Trial and (many) errors

A Day with Dougie MBE

Tasty Bites? Tasty Bikes, more like. A pair of Gas Gas (250 and a 300) for a fortnight's trials practice.

There's method in this feet-up mullarkey.

Boy number one is taking up biking at 18 and time on a trials bike is what he needs to perfect his balance, clutch and throttle control and grip-sniffing abilities. Boy number two wants to go road racing and I'm desperate to find another (safer) bike sport that he'll take to.

After two weeks of falling over, falling off and flipping over backwards we're heading North in the Ford Ranger. We're off to spend a day with trials royalty and, I would argue, more of a GOAT than Mr Rossi himself. 

I try to explain to both my kids that to spend a day of coaching with Dougie Lampkin is a bit like Wayne Rooney ringing up and saying 'fetch your lads round and I'll teach 'em how to play footie.'

Except Dougie is a lot more intelligent. And funnier.

You'll notice that it's raining and the closer we get to Silsden, the wetter the rain gets...

Somewhere on the side of a fell near Silsden a man with fourteen World Championship titles unloads his own van in the pissing rain.

Yes, it's Mr Douglas Lampkin MBE and he's sifting through boxes of A-Star gear to see what'll fit the two chimps.

Having watched the chimps ride around the gorse bushes for five minutes, Dougie has already rated them on the trials riding food-chain scale. He hatches a plan that involves nothing more than a hammer, some wooden flags and a gentle incline.

It's still raining.

You've gotta walk the course. Dougie spells it all out in his inimitable style.

'See that nettle patch there? That Lancastrian Carl Fogarty came here once and ended up face down in that...'

For a Yorkshireman you'd struggle to think of anything with a higher comedy rating than that.

Let the piss taking and belly laughs begin...

Two mph and utter, utter concentration. Looking for grip, looking ahead for a route, balancing clutch, throttle and, er, balance.

'You can breathe, y'know', shouts Dougie, spotting the problem straight away.

We've all done it, though. Track days, road riding, - it's all too easy to tense up and it can only ruin your performance. Trials is no different to any other bike discipline, you need to relax and you need to plan and plot ahead - constantly. You can't do that if you're wound up tighter than a snare drum skin.

Within just ten minutes, boy Number One's riding has improved 100%. He's even breathing and everything.

Boy number two's getting cocky. Unlike his big bro', he's been riding since he was three and clearly BMX has set him up well. For the first time in years,  the piss taking tables are turned and younger sibling gets brief revenge.

Dougie loves his Jitsie helmet. He's also one of Red Bull's longest-served athletes - over ten years together, now.

It's still raining and, perhaps sensing that cockiness needs to be curbed, Dougie decides to show the kids what is possible if you stick at it.

Check the helmet cam video here

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