Jack Price (Gas Gas) took a major step to regaining the ACU Trial GB Championship at Brimham Rocks near Harrogate on Sunday when his closest challenger going into the event, Toby Martyn (Beta) could only manage an eighth place finish.
Three sections in the middle of the twelve section lap were by far the hardest of the year and sections six, seven and eight took a huge amount of marks and actually accounted for forty five of Price's final score of forty seven. Entering the round in second place in the championship, Martyn had a huge crash on section eight on the first lap and struggled for the rest of the day and five failures on the slightly easier sections virtually ended his title aspirations.
On the day Jack Peace (Sherco) finished second, just edging out current Champion James Dabill (Beta)by a single mark but it was his brother, Dan whose fourth place finish was enough to hoist him into second in the standings.
Andy Chilton (Scorpa) had some brilliant rides to equal his best performance of the year in fifth with Billy Green (Montesa) winning a tie break with Iwan Roberts (TRRS) for sixth. Following Martyn in eighth Jack Sheppard (Sherco) and Hugo Jervis (TRRS) completed the top ten.
Ross Danby (TRRS) recovered from a disappointing fifth place the previous week by thrashing the opposition in the ACU Trial 2 Class at the MacKenzie Trial which counted as round seven on Sunday. Returning miserly lap scores of 3-2-2 did not reflect the severity of some of the twelve sections which had to be ridden three times by the fifteen starters in the class. Only Tom Minta (Scorpa) managed to head Danby on the opening lap by a single mark in the penultimate section but a failure on each of the following two laps put him out of contention, but still finished ten marks ahead of third place Richard Sadler (Gas Gas) who pipped Sam Haslam (gas Gas) by a single mark for the lower step of the podium.
It was the large rocks which formed the fifth, sixth and seventh sections on the wooded hillside which took most marks and this is where the top four gained their advantage.
Sam Connor (Beta) finished a distant fifth to keep a glimmer of his title hopes alive with just two rounds to go - a double header in September.
Ben Hemingway - on the four stroke Beta - started well with a first lap loss of eight, but slipped slightly on laps two and three but still managed to fend off series regulars, Dec Bullock (gas Gas)and James Fry (Sherco), whilst Jack Spencer (Beta) made a debut visit this year in ninth whilst Irish visitor Josh Hanlon (Beta) completed the top ten.
Danby now takes a five point lead into the last two rounds with Sadler and Connor effectively needing double wins to put any pressure on the TRRS rider.
In one of the closest finishes of the season to date, Chris Stay (TRRS) effectively scored a "six pointer" when he beat his main rival Dan Thorpe (Gas Gas) by a single mark in a dramatic finish to the ACU Expert Class at round seven yesterday. By snatching the win in the closing stages, Stay now goes to the final double header in six weeks time holding a four point advantage over his main rival after the lead changes hands several times over the three laps of thirty six sections at Brimham Rocks.
However, it was local hero Martin Crosswaite (Montesa) who lead at the end of the first lap having lost just two marks and he extended this advantage on the second tour and set off on the final twelve testing sections with a ten point advantage over Stay.
By his own admission arm fatigue set in and three consecutive failures midway through the lap demoted him to third on the day.
After thirty four sections Thorpe (pictured at an earlier round) held a three point advantage but a knocked out marker on section eleven ruined his chances.
Lakes Trial winner Sam Yeomans (Gas Gas) finished the day in fourth, ten marks adrift from his main rivals, with Brad Bullock (Beta) in fifth just ahead of Danny Gamble (Sherco). Gwynedd Jones (Beta) finished seventh, his lowest finish of the season whilst Aldis Blacker (Gas Gas) continued his run of form to take eighth ahead of Emma Bristow (Sherco) and Joe Collins (Montesa).
Ben Dignan (Gas Gas) took another step towards the ACU Trial 125 Class title with an unchallenged win.
The final rounds of the Championship will take place at the Bob McGregor Academy in Scotland in the middle of September.