The Curtain raiser for the 2020 season was once again the Fisher trial hosted by the Manchester 17 MCC Ltd. Starting from Hawks Nest, Buxton, Derbyshire over 100 riders tackled 18 sections over 2 laps utilising Manor rocks, Manor steps, Barbers, Robinsons and finally Hawks nest.
After heavy and persistent rainfall overnight and into the morning, the sections were considerably tougher than set out the previous day with river levels close knee deep in places. This lead to over half the Clubman retiring from the trial on what proved to be a different day for them. Only a handful of 50/50 retired with just the one Expert, Corey Dubik after he bent his front brake disk on one of the early sections.
On the Expert route, JST GAS GAS UK locked out the podium. Dan Thorpe showed why he is still one of the best National riders in the country putting aside the disappointment of November's Northern Experts to take the 1st big win of 2020. An opening lap of 10 which included 5 at the classic bottom section at Manor rocks gave him a slender margin over his younger teammate Dec Bullock who was a handful of marks behind with Richard Timperley in 3rd after dropping some slack marks early on. Chris Alford dropped himself out of the reckoning for a podium place after a frustrating opening lap saw 3 maximums and a lap of 27, his 2nd lap much improved but couldn't make up the marks dropped. Thorpe had a couple of single dabs & 5 on a tricky Section in Robinsons on the second lap to ease to victory with a 17 overall. Bullock held off the challenge of Timperley to take second on 27 just 3 marks between the pair with Alford fourth on 40.
The 50/50 class was yet again a closely fought affair with the top 6 separated by just 10 marks. Proving that experience counts for everything in tricky conditions, Kiaran Hankin steered his Vertigo to victory dropping a respectable 28 just a single mark ahead of Darren Wasley who would be cursing a couple of slack 3's. Slotting into 3rd was another experienced rider Chris Koch who seemed at home in conditions regularly experienced South of Birmingham losing 32 marks narrowly ahead of Steve Bird, with Shaun Fox 5th just 2 marks off Koch.
It proved to be a rather tough day for the Clubman with just half of those starting completing the two laps, the opening lap riding up the steam from Barbers to Robinsons seemed to sap the energy from those retiring. That said the second lap did ease off once the water levels had dropped. What will come as a shock to most and I think to the man himself was the Clubman route winner. Local lad Liam Robinson proved that you don't always need modern machinery to muster a good result as he muscled his big p65 Greeves around the course to take a well deserved win dropping 36 marks. Second place was another local rider Steven Davies who loves these types of conditions, incidentally the only clubman rider not to 5 a section but wasn't enough to snatch the win, 7 marks behind Robinson. The final podium place was a three way tie, Richard Moakes, Andy Hipwell & Mark Timperley having to be separated by most cleans.
Report: Marty Hill