Scottish Six Days Trial 2009

Centenary SSDT 4-9 May, 25th Pre-65 trial 1-2 May

Parc Ferme, SSDT 09

Here we will keep you in touch with SSDT 09 updates as they happen, week by week in the run up and hour by hour during the event. To get an idea of how it works, see how we did it in 2008...
This year the results are continually entered on the difficult to find site of - Realtime results.

If you are looking for pre-65 action, here it is. Keep checking back for more pix and words

How about a change from boring news on the radio? Nevis FM has live internet coverage from the Fort every morning and evening.

We're following John Luff, Craig Talbot and Brett King - and more detail on the West Glos boys, the Bendall brothers, is here.

To see video clips of the SSDT and Pre-65 2 Day, look up "bultac0boy" on YouTube. They will be updated with more in the week following the SSDT.

Ian Cross and Mark Thornhill took some excellent pix at the SSDT and Pre-65, see them at

Joe Bendall at Trotters Burn

May 10 (Day 7) - It's not quite over. First, the awards: 122nd John Luff, 302 marks lost, First Class. 157th Henry Bendall, 365, Second Class. 175th Bretton King 400, Second Class. 220th Joe Bendall, 596, Finisher. Craig Talbot, retired Wednesday (but still wanted to get wet, so observed)..


The Luffs stayed on for the presentation, as John's dad Andrew says:"It does give a bit of closure to the event. The locals, nothing to do with the trial, said they had not seen rain like we had for 30 plus years.

John Luff and Brett King

"Saturday was far from easy, however John did have the benefit of being very late, and a new tyre. He had a good day, and managed to win his coveted first class, and by some way in the end. There were a few problems, the hand and wrist were horrible, the rain still came down, but the major concern was getting to Leanachan, the last fuel stop, and finding there was no 4 stroke fuel left.

John did put a drop of 2 stroke in, Brett did not risk it and pushed in to the Nevis Range car park. I had been carrying some all week, never expecting to use it. The relevant p*** was taken out of Sargent Darren Butcher, who although said it was nothing to do with him (nice try Butch), was busted back down to Private with immediate effect. Sandy Mack and his team did a fantastic job, out in all weathers, the observers as well.

We all offer our sincere thanks.

John Luff

Where did the week go, it was a complete blur?

I must thank Brett for all his help in keeping John focused for the last three day that John was riding with a right forearm a body builder would have been proud of, John Lampkin for the support in the Parc Ferme, my wife Jane for keeping us all fed and calm when life did become a bit heated at times.

So that's it, any thing learnt from 2009?

New front tyre on Wednesday, the side walls do go making the bike difficult to steer. Change you own rear tyres, do not rely on someone else. Train, all though the year to keep fit. Think very carefully what spares you take."

And that's it - anyone for next year?! By the way, although the first reliability trial for motorcycles was run in the Highlands in 1909, the Six Days as we know it started two years later, so the pukka Centenary event will be held in 2011.

May 9 (Day 6) - It's over. The hardest SSDT for many years, not just on riders and bikes but organisers, spectators and observers (Malvern's Ian Thompson volunteered to stand in the rain marking cards, a sterling effort). Results are in and at the top, Dougie wins by a mark from Alexz Wigg after losing 7 to Wiggy's 1 today.

John moved up to 123rd on 302, Henry a little back to 159th on 365, Brett a smidge back on a nice round 400 marks lost, and Joe came in 224th on 596 (knock off 150 for Joe's "virtual" score).

"Hardest SSDT I have done," says John, who we hope has snared a first class award. "Rode OK today but it will be touch and go on a first."

May 8 (Day 5) - All four remaining WC riders are still in the trial. John is hanging on, as dad Andrew explains..."The early day. Parce Ferme by 0650, got to allow for retirements, and they were away 0745. John's arm was extremely painful, and he did extremely well to make the start. Most of the jobs on the Beta were completed last night, so the idea was just to finish off this morning. When John moved his bike the new tyre was flat, I was not surprised as the guy who was fitting them had very little idea, I watched him fit it. He might have been strong, but a tyre fitter he was back in with the old wheel.

"Oh, it was raining, and very cold. Brett King helped John to keep going, and the day flowed. John said he lost a few marks due to the damaged arm, but was quite pleased with how he rode on his early day. So, its Brett and Johns late day tomorrow, hopefully the sections will have been run in by the time they ride them. Saw Alf at Parc ferme, both Hen and Joe still going, and riding close together now."

