THINKING SECTIONS

THINKING SECTIONS

THINKING SECTIONS

Recently there has been an article on our trials bible of Trials Central discussing section severity and
the question of “How do I get it right?”. Even for a seasoned Trialsmaster or Clerk of the Course this is
always a dilemma and it is often difficult to get the desired results with the unpredictability of weather.
For the most part as USA events take place in the summer months this is not normally a player but
early and late season events can get some rain which may alter a section drastically. Then of course
there is the terrain, as they always used to say “be early on the mud or frost and late on the rocks”.

AZ Cycle Park

I’ll be the Trialsmaster for the Arizona 2 day Ahrma event in January which I see is only 3 weeks away!
My how time flies. Very often Ahrma events can be clean card affairs for the top riders which is then
really more a total individual mind game rather than a true trials test, needless to say most of us don’t
like it when it is that easy as a silly dab can be the difference between winning and losing. If there are
no serious challenges or places where you can recover, your day is done.  My plan is to devise
sections that I can get somewhere around the 15-20 marks lost from each individual class winner,
and I like a good selection of sections with plenty of variety and somewhere around 10-12 a day with
3 loops.

Some of my early planning for the 2008 event

Within the Ahrma set up we have to find four competition lines of 1, 2, 3 and PI and then add the 4 line
which is beginners only. For both days I’m going to have at least 2 sections a day which are single line
only and allow our beginners to get a taste of the real thing.

The 2008 Graded Hill which could be a single line section for all

Last year’s Day 2 Graded Hill, I wonder what the rains have done ?

Considerations have to be made for not only the ability level of the entrants but also the machine type
that they are riding. With about a 30 year span in machines sometimes it is necessary to have a
different line for the big heavies as even the Experts can’t persuade a 300 pounder with 5″ ground
clearance over an 18″ fallen log……. although they can try!  As I started riding machines of this era back
in 1963 I think I have a reasonable idea of what is possible and safe and what constitutes a dangerous combination for both rider and steed.

A Cub or TY250 can zip over it but pushing it with a 1960’s 500

Arizona is basically sand and desert and our venue is co-located with the MX gang who are racing
while the trials are in progress. The mainstay of the MX course is in a disused sand quarry so we
have some steepish banks, some ditches and a few piles of rock and debris on the arena floor. Out in
the boondocks surrounding the track we have some deep sand washes, some left over rock piles
from work on “washes” a few more banks with fallen trees and a lot of terrain so far unexplored. As
I’ve been running this event for the last 3 years I’m fairly confident we can find some “New” fun stuff
and to that end I’ll be there for the full week. A full day traveling to get there and then Tuesday as a
scouting day to find the new stuff.

New in 2009, “Palo Verde” still with a lot of unused potential

New last year “Rockery” a combination of rolling rocks and wash sand

Assuming the faithful band of willing helpers are there then setting this trial is usually a breeze as
everybody gets along and arguments are few and far between and we don’t have to consider 20
different viewpoints before making a decision. Hopefully the “gang” of the Peacocks and Campbells
will be there to pour sense on something that might be too ambitious and we should complete layout
by o’beer thirty on Thursday with just the Start & Ends cards for Friday along with some excellent loop marking.

Any thoughts on new sections went out the window last year when I became imprisoned in the yard
and couldn’t free myself from the Colorado winter. Still it was fun dropping huge lumps of snow off the
coach like depth charges and watching them shatter in the road in the mirrors. There was over 3′ on
the roof and even after 450 miles driving south some of it was still there on arrival.

Sand is a funny commodity to work with, sometimes it will pack down and be like a driveway and on
wet days what was difficult in the dry has become a “main road”. The deep wash sands which are egg
timer consistency need quite a few turns in them for the upper classes and can be kept straight and
true for beginners and the 3 line with just the slightest of turns causing problems for poor technique…..
and then who knows what the winter rains have done?  Sometimes at a venue like this after a recent
storm, such as the one we have just had, rivulets will have formed on those banks in the big pit and
cut some interesting channels which can lend themselves to new sections, a couple of which might
be this year’s graded hills.

