Sections & Flags

Flag marking pic Here

YORKSHIRE CENTRE & WEST YORKSHIRE CHAMPIONSHIP trials have different routes and rules but that’s JUST 2 of ours, the BASIC in March and the
WEST YORKSHIRE CHAMPIONSHIP trial at the end of May.
The routes on the latter are designated;- Championship, (Exp, Int, Nov, Youth A), Clubman A route (Exp O45, Int O45, Nov, Youth B) and Clubman B route (Nov & Youth C). The middle route, Clubman A, is a 50/50 (or 60/40 or whatever) using either the harder Champs or easier Clubman B routes as indicated at the start of each section.
These 2 trials are No-Stop the rest of our trials are Stop Allowed.

The following refers to our main trial courses (not the kids conducted).
The routes are referred to below as Hard, Middle and Easy (IRRESPECTIVE OF WHAT NAMES MAY APPEAR ON THE VARIOUS ENTRY FORMS) and each is a separate route i.e. the middle is not 50/50.

What follows is an attempt at explaining how hard those routes may be.
For 2016 (and continued into 2017) there has been a simplification; all our Club Trials will be the same severity.
The 4 other trials (Basic Yorkshire Centre in March, Presidents and WYC in May and Bob Owen in November) are dealt with separately further down (and will have their own Regs, entry form etc).

First, the SECTION FLAGS for the main adult courses.

The Hardest route through a section is flagged BLUE and RED (Red on the right).

The Middle severity route, also follows the Blue and Reds except where there are YELLOW and WHITE deviations (White on the right). There will be (or should be!) a pair of Yellow and White to pair up with the Blues and Reds wherever there is an easier option to the route – so anyone riding the middle route go through ALL the Blue and Reds EXCEPT where there is an alternative Yellow and White ‘deviation’ gate.

The Easiest route will start with the Blue and Red start gate and end with the final Blue and Red end gate. In between the start and ends flags Easy course riders can ignore any other  flags and just go through their own Green (left and right) flags. (This makes life a bit harder for Easy course riders because on the other routes, if you are heading for say a Red flag you know you need to pass to it’s left, or a middle course rider heading for say a Yellow flag knows to pass to it’s right).
With Greens marking both sides of the Easy route please check the course carefully first to ensure you know which way the route goes because it’s otherwise easy to go the wrong side of a Green flag. BTW, you may find the Green flags have an artistic white splodge on them – that’s so they can’t hide so easily in the grass.

HOW HARD ARE THE SECTIONS ? – This is for the main courses, the kids conducted courses are a different bag of beans as you would expect.

If you’ve only just started riding, it’s likely that the only suitable course is the Easy on our Club trials

Firstly there is a minimum skill requirement before anyone can ride a Trial and that is that they can exercise basic control of the bike! An absolute beginner who has never ridden a bike before will be a danger to themselves, property and other people so here’s what you need to be able to do;-

Full lock, feet up, figure of 8 turns; if you can do this then you should have the basics of clutch, throttle and brake control, steering and balance. (Make sure you practice using both brakes). The beauty of this exercise is you can do it in a back garden or driveway. You will also need to be confident of riding up a 30 degree slope (1 in 3) on mud or slippy grass and more importantly riding back down under control (luckily we have Swaine Woods to practice that) and there will always be rocks to deal with so you will need to be able to get up a rounded or sloping step of about spindle height or an upright step or rock a bit lower, say 6-8″.

The Easy course will not contain any tight turns, big steps, drop offs or long, steep climbs or descents (unless there’s a big run off at the bottom!). Generally speaking the Easy course will tend to run either; round the outside of the other routes, on grassy banks etc, so that the turns are wider; or (say in a stream section) the Easy may well run straight up the middle with the other routes being made harder by criss crossing. Every section, easy or otherwise, is intended to be cleanable by the average rider we expect will choose to ride that particular route – but that doesn’t mean everyone will clean it every time!

As an example of how easy the Easy route is, we would expect that a competent rider (i.e. NOT a beginner) should, after just a quick look at the section, ride the bike round clean just using bottom gear and without the need to feather the clutch or even brake. Because there are no tight turns etc, the route is easy to follow and needs no more than throttle and steering inputs. That’s what we aim for when we mark it out. Try it!

