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Factory Vertigo rider James Dabill strengthened his position at the top of the British Trials Championship following two strong showings at rounds three and four of the series held in Devon this weekend. Dabill riding the prototype Combat machine and who is the reigning national title-holder was unable to repeat the double victory that he achieved at the opening two events, however James was very much in contention during the latest two days of competition when he finished as a close runner-up on both occasions.

Saturday saw the first coming of three laps of twelve sections set on the steep wooded hillside at Lustleigh. All the hazards featured a similar theme with big boulders separated by dry soil being the order of the day. A five late on the first lap spoilt an otherwise solid start by Dabill as he kept close company with eventual day one winner Jorge Casales. James rode himself back into a potential winning situation as he posted a second lap total that was three better than his Spanish rival. However the Factory Vertigo rider was unable to continue this kind of form into the final lap, and a couple of early errors forced him into second spot come the close of play.

Modifications were made to the sections overnight in an attempt to increase the severity for day two, with round four of the series being run over the exact same course as the third round on the previous day. With conditions absolutely bone dry and the riders now very familiar with both the hazards and the terrain Sunday's trial ended up being a very low scoring affair despite the efforts to prevent the same. Again it would be a single mistake that would cost James dearly, his failure on section six on lap one accounting for five of the seven marks he dropped for the entire competition. Even two final clean laps could not prevent Dabill being pushed into the runners-up position for the second day in succession, this time by a single mark by day two victor Michael Brown.

Keeping a close eye throughout the weekend Vertigo Sports Team Manager Dougie Lampkin commented. "We came here to continue on from the opening two rounds and looking for another pair of victories, but that has not been the case. Mistakes on both days have been the difference between James winning and being second. Overall he has ridden well all weekend, and once again the bike has performed well with no problems. Given how easy the trials have been this weekend, two second places and to still be leading the championship after four rounds is an amazing achievement for the project at this early stage."

Dabill added his own words. "My riding has been good, but my concentration needs to be a bit better when the trials are so easy. Again we have learned a lot over the weekend both with the bike and as a team and I hope we can now use that in the next events in Japan and then at the Scottish too. To be leading the championship as we get near the halfway point in the series shows where we are with the prototype Combat, and I am sure both in terms of the bike and as a team we will get even stronger during the second half of the British series, especially if there are a few higher scoring events to come."

James and the Vertigo Combat hold a five-point lead at the top of the British Championship standings as the team now takes a short break from domestic duties to focus on the opening round of the FIM Trial World Championship next weekend in Japan closely followed by the Scottish Six Days Trial.

Images by kind permission of Jitsie.

Hi-res rights free images for editorial use only available on request.


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