Midsummer (29th and 30th June) will see the Bon Accord Motorcycle Club quite literally breaking new ground when they run what will surely be the most northerly motorcycle trial ever staged in the United Kingdom. This exciting new addition to the calendar will be held at West Burrafirth in the Shetland Islands, a distance of some 250 miles north of the club’s home base in Aberdeen.
First hatched as “one of those ideas in the pub” some six years ago, this trial has been born out of the sheer determination of a handful of riders based in Shetland to have a trial on their home ground.
Bon Accord club president Bill McGregor recalls how the Shetland connection started.
“An e-mail appeared one day asking if riders from Shetland would be allowed to ride in our trials. We immediately answered that they would be most welcome and told them when and where our next trial was and thought nothing more about it until a van with four bikes and riders turned up. It was only then that the effort that these guys had made to ride became apparent to us. An overnight ferry ride into Aberdeen followed by a day’s riding and then an overnight ferry back to Shetland ready for work on Monday morning.”
That initial day out started to become a regular trip and one of the Shetland riders, Keith Leslie went on to become not only the first Shetlander to ride in every round of the Scottish Championship but also the first Shetlander to ride and finish the SSDT in 2018. Making friends and gaining respect every where he turned up, one of the first questions he was asked was “When are we going to Shetland then?”
Now after having secured the use of a large piece of ground in the west of the islands the dream is set to become a reality. While the logistics of staging this trial are complex, we have some excellent club members who all live on Shetland actually doing the ground work while the club is looking after the paperwork and organisation of the ferries and accommodation.
Bon Accord have purposely set the trial status to national which means that it is open to riders from all corners of the United Kingdom. It is the club’s hope that this two day trial can become if not an annual fixture then maybe a biennial fixture in the trials calendar. We already know that everyone who makes the effort is sure of a warm welcome in the Shetland Islands with amazing scenery, fantastic trials riding and twenty three hours of sunlight each day. Each days trial will be set out with three routes to allow for riders of all ages and abilities. Saturday night entertainment will include a charity auction, free food, a free beer and a local band. This promises to be a weekend to remember.
On-line and postal entries for this two day trial will be available from the Bon Accord website www.bamcc.co.ukfrom the beginning of February.
Some Facts about the Shetland Islands
· The Shetland Islands lie 110 miles north of the Scottish mainland
· The Shetland Islands are 598 miles north of London
· The Shetland Islands are 400 miles south of the arctic circle
· There are actually over 100 islands in the group but only 16 of them are inhabited
· Shetland covers an area of 567 square miles with a coastline of 1,679 miles
· Total population is just over 23,000 people.
· Lerwick is the main town with a population of about 7,500
· Simmer Dim is a Scottish term for the time around mid summer when the Shetland Islands get twenty three hours of daylight and it never really gets dark.
· The two main links to the Shetlands are by air or by ferry from Aberdeen
· The ferry from Aberdeen takes about 14 hours and runs overnight.
· Shetland is home to one of the biggest oil terminals in Europe at Sullom Voe
· Before oil the biggest industries were farming and fishing
· Shetland is home to many per-historic sites including Jarlshof
· Shetland is home to the world famous Up Helly Aa fire festival
· Shetland is the home of the famous Shetland pony
· Shetland is the best place in the UK to see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)