TO BE A TRIALSMASTER
TO BE A TRIALSMASTER
Maybe not everybody’s No1 desire, but as they say someones got to do it. For those who fancy a “go”
at it here is a rough “idiot’s guide” as to what takes place, before, during and after the event.
First things first, pick a date trying not to clash with other established events. Once you, or the
organising body have the date fixed the next question will be venue. Here you need to know what piece
of land you are hoping to use and what permissions and permits you will need. If you are working with
a private landowner this will often be easier with a simple yeah or nay. If you are working with
government agencies (BLM, USFS) then think anything up to 6 months in advance to get the
paperwork in and get the ball rolling……. and in all cases keep a copy of what you sent in and when.
I would personally start a file and keep a record of contacts, telephone numbers and any pertinent information that was “word of mouth” when the contacts were made. Another good idea here is to
have a battle plan with a list of “action dates” when various items need to be done by. Here you can
list such items as Insurance, how long to set up and get certificates etc? Awards and trophies? how
long to produce ? Score cards, do you have enough ? Port-a loos ? who to rent from, duration at site
etc? Spreading the word, contact list, emails, Trials Central, and in our case ITSA forums.
A little map like this may help the memory banks when you come to
Next in the sequence will be finding the sections, and best loop. Remember here if you went and did
a site survey in the winter months it is most likely going to look a lot different when you come back in
the summer. So draw a little map with section locations and the planned lines. Depending on terrain,
the loop not only needs to be negotiable by all riders but maybe by others who are not competing,
just spectating or taking pictures.
Thought and imagination required here ! It finally becomes a double
section for all 4 lines and was very popular with all the riders
Section changeover top left, Mike Salsman on the 1 line descent
On the “now” cleared area Jim Wagner in the turn to line up for the uphill
When it comes to laying out sections try and divide the section into a series of acceptable hazards
and likewise a series of recovery areas. NO section needs to be so HARD that it stops the ENTIRE
entry ! You may have to modify the hazards by filling in holes and crankcase busting rocks or stumps
…. or find a different section. Remember, the moment you put a START and an END card up someone
will make a mess of it and in a lot of cases often the easiest section takes marks and I would always remember Town Hall Brae in the Scottish which we always thought of as a bit of a joke but MANY
riders, including some that went on to become World Champions have lost marks there !! Try and
design the section such that one person can SEE the entire thing and accurately record a rider’s
progress from one vantage point.
A great find here at this Ironwwod tree with a long tapering root that
almost shows the 4 lines. It can be used both ways up and down
With the 4 lines identified time to decide if the splits and their sequence are clear and unambiguous?
Then look to see if you have left any “cheater” lines that if discovered will radically alter the section. If
you have any doubts about the rideability of the section either try it yourself or a get a helper to ride it
and then make your decision as to whether the section will get easier or harder with the passage of
riders. Use the maxim of mud gets harder rocks get easier.
You will need to become a landscape gardener so be prepared to lop off any helmet banging
branches, nasty thorny bits of vegetation and any sage type bushes that are within the natural lines as
these have a nasty and unforgiving habit of tangling themselves around boots, footpegs and shifters.
It also helps to have both the start and ends areas reasonably free such that a rider arrives at the
start gate in balance and ready to give it a go. Likewise after the end gate there should be an area
where the rider can safely stop and get his or her card punched.
When using multi subs the transition point between one and another should allow a rider who has
“5’d” a lower sub to be able to start into the next sub without major difficulty.
With sections cleared and traditional ribbon laid, unless natural features define lines, split markers
can be placed but remember other “visitors” to your in use land may destroy everything if you lay out
too early and ribbons can either be eaten or broken. While on the subject of ribbon make sure you
have enough or a good local source and always leave a little extra at each section to cover repairs.
Use natural resources to secure the ribbon and make it visible and preferably low where it won’t catch
on boots, pegs, fork legs etc.
ONE MONTH TO GO
Time to readvertise, emails one last time and TC reminders to attract last minute entries. Check that insurance certs are on their way, split markers, pens, punches, stakes, staplers, hammers, pruners
and saws are all available. Check all your paperwork, score cards, indemnity forms, entry sheets etc
are sufficient for your presumed entry numbers. Final check with landowners and permission from
TWO WEEKS TO GO
Another check on planned sections, any land changes, work in progress etc. At this stage some
“gardening” adjustments to fine tune section boundaries and hazards. Check for helpers or whether
it will be a one man show. Check on awards.
ONE WEEK TO GO
Ribbon time! I like to allow one day per set up for each competition day and one final day for route
marking and staking. Final checks on all paperwork.
Ride the loop making sure animals, children and vandals have not changed all your hard work. Adjust sections according to weather, either actual or forecast. Check start area for trash and debris and
DAY OF COMPETITION
Another ride around loop and sections checking tape, splits and direction marking. Have all the forms,
pens, punches ready at the start table along with a general interest map showing approx layout of
event, loop and sections. As Trialsmaster have your info sheet ready for the rider’s meet with some, or
all of the following;
Welcome and thanks (helpers, landowners etc)
Basic game plan (3 loops of 10 sections etc)
Rules of the day (stop or no stop)
Special notes (hazards, non beginner sections, multi subs, graded hills)
Groups (start points)
Ride or become Travelling Marshall/ Trouble shooter/ Photographer
Run as backmarker with last group of riders if using checkers and close the sections
Check scores, winners, deal with protests etc
Present Awards, thanks to those helpers etc
Tear down crews with any special instructions
Publish results on blogs and forums
Complete any post event forms as required
Letters of thanks
Check land for missed ribbon, left over trash etc.