SSDT win in total, his first being back in 2007 on a Future Montesa.

James Dabill – 2019 SSDT winner – Photo copyright: Matt Betts

The battling duo went into the final day separated by just two marks with Dabill holding the advantage in a repeat of the final day scenario of 2018. However, whereas he snatched defeat from the very jaws of victory last year when a flat tyre caused a crushing five on Ben Nevis, this year fate was on his side.

Both riders arrived at the crucial Ben Nevis group without having parted with a single mark. The two final sections on Ben Nevis were once again the hardest of the day and arguably of the week. Lampkin arrived first and needed a big dab just after he entered the first section. Dabill, some 20 riders behind Lampkin, rode this section with ease and edged the lead to three marks.

On to the fourth and final section of the group, which was the fateful one for Dabill last year. Just as Lampkin had done in the previous section, Dabill took a big prod after he lost the front wheel on a slippery rock, but then holding his nerve positively, he got the Beta back on track to complete the section without further loss. It was all over, bar the shouting and James had set the record straight.


After the event, James said “There was tremendous pressure all week but I actually rode the bike quite relaxed. It obviously means a lot to beat Doug in this event as he just doesn’t give up and you can’t afford to lose a mark!”

Doug took defeat gracefully but jokingly said he was “…going to sulk for a week!” in the post trial interview with Trials Guru’s John Moffat, who was master of ceremonies at the presentation of awards.

Best performance on the final day was actually posted by Jack Price (Gas Gas) with a superb ride for zero marks, but even this effort was not quite enough to net him the final podium position. That honour was earned by the persistent Dan Peace (Sherco) whose single mark ride was enough to retain a hard earned third place.

Michael Brown finished just behind his Gas Gas teammate, Price after threatening a podium place all week while Iwan Roberts waved the TRRS flag with sixth place, a final day late five ending Iwan’s own podium chance.

World and British Women’s champ Emma Bristow, on the factory Sherco, not only stormed to a phenomenal win in the Ladies class, she also finished an incredible 29th overall, almost two hundred marks ahead of Jess Bown (Scorpa) and Jess had a more than capable ride, only just failing to make the top 100. All nine girls who competed in this year’s Scottish deserve total respect.

French debutante Benoit Dagnicourt (Vertigo) romped to the Best Newcomer’s award, dominated by foreign riders whilst Andy Anderson (Scorpa) eventually pulled away from Joe Dawson (TRRS) and local rider Calum Murphy (TRRS) to take Best Scottish Rider. Inverness clubman Danny Sutherland (Gas Gas) nailed the Scottish Newcomer award.

It was no consolation to Lampkin that he walked away with the Over 40 trophy from cousin Ben Hemingway (Beta) and Gas Gas stalwart Dan Thorpe while Scottish rider Stuart Mack (Beta) was the proud winner of the Services award.

So ends the 2019 Scottish Six Days Trial. The organisation, the weather, the hard-working officials and the riders and supporters all made for another fantastic week of real trials.