3/10/11Aussie Titles over for another year. 2nd best Aussie - 3rd place overall behind Jake (NZ) and Neil. Photos from TdN and Aussie Titles to come.
25/9/11Just spent 2 days at the GasGas Motos SA Championships as a warm-up for the Aussie Titles next weekend. The organising club - AJS Moto Trial Club and the property owners - the Hogan Family were fantastic organisers and hosts and GasGas Motos the best sponsors of course! The scenery in the Flinders Ranges was amazing. Moving to Nuriootpa in the Barrossa tomorrow for a few much needed days rest after the hectic last few weeks and really looking forward to next weekend.
22/9/11Back from another incredible TdN. Thanks to MA, GRO, GasGas, Phil Whittle, Paul Sens and the team! 4th aint so bad in those conditions!
Now headed off to Sth Aus today!
19/9/11Just missed the podium in 4th place, but a great result for the men's team!
18/9/11We walked the sections today (all 18 of them) and they all looked quite cleanable for us but it sprinkled a little in the loop so if it rains any more the sections could go from fair to hard! Kristie did a great ride for the girls on her own today. No surprise in the results with Spain taking out first on the podium, followed by Great Britain and Germany in third. Congratulations Ina on the German team!
17/9/11Great ride Kristie in the Italian World round - 17th place from 31 starters.
17/9/11After arriving at Milan on Tuesday we moved to our hotel at Tolmezzo, only 10 minutes into the mountains from the TdnN site. We've fitted in plenty of practice and the weather is spectacular with high 20's to low 30 days and sunshine all day. Today we've just seen Kristie off for her ride and only planning on a small ride ourselves so the minders have gone to Austria for a beer (only about 20kms away). The vibe is very positive here and we are really looking forward to the trial!
11/9/11Aussie Trial des Nations team fly out tomorrow from our state capital cities to meet up in Italy. Team Manager, bikes and Kristie already on their way to Tolmezzo. Wish us all good luck, and I'll be trying to update as regular as possible.
Photo by todotrial.com
24/6/11Euro Round Pobladura
19/6/11Had some rides I was happy with, some 0's & 1's, especially when some more experienced riders took 5's. Unfortunately I had no minder today and this made things very difficult. One section I didn't have a go at cos I was afraid of not being caught. First lap - 29, second lap - 28. The President of the Club said their town wanted to adopt me, and said they had lots of nice looking girls in Pobladura!
18/6/11Not such a good start today and got a couple of fives from taking bad lines and ending up in some really deep holes in the river, but no crashes so that was good! Dropped 40 for this lap. Second lap improved but had a really bad 5 in section 1 that I should have cleaned- 21 this lap. Looking forward to a better ride in the world round tomorrow.
17/6/11Gasser is running spot on, ready for tomorrow's Euro round, and even had a service from the GasGas boys! The sections are half in a very slippery creek and the other half on steep hills on rocks. The first and last sections are man made. The president of the club running the trial was very happy to have an Australian entered and had his photo taken with me! Looks like I have a non English speaking minder again, but I'm used to that now.
16/6/11Pobladura - looking down to the paddock from half way around the loop.
16/6/11Drive across to Pobladura took about 10 hours. The area has some watery sections and some sections on a very steep hill. Met up with Jake Whitaker and some of the top riders. Tomorrow signing in, checking out sections, checking bike and practicing.
16/6/11This is the vehicle I drove across in Spain today. Taken in zaragoza with a quick stop with a jitsie dealer. A nice looking city.
15/6/11Some great training at Tost with Jordi and Ib (Norway). Feeling really good on this new Gasser that is running near perfect and looking forward to this weekend's World Championship. Tomorrow leaving for Pobladura, about 7 hours from Tost, and traveling with James from Jitsie who has been extremely generous and given me some awesome gear.
12/6/11Had my first ride on a GasGas enduro bike, ec250, and wow, it was a weapon! Really like the new Raga. The power is so smooth and the suspension really good.