John says: "Wrist is knackered. Hard to hold on. Not too bad a ride today seeing as we were early. Right at the back tomorrow. Weather is a bit better, just gales and showers". (Glad to see the weather's picking up John! - Ed.)

Despite his injury, John is up today, to 129th. Brett's not had a bad day too, and is 174th, while Henry and Jo are 153rd and 227th respectively. One more day lads..."

John Luff on Nevis FM

May 7 (Day 4) - Incredibly the organisers set up a new shorter course yesterday, as Thursday's route was deemed unrideable. A shorter day but still a challenge. "Short route was nice but still a fair day," says John Luff. "Had some good rides but a few slack fives as well. Have hurt my wrist, don't know how, but it's all swollen." He confirmed that Craig Talbot is out with bike problems.

Henry's broken bars

So too did Joe Bendall, of which more here. John's dad Andrew hs kindly sent us some excellent photographs from him and Ian Cross, who has been ably assisted by Mark Thornhill on 'tog duties. Ian also captured the infamous bar snapping moment, which can be seen on video, and John just before he toppled backwards, also on Trotters Burn.

John's a bit of a media star, as his dad explains...

"The photo of John being interviewed for Nevis Radio, with the look, who told them it was my birthday...Blame Mrs Talbot for that," says Andrew. "The Thursday went well, you have to admire the SSDT committee. One official said today, how come we need 11 months to organise this event when we can re plan a complete day in 7 hours. Tomorrow should be back to normal, John early, but late on Saturday. You cannot describe the weather, one of the C of C go back 21.45 Wednesday night, moors were dangerous, burns full of white water and the SSDT could not risk Rannock, Ba House, Chairlift, and had to sort out a high ground day."

John Luff at Trotters Burn

Resultswise, John lost 24 today, taking him to 208th and 131st position. Joe is 234th after losing 53 to take him to 442 (we'll be kind and point out that he copped 150 marks for missing sections though), Henry is on 243 after losing 34 to take him to 164th. And Brett King lost 41 to bring his total to 252 and 169th overall.

May 6 (Day 3), update 2 - Results are in and the water has played a big part in proceedings. Joe Bendall's bike misfired, while Henry has, like many others, been manhandling the Montesa (I know what that's like! - Ed.) to keep the water away from the motor in stream crossings. Henry is in 161st place on 209 after dropping 73 today - but Brett King's had a pretty good day by the look of it, losing 49 to take him to 211 and 163rd place. Jo lost 76, putting his 3 X 50 mark loss for missing sections behind him yesterday. He's in 236th on 390 but he's not far off his brother when the hefty penalty is taken in to account. John Luff has slipped back a little but he's in the trial. Which is more than can be said for Craig Talbot, who's down as a retirement. Water in the engine looks to have forced him out. We'll see tomorrow whether he can take to the start.

May 6 (Day 3), update 1 - Astonishingly enough, it's rained again. John Luff has had the particular pleasure of draining the carb on the moors today, as he explains: "Rain no worse. Water everywhere. I had to strip the carb half way round as it was full of water, so had to ride fast to make up time. Mamore Road was like a river." Maybe Thursday will bring better weather. On the other hand, maybe it won't - to to "adverse weather", the start is to be delayed by more than 3 hours. That's what it says on the results, which are incomplete at present. Must have been a tough day, as Doug Lampkin lost his clean sheet to go to 10.

May 5 (Day 2), update 2 - John Luff is back at the Fort: "Weather still bad," reports John. "Moors and sections very wet. Had some good rides but mainly a bit rubbish. Last year I was moaning it was too hot. I am not doing that again." Brett King at Lagnaha

Tuesday Results are in: Craig Talbot's not had the best of days by his standards and is 133rd. John Luff is 13 marks ahead on 120, in 124th position. Brett King's dropped 82, to take him to 162 marks lost. Joe Bendall is hanging in there doggedly, and Henry Bendall is 166th on 140. Stick at it lads!

May 5 (Day 2), update 1 - The Western Centre Gazette's four day 1,000 mile trip to the Highlands has come to an end, and now we're back, we're looking forward to keeping up with the fortunes of our riders as the week unfolds.

First though, a re-cap and the big WC story of Monday - Henry Bendall's broken bars. Henry's broken bars

The sorry tale with a happy ending is well told on the West Glos Six Days Blog but suffice to say, if Henry had to break his bars somewhere, it couldn't have been in a better place! Watching the video, it's clear the bars snap as Henry hits the bottom of the monster step at Trotters Burn.

