While gate trials are similar to the observed trials most of us are used to, with the same loop and similar sections, there are several notable differences. Rather than riders trying to keep a low score by not footing, crashing, etc... in a gate trial riders try to accumulate points by negotiating obstacles, designated by "gates" having a point value of one or two, without footing... There are no designated lines to ride. Riders decide what portions of the section to ride and which obstacles within the section to attempt. They earn the value of each gate they can get themselves and their complete motorcycle through without footing. Once they foot or stop for too long or crash (you get the idea) they lose the ability to earn any more points in that section, but they do not lose the points gained before that. Sections and loop are ridden in the same manner as other trials, following the loop and riding each section just once per loop. In our trials there will be eight sections and four loops. Riders will get four hours to complete the sections, but they may choose to stop at any time. There will be no DNFs regardless if you ride one section or thirty-two.
The ways to lose the ability to earn further points in a section are as follows: Footing or using something to maintain balance with other body parts (like leaning against a tree), Coming to a stop for more than one second, Drifting backwards, Going out of bounds, Crossing your line, or Knocking off a marker, whether with bike or body.
Checking: Having riders check themselves in the past has led to a fair amount of "cheating", whether intentional or unintentional. This year at sign-up we will give riders a "sticker" (easy to remove) they will place on their bike or body (some place very visible). The sticker will have a number that corresponds with their name. Checkers will have a rider list with these numbers and will use this to score each rider. Checkers will add together your scores in their section. Scores from each section will then be added together for a final score. I have a plan (here's hoping) that should make this fairly quick and easy. So riders will not need to stop after each section unless they want to check on their score. They will not carry a scorecard unless they want to keep track of their score themselves. We will have these available at the sign-up table if wanted.
Why Gate Trials? After overseeing MAVT and MAT for twenty years, one of the biggest issues we faced was lack of consistency in section difficulty. Though we set guidelines at our annual meetings for section length and difficulty, they fell by the wayside when clubs set up events, so riders of a particular line would sometimes encounter easy events and other times, very difficult events. This had a tendency for losing new riders if they happened to start at a difficult event, and kept many riders from "moving up", since they did not want to ride "over their heads" putting themselves and their bike in jeopardy. Gate Trials eliminate this problem since all riders choose which obstacles they want to attempt and which ones they deem too hard. If sections become degraded due to weather or other conditions, it just changes what riders attempt if the sections become harder to negotiate. Also, DNFs are eliminated. If you don't finish all the sections, it does not matter. When the event is over, scores, whether from a few sections or all the sections, will be added together for your final score.
Why mostly Vintage bikes? Though all thought it great to have a hundred riders at our events, it had its down side as well. Since there is more than one venue for Modern bikes and we have watched Vintage bike participation drop off over the years, I want to have a venue for mostly Vintage bikes, hoping to bring out more Vintage riders and keep the atmosphere more in line with just having fun riding, competition being secondary. However, realizing that often families that ride together have some riding Vintage and some Modern, I would like to see all family members be able to participate. With that in mind, families can all ride as long as at least one family member rides a Vintage bike. We will cut off the number of riders at about fifty so we can keep from having back-ups and difficulties finishing on time.
Membership? Riders will not need to be a member of any "Rider Organization". Fees will be a $5.00 entrance fee per person to help pay for food provided at the end of the event. Sign-up fee will be $20 except for those in the Relics Class (pre-1972).
Preregistration? Though it is very early to think about which events you are going to, we want to provide pre-registration so that once you are pretty sure you are coming, you will be able to solidify sign-up, since we will keep participation to around fifty. Families who preregister will also get a $5.00 discount for extra family members. First family member will pay $20.00. Other family members will pay $15.00.