10/6/11Spent most of the day setting up the bike then tried it out on some of the man made sections on the property and a few of the hills. The bike looks fantastic! Easily as bad arse as in the photos and really classy, finished like no trials bike I have seen before! The new shock is very impressive and there's a whole host of new things on this bike with plastics and other minor things.
9/6/11rrived in Espana and went straight to the GasGas Factory to collect my 300 Raga. Only finished this morning and one of the first to leave the factory. Bike and myself settled in at Tost (Jordi's training property).
23/5/11Another NSW State Round win today! That makes it all three this year. Photos and report to follow.
05/05/11New bike arrived this week! It's a 2011 Gas Gas TXTR (Racing). It has a new Ohlins shocky!
05/05/11So after a couple of mishaps over the past couple of NSW rounds and being in a rush to finish I thought I need some more fitness. So I now travel to work on this!
24/04/11Round 2 NSW Championship 2011
Once again this year, the NSW Championship is hosting some of the toughest trials competition in the country. I was able to back up my first round win with another at the legendary Pacific Park. The NSW Moto-Trials Promotions Group has established in recent years, that State Champions are best produced over multiple rounds over a variety of terrain, creating riders that need to work hard all year round for their title, not just being on form for one day.
The event was held at the highest point of the park and had completely new areas to challenge the competitors along with some sections held in the older areas used in the early nineties and some sections that regular Pacific Park riders would have been familiar with.
The nature of the sections at this event meant that lap one was very slow going for most grades and most of the expert class had to begin pushing faster than usual for the remaining 2 laps. My first lap was a lap of 10 points, which I was happy with, but it included a '5' in a section that I had thought I could have 'cleaned' so I was hopeful for improvements throughout the day.
Lap 2 began well for me, staying clean for the first half of the lap, but after taking a single dab of a difficult section, I realised I had landed in trouble when I saw oil spewing out of my TRP rear shock and within seconds I was left with nothing more than a spring. Dad once again offered his services to help me fix the problem and even donated his shock absorber so I could finish the day. After swapping the shocks and my best attempt at repairing my now oily rear brake, I continued on with lap 2 and finished with another score of 10 points.
Lap 3 became very rushed for me and I owe a big thanks to a few people who, without their kind gestures, I honestly believe I would have come a couple of sections short of finishing. Thanks to Joe Henderson and Edina Reed for allowing me to skip past them in the line into more than one section. And a big thanks to Olly Buchan, for taking on the roll of my minder, after losing the services of my father after the Shock incident.
It has also become evident to me that there are a few observers who are volunteering their services round after round, year after year and I think they need the recognition they deserve. Thanks to those guys and girls who give up their time for the rest of us!
As always, the NSW Expert class is highly competitive with Kevin Zar being my toughest rival for the first 2 rounds. Mick Byrne and Col Zar are constantly pushing the standard and Luigi Garzoni (Italy) has provided a great international flavour to the event!
Thanks to Gas Gas Motos Aust. for their ongoing support and next event I will be retiring my Raga 300 and moving on to the new Racing 300. Thanks to Global Racing Oil for the great oils that kept my bike running exactly how I wanted it all day. Thanks to the Howell’s, and thanks to Pacific Park for holding another exceptional trial.
24/04/11Round 1 NSW Championship 2011
Round one of the NSW Championship started spectacularly for myself by taking out expert at Murringo in the slippery rocky gully on the 26th & 27th of March.
Although I had trained hard all through the summer break, getting back into the competition mind-set took more time than I expected on day one. As a result, I took quite a number of ‘5’ on the first 2 laps that I really didn’t need. By lap 3 I had sorted this out and finished the day in a close second place, behind the ever persistent Kevin Zarczynski.
Day 2 started with renewed confidence that I could make HUGE improvements on my riding. I started well but took some unsure points on the first lap and finished the lap on 5 points.
