West Glos & Dean Forest
Motor Cycle Club

Celebrating 66 Years of Motor Cycling 1953 - 2019

Scottish Six Day Trial - 5th to 10th May 2008

Page Sections: Intro, Progress, Blogs - Ben, Henry, Ian, Spectators.

Hot News

Day Six and that is it. Henry gets best club member, I guess, as Ben had to complete the event for no award! Ben knows he made a good stab at it without those penalty points and Ian is consistent with his ride in 2006.

Some new photos on the Western Centre site

Ben and Henry join the official Raw Sports Team. The 3rd member is Trial Des Nations winning team member Maria Conway. (We've added Maria to the Progress list!)


There aren't many years where we can say there are West Glos riders riding in this Premier Trials event. Most of us have wanted to have a go but never attained the skill level, the stamina required for 6 days let alone cope with the financial implications of 6 days of competition in Scotland.

ssdt07_jdabill_350x292This year is an exception then as we have 3 of our club members who all rode the Wyegate. Our winner, Henry Bendall, Ben Bowkett and Ian Thompson. There is one other notable entrant who has rode and observed in the past at our trials and that is Bob Griffiths, who, if experience counts, should outclass all others with his 30 something years of riding the event. As we have a number of Deaf club members, they may be interested to know that Deaf rider Crawford Carrick-Anderson has entered too. Crawfy has had a top 10 placing before in the SSDT but been away becoming Britain's top Downhill Mountain biker and lately becoming one of Scotland's top Enduro riders.

For those wishing to keep an eye on their progress, I've put links and their riding numbers on the right.

I traveled north back in 1985 for my first taste of the 6 days. And came back a changed man. Unfortunately, I didn't ride, what with not having any skill/stamina/money but enjoyed watching and now appreciate what they have to go through as it either rained or snowed for all 6 days. Oh and the changed man bit, well I discovered Oban Single malt!


Our Club Members riding

rawsportsnewlogo_23x12Henry Bendall91 8373617890476203
rawsportsnewlogo_23x12Ben Bowkett131 30331377362466199E
Ian Thompson251905Out---DNF

Others of interest

Crawfy C-A222041214148
Bob Griffiths12411912580129128
rawsportsnewlogo_23x12Maria Conway532644426478
John Luff444543547291
David Luff495762577569

Ben Bowkett's Blog

rawsportsnewlogo_179x116Ben's main sponsor is local firm Raw Sports

Day 1: No News yet but we've heard he may have been missing a gear lever and has been hit with lots of time penalties. Luckily, the rules allow for riders to continue whatever happens but for No Award. Hopefully this is not the case..

Day 2: Ben turns it around spectacularly by knocking 100 off his day 1 score.

Day 3: Ben keeps the momentum up with 33 for the day, 2 of which were time penalties.

Day 4: It would have been a good day but before the final 2 sections at Rannock he had a wheel bearing break up and missing those 2 added 100 to his total. However he managed to get back to the finish and should be out again tomorrow.

Day 5: Yesterdays missed sections and collapsed bearings meant Ben was excluded but is allowed to continue but for no award. However for a first attempt doing the distance is still some achievement and an incredible amount of experience gained should he have his arm twisted for next year!

Day 6: Dropped 62 on last day to finish up on 466. Riding a first 6 day means some lessons have to be learnt, so Ben should get a certificate for learning 200 of them, but still completing one tough event. Well done Ben.

Henry's Blog

rawsportsnewlogo_179x116Henry's ssdt secretary, Joyce, has been organising sponsors for this epic event. To be confirmed but: Bendalls of Lydney Metal Recycling - Winner Garage Cinderford - Gwent Schoolboy Trials Club, are all chipping in. Plus Henry is part of the Raw Sports Team entry too.

Day 1: Fabulous weather, Henry obviously had too much riding gear on as it was scorching. Pete Hughes reckons he's got sunburnt! This was a big change to the trials Henry has been able to ride to date what with time limits to consider and incredibly big boulders to ride, plus some big bogs to cross.
Henry had some good rides through the day. At Grey Mares Tail, one of the subs had a big waterfall where 80% of the entry weren't even getting up so Henry was pleased to get out the top of that one. With sections hard to get to for spectators, Henry was having to carry all the possible spares he would need in case he never saw Alf all day. He said that the extra weight of the tools was apparent when he went over the bars into one of the bogs as it helped push him in further!
ssdt08_henry_200 The markers over the moors are pretty close together and seem to lead you into the worst bits - looks like another skill to learn - 5 more days to practice! Lunch was a burger and all the riders were well watered by the trial's support crews.
The last group of the day had 6 sections and Henry was feeling tired with a load of 3s to his score, and Pete said he was struggling to hold the bars. Although very worried about time Henry was back at the finish with 20 mins to spare and had a 2 hour rest in the Montesa Hospitality tent before the lads got back.

