Archive for November, 2012

Thursday November 29th 2012

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

My column yesterday brought a number of emails - some saying things haven’t changed much over the years, some with suggestions on what needs to be done, - but most just surprised that the sport hasn’t grown like some others like Mountain Bikes or that Skate-board parks with Trials bikes down-town would bring more awareness ! ( Not much doubt about that one)

So here is another pet peeve of mine, and in some ways effects the sale of Trials bikes - Starting issues, - in a nutshell, Bikes that are hard to start are a pain, and it’s not just 4 strokes that are in this class. - Consider a case from many years ago, when a young lady went into an Alberta big box bike store, and purchased a new Trials bike - all excited, she loaded it in her pick-up and on arriving home, couldn’t wait to get the new toy fired up. - Unfortunately, the salesman      ( unfamiliar with Trials bikes) had neglected to tell her that the choke needed to be engaged, and the correct procedure followed - SO - after pushing the bike down the road with the help of her husband - and lots of frustration, she eventually contacted somebody who knew  Trials bikes, and glad to say she went on to enjoy her new bike.

Back in my Yamaha days - the Factory had what I thought was a great bike for the ladies - a DT 125 ELECTRIC start !! - What a good idea - make it easy for the gals to start a bike, and you double your fun. - Naturally this model was dropped from the line-up because somebody in the board-room wasn’t thinking.

On to the present day, and we have new bikes coming out with all sorts of stuff - Fuel Injection etc etc - All adding to the starting issue and causing grief to new customers who are misled to believe that this is the way of the future. - Sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, ANY bike that is hard to start, should be taken to the landfill. ( Or the salesman who didn’t  know the product,- hung drawn & quartered.!)

Now on to a really nice story concerning one of my hero’s - Steve McQueen - read this then click on to the full story printed in Cycle News.

Editorial: Mert Lawwill Pays It Forward

A Helping Hand

AMA Grand National Champion Mert Lawwill’s racing career was over in 1971.

Or so he thought. After crashing on the opening lap of the Castle Rock TT and smashing his left hand to smithereens, a local doctor told Lawwill to figure out just how he wanted his hand to be positioned. Because it was going to be that way forever. Forget about racing, from his elbow to his fingers would be positioned one way and one way only. Forever.

Enter actor Steve McQueen, Lawwill’s friend thanks to the movie “On Any Sunday.”

“We became very good friends after working together on the film,” Lawwill recalled while at the AMA Hall of Fame banquet in Las Vegas a few weeks ago - on a night when he was announced along with Malcolm Smith as one of the Legends of the hall.

Just how good of friends, Lawwill was soon to find out.

For the rest of the editorial,click on the following link to visit this wee’s Cycle News…


UPDATE - Google this link to see and hear another sad story >>>

Wednesday November 28th 2012

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Lets start the blog today, by asking the question ” Is Trials Competition becoming more popular”? - Although most people in the industry know the answer to this - the average motorcyclist seems to think it is !! - So how did Joe Public arrive at this earth shattering bit of news? - The “Facts” are that “NO”- the sale of Trials bikes, and numbers of riders competing, has shrunk dramatically over the past decade.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and our annual Outlaw event, has shown very steady figures over the past 25 years, but in other areas, rider entrees that used to be in the 60’s for a club trial, are now lucky to sign up 25-30.

The FIM ruling to impose the Non-Stop scoring system for 2013, has already caused a mini revolt on some Trials forum’s - particularly in the UK, the home of the sport that originated back in 1909. - So what is the reason for the change? - The Manufacturers are telling the FIM that sales are down, as are entrees at the World level, and therefore something has to be done. - However, in my humble opinion - they are missing the whole point of why people started riding Trials in the first place, - for the average spectator, possible buyer, looking at even a very simple arena type event, will bring remarks like ” Well I could never do that” - and even stronger comments from wives, who anticipate their bread winner ending up with broken bones.

In other words, World Championship Trials, while showing off the unbelievable skills of the top riders ( maybe 5) - all it really has become is a Traveling Circus, with little relation to what the average Joe, thought the sport was all about.

Moving to traditional club events, the same problem exists, few Trials really cater to the new rider, with “Really” easy sections and the emphasis on fun - hardly surprising then to find numbers in the junior class dropping like a stone.

Looking back to the 70’s -80’s - Trials seemed to be enjoying a huge following in North America, but the Japanese found out all too soon, that this was a very small market, with an even smaller percentage of true dyed in the wool enthusiasts. - Japanese bike dealers who were talked into putting one of these new much talked about bikes on the showroom floor, very quickly shuffled it to the back corner, when sales people ( who knew nothing about this strange sport) got fed up of wiping the dust from it. - Again there were exceptions to the rule - Joe Brown in Victora, and Walt Healy in Calgary, sold lots of the Yamaha TY models, but in the motorcycle business World, at least in the land of the rising sun, numbers are where it’s at, and only the much smaller European Factories continued to flourish.

