Making a one-off return ride after an absence of around 30 years in competitive speed events, Ex ACU Chairman and current Director Brian Higgins successfully competed in the Beacons Rally at the weekend and finished the two-day event a superb seventh position out of over one hundred and sixty entries in the Welsh Trail riders organised event.
With a total of 210 miles of forestry trails over the two days the eight special tests accounted for over ninety miles over the weekend which were timed to the tenth of a second. Higgins finished seventh when the two days of competition were tallied up. The Welsh Trail Riders Association plotted a testing route in the Crychan Forest which consisted of three laps per day, each consisting of thirty-five miles and Higgins used his vast experience to control the pace on the liaison stages before attacking the two-timed test on each lap at full blast.
Admitting to being sixty-five years young, the ex-British Six Days Trophy teamster surprised many of his younger rivals with his smooth speed on the very wet traditional going in damp and sometimes foggy conditions.
Riding a 350 KTM which was sponsored by Tyremarks of Tavistock which he collected the day before the event, he had no practise prior to the event and setting off in the leading group of riders at 10am on Saturday morning used the seven-mile run out to the first stage to get used to the machine.
A small “off” in the first special test did nothing to deter the experienced rider from deepest Devon and he dug deep to set seven further times in a consistent manner. Higgins was more at home on the tougher rocky going with his vast experience constantly setting competitive stage times.
Commenting after the event with a smile on his face Higgins was full of praise for the ACU sanctioned event which he described as excellent value for money. “To be honest I didn’t expect so many Enduro riders in the entry who ride week in and week out, but I was able to hold my own – or beat – the majority of them, but to be honest I was on my personal limit having not trained or practised for the event. With around one and a half hours of test I needed to be consistent and this was the key to my seventh-place finish which I am pleased with. I would like to thank Mark and Farrah at Tyremarks for supplying me with a perfect bike for the event.”
Higgins rounded off by stating the pressure he was under to return a good result, “My friend and Secretary in the ACU Office had a ten-pound bet with her husband about a top ten finish so I had to come good to re pay the confidence she had shown in me. If dates permit I may even return in 2019 to try and break into the top five.”
The Rally was won by Sam Jones from Staunton riding a 530 KTM.