"How do I get started in Trials?"
introduction to the world of Trials
are unsure about just turning up and riding an event, why not come along to
our next trial and have a walk around and see some sections and
some riders in action, this will help you to get a feel of the event and how its run.
Maybe even help out by picking an observer board up, again this
helps you get an understanding of how trials work, and helps the
So you'll understand the way to act and how those at at trial will
expect you to behave
read this - it's fun as well.
Practice - where
can you ride? Not easy - all land belongs to someone even if you
might think its 'waste land' its someone's and you must have their
permission to ride on it before you can - simple. None of our
regular trials venues are available for 'playing' or practice
with the notable exception of
Click here for places you can go
Our Dead Easy
Trials are designed for those just starting in trials who can
ride safely and competently with basic machine control skills but
have little competitive or off road experience. When we say 'Dead
Easy' we mean the easiest course will have very easy sections for an
experienced adult rider on a modern well maintained trials bike. At
our Dead Easy Trials there will be at least one other course or
route through the sections which is more difficult for those wanting
something a bit more challenging. Typically tighter turns or tricky
ground such as rocks, tree roots or mud. Manchester 17 invented the
Dead Easy format way back in the 1980's and its been much copied
since - most clubs follow this idea if they advertise an event as
'Dead Easy' or 'Easy' or 'Beginner' / 'Novice' but sometimes what
others think is very easy you might not. You can always check out
beforehand by contacting the orgaising club directly.
Training / coaching and experience.
For those of you who want professional 'Trials
School' type training, coaching or simply to experience some of road
riding before making a commitment to getting a bike and all the kit
there are a number of ACU approved Trials Schools. The club is not
commercial in any way and does not take adverts or sponsorship but
recognises the great work done by the following local rider:
or near Leeds, with Dan Thorpe:
This is what the sport's
governing body, the ACU, has to say about starting trials
WHAT EQUIPMENT/GEAR DO I NEED?
OK, you've bought or borrowed a bike, so all you
need now is some riding gear.
When starting out there is no need to spend a fortune on
all the very latest kit - helmets, boots, clothing etc, you can save money by
buying older versions/second hand stuff (no one will know once its covered in
There is usually plenty of
second hand stuff on sale on Ebay etc.
(Probably best not
buying second-hand helmets though, you never know what's happened to them
Trials clothing tends to be on the "close fitting" side, this is to
prevent you snagging up on all the vegetation etc you ride
past/through! It may not be the most flattering or
complimentary look, but once
you are at the trial, you will only stand out if you AREN'T wearing
You will fall off,
everyone does. As you get better you'll just fall off less and/or
with more style.
Personal protective equipment is there to reduce
the pain and damage. There
are probably fewer rules for trials than any other form of motorsport when it comes to safety equipment/clothing etc- but there are some:
YOU MUST WEAR A HELMET (AT
TIMES)- either a "designed for trials" lid, or, if you must, an
open face motocross style helmet . (Cycle and ski Helmets are NOT
adequate!) - the rule book says
(The ACU Handbook) helmets must be of a standard fit for use on the road.
reasonably light weight open face helmet as full face and
motocross stile helmets with big chin bars across the front are just
too hot. You'll get hot even in a lightweight
designed for trials helmet.
Your helmet must be worn at all times when you are on your bike and needs to be fastened
legs need covering, affording some protection from the rocks,
and nettles you will undoubtedly encounter! Again, trials
specific gear has padding and reinforced areas where you need them
most, i.e. shins, knees, inner thigh etc.
recommend the same for everyone, but its
to wear long sleeved tops covering the whole arm (IE not rolled up
even when its hot) and gloves however HOT the weather may be.
motorcycle boots are a must!. Invest in some proper trials boots.
They're not cheap (again you could get 2nd hand ones) but they'll
last for ages if you look after them.
care to get Trials boots with grippy soles and without steel plates
on the tip as motocross boots often have smooth soles and steel
reinforcing on the tip neither of which are any use when you're trying
to push the bike over slimly slippery muddy rocks.
Try to get
used to riding with gloves on and arms covered not to keep warm
although that can be a bonus in the cold but when you fall its
reflex to use your hands to break the fall and a thinly gloved hand
is much more abrasion resistant than skin. Same goes for arms which
when covered even by a thin shirt are so much less damaged in a fall
than bare skin.
CAN'T WAIT TO RIDE!
you've seen an event, or your just a "go for it" kind of person and
you cant wait to come along and have a go;
well all you need to do now is:
Sort your club membership.
