Monday May 9, 2016 at 10:10am
The curtain has fallen on yet another edition of the World famous Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) that has once again seen some of the best riders on the planet compete shoulder to shoulder with club riders throughout the almost week-long event. Typically, rough Scottish weather during the opening part of this year's event meant that the two hundred and seventy-nine competitors who set off on day one endured a tougher than usual fight to make it to the finish on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the enormity of the challenge, riders continue to flock from all over the World to compete in this unique and historic event that this year saw competitors cover more than five hundred miles, much of which remains off road going. The Edinburgh and District Motor Club prides itself on continuing to source new groups of sections and routes to ensure that the riders who return in the majority each year are faced by new hazards alongside the iconic sections that have defined the SSDT for over one hundred years. Tuesday's new offering this year represented many months of work and negotiations with local land owners and authorities in order to bring a fresh day to the table.
These new routes can only happen thanks to the SSDT's continued excellent relationships with the local communities with the event still bringing much welcomed income to many businesses in the area at the start of the traditional visitor season. For some establishments within the town of Fort William the annual arrival of the Scottish Six Days Trial to the West End car park represents their busiest week in the entire year.
Whilst throughout the competition week the focus is very much on the riders, and rightly so as it is them who brave what the Scottish Highlands have to offer, a thought should be given to the many officials and volunteers who give up their time and make the SSDT their annual holiday year on year. From the front markers, to the observers who stand guard at each and every section irrespective of the weather plus all the other back room members of the organising team, their efforts and commitment cannot be under estimated, as quite simply without them the event would not happen.
2016 saw riders from twenty nations take part in the SSDT from as far afield as Japan and America as the lure of being able to ride mile upon mile of some of the best trials terrain in the World alongside greats of the sport like Dougie Lampkin, James Dabill and Amos Bilbao remains as strong as ever as the over-subscribed entry confirms year after year.
Whilst it was Dougie Lampkin who collected the winner's trophy for a record extending tenth time on Saturday evening, each and every rider who stepped up on stage to collect their award during the prize presentation ceremony was a winner in their own right having made it to the finish. The memories of their personal endeavours will stay with them for life and will be recalled many times alone over the next twelve months before they return to Fort William early next May to once again enjoy the unique experience that only competing in the Scottish Six Days Trial can offer.
The Edinburgh and District Motor Club would like to take this opportunity to thank the riders, their support teams, the many spectators, the local authorities, their loyal sponsors, the numerous landowners, the teams of volunteers / observers and all the officials who continue to make the SSDT the single biggest and most important trial in the international calendar each year.
To find out more about the Scottish Six Days Trial, please visit the official website at www.ssdt.org