Meeting Aspirations

Well, last week’s column has certainly caused a huge response with loads of postings about the British Championship scene.

I’m not afraid to admit I’m wrong, so perhaps now is the time to say that my views about changing the format of the British Championship have been misguided – at least to a point.

John Collins wrote most clearly, saying that there is simply no way the BC can revert to the old ways of single lap, 40 section, 30 mile road based trials. I recognise that, and did so before I wrote last week’s column. Re-reading my column, I concede that my views have been poorly put into words.

The point I was trying to make, was how can we get enough riders onto the main British Championship route without going into traditional road based trials (like the Lakes), because as I see it, there is no point any club planning a trial for seven riders, and of those seven having perhaps no more than four or five who can make viable efforts on the sections.

But perhaps I’m totally wrong and the clubs that do organise BC rounds are more than happy to plan sections for such a small number of riders; after all, there is a reasonable number of riders riding the Expert route, so maybe the main effort is being put into those sections with the Championship route planned as a semi-afterthought!

At least as a columnist, last week’s Lakes and Rakes theme seems to have stirred up a hornets nest, and to some extent that’s my job, to be controversial and to encourage you all to make comments. It’s great to see loads of replies and I read through them all avidly.

One of the major snags of forums on websites is that the use of forum names rather than proper names means I haven’t a clue who is writing about what. That’s a bit unfair as I put my name to my column whilst the rest of you remain anonymous!. But I knew that before I started so can’t complain.

Now, if you want me to be controversial, how about this.

It has been put to me that trials riding at the very top level is so far off what the bulk of trials riders can do that they are not interested in what is happening. As it was described to me it was seen as aspirational.

Let me make an example, as it was made to me. If you play golf, you can do exactly what the top golfers do. You can play the same courses as a general rule, and as a golfer you can understand exactly what is needed to be as good as them. That you can’t achieve those heights doesn’t alter the fact that the game you play, is exactly the same.

How about road racing? What Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner do is quite clear and if you go road racing there’s nothing mysterious about what they do, it’s just that they can do it faster without crashing – even if everybody was on the same bike.

Let’s move onto motocross. It’s the same. You can ride your motocross bike round the exact same track as the World Champions do; you can even do the doubles and whoops, but whilst you understand how to do it what is preventing you from emulating them is your speed and fitness.

It’s the same with enduros. For 13 years I rode the exact same course as the Geraint Jones, Paul Edmondsons of the enduro scene, and what stopped me from beating them was my speed and fitness. I could ride the course, and I understood how to be as good as them, but as I said, whilst I had the aspirations, I didn’t have the talent.

Now let’s move onto trials. Like many, I have the aspiration to do the same, but I have absolutely no idea how Dougie, Graham, Pune and Dibs do what they do. I don’t understand how they get the drive, how they achieve the balance, how they can move in mid air to rescue the disaster that looms.

I have the aspiration, as does everybody, but there’s no way the likes of riders at my level can see how it’s done.

That’s what has happened to trials. It has moved on from how it was originally envisaged, into a circus act. You may not like this view, but it is true. However, the person with whom I had this discussion will forever remain anonymous.

Yesterday was Scott Trial day and it was as fantastic as ever, but rather than rush into writing about it, I think I will save it all for next week.