Lochaber’s MacDonald secures podium spot in SSDT

SSDT 2018 winner Dougie Lampkin is presented with the winner's trophy on Saturday night by famous trials photographer, Eric Kitchen NO F20 SSDT winning podium

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Kinlochleven rider Gary MacDonald fought his way to a well-earned podium finish on the closing day of this year’s Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT).

MacDonald took the third spot behind winner Dougie Lampkin – Vertigo, with James Dabill-Beta in runner-up position.

Lampkin snatched a record extending his 12th Six Days Trial victory in dramatic fashion on the closing day of the 2018 event, despite having never been in the lead throughout week.

It was James Dabill who was, and had been, the front runner from Monday and went into day six with a slim advantage which would cruelly disappear when his rear tyre came off the rim in the final section on Ben Nevis.

Lampkin had never carried the yellow leader board this year having been hampered by his own mechanical problems earlier and throughout the competition, however he was never far off the lead and had kept the pressure on his fellow Yorkshireman, Dabill, up to and going into the final day’s deciding encounter.

The duel between these two previous SSDT winners did not disappoint.

And as has been the case so many times in the recent history of this hundred-year plus event, it was again the rounded boulders in the narrow valleys on the lower slopes of Ben Nevis where the drama unfolded and the marks that ultimately decided the eventual SSDT winner were lost.

Carrying his two-mark overnight margin forward to this point, Dabill looked very much in control until disaster struck as his rear tyre broke away from the rim to leave him stranded and with a very untimely five-marks.

Under brighter skies and aware of the unfolding story ahead of him, Lampkin remain calm and focused and simply got on with his own task of plotting his way safely through the sections in the shadow of Britain’s highest mountain for the loss of just a single dab that would seem him win his seventh SSDT in a row, this time by three marks, and to take his tally to 12 Scottish wins in total.

The chasing contingent proved to be as strong as ever, with local hero Macdonald – Scorpa finishing a strong third after he kept in touch with the leading duo throughout the week.

NO F20 Gary MacDonald in action in SSDT 2018
Gary MacDonald in action in SSDT 2018

Macdonald’s place on the podium came by way of a tie-break, as he got the nod over Jack Price – Gas Gas after they both finished on 18 marks apiece. Jack Sheppard – Sherco rounded out the top five as the Suffolk challenger enjoyed a return to form following some recent disappointing results in the national series.

While Lampkin may have claimed the overall win and the best over-40s award, Emma Bristow – Sherco performance was equally noteworthy as she secured 36th spot in the general ranking and was by far the best female rider over the six tough days of competition.

Macdonald was the clear winner of the best Scottish rider award, leaving Dabill’s World Championship minder, Jiri Svoboda – Beta to deservedly collect the prize for best newcomer.