Taking on the terrain

Phil Shilton, one of Tauranga’s best riders, will be among those at this weekend’s moto trials. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

Riding a motorbike around a track is one thing – but when there's a range of natural obstacles in the way, it becomes much more difficult.

That's the idea of the North Island Moto Trials Championship, which involves riders from across the island negotiating courses designed to be difficult.

This weekend the Tauranga Motorcycle Club is hosting rounds five and six of the championship.

Trials coordinator Francis Sydenham says the event shifts around the main centres, and involves riders from as far away as Wellington and Auckland.

“We're expecting 35-40 riders, across all age groups,” says Francis. “The oldest would probably be in their 60s, while the youngest is 13.”

“It's an opportunity to gain points in the North Island series. At the end of the year, the rider who has the most points will be the winner for the North Island.”

For the uninitiated, moto trials test the ability of riders to handle obstacles such as rocks and logs on lightweight, motocross-style bikes.

This weekend's courses have been laid out over natural terrain, but the routes go over tree roots and rivers to make it a challenge.

Francis, who will be riding himself, says the biggest obstacle is often yourself.

“I liken it to golf, in the sense it is so psychological. If you think you won't make it past an obstacle, you probably won't.

“And as in golf, you are also competing against other people in a beautiful environment. It's a lot of fun – man and machine against the world.”

Day one on Saturday, May 6, is Muirs farm at the top of No 4 Rd, Te Puke and day two on Sunday, May 7, is at Maddix Park, Ohauiti. Day one's action starts 10am and day two at 9.30am. Spectators are welcome but no dogs please. For further information, phone Francis Sydenham 0274956236.

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