Not that much of this is anything new to the old timers, but for the younger kids watching Toni and the boys hopping and bopping around and over impossible objects on U Tube - they relate it to what is happening at their local skate board park, rather than what the sport is all about. - That is a great day out in the woods.
Again the question would appear to be - how and do we really need, to fix the problem? and if so , How? - Certainly just changing the rules again, will cause more confusion and unrest. - so your guess is as good as mine. - In the meantime, we have no idea what the CMA plan on doing with their events for 2013 - as far as we know, the WTC will stay with the old stop allowed rules. - Next season should be interesting to say the least.  - Will we see any increase in sales of Trials bikes World wide, I doubt it. - There are already too many factories competing for a piece of this small pie.

========================================>BREAKING NEWS :


Sheppard continues with Beta

Jack Sheppard is set to continue his relationship with the Beta brand in 2013 when he will join the highly respected Italian Top Trial Team (TTT) to compete both at World and European level, whilst still riding under the Beta UK banner back in Britain. Sheppard will also maintain his association with the prestigious Jitsie brand as they continue to support him with boots, helmet, clothing and hard parts for his full 2013 assault. The new season will also see Jack extend his connection with Red Bull, with the Austrian energy drink company keeping the emerging young athlete under their wing for another year.

Sheppard, who is currently in Spain for several weeks of intensive training in preparation for the new season, will now look to add the FIM Junior Trial World Championship to the Youth title that he secured back in 2011. Additionally Jack will also contest the European Championship, the British series, the Scottish Six Days Trial and other selected events as he returns to a full campaign having endured a restricted programme during 2012 as he recovered from his well-documented wrist injury.

With the nineteen year old from Suffolk having now put the potentially career ending condition behind him, he is perfectly poised to continue his rise up the ranks with many tipping him as a real hope for the future. Sheppard’s immediate focus is to be 100% fit and ready for the start of his 2013 assault, which will include him adapting his style to suit the recently announced non-stop format under which the FIM Trial World Championship will run next season.

Delighted with his overall new package Sheppard said. “2013 is looking good already. I have ridden with both Beta and TTT before, so I know that they can give me what I need to win and the same goes for both Red Bull and Jitsie too. As always I am so grateful for all their support and that of my other sponsors too. 2012 has been a difficult year, but thankfully everyone has been understanding and have stood by me.”

“With that in mind I am working harder than ever to repay the faith that everyone has shown me and to make sure that I get my riding back on track and to where I know it should be next year. There is still a lot of hard work to be done this winter, however already I am really looking forward to the new season.”

Speaking on behalf of the Beta brand, John Lampkin stated. “We are very pleased that Jack will continue to ride Beta in 2013. His time with the Jitsie team has been very good for Jack and they have worked very well together. The Jitsie team have been so supportive of Jack especially throughout recent times when he has had his wrist injury. I would like to personally thank them for the excellent support they have given to Jack over the last few years. “

“Next year Jack will ride for the Italian Top Trial Team. They work in a very professional way and I am confident it will be a good move for him. Jack has had a lot to deal with in recent times and I recognise it has been a hard fight for him. He has showed his strength of character often riding with a lot of pain, although never giving up. I think Jack is a very naturally talented rider and now with his wrist being much better, plus with his new team, I look forward to a successful 2013″

Tuesday November 27th 2012

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

My morning ritual goes like this - switch on the Computers, put the kettle on, check my blood count, then settle down to looking at the emails that have come in overnight - delete all the spam, - click on to the various web-sites for the latest news. - then try to come up with something to post that my readers will find interesting. - I guess that the fact that we get up to 80,000 hits on our site at peek periods, proves that a lot of folk like what we do, and that many use this as a “One Stop” place to get the latest on subjects such as Moto GP, Formula One, Enduro and Trials.


So moving right along, ( I also check the weather channel first thing) - I see that it’s cooler in the Valley at -5 this morning, but a nice sunny day is forecast, before we get some snow tomorrow - then warmer again for the weekend.

Yesterday was quite busy, with a drum of oil to ship off to Golden, and a load of junk to take to the landfill, before Chris Castles stopped by to pick up one of the nice Wulf Jackets, and a Toolbelt. - Chris has a million stories ( Like all us old guys) so we usually get quite a charge out of swapping yarns.


There has been some discussion by the WTC Reps from across the Country, regarding the 2013 Trials Championship, with various ideas being considered, and a final tally of the results from 2012. - As expected, there were a number of ties, because of the events being so far apart, but congratulations to all the riders who participated. - It was a difficult year out West, because of the weather causing a delay of the Victoria event, and the subsequent low turn out of riders, - all beyond the control of the organizers. For more info: on the WTC click on to the website via Trials Canada.

