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What is Trials?

Motorcycle trials, also termed observed trials, is a non-speed event on specialized motorcycles. The sport is most popular in the UK and Spain, though there are participants around the globe.Trial motorcycles are distinctive in that they are extremely lightweight, lack seating (they're designed to be ridden standing up) and have suspension travel that is short, relative to a motocross or enduro motorcycle.The event is split into sections where a competitor rides through an obstacle course while attempting to avoid touching the ground with the feet. The obstacles in the course may be of natural or constructed elements. In all sections, regardless of content, the designated route is carefully contrived to test the skill of the rider. In many local observed trials events, the sections are divided into separate courses to accommodate the different skill level of riders, who compete in skill-rated classes.In every section, the competitor is scored by an observer (hence the sport's name) who counts how many times the competitor touches the ground with the foot (or any other part of the body). Each time a competitor touches the ground with a foot (commonly called "dabs" ), the penalty is one point.The possible scores in each section consist of 0, 1, 2, 3, or 5. If a competitor makes his or her way through the section without touching the ground with a foot, a score of 0 (called "cleaning the section") is earned. If he or she touches the ground only once, the score of 1 is earned. If he or she touches down twice, the score of 2 is earned. If he or she touches the ground three times or more, the score of 3 is earned, as long as the section is completed without stalling the motor, dismounting, going out of bounds or going backward. If the competitor fails to complete the section a score of 5 is earned. The winner is the competitor with the least points at the end of the event. Some events are also timed with penalty points assessed to late riders.

There is a world indoor and outdoor championship, as well as indoor and outdoor national team "world cups" (Trial des Nations). British competitor Dougie Lampkin is notable for winning seven world outdoor titles in the 1990s and 2000s. Previous observed trials greats include Northern Ireland's Sammy Miller (1960s), Finland's Yrjo Vesterinen (1970s), Spain's Jordi Tarres (1980s and '90s).

In addition to the world championship events, there are other major events, such as the Scottish Six-Day Trial (SSDT) and the Scott Trial.Major current manufacturers of trials bikes are Gas Gas, Beta, Sherco, Montesa Honda, and Scorpa. In the past there have been many manufacturers, from countries such as Spain, Japan, Britain and Italy

2007 New Zealand Championship

Wellington's Jake Whitaker, the new National Champion at age 16,  beat the best of the best and the nastiest of stomach bugs too, when he wrapped up his first New Zealand Motorcycle Trials Championship title over Labour Weekend.The 16-year-old superstar-in-the-making finally cracked the big time, when he beat his long-time rival, mentor and friend Warren Laugesen at the three-day National Championship event in Hawke's Bay. He didn't have it all his own way however, and was locked in a see-saw battle with Levin legend and national No.1 Laugesen throughout the long weekend."Day one (on Saturday) was a course along a slippery creek bed," said Whitaker. "It was weird, because I usually struggle in those conditions and I'm usually putting my feet down a lot. But I managed to hold it all together and win the day."Day two was tough for me because it featured a really steep hill and I was only on a Gas Gas 125 and the other riders were on bigger bikes. I couldn't get enough drive to crest the top of the hill." Laugesen won day two and this set the event up for a classic final, winner-takes-all confrontation on the Monday. But Whitaker was sublime on the wind-lashed steep face of Havelock North's Te Mata Peak and edged Laugesen for the title. In addition to beating Laugesen, the seven-time former and defending national champion, Whitaker also had to contend with six-time former national champion Andrew Poad (Tauranga), South Island expert grade champion Jason Baker, Hastings ace Luke March and Taranaki's Wayne Thompson. Whitaker also had to survive a dose of food poisoning to claim the crown. "I ate a chicken burger on Sunday night and that didn't agree with me," said Whitaker. "It took me a while to come right on the third day of competition (Monday). I wasn't good on the first lap but it all came together later on. "It's taken me a long time and a lot of hard work to beat Warren. It hasn't come easily but I finally got there and it's a pretty good feeling." In addition to winning the Expert Class trophy and New Zealand title overall, Whitaker led the North Island team to victory over the South Island in the traditional inter-island clash that dates back to 1922. Magnanimous in defeat, Laugesen said he was proud of what his young protégé had achieved. "He was under a lot of pressure but he responded well. He really deserved it. It will be a great confidence boost for him for heading overseas next year," said Laugesen.The A grade produced another great clash between Nelson's Nick Oliver and Whitby's Rory Mead, with the lead changing from day one to day two and everything hung on the third day.When Oliver's bike had a slight mechanical problem, it looked as though it was all over for him, but he managed to repair it and get the 40 sections completed on time and he secured the title, with Ashhurst veteran Kevin Pinfold taking the third spot.Footnote: Congratulations to all three Pioneer Club members that attended the NZ Nationals over Labour Weekend, I hope that you all enjoyed yourselves and well done. ~ Prez

NZ National Trial Champs Overall

Expert A

1st Jake Whitaker 72
2nd Warren Laugesen 69
3rd Andrew Poad 58
4th Jason Baker 56
5th Luke March 48
6th Wayne Thompson 30


A Grade

1st Nick Oliver 72
2nd Rory Mead 69
3rd Kevin Pinfold 58
4th Carl Robson 54
5th Phil Shilton 45
6th Chris Burch 34
7th Bryden Byers 30



1st Kevin Gundry 65
2nd Peter Boettcher 60
3rd Mathew Kershaw 59
4th Craig Thompson 58
5th Alastair Neville 42
6th James Snowden 41
7th Nick Ball 36
8th Sam Kershaw 36
9th Shane Brons 34
10th John Lawton 31
11th Ian Braithwaite 28
12th Rob Howard 27
13th Mark Ferguson 26
14th Peter van Dingenen 26
15th Warrick Merriman 23
16th Brendon Wadsworth 19
17th Kevin Tither 19
18th Colin Downs 15
19th Bob Wade 6
20th Sean Mead 4
21st Nick Hamilton 3
22nd Alister King 2


1st Robert McEwen 68
2nd Darren Stockman 66
3rd Rick Mead 63
4th Gavin Fox 51
5th Colin Godsell 49
6th Guyan Bennett 47
7th Steve Armistead 46
8th Clive Harmen 36
9th Murray Black 33
10th Peter Ladyman 31
11th Francis Sydenham 30
12th James Killalea 28
13th Pete Hayes 23
14th Clarke Curtis 14



1st Jim Pattie 75
2nd Rob Turney 62
3rd Blake Fox 57
4th John Hayes 52
5th Robert Williamson 52
6th Callum Anderson 47
7th Stefan van Workum 45



1st Paul McLeod 68
2nd Gary Samson 62
3rd Ross Bristol 56
4th Nigel Shilton 53
5th Steve Wade 53
6th Jon Turney 48
7th Jim Henderson 46
8th Jamie Mead 40
9th Peter Orsborne 39
10th Stephen Neville 22
1st Todd Alexander 72
2nd Mie Gundry 69
3rd Josh Jeffery 60