Lap 2 was where disaster struck and I had a MASSIVE crash and launched my bike what felt like 10 metres into the air! When it finally came back to the ground, it proceeded to crash and bash its way down the rocky slope and into a deep water hole. Right then, was when I thought my day was over, as I could hear the bike going down and sucking water into the motor. With some help from Jason Byrne and my Dad we retrieved the bike and went to work draining all the water out.
With the help of my full time mechanic, I was quickly back in the sections and the remainder of the lap was spent regaining composure and trying to get everything on the bike working its best again.
The final lap went exactly to plan until section 8 where I took my third “5” for the day here finishing the lap on 5 points.
Although a little rusty at the start of the competition, first place on the podium was the goal, and with this quickly achieved, I am pleased to have started off the year successfully! With a big year planned for 2011, this was a great way to launch the season!
I would like to thank Gas Gas Motos Australia for supplying parts so quickly and easily to get the bike running again, it was certainly appreciated. Thanks to Global Racing Oils who I will be riding for again this year with their trials design lubricants. Thanks to The Howell family for once again supporting me this year and Pacific Park for allowing me to train on their great terrain.
27/03/11I am happy to have taken out the first round of the NSW State Championship Title this weekend at Young. Second to Kevin Zar, followed by Colin, Mick and Luigi. Full report to follow soon.
Pre Christmas drinks with a few local trials enthusiasts was to be the beginning of a New Years that will forever be special to me. Andy Hoddle from Kaebel Leisure casually asked me if I would like to join him in Japan to compete in a New Year Festival trial, and believe me, I didn’t need to be asked twice!
I left the Aussie summer behind on the 31st of December and landed in Osaka, Japan, right in time for the New Year Celebrations. Ryozo Aoyama, who owns a Trials shop in Japan, called “Toolbox”, and his wife Akemi, met me at the Airport Hotel.
New Years day was spent sightseeing around Osaka with Ryozo and Akemi. They were so incredibly hospitable and I really felt like I was friends with them after only a couple of hours! With a significant language barrier, we spent a couple of hours later that afternoon translating conversations with each other and watching DVD’s of the Japanese Championship events. I studied Japanese briefly at school, but as with most school subjects, didn’t really apply myself at all, which I am now regretting. We finished up the day at their daughters for a traditional Japanese dinner, that was really amazing!
Kameoka Trial Land (www.kameokatrialland.co.jp) was the venue for the competition and here I met my bike that I was spending the next two days with. Kojiro, the youngest son of the Mori family, who own the trials specific property, kindly, lent me his own bike. He had converted the bike from a 250 to a 300 so that I would feel more comfortable with the power, just one example of how amazingly generous the Japanese are!
I quickly jumped on the bike and started on my mission to get used to riding in snow and ice! During that day I met some really awesome people and spent some of it practicing with other Japanese riders. They seemed almost as happy to have me at the event, as I was to be there! The terrain consisted of mostly rocks that were much harder and more slippery than Aussie rocks and some steep and REALLY MUDDY hill climbs!
Kojiro showed me through the museum that the Mori family have, including some really cool classic bikes and cars! It was later that I realised that a lot of the snow that had melted during the day with us riding through it, was now turning into ice!
January 3rd we returned to the trial site to see that things were certainly very icy! The trial, called the Rocky Trial, has been running for over 30 years on the the same date every year and is part of what they call a ‘festival’ held for all the trials riders to celebrate the new year. The event has traditionally been attended by all sorts of riders in Japan starting from beginners all the way up to the best in their National Champion, Kennichi Kuroyama.
I entered in the International A Class on the hardest lines. Later I realised that there was another grade in Japan called International A SUPER, held on the same lines but from what I gather, is only for the professional riders. In attendance was Kennichi Kuroyama, Ogawa along with quite a few other riders from the top ten in Japan.
It seemed to be a mutual agreement that no-one would ride for the first half an hour while we waited for the ice to melt off the top of the rocks.
The trial was set a little below the normal Japanese Championships because of the type of trial it was, but still of an Australian Expert standard. This was actually a relief for me because I have seen what they are capable of!
I cleaned the first 2 sections being the easiest of the day and then moved onto the 3rd, where I dropped a single dab and got into a significant amount of trouble! I was lucky to escape with just the one.
