140 riders take part in Coverdale trial

Richard Sadller. Photo: Charlotte Brown.

A total of 140 riders took part in the Gerald Simpson S3 Championship Trial in Coverdale on Sunday.

The popular event, organised by Richmond Motor Club, saw one of Coverdale’s own, Sam Lambert, as the clerk of the course.

Brother Scott Lambert and righthand man Cristian Russell helped with the great organisational task of marking out of the event which consisted of 40 sections plotted.

The Gerald Simpson Trophy Trial has been a popular event since the trophy was established 45 years ago, however this year Richmond Motor Club decided to run the event as part of the S3 Parts Championship Series.

The hype of the S3 rounds did not disappoint and RMC had a superb entry of 160 riders, with 140 riders setting off on the day.

The hard course had a high-quality entry with the likes of Richard Sadler, Guy Kendrew, Dan Thorpe and Sam Yeadon riding straight off the back of the Scottish Six Days Trial.

The Richmond local lads were out in full force as well, despite some sore heads from the night before for the likes of brothers Tim and Rob Weatherill and Josh and Ryan Brown.

It was all to play for on the Clubman B route with a total of 120 riders competing for top positions.

Guy Kendrew. Photo: Charlotte Brown.

The trial was based at Town Foot Farm at Carlton and passed over the land of several farming landowners.

Catt Gill was the first test for the riders with one rider jokingly remarking that after riding 180 sections the previous week at the SSDT he’d still not ridden anything as slippy as the limestone rocks he faced in the first group of ‘snotty’ sections.

From there, the trial headed down to the River Cover and into yet more limestone slabs and steps, where muck soon greased up the sections and made it tricky for the later group of riders.

Petrol Stop 1 was a short ride up the dale to the tranquil village of West Scrafton where local sidecar hero Ronnie Suttill was there on hand to manage the re-fuelling.

Heading further up Coverdale, riders found themselves crossing the River Cover again at Horsehouse where they faced another 2 tricky sections emerging from the depths of the fast flowing river.

Bill’s Gill proved tricky for the Hard Course with only 2 clean rides on the day from Richard Sadler and Tom Middleton. Equally as hard, Steve Lambert’s section, a double limestone step, only gave up one clean to Sadler with every expert rider acquiring penalties.

Petrol Stop 2 managed by local landowner Geoff Lambert was the final fuel stop before the riders embarked over Coverdale’s moors to the last groups of sections where an eager eyed crowd of riders and spectators awaited.

On the Clubman B route, Richard Fraser was having a steaming ride with a single dab until section 38 where one slip provided a no doubt frustrating dab, doubling his tally.

Richard Fraser. Photo: Charlotte Brown.

Holding his nerve, Fraser cleaned the last 2 subs, though that critical dab could have cost Fraser first place, resulting in 3 riders finishing on 2 marks.

However it was Fraser that had the furthest cleans, clinching the win from Darren Wasley and Robert Loney both also on 2 marks.

A big well done to the top 16 riders on the Clubman B route who all remained in single figures around the 40 mile course, including Katy Sunter, riding straight after the SSDT with a well respectable 7 marks lost, landing her in 12th place, narrowly in front of fellow female competitor Kaytlyn Adshead in 16th place with 10 marks lost.

A special mention to overseas rider Andrew Molloy from Ard Na Mara, Ireland who was the 2nd rider away from the start field on the day.

The Gerald Simpson Trophy was narrowly won by Richard Sadler on 2 marks, bringing total wins of the prestigious trophy equal to fellow rider Guy Kendrew with 4 previous wins under his belt.

Kendrew won the overall S3 Championship Round, with 5 marks lost.

Three times winner Dan Thorpe came in a solid 3rd place with 11 marks lost, narrowly beating Darren Brice on most cleans. Local riders Robert Weatherill (7th), Elliot Laws (8th) and Jack Stones (9th) closed out the top 10.

A big thank you to all the landowners and observers, as well as organisers and helpers. Coverdale’s picturesque landscape will be rested for 12 days until the Blue Bar Two Day Trial returns for the first time since 2019 on 28th and 29th May.