A Land Without Trials

Trials riding is a sport that you would expect to be held all around the country, especially in hilly countryside areas where there is lots of cracking going for our sport. But that’s not the case, as came up for discussion last week when I, with a group of friends attended the NEC Bike Show and the Welsh Rally GB.

Six of us had spent the night in an Aberystwyth hotel having spent last Thursday at the bike show and before attending the Mynherin stage of the rally. On our way back from Aber to the stage, somebody remarked that the land surrounding the main road from Aber to Llangurig would be great for trials, yet as far as I know, there are simply no trials being held in the area.

The rolling Welsh countryside, deep valleys, rocky streams and miles of open farmland appear to be great for our sport, and indeed it probably is, but as one of our group put it so succinctly, “there’s nobody here to organise the events and nobody to ride them”.

And he was dead right, for no matter how good the terrain, without those two essentials – no trials. Which is why I’ve never ridden a trial further west than Rhayader. I’m not saying they are not held, but they certainly don’t feature highly, if at all, in my memory bank.

Which is a great shame, because if there were trials and organisers, travelling to such a great part of the world would be very worthwhile, for the terrain is simply unbeatable. Which is why the area has for long been good enduro terrain. The Welsh Two Day always went through the area; the Hafren Club used to run the Tarenig in the area; the Mountain Top enduro was based in the area, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to think the Powys edged down that way, if not quite that far.

They were good days when I was enduro riding (I hate the term enduro racing!), but that’s all now in the past, but should a decent trial be planned for the area, I for one would support it.

However, what I certainly won’t support in the future is the World Rally Championship round that has been organised in Wales for the past few years. All six of us were looking forward to seeing the event, as it was a once a year chance to see the likes of Sebastien Loeb, Dani Sordo , Mikko Hirvonnen, the Solbergs and the like charge World Rally Cars through a fast forest stage.

But do you know what, it’s been sanitized to such an extent that it no longer has any thrill at all. I’m not going to knock it because I know there are many thousands of folks for whom it is the bee’s knees, but with the best will in the world, it has simply lost any attraction for me. It’s relatively slow, the cars appear to be down on power and four wheel drive has cut out much in the way of exciting slides.

Anyway, enough of that.

The Bike Show at the NEC was OK, but not if you were hoping to see a trials bike, for as far as I could tell, not one was there. But I didn’t expect to see one as the Dirt Bike Show has only just passed, though to be fair, the manufacturers of enduro and motocross bikes had their machines on show.

There is no doubt that we are in a significant recession, and I can’t see any better than anybody else where we are going as a country, but as far as I’m led to believe, whilst car sales have dropped through the floor, bike sales in general have held up pretty well. There is certainly a huge variety of machinery on offer, and even though we were there on a Thursday, the show was very well attended especially as it was near the end of the show rather than at the beginning.

The media certainly don’t help with all their doom mongering, but as far as I can tell, trialing is by no means on the back foot and those clubs that give the riders what they want are getting respectable entries. The time of year with hard frosts is not helping but such days don’t last for that long and it will soon be fair set for another year of good trials. There are plenty to be taken in, and whilst I know I am spoilt because of the area in which I live, no matter your location, support the decent events.