We watched the whole entry at Trotters Burn, the first group of the day, and sub 4's step was pretty intimidating. Many riders were freaked out by it, or didn't want to risk bike damage at such an early stage. We saw sparks, petrol caps, levers and mudguards fly though, as some riders gave it a good lash all the same. Bretton King and Craig Talbot conquered it with aplomb, though John Luff couldn't carry quite enough momentum.

Joe Bendall on Trotters Burn

Running early, Joe Bendall caught us by surprise and I think "first SSDT" nerves may have played a part in his five. Oddly enough, Doug Lampkin had no problem here, and neither did David Pye on the twinshock Fantic!

Despite the heavy rain, big crowds gathered at the last group, of seven subs - Lagnaha. Water teemed down the ravine in the cliffs, making it hard to see where the football-sized rocks were. John Luff and Brett King battled through here, after a hard day in appalling conditions. Craig Talbot carried off a tidy ride.

May 4 (Day 1) - It is lunchtime and the first drama has unfolded, Henry breaks his bars and Centre riders come to the rescue. More on West Glos' 6 day blog.

The results are now complete and show one D Lampkin is the only one still clean ( A feeling of Deja Vu coming on!) Our guys dropped a few. for details watch the results scroll through Results Here.

May 2 That is the Pre65 Scottish done and dusted. The podium was hogged by Paul Heys, Neil Gaunt and Robin Luscombe on 2,3 and 4 respectively and our Centre riders were Ian Wixon 102nd on 116, Doug Nolan 110th on 128, David Eeles 131st on 154 and Chris Harvey 148th on 266. Ben says we may get some photos tomorrow.

May 1 A very wet morning for the Pre 65 guys. Chris Harvey buried his Norton on the moors but still managed to get back in in time. Ian Wixon 3'd his way up Pipeline, Dave Eeles and Doug Nolan are still in and ready for day 2.

Apr 29 At last, Doug Nolan gets a ride in the Pre-65 Scottish! A fair way down the reserve list, he learned the good news with 5 days to prep the bike.

Apr 22 One more WC rider's on the list - Henry Bendall. More

Mar 25 SVMC's Bretton King has sifted through the entry list to work out who's riding and what time they will be starting. The current Western Centre 50/50 route champ is an old hand at the SSDT - he rode it in 1987, the year before Steve Saunders started a four year domination of the event.

SSDT first timer Joe Bendall is at 23 and his early day will be Monday. Craig Talbot (201), John Luff (202) and Bretton (203) are on an early day Friday.

There's a good mix of riders from the south with familiar faces from the Wessex and Southern Centres fairly regular Western Centre trial entrants. Wessex Centre's Mark Cameron (207), Scott Cameron (208), and Adam Norris (209) are out early on Friday too. Saturday's early birds include Southern Centre riders Scott Faulkner (256), Justin Heavens (257) and Stuart Robinson (258).

Mar 21 There are now 3 Western Centre riders confirmed on this year's SSDT entry list - Joe Bendall (West Glos)Bretton King (Stroud Valley), and now John Luff (SVMC) confirmed March 16. Sadly several missed out on the ballot, so commiserations to them, and fingers crossed if they decided to opt to try for a late reserve ride.

This isn't Bretton's first SSDT and the current Clubman/Expert Centre Champion's experience in the Highlands is bound to stand him in good stead. Joe's a first timer, following in the footsteps of his brother Henry in 2008. John will surely be aiming to crack the first class category after running very close several times before. Hopefully we can provide similar coverage of the event as last year - and with a bit of luck, a couple more might get in on reserve rides.

And we'll claim Wessex's Craig Talbot as an "honorary" Western Centre rider, seeing as he rides and works in our centre. Craig got a first class last year and maybe this time will crack the top 100.

The SSDT runs from May 4 - 9 and celebrates 100 years. And the 2 day Pre-65 Scottish (May 1 and 2) celebrates 25 years too. There's no entry list out yet but we do know that David Eeles has got in and so too has Chris Harvey and Ian Wixon, who knows a bit about evil looking rocks. Dave is pulling out all the stops to prepare a Triumph twin and himself for the rigours of two days in Kinlochleven. While most of us are in bed of a morning, Dave is on the treadmill before a day's graft, and it's fair to say he's matching that commitment towards the bike too (ie - cash!).

Chris will be mounted on his 500 Norton rigid which we see at VMCC events in the centre. No doubt Goff Hannam will be able to give him some advice on how to get round on a rigid, having done just that a handful of years ago...

Look out for more updates on both events as the day approaches.