Clinkard completes ‘addictive’ trial

Dave Clinkard. Picture: Graeme Barden
Dave Clinkard. Picture: Graeme Barden
Ricky Stevens, left, and Ryan Charlwood celebrate their title in 2016. Picture: Tim Keeton

Stevens and Charlwood back on track

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Dave Clinkard and Andy Blackman have tackled one of the most toughest and renowned motorcycle races in the world: The Scottish Six-Day Trial.

The two experienced riders fought through treacherous paths, across slippery rocks and down boggy routes to finish the course.

Of the pair, Clinkard was the only one to complete the gruelling test – coming 119th overall.

Blackman, who lives in Eastney, was forced to retire after suffering a puncture on his front wheel.

However, this was not the first time the duo have taken on the challenge – having both reached the chequered flag in previous campaigns. And while many would think twice about putting themselves through it again, Blackman has admitted it can be addictive.

He said ‘It ‘s a great feeling. It is an extremely prestigious event in the trial world – and to take part in it feels great.

‘I’ll do it again next year. Once you’ve done it one year you’ll do it every year.

‘I’ve known about this since I was 10 years old and it’s just something you have to do.’

The event, which starts at Fort William, sees riders travel through the valleys around Ben Nevis and over the surrounding hills and mountains before returning to Fort William. Riders complete a total of 100 miles each day through rugged terrain and typical Scottish weather.

And Blackman admitted it is extremely difficult – even for experienced riders.

He said: ‘Sections of the track are extremely difficult – typically the water falls.

‘Getting over some of the walls and getting through the rocks is quite an achievement.

‘It takes a lot of concentration throughout the week.

‘You can easily go wrong and it really tires you out. I found it takes a week after to recover from it.’

The weather is a real headache for riders, too. And on the fourth day of this it started to take it’s toll. Clinkard said: ‘The first three days we had some fine rain.

‘But on the fourth you had to go across the top of the mountain and there was snow and hailstones.

‘It was extremely cold on the that day.

‘We were wrapped up in clothing to keep warm but when you have only thin gloves on your hands it gets really tough.’

The trial was won by Dougie Lampkin – for the sixth time – to continue his family’s triumphant tradition.

His father Martin and uncles Arthur and Alan have all tasted glory in the event since 1963.