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
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
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 !
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