Instructions on how to join the club can be found
Go along to Manchester
Xtreme - Owen or one of the team there will help sort
your membership for you.
your ACU Trials Registration. Again, instructions on how to do this
can be found on our Club membership page.here
For those who just can't do 'online' here is a form but it cost more
and can't be done with us:
ACU License Application / Trials Registration Form
for our next “Dead Easy” trial; the dates are listed on this website
here. We often also list them in the Trials & Motocross News (TMX).
or on Trials Central but
sometimes these services are not so reliable.
All our Trials are online
entry via the ACU website, so keep an eye out for one that you want
ride, then go to the Event Entry page and send your entry in. Click
then in the blue bar at the top of the page 'Event Entry'
Then come along with your bike
and enjoy trials. At events like Dead Easy Trials it's not taken so
seriously but still you'll be taking part in motorsport and if it's
your first event expect a few butterflies in the stomach.
Remember whilst our “Dead Easy” trials are designed to be just
that, you must have basic bike skills and be capable of controlling
of your machine. The sections aren't dangerous but you could be!
AT THE TRIAL (we recommend
looking at out
leaflet to help see how others will expect you to behave at an
- Try and arrive early, at least half an hour before the
start time for the trial (*this is shown on the website. This helps
us get everyone signed on and sorted to get started on time. It also helps gauge the number of observers we are
likely to have, and plan accordingly.
(Please do not
arrive TOO early though. There's no point in queuing 2 hours
before the start when we are still finishing the route marking
It also benefits YOU if you arrive early as you can maybe chat with
a few folk and/or check out which route your going to ride during
the trial. If the sections look too hard or too easy you can
ask where you signed on to change to a different route.
(Remember that at our Dead Easy trials we usually have two routes, a
VERY easy route, for absolute beginners and a harder, more technical route).
We are always very grateful if you bring a friend or family member
along who would be willing to observe, Don't worry if they have
never even been to a trial before, we can show them the ropes and
explain the rules. That way they will have been an important part of
the event as well.
Before the trial starts
– once you have signed on, please don't fire up your engine until
the start of the trial. This helps to avoid loads of bikes riding
around where there are vans, cars and trailers and lots of people
sorting themselves out.
Not surprisingly, young riders/beginners, motorbikes and parked cars tend to make it
an “accident waiting to happen”. Understandably, owners tend to get
a little upset when they end up with an '05 Gas Gas as a bonnet
ornament on their brand new Audi estate!
it is not a British Championship Round, so you DON’T get a practice
lap, NO riding of the sections is allowed prior to the official
start, "Dead Easy" trials may be on a
“no award” basis, but we like to keep things fair!
Briefing - Just prior to the start time, we will
call all the riders over into a group (usually by a prolonged blast of a car/air
horn) to brief them on the course/safety etc.
PLEASE ensure you arrive promptly to listen to this talk, EVEN if
think you’ve heard all you need to know. We WONT start the trial
until all riders are together and we have gone through the safety /
course information. If you mess about turning up late, all you will do is delay the
start of the trial!!
At this briefing we will hopefully explain all points necessary for
you to have a safe enjoyable days trialling, including:
– whilst all our Dead Easy trials are designed exactly as that, we
cannot legislate for hazards between the sections,
such as deep “bomb holes”, large rocks etc. We will, however, warn
you about them!
We route mark ALL our trials, and this is there to both help you
find the sections, but ALSO to help you avoid any other hazards,
wherever possible. REMEMBER though it is YOUR
responsibility to follow the route marking, AND to ride safely and within
YOUR limits, don’t get carried away and try to exceed your skill
levels, this tends to lead to broken bikes and bruised / broken
Weather conditions can also massively affect the trial, we will
always try to allow for adverse conditions, but, put quite simply, grass
gets slippery when it’s wet, ground gets muddy when it rains and
rocks with mud on are slippery! If it has forecast rain later in
the day, get going and get the trial finished!!
- this will include the location of the sections, the number of
sections per lap, and the number of laps we expect you to complete.
Dead Easy trials are designed to be fun, if four laps of 10 sections
is just TOO much on your first outing, complete the number of laps
you wish, but PLEASE inform the observers that you
are not doing any more laps, this helps prevent them sitting out
(quite often in the cold and wet) waiting for you to come and finish
your last laps!
Generally you would start a trial at section one and do the sections
in sequence, however at our Dead Easy trials we may ask riders to
“split up” and go to different section numbers, this saves 80+
riders all descending on section 1 and there being massive queues
all day. Again we will inform you of this at the briefing.
