Foot-Up Trials

Somehow going slowly have never really posed any challenge to most involved in motorsport, unless you are involved in motorcycle trial riding. A very misleading statement when presented with the term trial riding as the part they do not tell you is that their concept of what an actual trial represents borders on being impossible to ride.

Classified in categories based on rider experience even the most novice rider face a rather painful landing should anything go wrong – read should the rider come tumbling down from whatever it was they were trying to cross at impossible angles.

Whatever science sets as limits they are willing to challenge and for some strange reason they complain about the fact that they only have four opportunities to complete each of the eight routes presented to them with different coloured flags.

On Sunday 20 May 2018 the Elgin Grabouw Country Club hosted the Nomads Trials. Well, the riders did park their tow vehicles in the parking area before disappearing into the Theewaterskloof Dam (what was left of it after the drought) to complete eight individual routes as part of their championship. As a newcomer on the scene it was with some relief that the riders could be spotted imitating the Cape Rock Rabbits as they seemed to be busy amongst the rocks on the side of the dam. In fact, once close enough one could identify white, yellow, blue and red tags strategically placed amongst the rocks with a clipboard near the vaguely identified finish.

Simple enough the goal was to start at point A and depending on your expertise choose a route varying from white to red and then complete it without once putting your feet down. Arriving at the clipboard you then score your performance on a perfect 0 or maximum 5 point (completed but failed). You then had the choice of either completing each of the eight routes before attempting round two to four or you could complete them four at a time.

No problem as the motorcycles hold 2 liters of fuel which represents about three hours opportunity to fall yourself into three wards at walking pace! If you thought this was easy, try again. The concentration, balance and sheer guts required to tackle the obstacles presented by an (in)sane Clerk of the Course with a warped sense of humour cannot be appreciated on any photograph or video – you simply have to be present and experience what these riders are capable of.

On the day it was Cape Town based Michael Krause who won the Masters category with a score of 34 points aboard his Beta 300 Evo. Riding up vertical rock faces would seem to be normal when you are classified as a Master? Brian Barson (Hout Bay) won the Expert category with an impressive score of just 20 aboard his GasGas 300 whilst the Intermediate class was claimed by Somerset West resident Mark Shearer aboard his Sherco 300. Mike Sydenham (Cape Town) won the Clubman category aboard his Beta 250.

If next you are seeking something different with a definite sting in the tail take the time to attend a round of these trial riders. Though they are extremely focused when riding the obvious camaraderie and support they share is admirable.

Foot-Up Trails