Once again, the time had arrived for Trials Incorporated’s 3rd annual Night Trial, which has been a favorite of crowd and rider alike for the past several years.
This year, however, the facility at North Benton offered a special opportunity to interested parties the Thursday and Friday prior to the event. Ryan Young hosted a trials training school, allowing one-on-one training with the 6-time national champion himself. The class started trainees with the most basic of movements (turns and balancing) and slowly worked up through more advanced techniques (splatters and jap zaps). Each training day started out at 9am and finished at 5pm, breaking for lunch at 12n hosted by a local food-truck vendor.
It was incredible to see the range of experience in attendance, from novice riders who only had 20 minutes on a trials bike, to advanced and expert riders with years of riding under their belts. The Ryan Young School was very accepting of every skill level, and each of the 15 riders showed a considerable amount of improvement, even within the first couple hours of training.
This was the first Ryan Young School to be hosted during the week and proved to have its pros and cons. While the school itself was a fantastic experience, it was more seat time than many of the guys normally had in such a short amount of time. Some of those who rode the Night Trial afterwards said they were sore and tired from so much riding.
“My hands were so torn up that I crashed out on Sunday because I could no longer hold onto the bars. That part aside, the Ryan Young School is a great experience, and a must for anyone who wants to further their skillset on a trials bike,” said Expert-class rider Eric Olmstead.
Trials Incorporated is thought to have the first night trial event of its kind, and the Wentzels are to blame. Property-owner Bob Wentzel along with Trials Master and 4-time AMA Off-Road Vintage Grand Champion Quinn Wentzel, are responsible for the idea of hosting a trials experience after hours at their property in North Benton, OH. This has become a permanent event in the TI schedule since 2016. Riders started out on their first loop at 8pm Saturday night and were given 3.5 hours to complete 3 loops of 8 sections. As the light slowly faded from the sky, sections were lit by strings of industrial lights powered by a generator. Only the sections themselves were illuminated; the loop, albeit short, remained in darkness, an occasional glow stick hanging on a tree to signal the way to the next section. Riders were encouraged to provide their own trail lights; some used the headlight on their bike, but others got creative with headlamps and chest-mounted lights.
69 riders competed in the evening’s event. Don Buckley, a Sportsman-level rider from the Ohio area, has been riding for barely one whole year. This event proved to play to his strengths, allowing him to secure first place on his GasGas without dropping a single point the entire night! “I’ve had so much success due to Steve Williams, Travis Daniels, and Eric Olmstead,” said Don. “Everyone [involved in trials] is friendly and polite; we all help each other regardless if it’s a bike issue or taking down a canopy.” Tiara Glasby was a close second with 2 points, and Shane Bickmeier came in third place with 4 points. The Advanced class was the largest of the evening with 11 riders, and saw Lewis Bolopue take first place with just 1 single point; Mark Spring Jr took second with 5 points and Brian Herrel rounded out the podium with 19 points.
With the loop of sections being rather short compared to Trials Inc’s other events and devoid of large hill climbs or difficult terrain, many youth riders were able to partake in the event. Riding the Novice class, Mikey Ritterbeck had 20 cleans for the night and took first place with 13 points. His little brother, Lucas, had 17 cleans and took sixth place with 22 points. Always in competition with one another, the Conley brothers took second and fifth place finishes. Lucas Conley was able to claim second place with 19 cleans (tying on points with Mikey, but losing first place on the number of clean sections); Logan Conley took fifth place with 16 cleans and 19 points.
“The trial couldn’t have gone any better,” said Quinn. “The forecast looked terrible and we didn’t get a drop of rain! We had our biggest turn out yet and it was a great time watching everyone have fun.”
Sunday was a new day, and with it came new challenges. Starting at 11am in classic TI style, 75 riders came to enjoy a beautiful day and do what they love most. However, for Josh Roper, the day would be short-lived. Section 4 housed a roughly 4-foot splatter on the face of a vertical slab of stone. Champ riders needed to hit the face, then balance at a standstill atop the stone behind, before carefully choosing their path of descent. Josh hit the splatter, but became off-balance at the top, resulting in a sideways fall off the rock onto his shoulder. With the California National coming up, Josh decided not to push himself at the local event. He spent the rest of the day icing his shoulder, spectating and supporting his fellow riders.
Jerry Young made an appearance over the weekend and improved on his 6-point event Saturday night with an outstanding 32 cleans (0 dabs) for Sunday in the Senior Class (riding the Intermediate line). Once again, the biggest class of the day was the Advanced class with 13 riders. And once again, the podium mirrored that of the night before: Lewie Bolopue in first place with seven points, Mark Spring Jr in second place with eight points, and Brian Herrel in third place with ten points.
Once again, the Wentzels hosted a very unique experience that riders look forward to attending.
“Incredible event. A must do,” said Ryan Young, who stayed the weekend to spectate the event and cheer on his father. “The Wentzel’s know how to put on a first-class event. The night-trial is amazing and the Saturday entertainment and dinner is a great touch!”
Bob Wentzel thoroughly enjoys helping host these types of events, from the Ryan Young School to the trials. “I enjoy seeing people doing things they hadn’t been able to do. What Quinn and I do together is all about making memories for the both of us!”
For a look at the new scoring system and a complete race schedule for 2018, check out www.trialsinc.org. Follow Trials Inc on Facebook and Instagram for videos and photos. See you on the loop!
- published in the September 2018 issue of On The Pegs