From section three, the sections increased in difficulty, but I carefully picked my lines combined with watching other riders. With a few near misses I was able to finish the rest of the lap clean!
Here I realised that I had to maximise my concentration. If I had managed to pull off a lap of one, then the Japanese professionals would no doubt be close or even clean. The ground began to dry out a bit and the ice and snow melted so the sections became more rideable and I was able to clean the second lap without too many hassles.
Surprisingly, when the trial was officially finished, everyone was still really energetic and pumped to have fun so almost the whole field of 80 or so riders went out for a practice! I managed to get myself (with the help of my new friend Yushi) involved in the proceedings. I had a quick chat to Kenichi, who at first seemed a little wary of my presence, and continued riding. We all had such a brilliant time coming up with new sections and trying to do what each other had done. The Japanese are just so light hearted and fun loving that we all had a big laugh when ever someone else made a silly mistake (or even a monumental crash!) and we all clapped and cheered when it went well for the other riders.
I decided to pull up stumps a little earlier than the others when a strain I had received in my upper arm when training at home, was starting to give me trouble with the level of sections raising as the afternoon went on.
Returning to the paddock after cleaning Kojiro’s bike, I was invited up to the podium in second spot!
We finished the night off with a trip up the hill to the ensent and dinner.
The Japanese trial experience was absolutely amazing and has really had a big impact on my trials riding. For this there are quite a few people I need to thank! Firstly, Kaebel Leisure and Andy Hoddle for making the whole thing possible and so easy for me. Ryozo and Akemi Aoyama from Tool Box for taking such great care of me. Kameoka Trial Land and Mori Trial team for the bike and EVERYTHING else! Gas Gas Motos Australia for always being there for me, Global racing Oils for the amazing oils and the Howell Family for their awesome support!
14/12/10Round 5 NSW Championship, Pacific Park
After the disappointment of Round 4 being cancelled following the torrential flooding rain the night before, the NSW Championships returned to the spectacular rider friendly Pacific Park to decide the State Champions.
For the final round we were greeted with all new sections cleared out by the dedicated event organisers. They were held up in the highest part of the park, near the dam, where there hasn’t been an event held for a decade and never in the particular areas where the sections were set. The extent of the variety at this venue is endless, with organisers always coming up with something new and challenging. The NSW Trials Committee have been exceptional in 2010 at running this State Title series.
I am very proud to have won the final event and the overall NSW Championship! Second place on the day and in the overall championship was taken out by the veteran Kevin Zarczynski followed by Jake Whitaker, who unfortunately didn’t attend the final event.
The day was a perfect spring day in the mid 20’s, with a slightly smaller entry than the previous rounds. Ten sections were set for the competitors with a good mix, the first 5 being on one side of the hill in wet conditions after the heavy rain during the week and the other 5 being set on the drier side of the hill.
My day started well with a clean in section 1. Section 2 was by far the most difficult section of the day where I escaped with just 3 penalty points. Section 3 came and I took a five here leading me to later change my line to achieve cleans. I cleaned sections 4 and 5 fairly easily. Section 6 had a very difficult undercut step and I took a 1 this lap. Section 7 was no problem for me so I took a clean from here. Section 8 was a spectacular hill climb covered in boulders where I took a 2 from the first lap. I decided to take a high risk line on section 9, paying off with a clean. Section 10 was one of the more difficult sections so I took a scrappy 1 here to complete lap one. I finished my first lap on a good score of 11 points. My riding improved throughout the day but I was never able to capitalise on good rides and took laps of 9 and 10 to finish the day on 30 points.
Thanks Gas Gas Motos Australia for their awesome support this year and for sourcing the new Michelin X-lite tyres, Global Racing Oil Australia for the best lubricants available, The Howell family for their help, Crux Industries for putting the finishing touches on my new Jitsie Clothing and finally my HUGELY supportive family and friends for coming and supporting me at all of the events this year, it is really appreciated.
