Monday January 13th 2020

So lets start the week off by talking about what the sport of Trials really is  - and how it has changed over the years.

It all began back at the turn of the Century, when British Motorcycle Manufacturers wanted to prove their product in Off road competition - essentially, this was a test of reliability over a long (often 100 miles per day) - which covered old rough roads and tracks.  At various spots on the route, they would have long uphills, taped out, which competitors were given bonus points - if they succeeded in getting up without stopping.

Later ( After World War Two)  this idea progressed, into the type  of event we still see today in many areas, the most famous of these being the Scottish Six Days Trial.  - Of course machines changed, as did the rules, and “footing” or stopping on a Hill, became the way the overall scores of the day were tallied, and the lowest score won. ( The Scottish covers 6 days of 100 miles per day -limited to 285 riders and is oversubscribed every year)

At this event all riders, ride the same sections - no separate classes for ability - in other words, an average club rider, might be walking/riding a section alongside World Champions like multi time Scottish winner Dougie Lampkin . -

Long distance Trials, are all about enjoying the Countryside - meeting people who just want to get out for a bit of fun. - But of course some riders, just like cream, rise to the top. - Champions I think are born, not trained, although being brought along with the right tutor and environment certainly helps.
Over the past few years , the shortage of land and other aspects, produced what might best be called “Parking Lot Trials” with man made obstacles scattered around for riders to show off their skills, the end result of which, became the Arena style - spectator type events, that have produced an entirely different style of riding.

There is no doubt that the young riders of today, are doing incredible things on Trials bikes - Hopping- jumping - flipping - you name it.  -

.And obviously, for the small segment who are able to do these stunts, it’s a lot of fun.  ( I take my hat off to them) - However, ( in my opinion,)  sections that require using these techniques to even succeed in reaching the end cards - should be saved for Championship type Trials.
For many average type riders, the most they ever want to do, is to get out on their Trials bike, and go for a TRAIL ride - the light easy to ride Trials machines, make tough terrain manageable , for even novice riders.  - In fact 60% of Trials bike owners, never enter a competition.

However, the original idea, that started way back then - might still be the best way to encourage more people to try a simple long distance type of event, which is what we promote with our Outlaw Series. - The poster below, shows the UTE CUP in the States, an event that I always wanted to ride, but never did - I’m not sure if this is still held, but it illustrates everything  the sport of Trials riding is really all about.

Note : - We always have a FUN get together at Easter down in Summerland and plan on doing this again in 2020 - quite a few folk come out if the weather is nice - in 2019 we had visitors from Williams Lake and other spots - it’s a great way to start of the season, no pressure, with loops for all abilities and a chance to socialize around the campfire.
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The pic above, is from a Classic Trial in the UK last weekend - all about having fun with a lot of muddy sections to take some points -  While I like to see and promote the Vintage bikes ( this is the fastest growing part of Trials competition in Europe) - I must confess, that as an old guy, I prefer to ride the modern lightweight machines.

The bottom line is - no matter what type of riding your into - Hopping & Bopping - leaping small buildings - or just riding in the woods & smelling the roses. - Trials bikes are neat - and like the great Sammy Miller once said  ” If you can ride a Trials bike well - you can ride anything” - and he should know - he was a World class road racer - multi time Gold medal winner in the ISDT and 11 times British Trials Champion.  - Sammy also designed a lot of great bikes including his lightweight? Ariel GOV 132 - then of course the Bultaco Sherpa T that changed the sport forever, followed by a Factory contract with Honda to develop their TL 250 -     ( He ran a successful factory Honda Team with Rob Sheppard - Nick Jefferies and others - but Honda and Sam really never got along and they fired him - AFTER all his success) - We have all the books with the story.
Your video for today ( No Snowball was not my Grandad!!)
Scottish 6 days trial filmed in 8mm by my grandfather George Snowball.


In weather news -19 here this morning after a raging blizzard yesterday !!!  - It was a good day to watch an old VHS tape I have of the 1997 World Outdoor Championship Series. - This was when riders were using a lot of rear wheel flicks, but otherwise all fairly straight forward riding.  It was interesting to also see Jordi’s minder wearing one of my Outlaw toolbelts ( I made a bunch for Andreu Codina with the Gas Gas logo) plus James Lampkin with one of my Outlaw Backpacks - we also supplied Dougie at that time.

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