ACU Trailbike Trials Championship 2010

Report: Ben Falconer

Previous years: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.

FIVE years of one rider's dominance in the ACU Trailbike Trials Championship were ended this season by a consistent effort from Paul Sargant.

The Gas Gas Pampera rider toppled Welshman Julian Page, who has ruled the roost on his Beta Alp in the traditional-style trials series since 2005.

Third place in the final round, the West of England MC's Moor to Sea trial on October 24, was more than enough for Sargant to seal top spot.

The opening round of the championship, Caerphilly MCC's Ivor Morkott Trial, saw arguably Page's most likely challenger, Gavin Moore (Gas Gas Pampera) get off to a brilliant start.

With Keith Wells (Honda XL185) third and Alan Newman (Beta Alp) second, Page was knocked off the podium for the first time since the same opening round last year. In 2009, he overcame a disastrous start to win the title with three wins and a second from four more starts, but this year it was not to be.

Moore missed the opportunity to capitalise on Page's non-start at the next round, Neath MCC's Fred Rist Trophy Trial in August. Missing a section on the morning lap incurred a maximum penalty for the Swindon rider. Though he overcame the inevitable frustration of that slip, and dabbed just once on the afternoon lap, he couldn't pull back on Sargant, who cleaned the second lap and won the trial.

Wells emerged as the series leader at this point by securing second place over Tony Coleman (Gas Gas Pampera) on special test times.

Unfortunately the next round, the OK Supreme Long Distance Trial, was cancelled by Stratford Upon Avon MCC. Based around the north Cotswold countryside of Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, it is hoped this fixture in the championship will return next year.

The third round, the Charlie Reynolds Memorial Long Distance Trial, run by Leamington Victory MC and LCC, saw Sargant win and put one hand on the trophy. He made the most of a later number in the wet and muddy conditions of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, with Page second and Moore third. Wells elected not to ride, and Sargant took the championship lead. Needing a top ten finish in the Moor to Sea to secure the title, he did just that, beating Wells in to third place on special test time.

Last year's silver medallist in the championship, Jez Bray (Gas Gas Pampera), lost four marks, as did Page. Bray edged victory with a special test time a tenth of second quicker. Sargant lost 11, alongside Wells and Rob Treble (Yamaha Serow), and took no chances by putting in the fastest special test time of the front runners to ensure third on the day.

Moore's championship fortunes were distilled in the moment he recorded a five mark loss on the last section of the Dartmoor-based event, dropping him from third to eighth on the day. That dropped him from second place in the championship to fourth, only a point short of third place thanks to the "drop the worst round" rule.

No doubt most of this year's challengers will return next year, and maybe a few more, tempted by a great value day out, friendly rivalry, and traditional sections on bikes which have a proper saddle!

Eligible machines must be classified as trailbikes by the manufacturer and have working lights, and pillion seats. Other road-legal bikes can be ridden, however they won't qualify for an award - more "sporting" riders of all machines prefer to tackle easier non-championship sections too. Enduro bikes must be fitted with a rear trials tyre and ridden accordingly like those of Nick Manuell and Andy Mueller at the final round. They got their KTM 250s round the championship sections for just 11 marks each.