12/11/10Queensland Arena Trial Championship
1/9/10Queensland Arena Trial Championship
The week following the Australian titles I flew back up to the now sunny Gold Coast where the Queensland Arena Trial Championship was being held. The organisers had put a massive effort into the sections and were certainly going to keep the riders and spectators captivated! I am absolutely over the moon to now be the Champion of this event!
The event consisted of two grades with Youth and Expert and was very well commentated by Jack Cavanagh supported by Jack Field. The youth Youth were first out completing half a lap before the Experts entered the arena. Both grades completed two 2 qualifying laps before eliminating all but the top four 4 in each grade for the finals. The sections became progressively harder each lap, and at the end of each lap were finished off with the crowd favourite – the World Championship style, dual lane races. There were certainly some thrills and spills here!
I was riding surprisingly well in the foreign style of sections and was fortunate to have completed the first 2 laps with a loss of 2 points in the sections but unfortunately went up against the very fast Jake Whitaker, the recently crowned Australian Champion, in both races resulting in taking an extra two 2 points on with me.
I must congratulate the less Experinced experienced Youth riders on how brave they were because I must say; even I was terrified of some of the sections in this event!
Some of the sections had to be in excess of 3 metres off the ground with some huge steps involved! The finals came and Sam Rummery rode well taking out the Youth class and then the experts were on. I began really well cleaning all of the early sections and the next closest rider was Jake who took a 1 on section 3 and an unlucky ‘time out’ on section 5. All I needed to do now was get through the last two 2 sections for less than 6 points to keep ahead of Jake before the last race. I went clean until the final section where I took a five5! Now I had to just make sure that I finished the race in case I was still not able to keep ahead of Jake. Fortunately for me I was able to maintain my lead, as after another epic race I finished behind Jake again!
Second was Whitaker and third was Jack Field just ahead of an unlucky Boyd Wilcocks.
Big Thankyou to Team Kaos for getting my bike to and from the event! Thanks Paul at Gas Gas Motos Australia for flying up to the event to support his riders. Global Racing Oil Australia for the awesome oil, Dunlop Tyres for their brilliant tyres keeping me glued to each huge obstacle, and the Howell Family like always, for their support. Thanks to all the event organisers for an awesome event and all of the guys Garan, Toby, Dad, and Nick for being there to keep the riders safe!
1/9/10Aussie Titles 2010
Wow, what a week, full of ups and downs, but unfortunately only finding some form far too late to achieve the result I was hoping for.
The week began at Garan & Zac Hale's farm near Kyogle, where they generously offered for me to stay with them leading up to the event and prepare for the weekend. Their property was abundant in the type of extreme slippery terrain that is common in parts of Europe, but rarely seen in Australia, and it was going to be a very tough week of training. Dad and I decided we needed to learn from Zac and Garan, who were more adapted to the terrain than myself.
Friday before the event consisted of perusing the trial site where it was raining all day, and a quick ride in the afternoon to adjust myself to the venue. I left feeling relieved I had spent the week with the Hale’s and adequately prepared for the event.
Thunderbird Park was an ideal venue for this event with camping, parking, trade stands, score tent, etc. all within a small radius. Spectators didn’t have far to walk to access visible sections with plenty of excitement, although those further up the creek were only accessible by the extreme trials addicts!
Saturday the rain clouds had cleared to a bright, but cold, sunny day. I started very nervously, taking big points in the first few sections. I had set my goal at the top for this event and the poor start was affecting my confidence very quickly and disappointingly reflected in my riding. I began to get frustrated half way through the first lap when I just could not get a break in the slippery creek that the trial was based in. I showed myself signs of the riding that I normally produce at events but was never able to capitalise on it.
I finished the day a disappointing equal sixth with Kevin Zarczynski (NSW).
