What is moto-trials?
Formerly known as 'trials' or 'observed trials', moto-trials is the sport of riding a motorcycle through a marked course called a 'section', with the aim of completing the section without putting your foot down or incurring any penalty points.
Sections might include rocky creeks, rock boulders, fallen logs, banks, hills or tree roots - in fact, anything that's a challenge to rider and machine!
Moto-trials isn't about racing against other riders to be first across the line, but about testing the skill of the rider against the terrain, and attempting to beat your fellow competitors by incurring less penalty points on the way.
Balance, machine control and an ability to read the terrain are the key skills involved in moto-trials, skills which quickly improve with practice. And these skills will also benefit any other motorcycling you do - there's a good reason why many top international riders across the full spectrum of two-wheeled motorsport use moto-trials to hone their bike control skills.
A moto-trial competition can take place anywhere the terrain is challenging, such as rough farm land or a quarry, with four laps of ten short sections making up a typical day. Penalty points are incurred for touching a foot on the ground, falling off, riding outside the section boundry, etc. The winner is the rider in each grade with the lowest points tally at the end of the competition.
But although moto-trials is a competition, it's also a personal challenge, and can be ridden at whatever level you're comfortable with, progressing up the grades at your own pace. There's always the opportunity to learn from more experienced riders, and to challenge yourself against other riders at the same level.
A sport for all
Grades/classes are run to cater for all skill levels from beginners to expert level with males and females, young and old competing equally alongside each other. It's not uncommon to see three generations from one family competing together.
Starting young is a definite advantage, and it doesn't take long for the kids to show the oldies how it's done. Moto-trials is a great family sport, and there are always new or used trials bikes looking for a new owner. And if the budget won't allow, one bike can even be shared by two riders (if one doesn't mind walking between the sections).
The bikes are 'trials' motorcycles built specifically for the sport of moto-trials, allowing skilled riders to perform seemingly impossible tasks, although a trail/farm/enduro bike could be riden in lower grade sections. With brands like Beta, Gas Gas, Montesa/Honda, Ossa, Scorpa and Sherco, the bikes are purpose built in factories in Spain, Italy and France.
Europe is where the sport of moto-trials is strongest. Most are 125cc to 300cc two strokes, with some manufacturers also producing four strokes. The latest model bike might be an advantage, but there are still many riders having fun on bikes dating back to the 70s. There’s now even an electric trials bike from Gas Gas.
There are several motorcycle clubs around New Zealand that run moto-trials. These clubs usually run monthly trials, and there is also a North Island and South Island Championship series held each year, culminating in the New Zealand Moto-Trials Championship over three days each Labour weekend.
If you're keen to know more or become involved in the sport of moto-trials, check out the Motorcycling New Zealand website. www.mnz.co.nz
To find out when the next MOMCC moto-trial is on, click on the calendar link, or for more information, contact Kevin Pinfold (06 326 8666 / email@example.com).