Once again the combination of Dougie Lampkin and his factory Vertigo Combat has created a new record with this time the British rider becoming the first person ever to wheelie the entire 37.7 mile TT Course on the Isle of Man continuously. Lampkin has been training and preparing for the last seven months for this unique project that was broadcast around the World live on Red Bull TV.
The daring and demanding challenge has tested Dougie’s determination and resolve throughout and the actual day of the event proved no different with gale force winds causing Lampkin’s potential history making attempt to be delayed until the following day.
Whilst certain factors remained testing to manage, Dougie knew that he could rely on the performance of his fuel-injected two-stroke machine that ran perfectly throughout his eventual attempt. Lampkin’s factory Combat was modified heavily for his one-wheel passage around the iconic mountain course with the British engineering company Hope Technology making the necessary adaptions with the support and close supervision of Vertigo Technical Manager Francesc Romani.
In order to keep the front wheel spinning during the almost forty-mile journey a 36v electric motor was added to the front hub. Additional footrest plates were added to the rear spindle to create a new and suitable riding position whilst a special two rear brake caliper set up was developed to cope with the heat build-up during the long downhill sections of the course. The two-separate brake systems were operated by Dougie by a foot pedal and a hand lever mounted in the position where the front brake lever would normally be found. Finally, a huge handmade carbon fibre auxiliary fuel tank was needed to give the extra capacity to make it the whole way around the famous island course.
Although twenty-four hours later than planned, Dougie was cheered on by thousands of local fans and watched by a global TV audience as he battled his way around the 37.7 mile undulating road whilst having to contend with oncoming traffic as he took his place in the rolling convoy that protected him through his historic passage. Strong winds on the elevation section of the course did their best to wreck Lampkin’s chances and kept TV viewers glued to their screens.
Finally after over one and a half hours of some of the most tense and gruelling riding of his long and illustrious career Dougie finally crossed the famous finish line to etch his and Vertigo’s name in the history books yet again having already claimed a record extending tenth Scottish Six Days Trial victory earlier in the year, also aboard a Combat.
Speaking afterwards, Dougie said. “That felt incredible and was one of the toughest things I have ever done. In terms of achievements this ranks right up there with the best of them. The fuel injected engine never missed a beat and produced exactly the smooth power needed to get the job done. I would like to thank Vertigo and the other partners for supporting this project and for helping make history once again.”
Reigning and six times British Trials Champion James Dabill has now added victory at the Santigosa 3 Day Trial to his already impressive palmares that also includes winning the Scottish 6 Days Trial twice too. Dabill who will turn thirty years old next month, rode his way back to the top at this, the forty fifth anniversary of Spainâ€™s most famous classic contest to eventually claim the win on the final day of competition. There was even more success for Vertigo and the fuel injected Combat as Francesc Moret and Benoit Dagnicourt took fourth and fifth places respectively come the finish too.
Thirty-five Vertigo Combats were present over the course of this important event, twenty-five of them making up part of the entry that consisted of more than two hundred and twenty machines, with a further ten fuel injected models being used by officials and minders over the three days. Dabill who has executed much of his training on Spanish soil over recent months used his knowledge of the terrain that exists in the mountains around the town of Camprodon to good effect and announced himself as a serious contender for overall honours come the close of the opening day. James placed third at the end of the initial day of thirty-one sections, with Marc Freixa and Miquel Gelabert holding the interim top two positions respectively. However, with only two marks splitting these three riders the next two days were where the eventual overall winner would be decided.
The second day of competition saw the Vertigo riders dominate as Francesc Moret posted the best performance of the day with a totally clean passage through the second set of thirty-one hazards, whilst Dabill dropped only a single mark over the same course to take a share of the outright lead alongside Gelabert both on four marks in total. Moret’s faultless display saw him move up to third overall.
Showing his true ability James was best of all the riders during the morning session on the third and final day. Dabill’s early loss of just one mark even bettered the interim score posted by guest rider Adam Raga who only rode on day three. Dabill continued his good form through the rest of the day to record a daily total of nine marks that would be good enough to take the overall win from Gelabert by just one mark after over ninety sections and three long days of competition. Equally Moret and Dagnicourt both held their nerve to secure fourth and fifth positions respectively to round off an excellent and extended weekend for the Vertigo team.
Speaking afterwards James said. “It feels good to win again. It’s been a long three days where you have really had to concentrate hard so as to avoid any mistakes. After a steady couple of opening days I knew I had it all to do on the final day. All was going well until I crashed heavily in one of the most difficult sections of the whole trial. The five marks was bad enough, but the worse thing was I landed on my ribs. From then on it was a case of survival, as I was in a lot of pain and that definitely cost me some late marks. Anyway in the end I managed to hang on and get the job done, which is great for both me and the Vertigo factory”.
The Italian town of Chiampo proved to be a fitting venue to host the final Grand Prix of the 2016 FIM Trial World Championship, with the two days of closing competition being played out in scorching temperatures. The occasion proved to be an historic one for the Vertigo factory team as they secure second place in the manufacturers World Championship in this the first season they have fielded two riders in the entire series.
Situated in the north east part of the country, this was the first time that the town of Chiampo had held a Trial GP, but it is sure not to be the last with Italian fans packing the course over the weekend. From the opening man made hazard directly in front of the town hall the riders made the eight kilometre transfer to the neighbouring hills where the remaining eleven natural hazards could be found in close proximity to each other. The already tough sections, some on dry banking and the other in the slow flowing river took on an extra level of severity as the high temperatures brought fatigue to the riders.
Unaffected by the hot weather the fuel injected Vertigo Combat once again showed its adaptability and capability in the testing conditions as Jeroni Fajardo immediately established himself as a podium contender during Saturday’s Trial. Whilst no one was able to match the form of eventual winner Toni Bou, Fajardo found himself just a single mark back from runner up Adam Raga after the first lap. Despite losing ground to Raga on the second tour, Jeroni produced his best lap score on his final visit to the twelve sections to secure his second podium place of the season in third spot. Fajardo’s team mate James Dabill fared less well on day one and had to be content with tenth position as the very unlike British conditions took their toll.
Sunday’s Trial played out in similar style with only minor changes to three sections doing little to change the severity as the sun shone strongly overhead once again. With some strong riding for the second day in a row, Fajardo again put himself amongst the front runners from the outset and further strengthened his position over the closing two laps to claim his second podium finish of the weekend to round off the series with his best results of the season. Unfortunately, Dabill was unable to sign off with the same level of success and had to settle for tenth spot again, but happy that he had played his part in helping Vertigo become vice World champions at their first full assault.
Pleased with his last GP performance, Jeroni said. “Firstly I am very happy for the Vertigo team, finishing second is a great result and is a great reward for everyone’s effort. From a personal view, I can be happy too. To be on the podium was always my goal and to be able to achieve it twice here in Italy has given me great confidence as we go into the winter period.”
Commenting on his own showing, Dabill stated. “It has not been the best weekend for me, but the good news is that as a team we have managed to take second in the manufacturers championship which is a really great result all round. After yesterday we made some changes to the bike, but I have not been able to find a good setting on the new bike over the two days, but I am sure with some more work I can be back to best again soon.”