2009 section “The Wash”, looks easy enough but it took marks from
everyone

Just like riding mud, I only lost 1 on this section in 2009

New for 2010 “The Sea of Sand” took marks off the entire entry

Also new in 2009, “The Asphalt Jungle” turned out to be a good section

As always we NEED checkers, so wives, girlfriends and everybody please lend a hand. I have had a volunteer already, thank you, and Santa, who will be off duty, should be there in a deputy Trialsmaster capacity, the more elves the better!

Santa hacks through some offending brush

Too many “split cards” on Firs, …… just can’t get the help these days !

That’s better Santa, nice clear lines and good marking on “Steps”

Santa closes off the “Fred Martinson” cheater lines on “Xmas Tree” with
some leftover presents

Santa attaches the red ribbon which gives us an S turn from the tree
going behind the snowman and the fence on “Frosty”. However, I feel
this section might change and become a mud pit if it warms up

To that end I saw Santa this morning after he had finished on the roof and he says he will brief the
checkers or observers but I rather fancy he is promoting his new line of trials goodies from the 2011 catalogue. He has these two giant hands with pull out handles which are both FIM and WTC approved
and the fingers can be bent to give the score for all to see. He tells me the fingers can be decorated
as well or you can get National gloves for the whole hand so we may see these being used on the WTC circuit this year.

A great stocking filler “Checker’s Hands” from the 2011 catalogue

Finger decorations as well

National gloves from the 2011 Santa catalogue

Santa briefs the checkers on the “5” signal

The serious “2”

The so close, sorry my boy, a dab,  “1”

The delight of the clean “0”

I’m still planning on a Beginners/Novice Trials School, all day Friday with a $30 charge. If you are
interested contact me via the “blog” or Ed Peacock………less than three riders and I will not run it so
do not delay, sign up soon if you want to learn how to ride in sand !

TONY DOWN

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Comments
  • 1/4/2011 8:10 AM Robert Cline wrote:
    I went to ACP for ama hare scramble race this past weekend and noticed a lot of new area that could be used for trials. Should be fun and I will see you there.
    Reply to this
  • 1/4/2011 10:13 AM Ralph Foster wrote:
    Tony. My opinion is more difficult is better than too easy. You should have the opportunity to make up for a mistake or a fouled plug a missed split.A 20 point plus trials might allow you to catch back up where a 5 point trials you have no chance. I have never seen an AHRMA trials that was too difficult or dangerous.Harder the better. Its called trials not cleans.
    As usual you have your finger on the pulse of trials.I always enjoy your articles. Thanks Ralph
    Reply to this
  • 1/5/2011 5:26 PM ITS Mr Bill wrote:
    Hi Tony, ITS Mr Bill, I now live in Howard, CO, just 2.5 miles from Turkey Rock,love it here.
    I always tried to set the sections so first place for each class was around 20 points. Have you got your motorhome stuck in the mud lately. My phone # number is (719)942-3372 if you need help. Mr Bill
    Reply to this
  • 1/6/2011 3:54 PM Donnie Schmutzler wrote:
    I was always told that the score for the winner should average out to 1 point to a section. In the early years of AHRMA there was always a power struggle between the people that wanted to broaden the appeal by having “Easy” trials and those that didn’t want to have a “win by age” event. I really don’t think that I ever laid out a trial that someone didn’t complain about it being too easy or too hard. So I stopped laying them out. Now 10 years later there aren’t any around the Midwest to ride at all. I guess that everybody got their way.
    Reply to this

    1. 1/6/2011 8:20 PM Ralph Foster wrote:
      Hey Donnie. Too easy or too hard I have never been to a bad trials. Some people just like to complain I guess.Im sure midwesterners would love to have you come out of retirement and put on some trials. Ralph
      Reply to this
  • 1/8/2011 4:22 PM Dennis Jones wrote:
    When I was coordinator for AMRMA’s midwest vintage trials series (MVT) from 2000 – 2002 We put a lot effort into making every section safe and challenging without any freebies.I felt in order to grow the sport it was even more important to have a really good beginner (4) line. Just having them ride into and out of a section was not enough. The rookies want to ride their bikes just as much as the experts so great care was taken to make sure the got to use their fair share of ground.

    Those years turned out to be the heyday for MVT as we were drawing 50+ riders for a regional event. All the classes were well represented with the 4 line always having 5 or more riders.

    Unfortunately that is not the case today. A beginner can barley ride the loop and are only given a few actual section to ride.
    Reply to this

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