LIVING ON THE EDGE: Toni Bou takes the race to new heights during a Trials competition.
LIVING ON THE EDGE: Toni Bou takes the race to new heights during a Trials competition. Contributed

Stanthorpe revs up for motocross trials' return

MOTORCYCLE TRIALS: The sport of Motorcycle Trials originated in the early 20th century.

A bunch of chaps decided they were going to try and ride their motorcycles up a hill for the fun of the challenge. The hills got harder, as you would expect with men competing with each other, they then decided to count the amount of times each rider 'footed' on the attempts at the 'sections' of hillside. Whoever could complete the challenges without using their feet for assistance was considered as of having 'cleaned' the section.

A trials event does not need as much land and there is no 'track' as such to maintain, making it more easy to access for people.

The natural features of the terrain, the rocks, hills and woodlands make a perfect place to run an event.

Trials has developed in numerous ways since the early pioneers, riding modified road machines.

Up until the 1960s era, a rider would often use the same machine to road race, scramble and trial, set up differently for each discipline.

Trials machines became highly specialised, the seat we are familiar with most motorcycles is now non-existent on modern trials bikes as the riding is done in the standing on footrest position to maximise control.

Several individuals have pushed the boundaries of riding technique development since the 1960s. Englishmen Martin Lampkin, Mick Andrews and others took the old school riding to another level of skill in the 70s.

Meanwhile in the USA, a teenager from California, Bernie Schrieber had created new amazing dynamic techniques for turning and 'bunny hopping' over obstacles. Bernie made the trip to Europe with his new riding style. The Europeans caught on quick and came up with other new riding techniques. Belgium's Eddy Lejeune was the first to master rolling his bike backwards in sections to give more run-up for the ever increasing size of obstacles.

Trials became a very specialised sport with a high degree of difficulty at the expert level during the 1980s. The sport also flourished throughout the 70s and 80s with Japanese factory involvement.

During this period of time, the sport of trials on bicycles also evolved.

Bicycle Trials began with children trying to emulate their Trials hero's on the bicycles they had. The sport enjoyed great popularity and later spawned a generation of Motorcycle Trials riders with even more amazing riding techniques and balance.

Along the way the bikes got lighter, easier to ride and more powerful. Spain's Jordi Tarres was one of the early cyclo-trials riders who later became a multi-world motorbike champion. Today we have the likes of Toni Bou and Adam Raga, Spaniards still pushing the boundaries of what is possible on a motorcycle.

Trials will return to the Granite Belt on Saturday and Sunday, September 24-25, held at the Sweet family farm, 846 Nundubberme Rd, Stanthorpe. To enter, visit nominate.com.au.

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