PERTH was treated to a display of stadium trials at its best last weekend with the staging of the 2016 Australian X Trial national titles. New South Welshman Kyle Middleton took out the title on a Gas Gas from West Aussie champ Neil Price on a Beta.

Unlike traditional observed trials, in which the obstacles are created by mother nature and often not easy to get to, X Trials lets mean and nasty organisers design absurdly difficult sections to put riders and bikes to the test, then drops them into the middle of a sports ground so people like us can sit and watch in comfortable staggering distance from a bar and a pizza van.

CAPTION: A national championship with only eight competitors? Welcome to X Trials.
CAPTION: A national championship with only eight competitors? You bet. Welcome to X Trials.

The skills on display were most impressive. Just eight riders were invited to compete: the top two finishers already mentioned plus reigning champ Tim Coleman from Victoria on a Beta, New South Welshmen brothers Colin and Kevin Zarczynski both on Gas Gases, Tasmanian Chris Bayles also on a Gas Gas, national women’s champion Kristie McKinnon (NSW, Gas Gas), and West Aussie Craig Austin on a Sherco.

Scoring was traditional trials-style; you lose points for various indiscretions ranging from one point for a dab with your foot, up to five points if you come a cropper.

CAPTION: Laughing at your opponents is perfectly ok. They’ll be laughing at you, soon enough …
CAPTION: Light as a feather, but that’s one serious-looking motor.






CAPTION: So, you hop your bike pretty much straight up in the air onto a plinth, see, then balance (no feet down, remember), and then …
CAPTION: … you launch yourself, like a grasshopper, aimed straight at your buddy across the gap, and …



CAPTION: … land on the other side. Easy squeezy, japaneezy. Your buddy, if he survives the landing, checks to make sure you still have enough tread on your front tyre for the next bit. (Or maybe he’s checking tyre pressure …)




If you want to know more, check out the Trials Australia website here.

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 1.40.50 pm
CAPTION: Day two results. I nicked this pic off the Trials Australia website. I hope they don’t mind. Full results are here.

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Peter Terlick