After a tough 9-round series, Isle of Wight trials rider Chris Stay has been crowned the 2019 British Expert trials champion.
Chris and his team made the 1,000 mile round trip to Scotland last weekend for the final 2 rounds of the championship with just a 4 point lead over one of the most experienced riders in the country, Dan Thorpe from Yorkshire.
Ever since winning the first round in Surrey back in March, Chris has been determined to be the first Island rider to win the Championship. But after winning 4 of the first 7 rounds he only had a 4 point advantage because his main rival had never been off the podium, while Chris had a poor 6th place in Wales and came 4th in the Lake District.
It was all to play for and could have gone anyway, but after 2 of the 3 laps Chris had a 7 point lead. Thorpe then produced a brilliant ride on the final lap, losing just 3 marks, while Chris came home with 9 on his scorecard to finish the day just 1 point ahead. This stretched the lead in the championship to 7 points, which meant if Chris finished no lower than 4th on the final day he would be the champion, easy to say but so much harder to do in reality with the pressure of a British championship at stake.
That pressure was clearly starting to show as the first lap on Sunday which finished with Thorpe on 12 and Chris just holding onto second place on 18 marks, closely followed a host of top experts who were in danger of spoiling the day. But then Chris went into overdrive, determined not to throw it all away. He produced one of his best rides of the championship, losing just 2 more points on the extremely hard course, to take the lead going into the final lap.
Another great lap from Chris saw him hold the lead until the very last and toughest section of the day – a giant water fall that only a handful of riders including Chris had got through. He gave it his best shot but just failed to get up the final step, so 5 more points were added to his score resulting in only 2nd place finish on the day, but it didn’t matter. He had done enough and as the score came up on the screen at the finish it was an emotional time for Chris and all his connections, as they finally realised his dream had become a reality.
Minutes later Chris was crowned the 2019 British Expert trials champion. The 7-and-a-half hour drive home was made much more pleasant with a large gold trophy sat on the dash.
Chris would like to thank all his supporters, but especially his coach, Mark Combes and minder George Gosden for all their invaluable help during the 2019 championship.