Day 2: Fabulous weather again. Henry's had another hard day with marks nearer 80 and this was his early start day 8:00am so was up front helping move all the loose boulders. He's still learning about moorland crossings though, so he practiced a different crash technique today, jump one ravine then crash in the next one!
Luckily, the only other event of note today was having a puncture which was swiftly mended thanks to some helpful spectators. There are plans afoot to pop a new tyre on tomorrow as the Dunlops are taking the hammering well but have lost their edge.
Back at the Montesa support pits at the end of the day a quick check around the bike and all that was required was 1 notch adjustment on the chain. Henry finished way before the support crew came in again but rather than wait around had planned ahead with a push bike to ride back to the digs. Of course the support crew were expecting tea to be on the table after their hard day's spectating!

ssdt08_henry1_350Day 3: Today was the day to improve so not only did he stay onboard over the bogs but he reduced his daily total by 10. At the 2nd sub at School Falls many of the top riders were losing 3's and Dougie Lampkin was having to hop about a fair bit, so Henry was well pleased to be one of the 3's (He did admit to planting about 20 individual prods though!) Before the last moor crossing Henry broke the rear brake but kept on the move to replace it at Fersit then ride through for a dab and a 3.
With 40 mins allowed for tyre changing Henry sourced a Dunlop for the rear which might be enough for the rest of the week. Tomorrow morning sees a long haul south on the road to the Rannock Moor area with it's bleak desolate moor crossing, so fingers crossed!

Day 4: Today only rode 19 sections, Pete will explain in the spectator's blog. It was obviously a tough day as Dougie Lampkin lost his first 2. Henry found 2 sections today he didn't attempt, now concentrating on finishing rather than crashing out. The bike is going like a dream though. Noticed a slight weep on the forks but the Mont mechanics said not to change it. After a long day, rolled into the finish at 7:30 with time to spare.
Something that has been hanging over Henry's head all week has been the reality that he didn't have a lift back to the Forest organised for Saturday - the others have to come back early - It was either retire early and come with them or ride the bike 500 miles home! or the very last option, scrounge a lift. So thanks to Joe Baker and James Dabill who will help out on Saturday.

Day 5: At last, a change in the weather, But not for the first group as it was still hot Henry took his jacket off prematurely as some rain fell not long after and brought some welcome cooler air...well, for those with jackets that is!
No moorland or bog crossings today but lots of rocky farm tracks with a real risk of punctures so ease up was order of the day. Time would not be much of a problem as the organisers have to allow for a ferry and miles of queues for it.
Some pretty tough sections today as the marks show for everyone, Lampkin dropped another 3! Henry added 75 to that. Rolling into the digs after shutting the Mont up for the night Henry was buzzing and keen to ride again next year, in fact the guys couldn't shut him up. I wonder if this is a symptom of riding 5 days with no let up! Should be an easy day tomorrow with only 60 miles planned and an earlier finish.


Day 6: The last day is traditionally a bit easier and shorter. However, the marks don't bear that out. Henry concentrated on getting around in time and making the most of being able to ride on some majestic countryside with the like of rockery sections we are never likely to see in our neck of the woods.
Well, that's all over, done and dusted...well not quite, he's got the bug now. Next year will be the centenary year for the trial and like Ben, Henry has learnt lots of lessons. Some of which are:

  • 1. You are going to make mistakes in a trial this long and hard.
  • 2. Because of 1. you need either a bombproof bike and/or need to carry all the bits that you may break.
  • 3. Even if you have requirements detailed in 2. you still need a brilliant hospitality tent with someone who has a clear head who hasn't been riding all day to check your bike over and sort any problems.
  • 4. You need a playground close to home that has lots of boulders washed by millions of gallons of water to hone those necessary skills.