The 2012 WTC Canadian Champ. is Will Duggan of Vancouver Island, with a tie for 2nd, between Jon English and Dan Johnson, both from Ontario, Thomas Cordner finished 4th and Devon Dargis 5th

In the Expert Class, it was Stan Bakgaard and Felix Belanger tying for the number one plate with Andrew Watson 3rd.

Advanced class was another tie between Jacek Jablonski and Trevor Howarth. with Travis Howarth 3rd.

Senior Advanced showed - Dave Nunn 1st with Don Venn 2nd and Phil Plasterer 3rd

Senior Inter has Kevin Couves 1st followed by Bob Clark and Brett Clark

Intermediate - another tie between Vincent Potvin and Ross Rathbone with Mark ONeill in 3rd

Junior Alexis Horik is #1 with Yves Doyon 2nd and Chris Storrar 3rd.

Full results will be posted on the WTC Web site shortly.

Monday November 26th 2012

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Sunday morning dawned with thick fog in Vernon above Swan Lake, but by the time I got up by Butcher boys store - I was in bright sunshine - this was looking good, and it turned out to be an incredible day riding the ridges above Kelowna.

Kevin and Jeff were already there when I arrived - and Kevvy couldn’t wait to try out the 2013 Beta Evo 300 - his smiles when he got back to my van said it all !!! - Yesterday, I elected to shoot video of the lads so that they could study their form, and to say that we had a blast would be an understatement. - this was truly a day to remember - November 25th, with weather more like September, and what better place to be than in the OK Valley.


Later back at home - I lucked out by being able to watch the Formula One race from Brazil - and if there was one race in the series to see - this was it. - fantastic wheel to wheel action, with the Championship in doubt right up to the final lap. - In the end it was Jenson Button who won the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Filipe Massa, but by finishing 5th - Sebastian Vettel clinched the drivers title for an amazing third year in a row. - What a race, what a year.


I see that James Dabill, will be taking delivery of one of the very trick new Beta 300 2T Enduro bikes this week - yet another Trials Superstar to try his hand at a few race events. - Alexz Wigg recently took part in a muddy enduro on a Gasser, and of course Graham Jarvis took the World by storm when he switched to Extreme style Enduros.


More news as it happens >>>>>> - Check out this link to see a good video of a vintage trial in Ireland - I don’t know why they see the need to add music - but I guess that’s the way they do things these days.  You can also click on to Trials Central to access the link.

Sunday November 25th 2012

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Hats off this morning, go to young Matt Reading of Vernon, who phoned me yesterday afternoon, to say that he had been down to our Kelowna riding area, and chain sawed out the trees that had been blocking the Forest trail all summer. - Great to see this kind of action without being asked. Thanks Matt.

I had a visit from Chris Castles yesterday , - hadn’t seen him for about a year, so we had lots of news to share - Chris likes to ride the Vintage MX stuff, but also has an old TL 125 with a big bore kit in it, so maybe he will come out to our Vintage Trials, next season.


Steve Fracy emailed from the Ferry, with a pic of a couple of new 2013 Beta Evo 300’s on the trailer, on route back to the Island, young Matt will getting one of these and another local rider gets the other. - I think the first shipment is now pretty much sold out.


Today we are meeting up with Kevin, who wants to check out the new Beta - then I guess I will watch the Grey Cup, although to be honest, I don’t have much interest in it. - I will miss the FI race early this morning, but maybe it will on later - It’s an all McLaren front row of the grid at the final race in Brazil - Sebastian Vettel, needs to finish 4th or better, in order to take the Championship.


Saturday November 24th 2012

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

I see from my office window this morning that there is a light dusting of snow on the hills across the other side of Okanagan Lake, but fortunately it’s pretty high up..


There is a link  below, of a great video, showing the 2013 Sherco bikes being built  - check it out, they have certainly come a long way since they started production of the “Bultaco” model back in 1998.


Last night was another time to watch old VHS tapes, as once again, there was nothing on TV that appealed to me - I enjoyed the footage I shot at the 1995 Outlaw Trial, which we held at Bear Creek. - The weather was gorgeous and we had a great turn out, for both the Vintage and Modern. - As I recall Steve Fracy and myself shared one of the heavy Honda TL 250’s that I owned at the time, with Steve taking the win, and myself finishing 2nd ( With about three times as many points) - my wife and I had been to the UK the previous month, and I had bought the video camera to take all the action at the World Round at Hawkstone Park. - Although a far cry from the very latest small digital units, this camera captured all the action at numerous events, as I changed from being a competitor to recording things at a local level.


If you are a Football fan, - naturally you will be glued to the Telly watching the Grey Cup tomorrow, but I’m just hoping to see some of the F1 racing from Brazil, as Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso  battle it out for the drivers championship.


Here’s another link showing where you can buy the 2012 World Trials videos - sorry you have to type it in - or just click on Heath’s site at