Double interviews tonight as we continue our exclusive series ahead of the 2014 Scottish Six Days Trial. Having no internet at Scarborough last weekend put us a day behind so tonight we chat to young Team Roundhouse Beta rider, Dec Bullock and also to his minder and one of the best known faces at the SSDT, international playboy, Ben Hemingway.
Team Roundhouse rider, Dec Bullock is a relative newcomer to the Scottish Six Days Trial having made his debut just last year at the tender age of seventeen on a 125cc bike. Now having turned eighteen and on a bigger bike, we get Dec’s thoughts on his experiences at his first Scottish and his aspirations for the 2014 SSDT…
TC: So Dec, obviously you’ve been riding the World Championship in both Australia and Japan. Have you managed to prepare for the Scottish Six Days Trial around those commitments?
DB: Yeah, I think I’ve prepared quite well. I’ve ridden at a couple of local venues which have streams for practice close to home with my twin brother, Brad.
TC: Are you both riding together again this year?
DB: Yes, both got numbers next to each other which is a bonus and should help Dad out a lot!
TC: So last year was your first SSDT and on a 125cc bike. How difficult was it riding round Scotland on such a small bike?
DB: I enjoyed last year on the 125. It was a bit tough on the moors and a little bit slow on the roads, but I kept my head and I enjoyed it. It wasn’t too difficult in the sections. I just had to give it a bit more stick, but yeah – I definitely enjoyed it on the 125.
TC: And what was your impression of the Scottish? Had you been up to watch it before you rode it?
DB: I’d never been up to watch it before riding.
TC: So how was riding it compared to how you thought it would be?
DB: Riding it was a really good experience. I’d watched loads of videos and seen lots of pictures, but it was actually a lot better than I expected.
TC: And what was the best part for you?
DB: The best part… I’m not really sure. I enjoyed all of it. I enjoyed riding round with my brother. There was a bit of competition between us, especially at the start of the week. I enjoy riding in rivers and stream so yeah, it was good.
TC: Looking forward to this year on the big bike. Can you be more competitive?
DB: Yes. Definitely. I feel like I can be a lot more competitive. I’m looking forward to it a lot more. It should be a lot less physical on the moors because I had to work the 125 a lot more and the sections should be a little bit easier for me on the big bike, pulling bigger gears and a lot smoother.
TC: Have you set a goal for yourself as to where you want to be at the end of the week?
DB: Yes, definitely. I am hoping for maybe a top twenty position. That is what I’m aiming for, but to definitely improve on last year. Top twenty I’d be happy with.
TC: Was there a group of sections that stuck out for you last year?
DB: I don’t know the Trial well enough to know names, but there were a couple of sections I really enjoyed, a couple of waterfall sections I really enjoyed. The bigger sections.
TC: And what was the worst part?
DB: some of the road journeys were very cold and some of the moor crossings were a little long and dragged a bit, but I think, as everyone else says, the road to Chairlift was definitely one of the worst experiences.
TC: And what about with the World Championship being no-stop for a full year now, do you think you’re better equipped to go to Scotland with the no-stop rules?
DB: Most definitely. I feel a lot more confident with the no-stop rules now compared with last year. I hadn’t really done many no-stop Trials at all having grown up with stop allowed so definitely I feel a lot more confident with no-stop heading into this year.
TC: And the final question – Are you going to beat Ben Hemingway? (Ben is Dec’s World Championship minder)
DB: (laughs) I’m going to try! I’m going to try! I’ve learned a lot from Ben last year and this year, so I’m going to try! It would be nice!
TC: What have you learned from Ben?!
DB: (Much laughter! Nervous laughter. Y'know the sort when you've just been caught out!)
Copyright Trials Central. Produced in partnership with G2F Media. Images from Trials Central collection, 2013 SSDT