With the cancellation and postponement of the majority of events due to the Covid-19 pandemic which has caused much disruption to the sport of trials since February, the committee of the annual Scottish Six Days Trial has made an unusual but fair decision to deal with the cancellation of their 2020 event which was to be held on May 4-9th.
in a statement which was released on social media platform, ‘facebook’ on Thursday 16th April, just over two weeks prior to when the event was to be run, it read:
“So many of you have been waiting to see what will happen with regards to entries for 2021. Here is the news you have been waiting for… Everyone who had a confirmed and paid for entry for this year’s event is in the process of getting a full refund.
We will open online entries for the 2021 event as normal in October. We felt it is only fair that all 2020 entrants* who put in an application for the 2021 event will be offered a place before the remaining places are chosen by ballot from the remainder applicants.
*2020 entrants are those who had paid up entries as of the 16th March 2020.”
What this means is that bona fide 2020 entrants will be granted preference to secure an entry for the 2021 event planned for May 3-8, 2021.
The only previous time the event had been cancelled, other than because of global warfare, was in 2001, this was caused by the UK ‘foot and mouth’ outbreak. At that time all entry fees were returned to entrants by the then SSDT Secretary, the late Ali Finlay. Entrants had subsequently to reapply the following year with no concession and a fresh ballot undertaken due to oversubscription.
The 2020 Scottish Six Days Trial has been cancelled due to the worldwide pandemic of the Covid-19, known as the Coronavirus.
The difficult decision was made by the Scottish ACU (SACU) to cancel all motorcycle sport events in Scotland until the 31st May and this includes the SSDT and Pre’65 Scottish Trials in early May, which are permitted by the SACU.
In a statement on the SSDT website, Edinburgh & Dustrict MC Ltd Chairman, Peter Bremner posted:
“The Edinburgh and District MC confirm that the SSDT and the Pre’65 Scottish trials, due to be run in May, have been cancelled. Following advice from the Scottish Government, the Scottish Autocycle Union have cancelled all motorcycle sporting events up to 31 May. Competitors who have entered the events will be contacted shortly to advise on refunds and the next steps.”
Trials fans and riders the world over will be disappointed that the annual Highland Sporting Holiday has fallen victim to the disease, the only other time the event has been cancelled was in 2001 with the UK ‘Foot & Mouth’ outbreak. The only other years of cancellation were the two World Wars.
The Scottish Six Days Trial will rewrite the history books on May 4th 2020 with the arrival of two electric trials machines in the event for the first time ever.
The French Electric Motion company (EM) have entered two riders in the event, in the shape of former Trial World Champion, Spain’s Marc Colomer and experienced British rider and EM importer Matthew Alpe. Both riders will compete in the event on the latest EM machinery.
Colomer not only won the FIM Trial World Championship in 1996, he was also crowned the first ever Trial-E World Champion in 2017. Marc is no SSDT newcomer either having competed for the first time in 2006 when he finished ninth overall and was a member of the winning Gas Gas manufacturers’ team. He returned the following year to take seventh place on the prototype four-stroke Scorpa. He has since been involved in the development of several different trials marques including: Scorpa, Gas Gas, Ossa and now EM.
With electric vehicles of all types undergoing massive development it was inevitable that the Scottish Six Days Trial would eventually be targetted and, as it always has, the unique event will contribute positively to the development of the machines.
The SSDT organisers are challenged with a new form of motorcycle propulsion and have already addressed the different safety aspects, logistics and refuelling arrangements necessary both for this year and also going forward, as the use of electricity to power motorcycles progresses in future.
In an ever evolving world, where green credentials are ever more important, welcoming electric machinery to The Scottish is a positive and momentous move.
Finally, some humour was injected by club stalwart Rab Paterson who quipped, “I hope these electric bikes will be fitted with cardboard ‘flippers’ jammed in the swinging arm poking into the spokes so that they make a ‘brrrrrrrrrr’ noise, like we used to do on our pushbikes – or we will never hear them coming!”
Scottish Six Days Trial veteran Mark Lamplough is a glutton for punishment. He is attempting to raise £20,000 by taking on his 25th SSDT ride in company with his friend Darren Clover, taking part in his first SSDT on May 4-9.
Having ridden as a member of the British Army team for many of his 24 rides, Lamplough stopped riding the annual Highland event in 2007 vowing that it would be his swan-song.
Mark: “The Scottish is by far the best trial in the world, there is nothing else like it and I have not only competed in twenty-four, but have lasting memories of all of them. My riding partner will be Darren Clover, we served together all those years ago and he is the founder of ‘Bike Tours for the Wounded’ which help support wounded, injured and sick British Service Veterans through motorcycling. The value of this cannot be expressed in words, you have to be part of it to see the benefits. This is why we thought up the twenty-fifth challenge by riding the 2020 Scottish Six Days. We want to raise as much money as possible this week, help us make a real contribution to helping those who have served our country and paid a hefty price doing so.”
Donations for the challenge can be made on a website, follow this link:
Bernie Schreiber has accepted the invitation of the organising committee of the Edinburgh & District Motor Club Ltd as Guest of Honour for the 2020 Scottish Six Days Trial on 4-9th May at Fort William.
A press release issued on 12th January 2020 by the SSDT is available to read here: Schreiber SSDT Guest.
Bernie attended a couple of events in the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA in 2019 as a Guest of Honour and hosted a series of trials schools called the ZEROBS Schreiber Experience, which were well attaended and well received.
As we enter a new decade, we take a look back at some SSDT photos from 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 while we slip effortlessly into 2020.
We are indebted to Iain Lawrie, a trials enthusiast from the village of Kinlochleven for putting together this collection of photographs, so please be respectful of his copyright and do not share them on the internet, instead put a link to this article if you don’t mind please.
The SSDT sections are named in the captions for all years.
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 https://www.ssdt.org and all the information required on the SSDT should be sourced from the trials’ official website.
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.
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 http://www.ssdt.org and the service will continue as normal. The new website will be hosted by SportsmediaGB based in Livingston, Scotland.
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.