Champion to lead trials

TEN times British motorcycle trials champion Steve Saunders is set to lead the pack at Alderney’s second Rock Island Trials event.

British motorcycle trials champion Steve Saunders will take part in next year’s Rock Island Trials.
British motorcycle trials champion Steve Saunders will take part in next year’s Rock Island Trials.

TEN times British motorcycle trials champion Steve Saunders is set to lead the pack at Alderney’s second Rock Island Trials event.

Organisers have confirmed that the competition will take place over 20 and 21 April next year.

Alan Smart said there would be a greater number of Jersey riders attending, headed by Graham du Feu of the island’s Classic and Modern Trials Club.

The pair have recently been scouting for new sites for the event – in particular those that will showcase Mr Saunders’ skills.

‘Graham casually mentioned to me that Steve Saunders was coming over for the trials next year, which is actually a bit of a coup for us as it’s only the second such event we have staged,’ said Mr Smart.

‘He is the 10 times British Trials Champion and has been runner-up twice in the world trials series, so we must assume this gentleman will be able to show us some amazing things that can be performed on a motorcycle.’

Mr Saunders, who now teaches motorbike trials riding, said: ‘I know of several people who went to the trials last year and they all thoroughly enjoyed it. I will have to juggle a few events either side of the event, but I hope to be there. I like to do as much as I can to promote trials riding.’

Mr Smart said this year they were planning to add new sites and challenges to the competition.

‘We want to try and mix the existing route up with new venues for riders to try,’ he added.

Last year there were fears that the off-road trials, which saw riders test their skills over 15 sections of rugged terrain around Fort Houmet, Fort Albert and Fort Tourgis, among other places, would carve up grass and footpaths.

In the event, the grass terrain that was used – most of the trials were on rock – recovered quickly. In fact, Mr Smart reported that Alderney Wildlife Trust has asked riders to use their bikes to try to tame vegetation on overgrown footpaths.

Last year more than 100 took part and the event was described by organisers and the States as an ‘overwhelming success’. Mr Smart thinks numbers might be slightly down this year owing to difficulties with scheduling for the Guernsey Kart and Motor Club.

But they are expecting around 50 riders from Jersey and for others to come over from France.

‘I’m greatly looking forward to seeing everyone again,’ said Mr Smart.

‘Hopefully the Rock Island Trials will be a regular fixture on our spring tourist calendar.’

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Great news for Alderney