LOCAL riders kept the district's challenge alive in the gruelling Scottish Six-Day trial.

The event, on the moors and mountains around Fort William, is rated one of the toughest in the world on both men and machines.

For almost a full week they have to remain on top form, defying both the terrain and the weather.

Spaniard Joan Pons was eventual winner after a cliffhanger finish with 26-year-old golf course constructor Ben Hemingway and 18-year-old Scottish star Gary MacDonald.

Pons started the week badly, but by Wednesday had got his Sherco machine into third, place and moved up to second on Thursday.

By Friday initial challenger Jord Pasquet had gone following allegations that he had changed his machine during the event, leaving a straight battle for the top between the novice MacDonald and experienced Pons, with just one mark separating them.

Macdonald aimed to be the first Scottish winner since Bob MacGregor in 1934, but a 12-point penalty early on Saturday dashed his hopes.

A week of changeable weather, heavy rain and gale force winds had blunted the performance of many of the 285 starters. Bingley rider Martin Crosswaite surprised the entire field when he appeared on a pre-production 125cc Scorpa Yamaha fourstroke machine which he nursed to a top-20 finish despite lacking the power of a 250cc machine.

Results: 1 Joan Pons (Esp) Sherco, 26 penalties; 2 Ben Hemingway (GP Beta) 28; 3 Gary MacDonald (Sherco) 31; 4 Amos Bilbao (Esp) Montesa, 32; 5 Dan Thorpe (JST Gas Gas) 36; 6 Steve Colley (JST Gas Gas) 36.

Best over-40, John Lampkin. Best Lady, Iris Kramer (Ger).

Capacity awards - Up to 200cc, Martin Crosswaite; 250cc, Pons; Over 250cc, B en Hemingway. Best Club team -Yeadon-Guiseley 'D'. Best one-make club team, Yeadon-Guiseley 'A'. Best one make team -Sherco.

Yorkshire & North East special first class award winners: 2 Ben Hemingway; 5 Dan Thorpe; 8 Wayne Braybrook; 11 Andy Huddleston; 12 Dan Hemingway; 13 James Lampkin; 15 Sam Ludgate; 20 Martin Crosswaite; 21 John Lampkin; 24 Phil Alderson; 26 Dan Clark; 28 Roger Williams; 30 James Dabill; 32 Aran Drachenberg; 34 Chris Huddleston; 35 Mark Jackson; 42 James Noble, 47 Tony Kaey; 48 Adrian Harry.