Bike/Equipment Check – we like to start our trial off by
inspecting bikes and ensuring the riders have adequate (i.e. safe)
clothing/footwear on (see above). This helps ensure all riding
bikes are within the rules but also gives us the opportunity to have
a nosey at the latest bike “bling” out there!
(Amongst other things we check to ensure that all bikes have trials
tyres, ball/round-ended levers, no loose bits or sharp edges and
we recommend that every bike has at least a working kill-switch
or better still a lanyard cut out which is compulsory in any case on
machines ridden by youths)
Again, it is entirely
wear adequate protection and to ensure your bike is safe to ride.
respect the observers; remember they are giving up their time just
so you can ride. If you upset them they may not come back and if you
really upset them, YOU wont be welcome back!
until they give you “the nod” before starting the section, this
ensures that they are ready and the section is clear of any other
Sometimes we unfortunately don’t have enough observers to cover all
the sections. When this is the case we will put the observer boards
at the unmanned sections, and it is up to the riders to observe
Remember, NEVER write your own score down, however honest you
may be it is still classed as cheating, always get someone else to
mark your score for you.
If every rider has a turn of marking someone else through the trial tends
to run smoothly.
REMEMBER – if you provide an observer at the start of the trial we
will reward you with a reduced price entry!
Read this for a good overview of how to behave as a rider at an
you want to appreciate the job the observers do take a look at our
Experts Guide to Observing leaflet
Marking (Observation) –
marking starts as soon as your front wheel spindle (axle) crosses
between the start flags in a section and ends when it passes the end
17 use the TSR 22A rule which means you are allowed to stop without
loosing a mark,
not as per TSR 22B rule (known as non stop ) which some other clubs use
and would cost you a 5.
of - TRS22A -
1 = Footing once
2 = Footing twice
3 = Footing 3 or more times
5 = Failure see below
5 = rider asking for a 5 rather than attempting the section.
10= missing a section completely or given by an observer for
When ANY part of a riders body touches the ground or any part of the
machine with the exception of the tyres or sump guard or the rider benefits from any part of his body
or machine (as above) leaning on an obstacle
(e.g. a tree or rock).
Failure is considered to have occurred if:
The machine moves
The rider does not have
both hands on the handlebar WHEN HE FOOTS WHILST STATIONARY.
The engine stops WHILST
ANY PART OF THE MACHINE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF
THE TYRES, TOUCHES THE
GROUND OR THE RIDER IS FOOTING.
The rider dismounts from
the machine. Dismount will be deemed to have occurred when both of
the rider’s feet are on the ground at the same side of, or behind
A rider is requested to
leave the section by the observer for “unnecessary delay”.
A machine does not stay
within the intended limits of the section as defined by the
If any wheel of the
machine crosses any boundary tape or goes over or on the wrong side
of a marker, whether the wheel be on the ground or airborne, before
the front wheel spindle passes the “Section ends” sign.
The rider is held
responsible for displacing a marker or support in an observed
section whereby the observer considers it necessary to reinstate the
ﬂag/marker prior to the passage of the next rider.
The displacing of any
marking not relating to the competitor’s route will be considered to
constitute a failure.
Travelling in a forward
direction against the direction of the Section.
The motorcycle crosses its
own track with either wheel.
The machine or rider
receives outside assistance.
rider or person having an interest in a rider’s performance (a Dad
for example) , who in any way alters the severity of a section
without the authority of an official
(SEE THE ACU
HANDBOOK FOR FULL RULES)
automatically a failure if the engine stops. If the rider is
skilful enough to either re start the engine without touching the
ground or taking a hand off the bars and can roll the bike out of the ends
cards without footing. Footing just once with a stalled engine or
flicking the kick start out with a hand is a failure, a five!
this will have been confirmed in the briefing but we generally run
two routes at a Dead Easy trial. We try to make ALL sections
start and finish at the same place defined by the “Section Begins”
and “Section Ends” cards, which also have the section number on
them. If there is a different start or end of a section for
different routes there will be a second "Section Begins" or "Section
Ends" marker. As always if in doubt ask the observer.
– this will be the blue and red flags/markers, just remember
RED on your
BLUE on your left)
- this will usually be marked with
YELLOW flags (although we may use whites or white
(right) and yellow (left))
We try to avoid using tape to mark
Part of a typical Dead Easy section, note the red and blue harder
route, and the (wider) yellow markers for the easy route riders
(allowing them to avoid the rocks!)
get to the section and get totally confused ask the observer, and
always “walk” the section, this helps you understand where you are
going, but also what obstacles you will encounter / need to avoid
whilst actually riding it!
