Five months and three days separated Round 1 and Round 2 of the 2018 Trials Inc season, but who's counting? Five months and three days to practice, to buy new parts, upgrade parts, and to take 2018 by storm. Everyone has their own training methods and programs to improve and get themselves in shape to dominate their class. For those lucky enough to live where snowfall is nearly non-existent, riding in the backyard or nearby properties provides the best opportunities. However, for those who are not quite so lucky and are unable to travel to said locations, practice requires a bit of ingenuity.
The main facet of trials riding is balance. Without balance in even the simplest of obstacles, unnecessary points are taken, and any chance for the podium is quickly lost. Balance can be practiced and improved upon quite literally anywhere. Trials Inc members have found interesting and exciting ways to make practice fun, even when the weather and temperatures make riding outside impossible. One such trials couple makes balance a part of their football season by bringing their trials bikes into the house while watching games. Each of them supports a different team. When his team has the ball, she gets on the pegs and practices balancing as long as she can; when the ball changes hands to her team, it's his turn to balance. Having someone to train with can be some of the best motivation.
Anyone who has ridden trials for any length of time understands that it doesn't take fancy equipment or expensive objects to make a difficult practice section. Part of the Ryan Young training is practicing precise wheel movements and wheel hops. Take something as simple as a stick on the ground and practice riding a small wheelie to place your wheel directly on the stick. Even more, take two sticks and set them together for tight turns. Having open space such as a Quonset hut or open garage can make a cold snowy winter a little better.
What better place to shake off those winter blues and start off a great season than Lightning Raceway in Tippecanoe, OH. Lightning Raceway is another prime example of a location that supports various motorcycle disciplines. Open year-round, this property includes a 3/4-mile motocross track, 100 acres of harescramble trails, and is host to ATVs, UTVs, and side-by-sides.
This location has been a staple of the Trials Inc series for the past several years, and each year has presented trials riders with a wide array of bonus obstacles. Rain is always a favorite of the location, but this year, as the event was hosted the first weekend in April, the bonus obstacle was snow. Add a little bit of nice, warm sunshine, and you get a very interesting trials event. What little traction remained after riding through a snow-covered section was quickly taken away by the mud. The effects of this can be seen from not only the rider scores but in the number of loops riders had to make. Normally, an event day is made of ten sections numbered one through ten. Riders of all skill classes must make four trips around the "loop" connecting the sections, totaling forty sections; sections must be rode in numerical order. Novice class is required to make only three trips, totaling thirty sections. However, due to the lingering snow and warm sun, Saturday's requirements were reduced by ten sections, meaning that only three loops (or two for Novice) had to be made. No objections were made by the 46 riders in attendance.
While the sections weren't set up overly difficult, Mark Spring Sr still took first place in the Advanced class with a total of 70 points, Charlie Gilfert close behind in second place with 76 points, and Joe Clark in third with 85 points. Scores for this class varied up to 121 points for last place. Even the Intermediate class had some difficulty with the bonus obstacles; Jeremy Pelaston took first place with 49 points, Rocky Anderson in second with 54, and Bill Clark in third with 88 points.
"For the way the weather was," said Trials Master and venue owner, Mark "Lightning" Weppler "I really appreciate everyone showing up today and staying with it. It had to be interesting riding the loop."
Sections on Sunday were adjusted after Saturday's event, making them slightly less difficult. Again, only three loops were required for all classes, Novice class only being required to run two. Section 5 was removed for all classes below the Advanced line. This was partly due to the condition of the loop leading up to the section and partly to the difficulty of the section itself. Few in the Advanced line escaped with less than three points. Several of the Expert riders were able to clean this section, but again, many earned three points throughout the day.
Trials Inc has included skill classes for those riders over 40 years of age who would rather compete against riders of their own age; these classes are designated as Senior A class and Senior class. Both of these classes found Sunday’s event to be a little easier to manage. Senior A class, riding the Sportsman line, saw Richard Passman earn first place on his KTM Freeride with 12 cleans and a total of 32 points for the day. Second place was won by Steve Williams with 13 cleans but 39 points. Sam Poulton took third place on his Sherco, tied with Steve at 39 points, but losing a higher podium due to taking fewer cleans (12). Senior class, riding the Intermediate line, saw Ed Rhyshek take an incredible top podium with 21 cleans and only eight points for the day; Guy Longwell was close behind with 19 cleans and 12 total points.
“I really appreciate everyone showing up; the weather [on Sunday] was definitely a lot better than yesterday, a little chilly, but that’s alright. When you’re riding, I don’t mind the cold.” said Lightning. “We’ll do this again next year, and maybe we’ll get dry weather, maybe a little warmer.” -Mark "Lightning" Weppler
Check out Trials Inc at www.trialsinc.org