Well riding the Mont 4T covers the bombproof bit and it also happens to cope with the 100 miles of daily roadwork at a very respectable speed plus crossing open moorland and rock strewn farm tracks with no fuss. As to being prepared, Henry probably carried the biggest rucksack around all week, but then again he didn't need to know his dad/sponsors were going to be at the end of every off road section. Which was a damn good job as dad had a fantastic time and got to see so much more of the trial, and as a byproduct will feel happier supporting Henry next year... crafty!
As to having the appropriate playground, Henry has suffered with very few Centre rounds so far this year and being able to do some of the Novagar Champs rounds has helped but there is nothing like the real thing. can't wait for the SSDT Centenary.
Henry is now back home and tells us:- "I'd like to say a big thank you to my sponsors and helpers: Bendalls of Lydney Metal Recycling - Winner Garage Cinderford - Gwent Schoolboy Trials Club, my back up team - Pete, Richard, Nigel and Alf! And for superb support from Caroline Sadiford's Montesa operation and last but not least James Dabill for getting me to Parc Ferme on Saturday and Joe Baker for the lift home and thanks to my personal secretary/mum, Joyce and Andy Luff for the photos. I've had a great week of trials riding and throughly enjoyed every minute. Regards Henry."

Ian Thompson's Blog

Made it round Monday OK, but only just. Tuesday started well on Laggan Locks (even cleaned the last sub!) then events went downhill. The bottom line is that I wasn't quick enough on the moor crossings, and was overtaken by the back markers. Likely this translates to a lack of bike fitness, and probably a lack of general fitness (although in the run up I did find myself asking for my life back, such was the amount of time spent in training).
Whilst my 'team manager' (aka the long suffering Jane) was driving me to the start I announced I was never coming back to the event. Needless to say, by Thursday this had changed to 'I wonder when entry forms will be available for 2009?' So, lots more training required, including something to get my speed up. When's the next club enduro?
Thanks: to the aforementioned Jane (I'm sure she'd make a professional team manager - the kitchen is now overflowing with pasta, Mars bars and Kendal Mint Cake) and to Nibbs Adams for all-round morale-boosting and general coaching. Sorry I didn't deliver - there's always next year.
Congratulations to Henry and Ben for getting round.

Spectator's Comments

As we know we have club members making the trip, we hope to hear from them and if they have a camera handy then a shot of our riders would be most welcome.

Day 1 - Pete Hughes tells us: There were loads of double subs today where riders walk through and leave their tool bags at the top. Then run back down for their attempt to join a big queue. Looks like when the lesser lights get stuck everyone has to wait while they get through both subs before the next can get in. Hopefully tomorrow will have whittled away at the entry to give less queues, and panic about losing time.

Day 2 - Pete and the guys bumped into Bryan Grindle today to discover Ben had Boiled the Gas Gas and broke a chain. They also hung around at one group and watched the Luffs come through. (Their report can be found on the Western Centre site) Both having a big crunch on a tough rock step where there was nowhere nice to land. While watching some of yesterday's leaders, who get to show yellow plates, they were loosing marks today, so it may not be a complete clean sheet for some!(Well, maybe Dougie Lampkin is though.)
At one section they think they caught site of Ian Thompson doing some sensible energy saving techniques to help get through the elusive day 2 finish. As soon as it looked like a 5 he was taking the easy route out of the section which also helps with queuing of course. (He'd managed one and a half days in the 2006 event.) So will check the results later to see if he is still in.
Driving back in the van at about 60 it was interesting to see the riders on Mont 4RTs come past them comfortably, none of the hand down on the choke that some of the 2 strokes had to consider.

Day 3 - Pete Hughes says This weather is getting ridiculous, far too hot to spectate. Andy Luff says Word has it the new sections at Leanacan tomorrow could decide the trial. The sections so far have been hard but fair, but you have to be precise. (Thanks for the Photos Andy. ed.)

Day 4 - Pete Hughes says What a day we've had, 70 mile round trip to watch at Chairlift then out to the new group at Leanachen for 2:15pm to wait, then discover riders are suffering 2 hour delay and the sections won't be ridden. It appears that one of the Army logistics Land Rovers had gone off the road and the other backup had broken down. (I hope you are reading this Mr Neale! Ha Ha! Toyota's Rule. ed.)
On the plus side, we were closer to the finish so went back to the Montesa Tent to watch Henry get checked through. Caroline Sandiford runs a slick operation with cards handed in so she can plan how much time they have to do any servicing and the bikes get checked through for loose parts and get new air filters and oils etc. It was particularly busy today as everyone seemed to be coming in together due to the missing sections. Heard that Amos Bilbao had had a bad crash at Gorton, (where Dougie lost his 2) and he'd broken some ribs. at that point he had only dropped 19 in 4 days.

Day 5: Nice trip around today got to see lots of places. Saw the queue for the ferry and checked the map, probably quicker to drive the long way around. (40 miles extra or wait!) Tomorrow morning we have to get back to the Forest so Henry is on his tod.
It has been a grand week off though and probably the best year to come and watch for the next 10 years! (You have been warned, if you think it will be the same next year... But then again, what with global warming...)