The Middle route is intended to encourage riders up from the Easy course as soon as possible. These routes are suitable for riders who have got beyond the beginners stage but might still struggle a bit negotiating rocky ground feet up or finding grip in slippery conditions and generally feel they are still having trouble keeping feet on pegs! Alternatively they are ideal for reasonably competent riders who have been riding for a while but who prefer not to tackle any bigger or trickier stuff or be falling off too often – typically our senior members.

Pre 65 bikes or twin shocks will have no trouble on the Easy course and with a decent pilot would get through the  Middle route.

The Hard route will have sections that are cleanable by say the top 40-50% of novices in the club but are a bit more testing than the mid course. We won’t put a turn in that requires a hop of the front or back wheel to get round (but it might be tight!) Better riders may choose to do that to make it easier to set themselves up for the next obstacle. We will not (or try not to) put any drop-offs in that require the front wheel to be lifted to avoid going over the bars! (ie you should simply be able to let the bike roll down for instance into a stream bed or off a slab).

So the Hard route on our Club trials will typically be ridden by the better novices and those who are striving to improve their riding. Inters and Experts should be expecting to keep a clean sheet – but all it takes is a slippery ascent or a jumble of small rocks to take dabs and even a five, so concentration will be needed.

Other trials;

The Basic Yorkshire Centre Trial in March is for good novices (& A Class), Inters and Experts and it’s No-Stop as it’s for Centre Championship points. As you would expect, severity should be in line with Yorkshire Centre Trials at other clubs.

The Presidents Trial at the start of May has 3 routes similar to a Club trial, but the routes will each be a small step up in severity so not really suitable for beginners at the easy end and a bit harder for the best riders on the hard course, so many riders will find themselves choosing to ride one course down in severity to what they would normally ride in a Club Series Trial, but it is Stop Allowed (i.e. TRS22A) and not as testing as a Centre Trial.

The West Yorkshire Championship Trial at the end of May will be similar in severity to the the Yorkshire Centre Trials as it needs to match the routes on other clubs’ WYC events and will have the Yorkshire Centre specified routes of Championship, Clubman A (50/50) and Clubman B – and is also No-Stop (i.e. TRS22B). So the routes are flagged Blue and Red for the Hard (Championship route), the Easy (Clubman B), also follow Blue & Red but take the easier Yellow and White deviations and on the middle course, (Clubman A) riders follow either the hard or easy route dependent on the marker at the start of the section.

The Bob Owen on the Saturday before Remembrance day in November has 3 routes and the severity will be like the Presidents trial i.e. a little harder than a club trial so not suitable for beginners and our usual Stop Allowed rules.

We always try to make sections as interesting as we can for each category of rider. Things we try to avoid are;- anything that’s dangerous, anything that’s boring (there’s not much ‘Trial’ in a straight ride through flat ground from beginning to end flags) and anything which might prove to be a ‘stopper’ (like a climb so slippy no one can get up it).

So that’s the theory – sometimes we get it right, but not always.

Trials at Ramsgill have in the past taken more marks than on average due to the tricky terrain – we’ll try to set these out a bit easier but it is a great venue with a lovely rocky stream to play with.

The other main reason for trials ending up harder than anticipated is rain falling or an overnight frost between marking out and riding. This can have a big effect on severity at Stump Cross and Greenhow in particular (Greenhow having the worlds slipperiest grass when wet).

How do we tell if we have set the courses right?
Subjectively – you, the riders will tell us yea or nay.
Objectively, every section should be cleanable by the better riders in each category so theoretically there could be some zero scores but in practice that doesn’t happen often. Everyone has a slack dab or takes the odd flag out on the day. What we try to avoid is having any retirements at the other end of the table.
Achieving this on all the routes in all the trials with such a wide spread of rider ability is sometimes a bit tricky what with overnight rain, frost and never quite knowing how the sections will hold up after they have been ridden often well over 400 times (work it out).

COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE For all the theory of how to get the severity of sections right we suffer from the failings of being human so the only thing that is guaranteed is that it won’t work out exactly as planned. If we produce a bummer that ends up like a game of dominoes (all 5’s and 3’s for our younger members who probably don’t have a dominoes game on their Nintendo DS) please feel free to let us know. The cost of each complaint is one pint of the appropriate currency in the local hostelry.

Toni on top of the world

Toni on top of the world

Leave a Reply