Cherry-Picking Editor at Beta Trials Day
Okay, I admit it. I cherry picked at the 2018 Beta Trials Day at MotoVentures.
It was an event to introduce media members to the sport of observed motorcycle trials—you know, the thing that Toni Bou does that no one else on the planet can do. Fortunately, you don’t have to ride like Bou to actually enjoy a trials bike, and that’s the message Beta USA’s Tim Pilg wanted to relay.
Now, for me to be successful at my goal of taking home one of the handmade trophies, it took a lot of help.
Ultimate Motorcycling staffers Chris Cullins and Ty Cullins recused themselves from competition. They both ride the MotoTrials USA National Championship Series, and are far better trials riders than I could ever hope to be.
Also, former UM staffer Andrew Oldar, who is now the head honcho at Dirt Rider, also thoughtfully decided to be a spectator—he’s a former multi-time Southern California Trials Association Pro champion.
That left me as the media guy with the most trials experience. In my defense, I’ve only ridden a couple of events since snapping my right ACL in two at a trials meet at MotoVentures over five years ago. So, while I own and ride a trials bike regularly, I haven’t done much competing since then.
With Andrew and the Cullins out of the way, I had just one nemesis—Ultimate Motorcycling Associate Editor Jess McKinley. Like me, Jess is a trials bike owner, but he spends more time on traditional dirt bikes and his Gas Gas gets a bit dusty in his otherwise immaculate garage shop.
When it comes to riding a dirt bike, Jess outclasses me by a country mile. Even when I was on my trusty Suzuki DR-Z400S, he would roost away from me on a technical single-track trail with a KTM 950 Super Enduro underneath him. He’s fast and fearless—two words never used to describe my riding.
That’s kinda my position here as Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. Everyone on the staff is a better rider than I am, though I seem to have convinced Coram Publishing President Arthur Coldwells that I’m the best editor. Heck, Arthur could lap me on a road course before I even complete one lap.
In my defense, I’m really great at having fun on motorcycles, and enthusiastically embrace every motorcycle discipline out there.
So, with a fantastic trophy up for grabs at the Beta Trials Day, Tim put us all on Beta trials bikes and designed a course with two lines for different skill and experience levels.
Jess and I entered the “Expert” class and went at it. Definitely, we had enough experience to separate us from the rest of the media guys. Patience is a virtue on a trials bike, and even though our competitors that day are all outstanding off-road riders, the two of us had an edge when it came to experience.
Jess made some great moves, and I worked my way craftily through a few of the impressively tricky sections. It all came down to the last section, and I managed a clean. Jess got a bit impatient and got aggressive where I had been cautious. It cost him a point, and I got to go home with the trophy and bragging rights.
Trials bikes are great cross-training machines, and even riders such as Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa put time on them. For the rest of us, they’re a way to get some exercise—mental and physical—and maybe even to take home a trophy over faster and braver adversaries. If you have a chance to ride one, take it.