Saturday November 24th 2018

Following up on the theme generated regarding  modern trials versus Classic >>>>
Yrjö Vesterinen Earlier I made a comment stating that within trials we have two different sports. In order to understand what has happened and why, we need to go back in time. In April 1974 there was the first indoor trial that I know of in Gothenburg in Sweden. It was organised in order to showcase trials to the wider public. It was a success as a commercial entity, but I doubt many new riders entered trials because of it. The feel good factor was there though. Outdoor trials continued to prosper as before and entries were at record levels . New markets in far away countries were opened as well. The Japanese factories had also entered the game.
Little changed until Bernard Schreiber started to make his mark in the World Championship culminating in his 79 Title. He had brought us some new trick riding techniques. In the meantime there were already more and more indoor trials being organised. These events at times also paid at least some of the riders to attend as well as paying prize money, which was very welcome.
In hindsight it was easy to see that trials had started to change also in the outdoor events. Most events now had one or two indoor style man made obstacles and bigger and bigger steps were also brought in for a good measure. Us riders were turned into entertainers. Nobody had asked us riders if we liked the idea! Some did some didn’t. The main change though was that trials was turned from a sport purely originally designed as a participant sport into some sort of entertainment to please crowds that were not paying a penny towards staging the show.
In the early eighties I was elected to represent the riders world wide in the FIM. I had no voting rights, but I was allowed to speak in the meetings and voice my opinions. Towards the end of my tenure I could see some dark clouds on the horizon. In my last speech at the FIM I voiced my concerns about the future of trials. My concern was the ever more increasing enthusiasm of the World Championship Organisers to please crowds. With all my respect to speedway riders in the world I used speedway as an example what might happen if we follow down the path that many of the organisers were now taking.
The number of speedway riders world wide then as well as now is relatively small. Most of the riders are professionals and make their living out the sport. There are no proper factories building bikes as the rider numbers are too small to warrant building bikes in numbers. Most importantly speedway followers have never ridden a speedway bike and never will.
Round about this time I got married, started a family as well as started a business. My trials riding career as a professional rider was over. It is important to state that my main livelihood had come from Bultaco as well as from a number of outside sponsors. Bultaco were selling that many bikes that they could pay their riders, including me, to earn a living.
From that point on I kept a keen interest in trials and observed what was happening within my beloved sport.
Very rapid development with bikes tyres and suspension followed. The new breed of riders came up with new amazing riding techniques. Every one was in awe. Organisers came up with even more amazing obstacles to challenge the riders. Some organisers started collecting money from the spectators. The riders were given none. They were entertaining the crowds at their own cost. My worst fears were becoming true. Today a small number of “gladiators ” entertain crowds and the factories can’t even support all of them. Apart from two or three riders nobody makes a decent living anymore. Dream job for all the new comers? Organisers paying the riders? I think I would far rather consider a career as a speedway rider if I was young again!
Trials have been changed beyond recognition and what now looks like a fairly irreversible situation.
Now back to the point of having two different sports within trials. Classic trials offer me and countless others a sport that we can enjoy. We don’t mind spectators, but neither are we there for them. We are not asking a penny. Our classic side of trials sport does not need changing or altering in any way, as far as I am concerned anyway. On the contrary it needs preserving and we are proud of our history and heritage.
As for modern trials I can see more challenges ahead. Somehow I do not see the speedway business model working too well! Good luck and needless to say, but I do have great respect and admiration for all the modern riders and their incredible riding skills.
In order to stop any further confusion I would like to see the current Trials World Championship change it is name and add the word Extreme to it. As for the Classic Trials the original name Trials will do fine!
Here is a great old pic of Mike Hailwood when he was riding the NSU Sportmax - he is pictured with Frank Cope, who was later killed road racing.  - The Cope Family had a large Motorcycle store in the Midlands. - I bought my first motorcycle from them & they shipped it up by train.
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and motorcycle
Another morning when I expected to see snow outside, but glad to say that everything is nice and clear - maybe even a ride tomorrow?
Yesterday was quite a busy day - unloaded a skid of Opti - then did a trip to the Landfill with a bunch of pallets and other junk - had a chat with Andrew while I was there.
And for the folk who think snow bikes are a recent invention >>>>
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