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On the trail of the Six Days Trial

Belstaff’s ongoing relationship with the biking institution goes from strength to strength

Those familiar with Belstaff will know that the Scottish Six Days Trial is a big date in our calendar. Since 1948, when we first created the Trialmaster specifically to cope with the often brutal combination of weather and terrain that the Highlands throws at competitors, our relationship with the event has been lasting and special.

When Scottish Trials winner Sammy Miller rode to his five victories in the 1960s, he did so safe, and crucially dry, in his Belstaff Trialmaster. These days, it’s our ambassador Dougie Lampkin who has dominated the event and, this year, he was looking to build on his incredible record of 12 victories – the last seven of them consecutive.

Throughout the week, Dougie had been hot on the heels of early leader James Dabill, who was hoping to finally complete his hat-trick, having lost out to Dougie in 2018’s thrilling final day.

This sense of high drama is familiar to long-standing fans of the event. From its earliest beginnings in 1909, the Scottish Six Days Trial has remained the ultimate test of endurance, skill and mettle, as riders attempt to conquer ravines, rocks and even rivers on lightweight bikes without putting a foot wrong – or down – throughout the course. Forget speed, this is all about skill, stamina and spirit.

This year proved no different, and tricky conditions on a particularly slippery section set Lampkin back. Although playing catch-up, Dougie’s resilience and experience shone through, and an impressive mid-event showing meant there was everything to play for going in to the final day once again. All of a sudden, the focus was on Dabill – would he be able to hold his nerve?

However, after six days, and more than 500 miles of near-flawless riding, the eventual two-mark gap between the frontrunners proved too much to overcome. Number 13 may have been unlucky for Dougie on this occasion, but the final result only shows us part of the story. It gives us the destination, not the journey.

There was plenty of goodwill amongst the disappointment as Lampkin congratulated Dabill. “He has ridden well,” said Dougie. “He hasn’t put a foot wrong.”

He seemed similarly positive about his own performance, too – and with good reason. “At the age of 43, I have shown I can still fight with the best of them,” he said. “I have already started to think about how I’m going to take the trophy back off James next year.”

It would appear that the title is just on loan.