Remember stay within the flags at all times and whilst we try to
mark sections to be as clear and unambiguous as possible, stay
within the natural line of the markers, so on a turn that isn’t
clearly marked, DON’T go taking the “wide line” that has you half
way back to the van, keep within that (imaginary) natural line!
the sections/trials etiquette –
whilst turning up at your very first section of
your very first trial can be very daunting (yes I remember that
feeling well!) if you remember a few simple points you will soon
relax and start enjoying it: See
our leaflet Trials Etiquette.
arriving at the section:
park your bike up sensibly and safely in a position that doesn’t block access to
the section for other riders, and where it is not likely to fall
over causing a domino effect on all the other parked bikes (NOT a
good way to introduce yourself!).
Walking the section:
section, keeping an eye out for riders entering it, and
listening out for the observer’s instructions. If he/she asks you to
“clear the section”, do so straight away! Again, if you are confused
by anything ask another rider or the observer, they’re a friendly
bunch, even if they all look very serious prior to their first
are happy you know where you are going in the section, get in the queue, again this can be quite
confusing with a jumble of bikes/riders, but try and get your position
and keep it, if unsure ask the rider at the side/slightly in front
of you who is in front. However eager you are to get that
section over with DON’T go pushing your way to the front of the
Conversely, don’t allow ALL the other riders in the queue to go before you, it may not be fun having other riders watch you wobble
your way through those early sections, but you will never finish in time if
you let everyone go before you!
Take time when queuing to have a friendly chat with other riders,
the "older guys" will always have some good tips for you!
When you are at the front of the queue and it is you turn WAIT
for the observer to wave you into the section
(they use different methods, a nod of the head, a wave of the
observer board sometimes they may even use a whistle). This
ensure they are ready to start to observe you, and that the section
is clear. Observers tend to get upset when there is more than one
rider on the section, or you blast through it and they were in the
middle of pouring themselves a brew!
Tip: try not to get to close to the section begins, give yourself a
bit of room to set off and get steady on the bike BEFORE you enter
After you have completed three laps you will be getting the hang of
things, remember, when completing each section for the final time, to
thank the observer. That way the observer also knows
that he should have your score say 4 times and if he's not for some
reason he gets the chance to tell you so you can correct things by
having another go!
Observing in the rain and the cold is NOT a glamorous job, but our
sport would die out without them, so don't forget a "thank-you!"
there is no official time limit on completing the trial,
observers and the rest of the organisers have got homes to go to,
and a lot of work to do AFTER the trial (pulling the sections/route
marking, washing bibs, doing results, reports, ACU paperwork and so
on) so please DON’T hang around.
Stop for a quick drink/refuel by all means, but don’t start firing
the BBQ up half way through the trial!! Newer riders are generally
slower at finishing than more experienced riders, but if you keep
going at a steady pace you shouldn’t be that far behind the rest!
you have finished, please -
your number bibs:
these are relatively expensive items to the club, but it also causes us great
trouble at the next trial when numbers are missing!
Please remember a LOT of work has gone into organising the trial, and we ALWAYS
appreciate some feedback in terms of the organisation, section
severity, route marking etc. If you feel it was great tell us, if
you feel it was not so good also tell us, and tell us why!
Try not to be too critical about factors outside of our control, we
are after all trying to ensure a lot of riders with a range of experience and skill levels ALL
have a good, and most importantly SAFE day.
Remember what was too easy for you, may not have been for another
We are on property that has been kindly loaned to us by local land
please repay their generosity by ensuring you take home ALL of your rubbish
etc. NEVER discard of any petrol/oil/chemicals etc on the land
(there is quite often livestock on it).
Anyone found doing so, or
wilfully damaging fences, gates or walls will be permanently
excluded from ALL Manchester 17 events)
the Event –
We don't issue
paper copies of results anymore - we put the results on this web site and on the clubs
Face Book Trials Group page where you can pick em up. We always give
individual scores for each lap and even give scores for those who
don't manage to complete the whole course - most club don't.
Generally the results will be published by the end of the day after
the trail - often before.
Often we will also have
loads of pictures or video from the event which will be available
free from the
clubs photo sharing web site.
Will usually be sent to
TMX for publication in print in the next issue (when they have
space) and also put on the this web site - look for News on the
Trials Home page.
Will usually be shown on
the results as well as here
on the web site and in TMX and on
FINALLY - (THE
MOST IMPORTANT POINT) - ENJOY THE DAY AND
Images courtesy of "the club camera", the Green family and John Shirt.
See all our photo albums by clicking