Bike Trials at Saughtree & Thorlieshope

For years, the local motorcycle club held an event in the beautiful countryside just outside Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders – until it closed down.

Fast forward a few years and the Cumberland County Motorcycle Club approached the owner of Saughtree and Thorlieshope Farms to politely enquire if it would be possible to kick-start the event. The farmer, Andrew Douglas, was more than happy with the idea and so the project was borne.

For the last 2 years, the National Twinshock Trials Championship has been hosted by Mr Douglas at Saughtree and Thorlieshope. The event is one of 9 “rounds” held across the country from Plymouth to Powys; the Thorlieshope event being the most northerly. The aim is to create a low cost off road trials championship series for experts, clubmen and newcomers. The cost of a classic twinshock trials bike is more affordable than modern bikes, making it much more accessible for riders who cannot afford the tax and insurance needed to compete in an on-road series.

The route is laid out across the farm and consists of 2 laps (approximately 8 miles/lap) and there is every challenge possible – rough terrain, mud, water, slopes – you name it. The route is broken down into 20 sections and each section has to be completed correctly or deductions are made. The rider with the lowest amount of deductions is the winner. Having spoken to many of the entrants after last years’ successful event, many of the competitors said they felt that this was the best round in the series and the one they enjoyed the most.

Newcastleton is a small village with a big heart. The Grapes Hotel makes sure they are ready for their annual visitors and put on live music for a party atmosphere on the Saturday night. This is obviously enjoyed by the locals as well as the visitors to the village. With all the accommodation in the village fully booked for the event, the campsite offers free camping for those who can’t get a bed for the night. Furthermore, last year they made the event a 2 day affair hosting a charity day on the Saturday followed by the main event on the Sunday. What with the charity entry fees and the collection in the pub that night, a figure in excess of £500 was raised and will be gifted to the local Medical Centre.

This is an annual event which simply couldn’t be held without the support of the landowner. Without the land, there is no event and organiser Paul Norman said “we simply can’t thank Andrew Douglas enough for his generosity and support in hosting this event. The main problem is that available land is becoming a rarity due to beaurocracy – it’s just too much hassle for landowners to be bothered, particularly for no commercial gain. We consider ourselves very lucky to have his support because quite frankly, without people like him, our sport would die”.

Andrew Douglas is very happy to play host to the event. The Newcastleton area doesn’t host many events and this attracts a lively group of likeminded souls to come and compete, have fun and socialise miles away from home. The fact that it’s in the beautiful Scottish Borders is just a bonus.