With the trial that I was planning to ride in cancelled at 9.45am by text message from Katy Sunter, which at least saved me a further ten miles travelling (thanks Katy and what a terrible decision to have to make at such late notice), the alternative was to spend the day chewing the cud with my regular trials companion at his abode.
Whilst we put the world of trials to right, he mentioned the Toni Bou video that is referred to on this site under the general trials talk forum. I hadn’t seen the videos but when I clicked on the link earlier this evening, like many others I’m sure, I watched in absolute amazement.
It’s no secret that in Bou, the sport has a rider of an ability far removed from those of us that ride regular trials, an ability that is also well ahead of his closest challengers. If you haven’t seen the video which appears to have been shot at the back of the Montesa factory, take a look and you’ll probably agree with one of the postings that suggests Bou will be World Champion for many years into the future.
All the furore about Dynamic Trials that was heralded in this column some weeks ago appears to have died a natural death. At one stage, I’m assured that no-stop at world level was close to being a dead cert, but it has been quietly dropped. But looking at the Bou video, the question I ask is “does it matter”? For to my untutored eye, it seems to me that Bou, and those that ride world trials could ride equally well no-stop as they can with stop allowed.
What I think is more important is making a decision here, in the UK and indeed in all trials riding countries where the level of the sport is way below that of world trials. I sense that full no-stop nationally will come sooner or later, even though the ACU are likely to continue to have both TSR 22A and 22B in the handbook.
If this does happen, then the sport will have travelled full circle over the past two and a bit decades. I can’t actually remember when stopping was allowed (with the penalty of one mark) because at the time it came about I was deeply involved in the enduro scene and took less notice of what was happening in the trials world. Perhaps somebody who has a better memory than mine can enlighten us all. These things seem to creep up on us and at the time, their importance seems to be of less significance than 1t does now.
I do know that the bulk of the trials in which I take part are now no-stop but there are still some where stopping is allowed but I think that soon these will go towards no-stop, if only to make life that bit easier for the clerks of the course. Marking out a clubman course for no-stop in a trial of just about any level (national, club, evening) is reasonably easy, but still the hard course presents problems, but I believe easier if aimed at no-stop riding.
Getting back to Toni Bou and his ability, he’ll be at Sheffield once again in January for the 16th Sheffield Indoor trial, and as this event is not being televised this year as it is not part of the World Indoor Championship, this is a one of only two chances this year that you’ll get to see Bou, Raga, Fujinami, Lampkin and the regular indoor guys performing in the UK. Time to get those tickets booked if you’ve not already done so, particularly following the recent announcement that the totally amazing Danny McAskill will be providing the half-time entertainment!