No stop trials world style

No stop trials world style

So, you think that the current 2022 World Trials Championship series runs to the no-stop rules. Well, think again, for whilst that may well be the case according to the rule book, in practice it’s anything but.

It probably comes as no surprise to anybody who follows the sport of trials at the top level, but having been to both the Belgian and French world rounds recently (writes Mike Rapley), I was surprised at how blatantly riders were able to get away with prolonged stopping, moving backwards and generally making little attempt to maintain forward motion.

That is certainly the case at the lower levels of the entry. At the very top level, Bou,(the lead picture) Raga, Fajardo, Busto etc, it’s fair to say that they do make an effort to limit the length of their stops, with Bou in particular about the only rider who is able to truly maintain forward motion – well almost!

So, what is the answer, indeed is there an answer?

The problem is that the level of section severity is very difficult with the steps and jumbles of rocks so difficult and frequently of a significant length that only by stopping at crucial times to realign themselves can riders get through (or up) the hazards.

And of course, observers have no incentives to penalise the riders to the rules, for in most cases they are simply local enthusiasts, indeed some are not even regular observers but are hired hands.

Toby Martin on the last section of the trial

And who wants to be the observer who quickly gets a reputation at the event for being a toughie?

Well one lady did in France on an early section. But the problem was that she was totally inconsistent, allowing lots of momentary stops but then what seemed to be unfair penalising of others for similar misdemeanours. Regrettably she was roundly booed by the French spectators for both right and wrong decisions depending upon what the spectators thought should have happened.

It’s possible to write about this for many more paragraphs, but we move on as it’s undoubtedly a situation that has long been a subject of discussion and has never been resolved.

In both Belgium and France there were 10 British riders. In no particular order they were Toby Martin in Trial GP, Billie Green, Dan Peace, Jack Peace, Jack Dance, Harry Turner in Trial 2 and George Hemingway, Harry Hemingway, Jamie Galloway and Alfie Lampkin in Trial 3, and all credit to them for challenging themselves at the very pinnacle of their sport.

All ten obviously were doing their best but two in particular stood out, Billie Green and Harry Hemingway.

Adam Raga – most of the sections in France were manufactured – all bar one in fact.

Billie Green came oh so close to winning Trial 2 in Belgium, eventually finishing second after the most unfortunate of five mark penalties. It happened on the  second lap on section seven, a hazard that he had cleaned with ease on lap one, and what was probably the easiest section of the event. Billie was about to drop off a step that you and all your mates would have been happy to drop down when the Scorpa stalled just as he was about to drop off. Billie tried to kick it over, the bike continued down the step as he lost his balance and he simply walked off over the handlebars. It’s something we have all done, but that five was the difference between first and second place. Few of the spectators there (many hundreds) would have realised the implication, but the small gathering of Brits knew exactly what it meant.

And then of course there’s Harry Hemingway, 2022 Trial 3 World Champion, a young man totally and utterly head and shoulders above the rest of the Trial 3 category. Throughout both trials it was very obvious that nobody was going to threaten his supremacy of the class, and even with one round (in Italy) still to be held he can’t be beaten. In both trials he finished with scores of less than half his nearest rival, in one event his brother George and in the other, David Fabian

After five rounds, the 16 year-old Harry has three wins and two seconds to his name and if ever there was a British rider destined to go all the way, Harry would seem to have the best chance – unless brother George sees otherwise!.

On a personal note I haven’t been able to attend many world rounds and rarely have been able to see two over consecutive weekends, and should you consider doing that another year, it really does make for a good trip.

Back in 1975 I attended the very first World Trials Championship round at Bristol and to have also been at the most recent round in France gave me some satisfaction which leads me to wonder if anybody else is able to make the claim?