Jitsie Beta factory rider, Jack Sheppard has joined forces with James Lampkin who will be his new minder for the 2012 season. As a member of the talented Lampkin dynasty, James' experience and support will be invaluable to the reigning eighteen-year-old FIM Youth Trial World Champion as he moves up to the Junior class this year.
Many will remember James as the minder of Dougie Lampkin (his cousin) who James worked alongside during his early career and those famous World championship winning years. The cousins were inseparable for almost an entire decade, working together from 1996 through to 2006, with James missing only one season in 2005.
James chose to take a break from his professional minding career to start a family and to focus on his Skipton-based plumbing business. Now the thirty-three-year-old father of two is back and is excited to be making his World championship return with Jack Sheppard.
Jack Sheppard comments: "I am very happy to be working with James this year. He has a lot of experience and I feel that I can learn a lot from him."
In addition to being Dougie's minder for so many years, James is also a successful trials rider in his own right. He confirmed his pedigree in 2000 when he won the expert class of the ACU British Trials Championship, joining a long line of winning Lampkins. James' uncle, Martin Lampkin, was the first ever FIM Trial World Championship winner back in 1975. James' father, Alan (aka Sid) Lampkin and other uncle, Arthur Lampkin, were also regular winners on the British circuit and the Scottish Six Days Trial in the 1960s.
James will be drawing on all of his experience in the sport to motivate and assist Sheppard throughout his 2012 campaign. The relationship between rider and minder is absolutely crucial, and demands high levels of trust. After just a few initial practise sessions together, it is clear that Sheppard and Lampkin are ideally matched.
"It feels great to be back and I'm looking forward to working with Jack," says James Lampkin. "He's a good lad. He works hard and listens to my advice. We have our sights set on the top prize and from what I have seen so far, although I feel there is still work to do, we can hopefully be up there amongst the front runners."
Undergoing complex wrist surgery in the autumn meant that Sheppard was out of action for several months, but the young rider has made a steady recovery and continues to make good progress.
"My recovery is going well. My biggest frustration after the operation was not being able to ride, but now you can't keep me off my bike, especially now that I have a new 300cc machine to get to grips with before the start of the season."
Sheppard and Lampkin are now looking forward to the opening round of the 2012 FIM Junior Trial World Championship in France on 28/29 April.