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Rider Information

Key documents SSDT competitors require:
Female trials rider at a section in the Scottish Highlands

If you are a competent trials rider and hold a licence under the SACU, ACU, MCUI or an international FIM licence, then in theory you can ride the SSDT.

However, in practice things may be slightly different! The SSDT is probably the only time that you will ride your bike for six consecutive days of tough riding, so don't underestimate the level of fitness required to get through it, and that goes for both you and your bike! You need to be sure that you are bike fit as the trial requires a good deal of physical strength, and most importantly, stamina.

It is a well-known fact that the fitter you are, the less energy you use, especially in the sections, so the average clubman has to be pretty fit – the fitter you are the more you'll enjoy your week!

Can I ride the SSDT?
Trials rider going over rocks at a section in the Scottish Highlands

Since its origin in 1909 no motorcycle trial has captured the imagination of rider and spectator in the same way as the Scottish Six Days Trial. The SSDT lures entrants from all corners of the globe and has the same status to trials riders as the Isle Of Man TT has to road racers. Throw in some world champion motorcyclists, the most spectacular scenery Scotland has to offer, and a route to challenge the stamina of the fittest, and that's the SSDT.

Every rider should take time to stop at the top of some of the hills that the trial covers to admire the majestic scenery – to walk to some of the places that the route covers takes hours or even days. It is a privilege to be allowed to ride a bike over some of the most breath-taking scenery in Britain. In good weather it's awesome, and in bad weather it is even more so. In a word, it's spectacular.

It is one of the few events where everyday trials riders get to compete on equal terms with professional and world-class riders. The trial has a reputation for being the toughest in the world, and it is the most prestigious event that a trials rider can win. Competing in the Scottish Six Days Trial is the dream of every young trials rider, and long may that continue.

What is so special about riding the SSDT?
A trials rider in the landscape of the Scottish Highlands

All you need to do to enter the SSDT is submit your entry form when entries open. Traditionally that happens on in October – entry forms are available online on the SSDT website or by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the SSDT Secretary. Details are published both online and in the motorcycling press at the time.

Sounds simple, doesn't it! Unfortunately completing the entry form very rarely guarantees you an entry in the SSDT. There are 270 places available every year, but on average we get between 450-500 entries for the trial, so for every entry accepted there's one turned down. That's the first rule of entering the SSDT – don't fill in the form expecting to get an entry. If you prepare yourself for missing out then you can only be pleasantly surprised when you get in! The riders who get in are determined by ballot.

How do I enter the SSDT?

Entries close in mid-December and assuming that entries are over-subscribed, as they have been since the turn of the century, a ballot takes place to allocate the entries. Those who get in will tell you it is a great system and those who don't will insist that it is a fix, but the reality of the situation is that we draw the places in the only fair way that we can, and that is by allocation places at random.

However, there is a catch – not all 270 places are allocated in the ballot. Thirty places are set aside for formal factory teams and fifty are set aside for the Club to allocate at their discretion. There are also some sponsorship deals available which include guaranteed places for our sponsors to allocate at their discretion. All remaining places are drawn at random through the draw. Believe it or not, we really do cut up pieces of paper with the names on them, drop them into a big bowl and draw each place out one by one! It's the only fair way to do it.

How does the SSDT ballot work?
Why are there only 270 places?

The reason that the number of riders is restricted is because we have to make sure every rider has enough time to get round the route of the trial in daylight. Riders are set off at one-minute intervals, and with 270 riders that means that there's a four and a half hour gap between the first and last riders leaving the Parc Ferme in the morning. The route takes anything between six and eight hours to cover, and we need to allow a little leeway for delays, so fitting more riders into that time frame would be impossible.

We do get asked if we can set riders off every thirty seconds, thereby doubling the number of riders we could take in a day, but anybody who has ridden the trial will tell you that many of the sections are already congested with queues of riders....if we double that it would make the trial a logistical nightmare for everyone involved so I'm afraid we're stuck with our 270 limit until such time as there are more than 24 hours in a day.

A trials rider going up a section at the Scottish Six Days Trial

That is the million dollar question...! The entry fee itself covers your entry to the trial and the cost of supplying your food and your lunch for each of the six days (reduced lunch on Saturday).

However, you also need to consider your travel costs, the costs of accommodation, the spares you'll need to buy during the week, and all the other little things that mount up.... The food, the beers, the little things you pick up at the trade stands. It's not a cheap week by any stretch of the imagination, so make sure you look into it all before you decide whether or not you can take it on.

How much does it cost to ride the SSDT?

Get yourself bike fit - you will need a level of fitness that allows you to enjoy riding your bike for six consecutive days. Imagine a one day trial lasting over 7 hours, then you have to do this for six days ! - you will enjoy is so much more if you are bike fit.

Get your bike fit - you do not need a new bike but you do need a reliable bike that will get you round 500+ miles or moor, roadwork and some tough sections. you will undoubtedly need to do repairs or at least maintenance during the week and you are not allowed outside assistance, you are also given limited time to do this, so a basic understanding on bike maintenance is essential.

Pack a sensible backpack with tools, tubes etc and remember to keep some space for your own sustenance - water and some high energy snacks are advisable.

If you are lucky enough to have an entry some preparation is required for your mind, body and bike - we have produced a 'newcomers guide' which gives a few hints and tips and even if you are seasoned SSDT competitor you may find something useful in it. View it HERE.

John Shirt has also written some words of wisdom for the 2024 Trial which you can read HERE.

Additionally keen SSDT competitor Russell Houston had produced a series of YouTube videos on SSDT Preparation. Many thanks Russell, they are well worth watching.

How can I prepare for the SSDT?
Where can I get an insight into the SSDT?

There is very little that can be done to give you a true insight into the SSDT – riding the trial is the only way to find out what it's really all about! However, there are a few things that can give you an insight along the way.

To see the sections themselves, we'd recommend checking out our social media channels and also Jitsie for their coverage the past couple of years. It's a great way to see the sections you'd be riding.

However, don't be fooled by these videos – many of the sections in the SSDT are relatively easy, because the hard work is in getting there! Watching videos doesn't give you a feel for the pain, exhaustion, cold and sheer exhilaration that comes with the Scottish though. It's always worth speaking to someone around your level who has ridden, preferably more than once, to get their first-hand feedback.

The long and short of it is that the only way you'll find out what it's really like is by riding it yourself. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and no matter how much pain you go through, we guarantee you'll want to come back. It's an addiction.



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