What to Expect at Your First Vintage Trials Event…
When people first come out for a vintage motorcycle event as a spectator, they see riders making their way through a series of marked sections while doing their best to keep their feet on the pegs. When people decide to join the fun…there are always questions about what to expect or how events are organized. Read on for answers to these questions…..
First & foremost, we’re a group of folks who enjoy riding trials and the friendly competition.
The first thing a rider needs to do is join the International Twin Shock Association (ITSA) as this is the organization providing the Charter for Mountain West Vintage Trials Association (MWVTA) and insurance for our events. Membership is only $40 per year. Riders must be members of ITSA to compete in a MWVTA event.
The second thing a rider needs to do is join MWVTA ($15 per year) to earn series points and be eligible for year-end awards. Check out our Membership page for more information on joining MWVTA. It is also a good idea to read through the ITSA rules & MWVTA supplemental rules prior to entering an event.
Joining both organizations prior to an event makes the sign up process easier, but you can sign up at your first event. You’ll also save money on your entry fees since non-members pay a higher entry fee to help cover insurance & land use costs.
To keep travel expense down, all MWVTA events are held over a weekend with an event each day – Saturday & Sunday. Events are held on private, State forest and/or BLM land, with on-site camping available. Some riders come a day or two early to set up camp while some prefer to stay at a nearby hotel.
Event sign-up is on Saturday at 8:00 am, with most riders signing up for both days. Our club Treasurer & Secretary run the sign-up table and help riders by answering questions. Riders can sign up for just one day if that is all they will be riding.
After signing up, riders prepare for the day. Required riding gear includes helmets, gloves, boots and some riders choose to wear knee/elbow pads, riding jerseys and/or trials pants. Riders need to warm up both themselves and their bikes before the rider’s meeting is called.
About 10-15 minutes before the start of the event, the Trials Master will blow a loud horn. That is the signal for all riders to come to the sign-up area for the rider’s meeting. At the rider’s meeting the Trials Master will instruct riders on where the loop trail is, anything special a rider might need to know about the event, the overall time limit for the event and which group each rider will be in. Riders are grouped by class and riding ability – and score each other as a group. New riders are grouped with more experienced competitors. Sometimes we have riders come for just one day, so the groups may be changed a bit for Sunday. Pay Attention at the Rider’s Meeting!
Now it’s time to head out on the loop trail to your first section. Riders must stay with their group when riding the loop trail & sections. After parking bikes away from the start gate, the group walks the section – literally. Riders walk through the section noting split markers (split markers indicate the line for your ability – Masters, Expert, Intermediate, Novice) and visualizing the path they will take from start to end of the section. This is a good time to ask any questions. Riders attempt the section one at a time – ‘observing’ each other. One rider will punch everyone’s score on their score card. This is repeated 3 times in an event – 3 loops, with new score cards for each loop. Groups decide among themselves if they want to take a break between each loop.
The goal when attempting a section is to ride through it without putting your feet down. Putting your feet down earns points (see the rules) – and the rider with the fewest points at the end of the day is the winner of their class. No one expects a new rider to have a ‘clean’ event (no points for the entire day). Even experienced riders take points at nearly every event. Every rider improves the more they ride. You know the saying – practice, practice, practice.
After all the groups have completed all 3 loops, it’s time for section clean up. Riders usually sign up for cleaning a section when they sign up for the event. The Trials Master will give the OK to head out & pull down all the section ribbon & markers. If you didn’t sign up to clean a section – your help is still welcome. This is another opportunity to visit with more experienced riders, talk about different ways people in the same class rode the section and even re-ride a section without the pressure of being scored.
MWVTA hosts a potluck dinner on Saturday evening. The club provides hamburgers, hot dogs, buns & condiments. Riders bring a side dish or dessert. The awards for the Saturday event are given out toward the end of the potluck. Then everyone pitches in to help clean up – and take home (back to your camp) your dishes and/or serving utensils.
On Sunday, everyone gets to ride new sections.
So…don’t be shy…Come Share the Ride with Mountain West Vintage Trials Association! You’ll be glad you did.