What About Us Spectators?

There’s a fair bit to write about this week (makes a change!) so here goes.

I see that the latest FIM rule change for next year’s SPEA World Trials Championship is that riders will be forbidden to inspect sections once the trial has started. I’m led to believe that this is what happens in Spain (so it must be right!!), but as far as I can see, this has to be a huge disadvantage to the cash paying spectators.

Section inspection must be carried out the previous day (or the same morning I suppose), then once the trial has commenced, all riders are to arrive at the sections, line up and immediately ride them with no further inspection.

Look folks, this is plain WRONG. Never mind the riders, what about us spectators. One of the pleasures of watching World Championship trials is to see your hero, in the flesh, walking, talking, inspecting, adjusting his dress, having a pee in the bushes out of sight, in fact generally being part of the show. To be lined up at the side of a section and with no action to watch except for each rider coming through is not what folks will have paid for.

And what about the riders? After 30 or so Junior and Youth riders have been through, the section may well have changed considerably for the real stars since they inspected the section the previous day. What may have been a grassy approach to a humungous rock step may well have a 12 inch deep rut in front of it by the time they tackle it, so where is the fairness in that?

That’s my first moan.

Now, I may be wrong here, but somewhere (I can’t find it now!!) I thought I spotted a rule change that says riders must now have bigger headlights on their bikes. If this is so (or did I dream it?) what, pray, is the reasoning behind this. It must be because WC trials are held in the dark, so the riders can have better illumination to see what they are going to crash off, not to mention the cost to the factories who will now have to fork out for a new mould for their plastic injection moulded headlight units. Really clever thinking in these cash strapped times by the powers to be.

Now for some good news. Isn’t that Ossa the absolute dog’s b******s. I don’t know if it will ever make production; I don’t even know whether the different design features are an improvement or a step backwards, and I rather suspect it will cost a fortune and a bit if it gets made, but 110% credit to those who have looked at trials bike manufacture from a different viewpoint.

With nearly 9000 viewings of the bike on this site in under a week, that in itself tells you what interest there is in the launch. Nearly 100 postings have said it all, so I shan’t add to them, except to say that we wait with baited breath for a production machine to see whether it can be as good as it looks.

I don’t suppose anyone cares a monkey what I do on Sundays, but I’m going to tell you anyway! With all the trials that I could have ridden last Sunday cancelled due to flooding, I instead ended up going to Dob Park, Otley where Yorkshire Classic Trials Club had one of their championship rounds. My offer to observe was willingly taken up, ( I don’t have a Pre 65 bike), so I did so and enjoyed watching the 71 strong entry tackle my old fashioned section.

Of course I knew many of the riders, but equally, as it is the first time I have ever been to one of these events, there were many riders I did not know. Like all trials, those taking part seemed to enjoy their event immensely and competition was as fierce as ever. And don’t be fooled into thinking it was an easy trial. Sure, the really good riders like John Maxfield, Tony Calvert, Norman Shepherd, Neil Gaunt and the like didn’t lose so many, but plenty good riders lost some big scores on their highly valuable, pre 65ers.

The Pre 65 classic scene does seem a tightly knit one to me, but at the end of the day, a trial is a trial and it was good to view the sport from a totally different angle this time.

And I received a fiver for doing so!