Red Bull City Trial
The first ever Red Bull City Trial proved to be a huge success with several thousand people packing into Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester to enjoy a spectacular display of skill and bravery. In glorious sunshine the large crowds were enthralled and engaged when after three heats of dynamic action the winner of this inaugural event was only decided in the final section of the day and by the closest of margins.
Eventually after a daylong and titanic fight between the two teams, it was team Lampkin captained by Dougie Lampkin and supported by Jack Sheppard and Sam Haslam who would steal the victory in the last watery zone. A gap of a mere few seconds saw Adam Raga's team taste a late defeat, despite the best efforts of the World number two and his team mates Alexz Wigg and Bradley Cox.
The day began with a slightly less competitive theme, when Lampkin, Raga and Sheppard headed up three training groups and were assisted by the other pro riders, as they provided tuition to an invited gathering of youth riders. The established stars worked through a series of techniques over the course of the day with their younger pupils, with the focus of taking this next generation of riders to the next level.
Summing up this unique experience twelve year old Toby Martyn, who had travelled all the way from Truro in Cornwall to be a part of the Red Bull City Trial said. "It's been an amazing day, almost too good to believe. Ever since I received my invitation I have been so excited, but I never imagined that it was going to be this good. Having the chance to train with Dougie (Lampkin), Adam (Raga) and Jack (Sheppard) plus the other guys in front of so many people was incredible and will be a day I remember for the rest of my life."
The main competition was run over three heats, each consisting of five sections. Each of the three man teams passed through the hazards in a relay style, to record a total time for their team. In addition to their combined running time the riders were also docked five seconds extra for each mark they dropped to create a simple and dynamic format for the mainly non-specialist audience. A point was awarded to the winning team in each section, with a maximum of five points being available in each heat.
Lampkin's team snatched the initial advantage by winning the first heat 3-2 as they showed their speed in the final fountain section. In an almost repeat performance it was Raga's squad who turned the tables in the second heat, as this time they leapt across the wet sleepers to record an important interim win. A tense third and final heat was played out in front of a packed gallery who raced from section to section to follow the unfolding drama.
Fittingly it was Red Bull's longest serving UK athlete Dougie Lampkin who held his nerve under pressure and lead his team to victory at the first ever Red Bull City Trial, much to the delight of the crowd. However, overall it was the event itself that was the real winner with Manchester city centre having given a warm welcome to the sport of trials and introduced this discipline to a new and wider audience.
Speaking post event Lampkin said. "The crowds have been incredible, to see people who have never been to a trial before running from section to section to keep up with the action was absolutely brilliant. The event had a real buzz about it and could not have been any closer in terms of the result. It's a long while since I beat Adam (Raga), but I will keep reminding him now for a long time to come about this victory."
Dougie rounded up by saying. "Red Bull City Trial has been the perfect way to showcase trials to new people and from the reaction of the crowd today I think the sport has now got a lot of new followers. The youth riders also did a great job in terms of showing what can be achieved at such a young age, and they will have gone away not only having learnt new skills but having gained experience from being part of such a big event so early in their careers."
Photos from this event to come later today