Dougie Lampkin, one of Britain's most prolific world champions in any sport, made a winning start to his season on Saturday by securing a last-gasp victory in the Embassy World Indoor Motor Cycle Trials Championship in Sheffield.
The 25-year-old rider from Silsden, West Yorkshire, who received an MBE for services to his sport in the New Year's Honours List, saw off a stiff challenge from Spain's Marc Freixa to win the Sheffield Arena showcase for a seventh successive year. The Embassy is the seasonal opener in a tour of 10 events in seven countries.
Riders negotiate a series of obstacle courses, solo and head-to-head, and accrue penalty points for failing to complete sections or putting their feet down. Rugged cross-country terrain and sheer rock faces are not uncommon.Lampkin has been his sport's World Champion, indoors and outdoors for the past five years.
Although Saturday's contest took place in front of a 8000 sell-out crowd, trials riding does not have the following in Britain that it attracts across much of Europe and America. In Spain it regularly makes prime time television. Lampkin, from a family of riders – father Martin won the World Championship in 1975 and uncle, Arthur, was a television regular in the 1960s – is internationally regarded as arguably the best of all time.
"It's the first time anyone in trials has got this sort of recognition," said Lampkin after learning about his MBE. "I know trials is not one of the most popular sports, but maybe the publicity from it will get people asking what trials is all about."
After his win, he added: "To get the MBE and then win in Sheffield for a seventh year makes this one of the greatest weeks of my sporting life."
EMBASSY WORLD TRIALS CHAMPIONSHIP (Sheffield): 1 D Lampkin (GB) 15pts; 2 M Freixa (Sp) 19; 3 A Raga (Sp) 22; 4 A Cabestany (Sp) 34.Reuse content