Despite the event’s hundred-year plus history, the start of the 2018 Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) carried no less anticipation than previous editions and opened in typically damp fashion with six riders tied at the top of the initial leader board after a first day that passed without any headline dramas.
Having completed the opening thirty sections spread around the seventy-one-mile course, in their various groups, Jack Price - Gas Gas, Gary Macdonald – Scorpa, Tom Minta – Scorpa, James Dabill – Beta, Sam Connor – Beta and Andrew Chilton - Scorpa each have a share of the interim lead after they all remained faultless in the first of the six days to be contested in the hills around the SSDT’s base in Fort William.
With the mist hanging over the neighbouring loch, Scotland’s Stuart Mack had the honour of being the first rider to roll down the starting ramp as the lone piper signalled that the competition was underway this morning at half past seven exactly. Following the two opening hazards the field of two hundred and eighty-five riders representing eighteen nations were then greeted by four boulder strewn sections at Leanachen, which had attracted a large crowd despite the rain arriving not long after the action had got underway.
Monday’s offering included the classic sections at Bradilieg and Loch Eilde Mhor before the riders enjoyed a well-earned lunchbreak on the outskirts of Kinlochleven, this being in advance of them visiting further traditional hazards at Blackwater, Garbh Bhein and Cameron Hill on route to the climax of the day at Lagnaha.
Defending champion Dougie Lampkin – Vertigo looked unusually nervous as he plotted his way through the preliminary watery zones at Leanachen in front of the expectant spectators and whilst he escaped clean from the second group he was forced to part with a single dab later in the day as his front wheel skipped offline at one of the easier sections of the day at Garbh Bhein.
Lampkin currently holds seventh spot just ahead of Joe Baker – Sherco who also finished Monday on one mark, as Sam Haslam – Gas Gas and Jack Sheppard – Sherco rounded out day one’s top ten respectively having both dropped two marks apiece, as the sun did actually shine later in the afternoon to bring the action to a close in much improved conditions at the popular and infamous Lagnaha group.
Aside from the battle for the main award, the fight for the other class trophies looks to be as fierce as ever. France’s Arnaud Seyve – Gas Gas and Jiri Svoboda – Beta from the Czech Republic currently share the spoils as the best newcomers on day one, having dropped eleven marks apiece. Reigning FIM Women’s Trial World Champion Emma Bristow – Sherco has already started to open up a healthy lead over Sandra Gomez – Gas Gas in the female category, taking a twenty-six mark advantage into day two. Whilst not unexpected, Lampkin heads his cousin Ben Hemingway – Beta in the over 40’s class at this early stage of the 2018 SSDT.
Day two will see the riders cover a similar distance to today of seventy-six miles in total, as they make the first of two excursions this week over the Corran ferry. Tuesday’s route will follow a clockwise direction around the peninsula, as opposed to Friday when the riders will tackle the groups in the opposite direction.
Full gallery of almost 400 images from day one of the 2018 SSDT can be accessed by clicking here. Note there's just too much work on this week to take orders for originals of images. These will be available next week.
Video courtesy of John Hird & Matt Betts