Trials riding is one of the most skilful disciplines of motorcycle sport and one not for the faint-hearted.
When you watch these riders climb vertically up a rock face that would be a challenge to a mountain climber, or drop off the edge of a rock it’s hard to believe they are actually doing it on a motorcycle.
East Antrim rider Chris Brown is one of these guys who spends his weekends on his very special Shirco bike, scaling heights and navigating through some pretty wild terrain in search of Irish and Ulster Championship honours.
The 20 year-old from Newtownabbey came within a whisker of taking the Irish crown at the final round of the series at the recent Patland Cup event. “It went down to that last round and it was a winner-takes-all situation between myself and Sean Doyle. Whoever finished ahead of the other would be crowned champion. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for me, and after a tough event I finished third with Sean second. Although I was naturally disappointed with the outcome on the day, it was still a massive step forward for me to be in contention all year long, improving on my third place overall last season and it gives me more motivation to come back out next year and try my best to get my hands on an Irish Championship title in 2017.”
His 2016 Ulster Championship campaign began badly, struggling with the bike and making lots of, in his own words, ‘silly mistakes’, which pushed him down the results. “I was on for wins in the early rounds before the mistakes put them out of reach,” he admitted. “In the second half of the season, though, he pulled it all together with three second places and a win at the penultimate round. He needed victory in the final round but had to settle for second that again saw him finishas runner-up in the title race.
“After all the early-season problems it was a great day to get my first win of the year at the new venue secured by the Lisburn club at the last minute. Unfortunately I had to be content with second in the Ulster but 2017 is another year. One where I aim to win both the Ulster and Irish,” he added confidently.
His second place in the Irish Championship, however, does mean he is automatically included in the Irish team for the Trials Des Nations, held this year at Isloa 2000 in the French Alps.
This will be his second time representing Ireland against the rest of the world at the prestigious event, and one he is really looking forward to.
“I had my first taste of the international stage in Spain last year and although it was exciting it was also tough riding in front of so many trials fans. There was a massive crowd at the event but it was a great experience. At least this time around I will know what to expect come September in France. The team’s aim is to make the top three. A big call, but we are confident.”
As usual, any type of motorcycle sport doesn’t happen without the help of others and Chris was keen to thank Production Services Ireland, Strength NI, Darren Skilling Imaging, Putoline UK, Wulfsport, Oneal Europe and all his family and friends for their support during the past season.