Mid-Atlantic Vintage Trials was formed in 1989 by several trials riders in the Mid-Atlantic region. The "No Stop" rule had changed to "Stop and Hop" previously and it had changed trials dramatically. Sections were now harder due to riders being able to set up before attempting an obstacle. Trials attendance was beginning to wane, many riders not wanting to or not being able to adjust to the new venue. So, these riders decided to start a new series, mainly for the older bikes, and with the "no stop" rule reinstated. This would be an alternative to the more competitive AMA "Modern" series. The focus was on having fun riding the older bikes and enjoying the comradery that went along with it. Originally part of the AHRMA series of Vintage Trials, MAVT broke away from AHRMA mainly due to its politics, in the early days. In 1999, then president of MAVT, Bowie Pearre decided he would no longer head up MAVT, willing to let it die if no one took over. Not wanting to see this happen, Pete Slesser, Buz Brinig and myself decided to do what was needed to keep the vintage series going. At this time, there were no classes for Modern bikes. They were allowed to participate with the Vintage bikes, but not compete.. Over time we came to realize that MAVT would slowly die if we were not willing to evolve. Older bikes were starting to disappear from the series and we knew that younger riders would not want to compete on Vintage bikes. So we then added Modern classes, mostly in order to attract more young riders.
Still a part of AMA it was becoming increasingly harder for clubs to break even financially, or to make a profit. Also, due to AMA's rules, events were limited to AMA clubs, and at the time clubs were required to have ten AMA members. Many of us felt we were paying the AMA lots of money and getting practically nothing in return. Between club fees, sanction fees and insurance fees, the AMA was doing fine, but we were struggling. We decided that if we could find affordable insurance, there would be no need to be a part of the AMA. My memory has faded as to the actual date, but around 2010 I was able to find affordable insurance for our events, so MAT, LLC was formed as liability protection for myself as insurance provider. Our series was still MAVT, but our official name changed to Mid-Atlantic Trials, LLC. It was now much less expensive to host a trials event. Small clubs and even individuals could now host our Vintage Trials and make a profit. The combination of being an independent organization and opening up the series to Modern bikes gave MAVT/MAT a boost in attendance as well as the number of events we could host each season. Many of us had watched the demise of AMA District 7 (MD and DE) and saw how attendance at District 6 events was waning each year while we were growing. We, who had been involved with our Vintage series for some time, knew that one main reason for our success was due to our relaxed atmosphere that focused on having fun moreso than competition. In earlier days we had joint D-6 Modern and MAVT events. We were often treated as the proverbial "red-headed step-child" by Modern riders with great ability and greater egos, so we removed ourselves from that venue. I suppose the message here is that it has been our philosophy to put fun first and competition second, and that has meant success for us. Each year we have a meeting of hosting club representatives to determine what has been working for us and what has not. This has been going on since the beginning of MAVT, and bringing us to the present, we continue with this annual meeting to sort out event dates and exchange ideas of how we can better serve the majority of our riders. Inevitably, each year we discuss the need to keep our sections and events more focused on fun, We all agree that no one complains at an easy event, but that harder events discourage both new riders from joining and seasoned riders from moving up to a harder line. In almost thirty years, this has not changed, but somehow, between the time of the meeting and the setting up of an event, the focus often turns to challenging the better riders. The result is that lesser riders of each line suffer or at the least, decide not to move to a harder line. Many of you who have joined MAT within the past few years, we realize, may have no knowledge of its beginnings and philosophy. You may wonder why I continue to harp on keeping our events on the easier side. The bottom line is now and has always been to provide trials riders with events that focus on helping each other and having fun riding, rather than being a serious competition where large egos impede this. As I get older and see the end of my tenure as MAVT "CEO" fast approaching, it has been particularly important to me that MAVT is on track with its original values before letting go of the reins. Over the years I've watched as clubs sometimes try to reinvent the wheel in an effort to have the "best event ever", but what always has worked, and I have no doubt will continue to work, is our commitment to providing fun events that challenge riders in a way that does not intimidate them. There are other trials series that focus on competition for the better and best riders, and if there is someone willing to lead, there can always be a new series started for the super competitive. This however, is not our history, nor our future if we are to continue to thrive, in my opinion. We have always felt we have a great group of riders, who as Mark Williams once put it, are the salt of the earth. It has been a privilege for me to head up MAVT and I've aquired life-long friends along the way. My hope is that we continue in the same direction as we have for nearly thirty years.