Sunday I knew I needed to put in the biggest effort of my life to rescue myself from day one and took off very focused and determined. I took a slack three on section 1 but tried not to let this faze me. Section 2 was the big break I needed! I rode aggressively and managed my first clean in the creek for the weekend. From here my riding improved greatly and I pulled the second best first lap for Sunday behind the formidable Jake Whitaker (NZ). The second lap was better again but unfortunately I made a mistake in section 3, taking a 5, and in one of the later creek sections a large apexed 250kg rock came out from underneath, forcing me to take a 3, thus pushing up my lap score massively!
I finished in 4th place, or 3rd placed Australian, thanks to my ‘best Australian’ performance on Sunday, definitely helping me climb up the ranks as much as possible.
One point ahead was the previous Australian Champion, Col Zar (NSW), himself being only 6 points behind Neil Price (WA) in 2nd. Jake (NZ) finished up a whopping 22 points ahead of his nearest rival. Boyd Willcocks (QLD) finished 4 points behind my score after an awesome first lap of 17 on Saturday.
Thunderbird Park provided the event with a multitude of slippery rocks with most of the sections held on a continuous run along a creek bed. Fortunately for the winner, Jake Whitaker of New Zealand, it was like being at home and he produced a brilliant performance for the two days of competition. A big congrats to Jake!
My Gas Gas TXT Raga 300 performed faultlessly throughout the event, being the bikes second Australian Titles. I must credit this to Paul Arnott for his ease of dealing with and putting himself out to help me, and as always the GRO products are above standard allowing the motor to run perfect. Thanks Dunlop for the great tyres and The Howell Family for their generosity. A big thanks to all the people who supported me over the weekend and of course gave supportive words to me, especially Dave Marchant from Pacific Park and Trevor Bennett. Thanks Garan and Zac Hale for your great training area, Simon Grist for lending me his wheels, and of course all of my family who are always behind me wherever I need support. Thanks to Greg Nordsvan for putting a lot of time and effort into me this year with everything from rebuilding bikes to helping me with nutrition, you've played a big part in my riding this year!
Aussie Titles Photos
3/8/10NSW Championships Round 3, Appin.
Round 3 of the 2010 NSW Championship meant a return to the Macarthur Motorcycle Complex at Appin. The event was a joint venture between Macarthur Motorcycle Club & Bankstown Wiley Park Club. I knew coming into this event, if I wanted to win the Australian Title this year, I needed to prove to myself that I could and win here. Fortunately, I was able to remain calm and focussed, a skill I have been trying to perfect this year, and came out victorious!
Driving into the venue it was obvious there had been a lot of rain during the week leading up to the event and things were going to get a bit wet and slippery. My observation was spot on, as most of the sections remained damp for the whole day and with sections 2 & 3 being set in the creek.
The day started off very slowly with all of the expert class competitors riding close to each other and possibly procrastinating more than necessary. The sections were turning out to ride a little easier than expected & looked, but were still taking points from all the riders.
My return to the score tent was very late but I was confident I had finished the first lap in the lead. The second lap came together well, only taking 2 dabs on section 6 and a single safety dab on the very difficult section 7 triple step, finishing on an excellent score of 3! My elation was quickly deflated with the realisation I had finished lap two with only ½ an hour to complete my final lap. After giving Dad a quick hurry-up, I rode continuously from section to section at pace and took a couple of rushed 5’s on sections I had previously cleaned. The event was finished with only a minute to spare!
Jake Whitaker was second for the first time in Australia this year, and Michael Byrne, who is picking up the pace at every start, was an impressive third just ahead of Kevin Zarczynski. Jake Walker, who is also improving every event, was in 5th and unfortunately Colin Zarczynski was unable to finish the event, revealing later that he had injured his back.
The level of competition has definitely been raised since Jake Whitaker from New Zealand has been present in the country and I hope that we can continue to see him on this side of the pond!
Thanks to my supporters, although there is too many to mention them all. I would like to thank Gas Gas Motos Australia for their great support, Global Racing Oil for the absolutely fantastic lubricants, Dunlop tyres, the Howell family for their awesome support and Pacific Park for a great training area.
Next stop – Aussie Titles at Thunderbird Park 21/22 August – see you all there!